The 4k resolution is slowly but surely becoming the norm when it comes to watching movies and playing games. It makes sense, considering that it brings about crisp, sharp, incredibly clear images, lush vivid colors, and the deepest black.
However, there are few steps you need to take before you can actually enjoy the rewarding online 4k gaming experience. Some will focus on hardware and recommend various graphics cards, monitors, and more. However, those are useless without an adequate connection speed.
It is one thing to play games and stream movies at a resolution of 1080p or 1440p and a completely different thing to stream 4k content. With resolution, the technical requirements increase as well. The best way to understand that is to look at what 4k gaming means, as opposed to 1080p.
From 1080p to 4k Gaming
Switching between 1080p and 4k may not seem such a big deal on small screens, where visual acuity is limited. However, the difference becomes noticeable on large screens, of 55 inches and upwards. On these, gaming becomes an immersive, cinematic, life changing experience.
But most gaming consoles were developed to generate enough pixels for 1080p. Running a 4k game on these can be difficult, if not impossible. It will take an extremely fast internet connection. We will determine just how fast in the following lines.
Internet Speed Requirements for 4k Gaming
4k games are run at 60 frames per second. That takes an internet connection of minimum 100 Mbps. According to Business.org, this is the internet speed required for businesses with 10 or more employees, and 5 times the average U.S. internet connection speed. But don’t rush contacting your internet service provider just yet, as there is more to take into account.
- Many service providers fail to ensure the speed advertised in their plans. Thus, just because you’re paying for 100 Mbps it doesn’t mean you actually get that. A speed test can help you assess your actual connection speed.
- If several users connect to the same network, speed will drop according to connection priority and usage. To make sure you get the most of it, your gaming console should have priority access. This means ruling out Wi-Fi connections, where speed would depend, besides network capabilities, on the distance to the router.
- The number of 4k players connecting to the same network matters as well. Your speed requirements will increase considerably if you’re planning to have your friends over and online at the same time, all connected to the same network.
- The overall speed of your network can become irrelevant depending on the router you use. Some routers diminish internet speed, so check the specifics of yours before going further.
- Your 4k gaming experience and internet speed requirements will also depend on the console you use. Some consoles have different requirements than others. For example, while playing 4k games on PS4 Pro would require a speed of 100 Mbps, Digital Trends estimates internet speed requirements for Google Stadia at 35 Mbps, which is less than half.
- Depending on the games you wish to play, your internet speed requirements may increase even more. If the gaming servers are located far from you, the considerable distance could result in reduced frame rate and high latency, thus ruining your 4k experience.
Now you have a better understanding of the factors influencing your internet speed requirements for 4k gaming. If your current internet speed is anywhere close to 60 Mbps, you should actually give it a chance. The main condition for enjoying 4k games is that the connection speed exceeds the bit rate of the content streamed. Also, the hardware used should support high-end content.
If playing 4k games requires that you upgrade your internet plan to secure a higher speed, you should take the time to study the available offers and do your homework. Some internet service providers are more reliable than others, and you need one that you can count on.
How to Find a Reliable Internet Service Provider for Your 4K Gaming Needs
The first step to choosing a service provider is finding out what your options are. You can do that online or by asking around. You should rule out new companies that are merely testing their infrastructure, as they may have coverage and technical support issues.
Also, remember that you need a cable connection, as satellite, Wi-Fi, and other types of connections are not that reliable. This should narrow down your list to a couple of options. Some of your acquaintances surely work with those providers, so don’t hesitate to ask for feedback.
If your relationship allows it, do not hesitate to ask your friends and relatives to test the speed of their connection and compare it to the values advertised in their plans. You want to work with those who live up to their promises or, at least, be aware of the differences and add a cushion to your own needs.
Comparing all these aspects and more (including pricing) should bring you to the best internet service provider for your 4k gaming needs. Signing your service contract and having your connection up and ready should not take more than a couple of hours, days at most.
Before you know it, you will be enjoying one of the most immersive and rewarding gaming experiences available to date, whenever you want, from the comfort of your home. All thanks to the miracle called technology!