Netflix has an estimated 200,000 customers in Ireland, but enjoyment of the service largely depends on the quality of a household’s broadband connection.
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With ridiculously addictive shows like House of Cards, Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black exclusively available Netflix, it isn’t hard to see why the service has gathered a whopping 86 million customers across the globe, 200,000 of which are based here in Ireland.
However, there are still some people that are regularly faced with buffering streams and pixelated images when they sit down for a relaxing evening of Netflix viewing. Why? Because their broadband connection isn’t up to the task!
Netflix recommended speeds
According to Netflix’s own Help Centre, the following speeds are required for a certain standard of service:
- 3.0 Mbps for Standard Definition quality
- 5.0 Mbps for High Definition quality
- 25 Mbps for Ultra High Definition quality
While most providers have the potential to provide well above these speeds, there is often a big difference between the speed you could get and the speed you actually get.
A wide range of factors, such as the position of your router, the amount of devices connected at once and time of day can all have a huge impact on the quality of your connection. And since most people do the majority of their online streaming in the evening at around the same time, that dreaded buffering bar can appear all-too frequently - especially for standard DSL users.
Check out our 7 ways to speed up your broadband connection guide to make sure you’re getting as powerful a connection as possible.
Which broadband provider has the best speeds for Netflix?
Every month, Netflix publishes the average speed being achieved by providers in every country in which it has customers.
In November, Virgin Media were top of the Netflix charts here in Ireland, but the average speed might surprise you. It was 3.44 Mbps.
So, going by Netflix’s own recommended speeds, the best average speed in Ireland is still 1.56 Mbps short of the minimum requirement for HD viewing. And it’s a massive 21.56 Mbps shy of Ultra HD quality.
3 steps for better Netflix quality
So, what’s to be done to get the best possible Netflix service? Here are three steps every subscriber should follow.
- Step 1 – test your broadband speed
As mentioned, you might be paying for a broadband speed of 100 Mbps or even higher, but are probably only getting a fraction of this speed.
You can test your speed in real time by visiting broadbandspeedtest.ie – that’ll give you an idea of the quality of service you can expect from Netflix right now.
- Step 2 – set up your broadband to maximise speed
Whatever speed you’re getting, there are usually some quick and easy ways to squeeze a bit more life out of your connection.
Positioning your router in clear view of your device, updating your browser and removing electrical items like baby monitors from the room can all help improve your speed. But the very best way to speed up your broadband it to directly connect your router to your device with a ethernet cable.
- Step 3 – compare broadband deals in your area
The only way to be certain of getting the best broadband deal for Netflix in your area is to compare the market. And then to switch to a better deal if there’s one out there.
Our Compare Broadband page will show you the top speeds, data limits and monthly price of all of the deals available in your area.
Best broadband deals for Netflix
Here’s a sneak peek at three of the most popular broadband deals available to Netflix fans at the moment.
Virgin Media – great if you want tip-top speeds
- Virgin Media’s Horizon TV, 360 Mb and Mobile World deal comes with up to 360 Mb broadband, 80 TV channels and a home phone plan.
- It costs €40 a month for the first 6 months and €90 a month after that. And since it’s a 12 month contact, the average monthly bill works out at €65.
- Customers can conveniently watch Netflix on their Horizon TV set with the deal.
- Finally, new customers who sign up to the deal exclusively on bonkers.ie by December 31st will get a free €50 One4all voucher.
Pure Telecom – perfect if you want simplicity and value
- Pure Telecom’s Purely Broadband deal comes with up to 100 Mbps broadband...and nothing else! Nice and simple.
- It costs €44 a month, every month. And it's an 18 month contract.
Vodafone – six months of free Netflix? Yes please!
- Vodafone's TV & Home Unlimited bundle that comes with up to 100 Mb broadband, 54 TV channels and calls to Irish landlines.
- The bundle costs €40 a month for the first 6 months and €80 a month after that. It’s an 18 month contract, so the average monthly bill comes in at €66.67.
- With this deal, new customers can opt-in for six months of free Netflix.
- And the remote control has a nifty Netflix button included.
We are living in an era of unprecedented entertainment excellence, with some of the greatest movies, documentaries and TV series ever made available at the click of a shiny Netflix button. Or, as of yesterday, an Amazon Prime button, which just launched in Ireland too.
Most of Ireland's providers are becoming aware of just how important streaming quality is to customers picking a new broadband deal, and that is being reflected in some of the Netflix-friendly offers we're seeing in the market these days. However, many households are still missing out on satisfying streaming because of underperforming broadband.
To benefit from the exceptional options available these days, regularly check your broadband speed, re-position that router and keep your eyes peeled for new broadband deals. And hopefully you'll soon be able to wave bye-bye to that bothersome buffering broadband for good.