Everything you need to know about the Video Data Extender

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  • Updated 1 year ago
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Hey everyone, 

Here's even more info about the new Video Data Extender, including a handy video to show you what different resolutions may look like. 

How is the Extender working for you so far?
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Matt F, Viasat Official Rep

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Posted 1 year ago

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Jim16

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Thanks Matt.  Can you tell me the mbs speeds Exede is providing for the 480p?
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Matt F, Viasat Official Rep

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Jim,

My understanding (an engineer may correct me at any moment) is that the system recognizes that you're streaming video and automatically adjusts the resolution to 480p independent of anything else. So your "speed" should behave the same way it always does, but any video will come down at 480p and use less data, even if your current speed and data situation would allow you to go with a higher resolution if you wanted to. 

Does that make sense? 

Exede Matt
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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No, it would be nearly impossible to adjust content on a secure/encrypted connection - most content providers are utilizing secure connections now - as an ISP it would be possible to modify any content (secure or not) but that would be viewed as a man-in-the middle attack - which would open you up to severe criticism if it were to be discovered.

Best I can determine is "some" video streams are being detected and the speed is being throttled to a rate whereby the content provider will deliver the stream at a lower resolution (if they have that adaptive capability). That's how auto works o the major content providers. Chances are you've got the major players covered.      

     
(Edited)
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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So here is a way to test it. Stream a video and run a speed test. Is the speed lower? Now, let's say in a family one person is streaming video, will everybody see lower speeds in the household to "maintain" 480p video?
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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I would guess that total household bandwidth would be "up to" 25 Mbps or 12 Mbps (or as we all know or should know what current network conditions will bear). 

This appears to simply be a manual option for those not on unlimited plans to throttle video streaming speeds (it's not optional on the unlimited plans) - I'd expect multi-device streaming to behave as explained in the unlimited data at:

https://www.exede.com/documents/master/unlimited-data-policy.pdf



Actually I view this this is a good move on ViaSat's part - those who want to can opt out, while those that don't will not only be saving their own data but helping to squeeze more bandwidth blood out of  that stone up there whether they realize it or not.. those who can't notice the difference will be decreasing overall bandwidth use by not wasting it on higher quality that they can't perceive to be different.

As always with the disclaimer of provided ViaSat can detect the video stream(s) reliably and subject to the constraints of congestion...       

If I were ambitious I'd probably fire up a virtual machine, throttle/unthrottle the virtual network adapter and test/verify with Fiddler, Wireshark, etc. - but at this time those ambitious days are long passed.

Also these are just my educated guesses as to what's going on until ViaSat provides specifics on how "optimization" is occurring - probably ain't gonna happen so not holding my breath - like everything on the internet take those educated guesses with a healthy grain salt.  
(Edited)
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Jim16

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I guess I'm thinking on the lines of something like this...

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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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That would be my guess - the right hand column to be safe. But doubt you'll get a specific answer ;)

Of course not all content providers provide adaptive streaming and only deliver at the higher rates - will be waiting to see how those play out for those on the "unlimited" who can't turn it off.

None of this affects me on NRTC I assume, and even if it were defaulted to on for us I wouldn't mind - so not really complaining.

My videos are still delivered at a pretty constant 35 - 45 mph from the local redbox.
(Edited)
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Jim16

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Matt, can you find out what download speed will be used for 480p?
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Corey Anderson

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I was looking at one of the videos and it said you would use .5 gb per hour. From what I can figure out looks to be around 1.1 megabits per second.
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Gerald Reed

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Tmobile binge on is 1.5Mbps it use same .5 hour. And i watch hulu amazon and netflix with decent quality on 50 in plasma and no buffering I would also like to know what they put their download speed at any lower then 1.5 is not going be 480p.
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Stephen Rice, Champion

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Another step in the right direction.  I've already "optimized" my Roku and Netflix account to use less data, but its nice to see this is going to start being automatic, with the option to turn off.

So many people have complained about using up all of there data after watching a few movies, this will certainly help them save data.
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Captain318

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Ok so if I have this enabled but try to stream something at say 240P does the system force the stream to run in 480P or does the system only cap the quality at 480P?
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Bev, Champion

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For smooth playback, it caps at the stated resolution. Lower is just fine too. You CAN choose higher resolution that your plan states but, in addition to the extra data usage, it will pause to buffer ever couple of seconds.
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Bill Thompson

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why is this Video Data Extender happing at this time???  We customer's were lead to believe that we would have superbly increased service with the launch of viasat 2.  Please don't tell me after months of promises your going to throw your existing customer's under the bus, like every other company!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Any number of reasons including but not limited to:

