What internet speed do you need to watch 4K? Below, we will discuss the minimum requirements for comfortable UltraHD playback and give recommendations for weak Internet and old devices.

What is the speed of the Internet?

Internet speed is measured in Mbps (megabit per second). We are talking about Gbp/s (gigabit per second) on high-speed and expensive Internet tariffs on the old – about Kbps (kilobit per second). A very important point: megabits and megabytes are different things. A megabit is 8 times smaller than a megabyte. The same applies to kilobite and kilobyte, gigabit, and gigabyte.

Going forward, we’ll name what speed you need to play 4K video comfortably:

  • Minimum speed: 25-35 Mbps
  • Recommended speed: 50-65 Mbps

Here’s a table that details the 4K speed features you need to see.

Image qualityMinimum speedOptimal speed
2160p (4k, UltraHD)25-35 Mbps50-65 Mbps
1440p (2k)15 Mbps25 Mbps
1080p (2k, FullHD)8 Mbps12 Mbps
720p (HD)5 Mbps8 Mbps
480p2.5 Mbps4 Mbps
360p1 Mbps1.5 Mbps

Benefits of 4K Video

4K (UltraHD, 2160p) is the highest quality video standard to date (except 8K, as to watch videos in this quality you need equipment that is not available in the average price segment, and the price of such screens starts from half a million rubles). The advantage of this resolution is the extremely high detail of the image. This technology goes well with huge TVs, whose diagonal exceeds 60-75 inches.

The high detail of the image means that the picture is perceived naturally, and the eyes do not come across square pixels. Old films, recorded on film, look great in digitized quality in resolution 2160p. Of course, such detail plays into the hands of gamers, as it contributes to a deeper immersion in the gameplay. And given that 4K video can be with a standard frame rate and 60 k/s and even from 120 k/s, the effect of realism happening on the screen increases many times.

4K varieties and permissions of this format

There are several variations of the 4K format. The UltraHD standard is 3840-2160 (it’s worth noting that 4K and UltraHD aren’t always the same thing). Some LG TVs have a screen resolution of 2880 to 2160, and they are also considered 4K TVs. So 4K is a broad concept. The resolution of the 4K video, broadcast on YouTube – UltraHD that is exactly 3840-2160.

Video as 4K can vary in frame rate, ranging from 24 to 120 frames per second. With this detail, the most fluid image is achieved at a minimum frame rate of 60.

When watching a video offline, you need to pay attention to the quality of the video released, and specifically – to its bitrate. A small bitrate means that the video will have eye-cutting transitions and various artifacts that interfere with viewing and significantly impair the image quality. The TV you’re watching the video should support the ability to stream a bitrate of at least 60 megabits/sec and streaming video with VP9 codec (for example, that’s how YouTube video is played). Otherwise, you will have to buy an additional, more powerful device (TV set-top box).

Optimal speed for 4k video

As you can see, the speed of the Internet to watch 4K videos should be the biggest. This is especially true for high-frequency videos. So, if you have a cheap tariff and internet speed is not enough for comfortable watching videos in UltraHD through YouTube or any other service – it is better to find a higher speed tariff and connect it, mainly if you use multiple devices to play 4k at the same time (such as a TV and a computer). Since in this case, the speed required to watch 4k videos online comfortably will add up (i.e., to run on 2 video devices at 2160p and 60 k/s will need a speed of at least 100 Mbps).

You also need to consider the speed of wireless transmission if your device, on which you watch the video, is connected to the Internet through a router. Speed may not be enough if you are far from the router or if a large number of traffic-using devices are connected to the network, as well as from the router configuration itself. To ensure the greatest stability of the signal, it is recommended to connect the devices on a twisted pair.

How to check the speed of the Internet?

Free Internet Speed Test (internetspeedfree.com) is one of the most common internet speed check services.

To measure the speed of the Internet through Free Internet Speed Test (internetspeedfree.com), it is enough to do the following:

  1. We visit the site Free Internet Speed Test (internetspeedfree.com) through any convenient browser on your computer or phone.
  2. The test will take a few seconds, after which the check results will appear on top. From left to right, pings (server response time, measured in milliseconds, matters in online games), the speed of incoming and outgoing traffic are listed.

This service is straightforward to use, and the connection is checked at just the click of a button. After that, you can already conclude whether you can watch a high-quality video at this rate or think about changing it.

How to watch 4K on a weak internet?

Image qualityMinimum speedOptimal speed
2160p (4k, UltraHD)25-35 Mbps50-65 Mbps
1440p (2k)15 Mbps25 Mbps
1080p (2k, FullHD)8 Mbps12 Mbps
720p (HD)5 Mbps8 Mbps
480p2.5 Mbps4 Mbps
360p1 Mbps1.5 Mbps

To maximize the speed of your connection, there are several recommendations:

  • Turn off background programs that use Internet traffic.
  • Turn off all users who are connected to a wireless network and consume traffic.
  • Check the system for viruses.

If, after all the measures to optimize the connection, you can not reach the speed needed to play 4k, the only way out is to switch to a higher-speed tariff. There are no other solutions. If you do not change the tariff, watch the video as lower (1440p, 1080p, 720p).

But this all applies to online viewing, that is, to streaming video. For offline viewing, the speed of the internet connection does not matter. You can even download a movie or video over the Internet from another computer, download it to yours, and then play.

Can I watch 4K on an old TV?

On an old FullHD TV, you can’t watch 4k video because a standard player can’t handle a file of this quality in almost all cases. There are two ways out of this situation:

  1. Purchase an expensive set-top box that will pull the UltraHD format.
  2. Convert 4k to FullHD on your computer, followed by a replay of the resulting file on TV.

Not everyone can buy more and add up the console to analyze in detail the second option. To do this, we will need the Freemake – Best Freeware Alternatives To Paid Video Software.

  • We download the program from the official site, install and run it.
  • Choose a file that needs to be converted, then choose the same video format as the original file and FullHD 1080p resolution (if you have an even older HD TV, you need to choose it).
  • Choose a folder to save the result (connect the flash drive or external hard drive, which we then connect to the TV). Let’s start converting.
  • In the end, close the program and play the file on the TV, connecting the external media.


We hope that we were able to answer your question in as much detail as possible. If you have additional questions, ask them in the comments section below. Our experts are happy to answer them.