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Streaming Video over Satellite Internet

Every day, we get people asking us why their Netflix is buffering over their HughesNet or Viasat Satellite Internet Systems!

Let me be clear… I have been in this business for 20 years and I would NEVER suggest to anyone that’s even trying to stream Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, or anything over ANY satellite Internet system is a good idea unless it’s in your budget to spend $5000 – $12000 on equipment and around $2000+ per month for a service plan that will truly support it!

While you may hear companies promoting streaming video over satellite internet systems simply because it WORKS, most people never read the fine print, are ever told, or figure out that it’s simply not feasible due to the throttling that these companies use to prevent bandwidth hogging and abuse over a shared network!

Here’s the reality and we’re going to use the most popular satellite internet system on the market today, the HughesNet Consumer Gen5 Satellite Internet system, for our example, but it’s the same with the HughesNet Business Internet and our Hughes Business Internet VAR platform as well as with Viasat and others!

The problem is that most monthly service plans offer a specific amount or assumed amount of full-speed data that’s included with your monthly service plan.  The most popular HughesNet Consumer plans offer 10gig – 20gig of full-speed data per month before they start to throttle you!  Even Viasat has throttling mentioned in their fine print although they don’t set specific data caps before they choose to throttle the connection.

So, let’s assume you’re paying for a $69.99 plan that includes 20gigs of data.  With Hughes, that means that once you are out of data, you are throttled down to around 2Mbps speeds!  ONE Netflix movie on a cell phone or tablet could use up 3gigs of that data.  ONE Netflix movie on a computer or TV screen could use 6gigs of data.  So, depending on what else you are doing online, that’s 3 – 6 movies before you are over your monthly data and have been throttled down to 2  – 3Mbps speeds.   Now technically, Netflix SHOULD still stream for you at those slower speeds, but it’s going to buffer a LOT and that can get very frustrating for sure!

Don’t get me wrong… while we do have customers that stream Netflix all month and are usually out of full-speed data and slowed down by day 3 or 4, that usually only works when you are not located in a congested beam and when you don’t have any other people or devices sharing that connection in your home and also when you use the right device for running your Netflix or other streaming apps!  We’re hearing that SmartTV’s with Netflix installed seem to do better than FireSticks, Android Boxes and so on, but that hasn’t been verified!

Also, Hughes has tested Netflix and YouTube with their system, however, they have not, that I’m aware of anyway, ever tested it with Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV or anything like that, and some of our customers have reported that it doesn’t work as well as Netflix and YouTube, probably because of the resolution they use. I’ve been told that Netflix and YouTube adjust the resolution to suit your internet connection, so that might be why they work better than others!

So, choose wisely!  Montana Satellite rarely ever recommends any satellite internet solution to anyone that wants to stream video unless they can’t get anything better that truly offers unlimited data and something that doesn’t use throttling to the level that most satellite Internet and many cellular providers do!  Cable Internet, DSL and some Wireless Point-to-Point and cellular providers offer unlimited data plans that don’t throttle or at least don’t restrict you enough to affect streaming video!

If you don’t have a choice, then check out our ISPSAT / HughesNet Satellite Internet offerings at and if you live in an area where you have a decent AT&T or T-mobile cellular signal, you might want to check out some of our truly unlimited cellular LTE internet access solutions here:

What can you do for now:

  • You can wait until your monthly renewal date when your data refreshes!
  • You can purchase more full-speed data via data tokens that will restore your speeds!
  • You can upgrade your monthly service plan to include more full-speed data!
  • You can find a different internet access solution such as our unlimited cellular LTE equipment and services offered here:

Contact us to see which internet access solution is right for you at (888) 608-2299 or email [email protected] for more information!