Can You Live With a 1TB Data Caps? We Take a Look… (Updated September 2017)





Depressed mature man holding paper and looking at it while sitting on the couch at home

Depressed mature man holding paper and looking at it while sitting on the couch at homeRecently a growing number of internet providers have started to add a 1TB data cap to most of its plans. (2TB for gigabyte subscribers) That raised a lot of questions with our readers about their ability to stream what they want with a 1TB data cap. So we are going to do our best to answer that question today.

Note: We are rounding the 1TB data cap down to 1,000 for easy math and to have a buffer for any potential overages.

Video On-Demand Data Usage

For an HD video Netflix uses up to 3GB per hour of video. (That is not 3GB per show because most shows on Netflix are under 45 minutes long.) Using 3GB an hour, you could watch just over 333 hours of video on Netflix in HD. That works out to be just over 11 hours of HD video on Netflix every day in a 30-day month.

Live TV Streaming Data Usage

Sling TV, Hulu, PlayStation Vue, and DIRECTV NOW do not publicly list their data usage per hour, but you can do the math from the quality usage.

  • An hour on highest quality (4.7 Mbps) would consume 2.1GB of data.
  • An hour on best quality (3.7 Mbps) would consume 1.66GB of data.
  • An hour on high quality (2.8 Mbps) would consume 1.26GB of data.
  • An hour on medium quality (1.2 Mbps) would consume 540 MB of data.
  • An hour on low quality (800 Kbps) would consume 360 MB of data.

We find most Sling TV subscribers use best quality, so they consume about 1.66GB of data every hour. That means you could watch just over 602 hours of Sling TV every month or about 20 hours of video every day in a 30-day month.

So should you be worried about your data cap?

The question of whether you should be worried about the new data caps really depends on how many hours of video your house watches every month. For many 1 TB is more than enough, but others will need more. From running these numbers it looks like most families should be able to deal with these new data caps without issue though.

What to do if you need more?

First, check out our guide on how to stay under your data cap. Next, shop around for other Internet services providers in your area. For example, if you have AT&T with a 1TB data cap, look at It resells AT&T Internet with US customer support and no data cap.

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