DStv and Showmax defeat Netflix in data usage

Analytico has performed testing to determine the data consumption of various streaming services in South Africa and found that DStv and Showmax are the most efficient, but lack bitrate when it comes to higher settings.

Each streaming service was tested on a laptop for an hour at a time in two different configurations:

  1. The lowest data consumption setting available
  2. The highest setting at a 1080p resolution

YouTube allows for lower resolution options compared to the other streaming platforms, so we used 480p30 as a comparable low-resolution test.

Data consumption was monitored using Glasswire, which provides accurate monitoring of a single stream to a single browser.

DStv’s streaming service was the most efficient regarding low data consumption and used just under 100 MB for a whole hour of streaming, and Showmax was close behind at 119.3 MB.

Netflix was the least efficient at 223 MB, streaming at a resolution of 960×540 for an hour on the low setting.

Turning the settings up uses more data but also dramatically improves visual quality.

Amazon Prime Video used a staggering 3.2 GB for an hour of streaming at the best quality setting at 1080p, while Netflix and YouTube also upped their consumption significantly to over 1 GB per hour.

DStv Now and Showmax improved in quality, although not as much as we would have preferred. However, the lower visual fidelity ensured they remained efficient at their highest available settings.

Both used around 400 MB for an hour of streaming — around four times what they consumed at the low settings.

Streaming on a larger display may highlight the lack of bitrate in these streams and detract from the viewing experience.

Streaming Service Data Consumption
Streaming ServiceNetflixDStvShowmaxYouTubePrime Video
Low settingLow 960×540LowLow480p30Good
Low data consumption223 MB99.1 MB119.3 MB169 MB192 MB
High settingMaximum 1920×1080HighestMaximum1080p60Best (1080p)
High data consumption1.2 GB398.1 MB427.5 MB1.1 GB3.2 GB

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