The ultimate guide to streaming with satellite internet

Many Viasat plans can accommodate streaming in 4K

Young women watching movie on a laptop at home

You can stream Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and any number of services on Viasat.

Gifted with an ever-expanding menu of entertainment options, Americans are streaming now more than ever — with plans to do plenty more.

Americans increased their average weekly time streaming video 18% from 2021 to 2022, according to a spring 2022 report from Nielsen. And 93% plan to either increase or maintain their paid streaming services in the next year.

Why? The streaming options are continuing to improve:

  • According to that same Nielsen report, unique program titles have increased nearly 20% in the past three years.
  • That increase in content comes with an increase in consumption. Eighteen percent of Americans are now paying for four streaming services; in 2019, only 7% did so.
  • In February 2022, content from streaming platforms accounted for about 29% of consumers’ total viewing time, while broadcast programming accounted for about 26%.
  • In 2021, Americans watched nearly 15 million years’ worth of streaming video content.

All those statistics — as well as experts who study consumer trends — tell us the future is toward more streaming online and spending less time on traditional television.

That makes finding an internet service provider that can handle those fast-growing demands essential for consumers. For satellite internet users, Viasat is a great choice. In fact, Reviews.org recommends Viasat as the best satellite internet service for streaming.

But some people have questions about streaming over satellite internet. So let’s answer some common questions about streaming and our service:

Can you stream video with satellite internet?

Yes. You can stream Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and any number of services on Viasat.

All of our plans provide sufficient speed to stream in standard definition and high definition, and many of our plans can accommodate 4K.

If I stream a lot, how worried do I need to be about my data?

Similar to other internet service providers and cellphone companies, Viasat offers a variety of plans with features and data options to meet your streaming needs, plus ways to manage that data at peak efficiency.

Video streaming is generally the largest user of data, and the pace at which streaming data is used depends on the video quality setting.

Viasat recently added Data Extender, an online switch that lets subscribers control the quality of their streaming experience to use more or less data.

Streaming quality is based on screen resolution. Many Viasat plans are set at a default video screen resolution of 480p, considered “standard” or “DVD quality.” But if a customer wants to watch video at a higher resolution, they can now go to My Viasat (their customer portal) and turn Data Extender OFF. Doing so allows the customer to stream video at a higher resolution (if allowed by their plan).

Higher resolution means greater data consumption, so consider what you actually watch to help you decide if it’s worth it to choose the higher setting.

For kids watching cartoons or an adult viewing typical TV or movies, the lower settings are probably fine. Higher-end fare like sci-fi movies or sporting events will likely look sharper in higher definition. The Data Extender makes it easy to switch back and forth.

Data consumption based on video resolution


Resolution
360P
480P
720P
1080P
4K
Estimated data consumption/hr0.4 GB
0.7 GB
1.5 GB
2.7 GB
9.0 GB

This table shows the recommended resolution for the best screen quality based on the device you use.

streaming data chart.png

Can I stream on multiple devices at once?

That depends on your plan and the streaming resolution you’re using. Connecting more devices at once, and at a higher resolution, will consume more data. Our 50 Mbps plan, for instance, can typically accommodate streaming on up to three small screens. In select areas, we offer speeds up to 150 Mbps, which can provide entertainment on up to five large screens.

How do I set up streaming with satellite internet?

This is the easiest question of them all. When you get your Viasat service, your installer should talk you through connecting your devices. If that’s all set up, just log into your favorite streaming service, sit back and enjoy!

Learn more about Viasat’s home internet plans.

Jane Reuter was a Colorado journalist for 20 years before transitioning to Viasat as a corporate communications writer. A mother of one, she lives in Golden, CO and is an outdoor enthusiast.