Important related article: Announcing the Data Saver Feature Experiment!
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A great way to optimize data usage when streaming video without pausing/buffering is to manually change the quality either via the individual video streaming service or via your streaming device.
Setting Video Quality per Streaming Service
Different streaming services have different ways of changing your video streaming settings, but it’s usually as simple as clicking on a settings or gear icon within the app associated with that service. Look for an option that allows you to adjust video quality or data usage and select a lower quality option to reduce High-Speed Data usage. See examples below.
To change the playback quality on Netflix, you can adjust it at the profile level. First, go to your account page on your web browser and select the profile you want to change. Then, choose “Playback settings” and click “Change” to select the desired quality setting.
If you need more help with adjusting settings, or want instructions for the app, click here.
Amazon Prime Video
From Prime Video, you will find a gear icon while watching a movie in your web browser that will allow you to change your video quality.
There is a DisneyPlus help article that best explains how to manage data usage. For a web browser, go to DisneyPlus.com, hover over your profile icon, and click “app settings.” From there you can select a data usage option.
Hulu also has a help article on the topic: you can adjust video quality. In your web browser while watching a movie, click the gear icon and choose “Data Saver” to limit your consumption:
Please note that this setting does not work over the Safari Browser, so if that’s your browser, please download an alternative browser to watch in a quality setting of your choice.
You can select the video quality you prefer by clicking on the gear icon in the bottom right corner of a Youtube video in your web browser, clicking “quality” and then selecting a resolution.
HBO Max does not currently support the manual adjustment of video quality to manage data usage. See the help article on the topic here.
You can change the video quality in Facebook by clicking on the gear icon and choosing the quality you prefer.
Setting Video Quality per Streaming Device
Some streaming devices provide a mechanism to change video quality across all streaming services viewed via that device. See examples below.
Roku Streaming Stick
If you stream to your TV using a Roku device, you can change your Roku settings to 720p TV. To change the video quality, go to Settings → Display type and then set the quality:
If you find that it reverts to previous settings after trying this, please refer to this article from the Roku community page.
A note on Roku TVs
The Roku TV is a smart TV like most others. Unlike the Roku streaming stick, it does not possess a device-wide quality setting, and must instead be adjusted per app like other TVs. Please be aware that some apps do not allow for user-adjusted quality.
Amazon Fire Stick
If you stream to your TV with an Amazon Fire TV device, you can find video quality control in the “Preferences” section:
Livestreaming on all services
An important reminder is that live streams consume more data than a recorded video of the same quality and length. There are a number of reasons why this occurs, one of the primary causes being that transmitting data quickly allows for less time to compress the video stream; the compression algorithm is faster, but less efficient.