England streams big at World Cup 2018 in Russia

5th July 2018

Captain Harry Kane and his boys held their nerve as England kept their fans dreaming big at the 2018 World Cup. The Three Lions beat Colombia on penalties to reach the quarter-finals, ending a heart-breaking streak of five-straight shootout defeats at major tournaments that goes back all the way to 1996.

The match was broadcast live on ITV but, unlike 22 years ago, it was also streamed live over the ITV Hub, a way of watching that was once as rare as an England penalty shootout win. ITV said that they received 3.3 million browser requests on Tuesday night to continue a trend of viewers tuning into online streams of the World Cup matches in record numbers.

Update: Those record numbers continued with 3.8 million viewers making the England v Sweden quarter-final the most-viewed live stream to date.

The most viewed match of the World Cup group stages was England versus Tunisia, according to live streaming figures published by the BBC, with 3.22 million requests for England’s opening 2-1 win, while their second match against Panama attracted 3.13 million requests. The BBC’s previous record was 2.2 million, set during the England v Wales group stage clash at Euro 2016.

A total of 31.2 million browsers watched the group matches through the BBC online platform. This compares to 32 million online viewers for the whole of Brazil 2014. With the BBC still to stream five more matches, including England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden this Saturday, Friday night’s mouth-watering clash between favourites Brazil and Belgium and the Final itself on Sunday July 15, the online viewing figures stand to be smashed.

While the way we watch sport is changing, what isn’t changing is the amount of our data allowances that are gobbled up by live streaming. If you’re a bigblu customer and you’re in range for one of our Fixed Wireless ‘unlimited data’ plans then all is right with the World Cup (although keep reading for some tips on video quality).

However, a large chunk of the rural population – the “forgotten 5%” – will only have access to World Cup video streaming through their connected TVs or internet-ready devices thanks to bigblu’s 4G and satellite broadband capability. Under bigblu’s 4G plans you can get up to a 200 GB allowance, while with Satellite Broadband you can get a 40 GB plan.

In simple terms, streaming video uses a lot of data because there is a lot of information being transmitted. If you do have a broadband plan with a data cap, the best thing you can be is on top of just how much data your streaming activity is eating up. And Bigblu has pulled up our data to help you do just that.

Video Quality & Data Usage

QualityResolutionData (GB/hour)
Low Quality (LQ)240p or 320p0.3
Standard Definition (SD)480p0.7
High Definition (HD)720p0.9
High Definition (HD)1080p1.5
High Definition (HD)2K3
Ultra High Definition (UHD)4K7.2

If you’re using BBC iPlayer through your web browser, the World Cup matches will automatically stream in HD where possible on desktop machines. However, it’s worth noting that streaming in HD can use anywhere up to four times more data than an SD stream. To save your data allowance you can switch HD off by selecting the relevant icon on the programme page of the match you are streaming. It is also worth noting for your future World Cup-viewing pleasure that ITV Hub doesn’t stream in HD and will attempt to adjust to the quality of your internet connection.

To put that all in World Cup terms, if you watched England v Colombia from the start of ITV’s stream all the way through to Eric Dier’s match-winning penalty in SD quality, you would have used 2.8 GB of data. If Gareth Southgate’s men lift the World Cup in Moscow on July 15 and you stream all their matches then you’d need to make sure you had at least 4.2 GB of your data allowance left. Otherwise your feed may freeze just as Harry Kane is about to stroke home the winni….

For more information on your alternative broadband options, check out our technology and tariffs at bigblu.co.uk.