  • Effectively squeezing more bandwidth out of an already limited resource - it doesn't waste bandwidth on higher resolutions that many (but not all) don't see a difference with - everybody's been preaching to set your video services to lower quality to save data (i.e. bandwidth) for years. Now it's a bit easier controlled for most video services with a single setting and ViaSat's going to opt you into it by default for better network management - you can always opt out. It actually helps everyone if you remain opted in - more bandwidth to go around for everybody.
  • Its use for the "unlimited plans" allows offering more attractive plans thereby retaining customers and attracting new customers in ViaSat's battle with HughesNet over over market share in what is really a very limited market compared to fixed line providers and cellular providers (a market of 2.5 million or so based on combined subscriber counts is nothing in the larger scheme)  - in effect these unlimited plans could be viewed as competitive with "unlimited" cellular plans further expanding the market for them. The difference here is that to opt out - you would need to change plans as current implemented. 
  • From a more practical perspective, investors expect revenues per subscriber to constantly increase and want a stop to customer attrition and it's always in ViaSat's best interest to attract new investors.
  • It offers a way to gauge plan demand, offerings and future price points as we await ViaSat-2.

No decisions have been made public regarding any transition strategy at this time, some will likely transition, some will likely not and others will have no choice based on their location relative to the new satellite (regardless of your position there is no guarantee that you'll have a line of sight to the new bird's position). Those on the augmented Exede 5 beams on the older satellite will likely be transitioned to the new bird over time - that bird is slowly approaching its end of life as originally stated at launch.

ViaSat has actually managed expectations pretty well on this, unfortunately others have failed to temper expectations leading to a potential for some disappointment. Wait and see... the wait part is nearly over for those of us waiting for much longer periods. 
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Steve Frederick-VS1/Beam314, Champion

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Alex, when I look at my Dashboard, I do not see any place where I can turn this Video feature on and off.

I am on the Freedom 150 GB plan, and for My Plan it shows the bonus feature of video restricted to 480p.

Is this feature actually applied to my plan at this time, and if so, where can I find the place to turn off the restriction. I do enjoy watching my movies in HD, and don't watch enough to ever go over my data limit.

Could you post a screenshot of the Dashboard showing where this video limiting option is?
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Jeff Story

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Me too! Cannot find a way to cut off. Also on the Freedom 150 plan


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Gerald Reed

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Think its not rolled out to every one yet.When i text VIDEO says not supported on my plan
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Steve Frederick-VS1/Beam314, Champion

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I texted Video and it says that the Video Data Extender is not available on my plan. I am on the Freedom 150 plan, so I guess it hasn't been rolled out to me yet.

I just wish that the default would be "not active" and let the users turn it on if they want it.
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Gerald Reed

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Think they do that same reason tmobile did binge on most wont know how or care about changing it.Its a win for carrier data if people dont shut it off
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Stephen Rice, Champion

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I'm happy that Exede is automatically "optimizing" everyone's accounts for 480p.  This is going to have a really positive effect on bandwidth during primetime hours.
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Last time I checked Redbox has Blu-Ray disc too :).

Yes, it is a matter of preference. If I am watching some old show or movie from decades past, no big deal. If I am watching the latest action movies, I only want Blu-Ray.
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Yes, but they're delivered at the same speed reqardless of quality selected - for me that's typically 35 - 45 MPH with no congestion on my one lane road - and I'm typically the one that pulls to the side for my neighbors to pass. But my player does some pretty good up conversion so I opt for DVD with my bad eyesight ;)

P.S. I'd call you a videophile again but the spell checker wants to change it to something else - damn spell check...  turn it off to avoid embarrassment.
(Edited)
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Stephen Rice, Champion

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Everybody's all oooh oooh about high-definition, and I can barely pass the eye exam at the DMV.
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Take off your glasses and read this chart... OK, that would be E!
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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True story. My elderly parents were some of the last people to get a HD TV because they thought there old standard set TV had such a "great" picture. Then on Christmas Eve last year the HD tria went out of the dish and I had to switch them over to Standard Definition only. I had to hear about how terrible that was for three days before hhe repairman could get there!
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Bev, Champion

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I don't like 480 on a screen bigger than my computer (24 inch)  but, this is temporary, until VS2 is online, then hopefully restricting video quality won't have to be mandatory for anyone.
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Thank you Bev for acknowledging what some people don't want to admit.
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Bev, Champion

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Just being honest. I'm spoiled. Even 1080 is a bit mediocre but it will do. Yes, I like my 4K on my TV, just not many 4 K shows available without streaming yet. At least I can download them and, then stream them from my computer to my TV.