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Is Netflix in HD or SD?

When it comes to streaming video quality, Netflix offers both high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) options. The available resolution depends on a few factors, including your Netflix subscription plan, internet connection speed, and device capabilities.

Netflix Streaming Video Quality

Netflix offers streaming in several resolutions, including:

  • SD (Standard Definition 480p)
  • HD (High Definition 720p and 1080p)
  • FHD (Full High Definition 1080p)
  • UHD (Ultra High Definition 4K and HDR)

Higher resolutions like 1080p HD and 4K UHD offer increased video quality with sharper images and more detail compared to lower resolutions like 480p SD. However, higher quality streaming requires faster internet speeds.

Internet Speed Requirements

Your internet connection speed determines the maximum video resolution available for streaming on Netflix. Faster speeds support higher quality video:

Resolution Recommended Internet Speed
SD (480p) 0.5 Megabits per second (Mbps)
HD (720p) 3 Mbps
Full HD (1080p) 5 Mbps
Ultra HD (4K) 25 Mbps

As you can see from the table, you need a faster broadband connection to stream high quality 4K video compared to SD quality. Check your current internet speeds to determine the maximum video resolution possible.

Netflix Plan Differences

In addition to your internet speed, the specific Netflix plan you subscribe to affects available streaming resolution:

Netflix Plan Maximum Video Resolution
Basic 480p SD
Standard 1080p HD
Premium 4K UHD

Netflix Basic only provides streaming up to 480p SD quality. The Standard plan unlocks up to 1080p HD resolution. For the highest quality 4K Ultra HD streaming, you need the Premium plan. So upgrading your Netflix subscription can allow access to improved streaming resolution.

Device Capabilities

In addition to internet speeds and Netflix plans, the device you use for streaming introduces limitations for video resolution:

  • Smartphones & Tablets – Entry-level mobile devices max out at 480p SD quality. Newer high-end phones and tablets can display up to 1080p HD or 4K UHD.
  • Laptops & Desktops – Screen resolution and graphics capabilities determine maximum streaming video quality. 1080p HD is typically achievable on most laptops. Desktops with high resolution displays or graphics cards can stream 4K UHD.
  • Television Sets – Standard definition TVs are limited to a maximum of 480i/480p quality. Most new HDTVs can display up to 1080p resolution. High-end 4K televisions are required for 4K Ultra HD streaming.
  • Media Streamers – Devices like Roku and Fire TV support streaming up to 4K quality provided your television can also display it. Specific model capabilities vary.
  • Gaming Consoles – Current generation consoles like PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X have 4K/HDR streaming capabilities with supported televisions.

Check your device specs and display capabilities to ensure your hardware can support the level of video quality you want. For instance, you won’t benefit from 4K streaming if using a 1080p TV.

How to Check and Change Netflix Video Quality

You can check your current Netflix streaming resolution and adjust the video quality as needed through your account settings:

  1. On your web browser, login to Netflix and go to Your Account.
  2. Under Plan Details, find the Playback settings section.
  3. The Data Usage setting shows your current streaming resolution. SD is lowest quality, Best (4K UHD) is highest.
  4. Use the dropdown menu to change streaming resolution as desired.
  5. Lower resolution uses less data per hour streamed. Higher resolution provides better video quality.
  6. Click Save to confirm and apply your new video quality preference.

Following these steps allows you to check your current Netflix video resolution and upgrade or downgrade quality as needed based on your plan, internet speeds, and device capabilities.


Netflix offers streaming in a range of video qualities from 480p SD up to 4K UHD. The maximum resolution available depends on your Netflix subscription plan, internet connection speeds, and device display capabilities. Basic plans only allow SD quality streaming. Faster internet speeds are required for HD and UHD quality. Upgrading your Netflix plan and equipment can unlock higher streaming resolutions if your current setup is limiting video quality.

Check your playback settings within your Netflix account to view or change your current streaming resolution. Optimizing video quality helps you get the most out of your Netflix experience.