Video streaming on sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are popular pastimes for many people. However, these services consume more much more data than normal web activities and when you have data caps to worry about, this could be an issue. Data caps are set in place by your internet provider as way to limit the amount data that can be used in a specified time period, usually a month. If you have data caps, here are a several tips to help you watch more shows and movies while using less data.
Close Applications Running in the Background
Leaving programs running in the background while trying to stream competes for and uses more bandwidth than necessary. This causes buffering and a blurry picture when you are trying to watch your shows or movies. Be sure to check your application manager before streaming to make sure there is nothing open that does not need to be.
Watch Videos in Standard Definition
When you switch your video streaming quality to standard definition, you can save three times more data each month compared to high definition. Next time you go to watch on of your streamed videos, ask yourself if it really needs to be in high definition. When you are having movie night with the family, you might splurge and watch the flick in HD. However, if you plan on binge watching your favorite show for the afternoon, switch it to SD to save your data. Below are how you adjust your quality setting on different sites:
- Netflix: Login using a computer > Account Settings > Playback Settings > Select Quality
- Youtube: Settings in the bottom right corner > Quality > Select Quality
- Hulu: Player Settings Menu > Select Playback Quality or Turn Off Auto HD
Check Your Data Usage Frequently
Most internet providers that have data caps allow you to track them through an online account. If your data cap is below 100 GB/month and you enjoy streaming movies often, it is a good idea to check your data usage on a daily basis. By doing this, you can see how your streaming habits directly affect your data cap.
Take Advantage of Data Free Zones
Some providers such as HughesNet and Exede offer customers free data to use during off peak times, typically in the very early morning hours. What this means is that you are able to browse the internet or download files without it counting toward your monthly data cap. Recently, Netflix released a feature that allows you to download movies and then watch them later without it counting toward your monthly data allowance. There are free download managers available online that allow you to schedule your downloads. Use this tool for your Netflix movies to schedule downloads during your free zone.