SD vs HD – Difference Between HD & SD

When we talk about streaming movies or tv shows or any type of videos online using streaming websites or apps we often come across the quality of the videos we want to watch. Most of the time it’s between SD vs HD. And the choosing right video quality could make a big difference than you think.

Let’s dive in and find out the most significant differences between Standard Definition Video Quality and High Definition Video Quality.

Which Has The Better Quality between HD and SD?


Standard Definition (SD) quality is the most basic quality of movies and videos streamed online and the cheapest types of videos you could buy or rent. SD video quality starts at 240p and ends at 480p which means videos that have a 720 x 480 screen size 4:3 ratio.

SDS predecessor High Definition (HD) quality shows a considerable visual improvement even in 2021. High Definition video quality starts at 720p and goes up to 1440p which is a screen size of 2560 x 1440.

          • HD – 720p – (1280 x 720 pixels)
          • Full HD – 1080p – (1980 x 1080 pixels)
          • Quad HD – 1440p – (2560 x 1440 pixels)

Since the video resolution is different the device you use to stream videos could impact your streaming experience. Since SD quality varies from 240p to 480p it would look better on smaller streaming devices including old TVs, smartphones. HD quality which has the quality of 720p, 1080p, and 1440p would look great on almost every device including small screen size devices. And experts have said that by 2020 HD has become the dominant technology compared to SD quality.

Streaming Videos in HD (High Definition) seems to have the best overall quality compared to SD (Standard Definition) however there are also some downsides to watching HD quality video as well such as data usage.

Data Usage of Streaming SD vs HD Quality Videos

Most people think that using a better internet connection. For example, using a 4G connection rather than a 3G connection for streaming videos will use less data. This is not true the data usage will depend on the quality of the video you are watching and the length of the video. However, using a good connection such as 4G could eliminate the buffer time which will let you have a good experience streaming videos, but it won’t affect the amount of data.

Streaming Videos in SD (Standard Definition)

When it comes to streaming videos in SD quality which means quality less than 720p will let you save more data compared to streaming in HD. Usually streaming in SD will use around 0.6-0.8GB per hour. Data amount depends on the quality you choose such as 240p, 480p. The higher quality will cost you a little bit more data. Experience wise SD could be only watched in small screen size devices such as mobile phones. So by using SD quality in mobile devices will help you save more data.

SD Amount of Data (per hour): 0.6-0.8GB

Streaming Videos in HD (High Definition)

HD videos are videos that have the video quality of 720p, 1080p, and 1440p. Streaming videos in HD tend to use more data compared to streaming in SD. HD videos could use from 1-3GB per hour if you tend to stream in 720p HD mode. If you went with Full HD (1080p) or Quad HD (1440p) could take more data compared to HD mode per hour. However, watching videos in HD will let you have a much pleasureful experience since its details are much better than SD quality.

HD Amount of Data (per hour): 1-3GB

Which One is The Right One For You (SD vs HD)?

As you see choosing the right video quality between SD vs HD could change your video streaming experience. Whether you are streaming Netflix or just watching a simple youtube video, watching it in HD quality would be the best if you want to watch videos with great details. But you might need a good connection in order to eliminate buffering time and a lot of data will be used to stream HD videos. If you have a bad connection or you are streaming videos on a small screen size device such as a mobile phone or you just want to save more data SD quality would be the best one for you.