This post will cover how much data streaming (and viewing) Twitch uses so that you can plan your broadcasts accordingly.
What Uses Data When You’re Streaming on Twitch?
There are a few things that factor into the data you use while streaming on Twitch. There are several things that will affect how much data you are using:
- The quality of your stream (resolution)
- Data used playing an online (or mobile) game
- Reading comments from the chat
- Watching your stream another device
Each of these will affect your bitrate. In addition to overage charges or slowed speeds when you reach your data cap, trying to stream too much information can cause a lag on your channel. Laggy streams are unbearable to watch. Overall, unless you know for sure that you have enough data, you may want to stream at a lower quality than you normally would.
Interestingly enough, your resolution and FPS (frames per second) don’t affect your data very much. You may be able to up your FPS to 60 (from 30) for a slightly better stream.
Twitch Streaming Data Per Hour
The following chart shows how much internet data you will use per hour when streaming on Twitch.
|Resoulution||Bitrate (kb/s)||Data Per Hour||Min Time to 1 GB||Min Time to 5GB|
|240p||500||.225GB||4hr, 25min||22hr, 5min|
|360p||600-800||.27-.36GB||3hr, 42min||18hr, 30min|
|480p||900-1200||.405-.54GB||2hr, 27min||12hr, 15min|
|720p||1800-2500||.81-1.125GB||1hr, 13min||6hr, 5min|
Ultimately, there are several things that could influence just how much data you are using when you live-stream. Your safest bet would be to run a test using your device. Check your data before and after you stream and see how much you used while broadcasting for 15 minutes. Multiply that number by 4 for an approximate hourly rate.
Keep Track Over Time
Get in the habit of checking your data before and after each stream to ensure that you are maintaining a healthy data-rate and won’t find yourself capped or overrun with fees.
The best way to truly know how much data you use per hour with your setup is to track it over time. While calculators can help you with a rough estimate, they can’t factor in every single moment of a stream. Keep a spreadsheet of how long your streamed, what settings you used, and how much data was consumed. Over time, you’ll be able to figure out what settings you should use to balance quality and bitrate for yourself.
Check with Your Wireless Carrier
Check with your Wireless provider. Data caps are quickly becoming a thing of the past for “lower quality” internet. For instance, Verizon’s plans will cap you on their 5G internet, but you will get unlimited 4G LTE data on their new unlimited plans. If you are on an older plan, talk to your provider to see if you can upgrade.
Most providers will also give you Mobile Hotspot allotment for additional fees. This can be useful when you are running additional devices requiring internet for your stream.
How Much Data Does Watching Twitch Use?
If you are on an older data plan or using Mobile Hotspot to watch Twitch, here is how much data you will be using:
|Resolution||Data Per Hour||Time to 1 GB||Time to 5BG|
|240p-320p||.3GB||3hr, 20min||16hr, 40min|
|480p||.7GB||1hr, 25min||7hr, 5min|
|720p||.9GB||1hr, 6min||5hr, 30min|
You can manually lower the quality of the streams on your mobile device to reduce your bitrate.
Try to Use Public Wi-fi
When available, try to use public Wi-fi. While Wi-fi isn’t as powerful as cabled internet, it can be better than your phone’s internet plan. There is also the added benefit that, when using Wi-fi, you’re not using your data. To read more, read our post, Best Settings for Streaming on Wi-fi.