Here are some tips on controlling data usage

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  • Updated 3 years ago
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Hi everyone. I've been an Exede dealer for a few years but haven't had the time to check out this forum until today. First a quick intro and then I'll get to the meat of my post. My name is Andy Schack, I'm an Elite dealer and a member for the past two years of the Viasat Dealer Advisory Council. At my first Council meeting in June 2015 in Denver I brought up some ideas we shared with customers in order to help them conserve data. Most of the things I brought up were added to the Exede website and in Youtube "help" videos. After reading a bunch of the posts here on this forum I thought it might be helpful to list a few of them here. Feel free to ask any questions.
Helpful tips to control data usage.
1) Adjust your Netflix stream rate. You have to do this through a browser and NOT the app. Once you are on the Netflix website and logged in, look up to the top right and click on your pic or name and then MY ACCOUNT. Now scroll down to the "my profile" section and click on the "playback settings". You now want to select "LOW" which uses just 300 megs per hour AND you want to UNcheck auto play. This will dramatically lower your usage by over 90% when watching Netflix. I have a 55" 4K tv and when I get home I can't tell if the family is watching Dish, a DVD or Netflix, the pic quality is perfect. When I mentioned this in Denver, two of the top brass went home and changed their settings without saying anything to their families...BOTH said their families NEVER noticed a change.
2) Adjust the master bitrate on your ROKU device or tv. This one surprised a lot of folks, nobody seemed to realize you could do this. To my knowledge, ROKU devices are the only ones you can do this with. Once you have your ROKU set up and working, go to the home page. Now press the HOME button 5 times, then Rewind 3 times (be sure to press the rewind and not the left arrow key), then Fastforward 2 times. This will take you to a hidden menu screen. I set mine second from the bottom which is the .6/mbps. This controls the bitrate of ANYTHING that goes through the ROKU unit, including Amazon Prime Video. After doing this I did a realtime test to see how much data we would now use. I let the family watch 5 episodes of a 1 hour tv this actually ended up being about 44 minutes of actual video per episode. After they got through I checked to see how much data we had used, it was just over 1.1 gigs. The picture quality was perfect. You can buy "refurbished" (actually they are new units in plain boxes) ROKU 2s on Amazon currently for $35. Personally I bought the Roku 3 because it has a faster processor.
3) Turn off auto-play on Youtube. This is the easiest to do and the most over looked. As-is, Youtube will automatically play the next suggested video.
4) Turn off automatic updates on ALL devices. It used to be that apps rarely updated. Now it seems that every other day an app has a new update and now with many apps being 100-300 megs in size, this can REALLY add up, especially if you are like my family where each person has a phone and a tablet. Go into your settings and turn off auto-update. I just update the apps I really need to update...99% of them will continue to work just fine. This one tip will save you HUGE amounts of data. I have had customers get furious because they thought Exede was "ripping them off by claiming they were using data when they didn't even have their computer on" No, their computer wasn't on and they may not have even used their devices, BUT...their devices were silently running updates while is laid there on the counter all weekend.
These are really the Top 4. My sister-in-law has videos showing you how to do all this stuff on our Facebook page so look up Clear Choice Satellite. She handles all of our Facebook stuff so feel free to ask any questions you might have and she'll pass them on to me. She handles customers all day long at the store and when a common "issue" comes up she'll make a quick video and post it. I get a lot of compliments from customers on these videos. Even though most of you aren't our customers, you will probably find her updates useful so feel free to follow us on Facebook....I don't use Facebook myself so I apologize if I am not using the right terminology.

I hope this thread helps y'all out. Andy
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Andy Schack

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Posted 3 years ago

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Photo of Clayton


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I have Roku 3. I set the bandwidth for 0.6 Mbps and watched 3 episodes of "House of Lies" on Amazon Prime Video. According to the Exede website I used 2.6 GB. I verified that Roku 3 was set to 0.6 Mbps. 

Then, a few hours later, I changed the Roku settings to Automatic. I watched 3 more episodes of "House of Lies". The data usage was, once again, 2.6 GB.

Limiting the Roku bandwidth to 0.6 Mbps doesn't seem to have reduced my data usage when streaming Amazon Prime Video.
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GabeU, Champion

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Perhaps the setting in Roku isn't controlling the streaming bandwidth of Amazon's Prime Video service correctly.  

I was also just reading about how Amazon's streaming service uses up to four times the data than Netflix for the same definition.  That's not an endorsement of Netflix, or anything like that, but only concerning data Amazon's streaming service evidently uses.   I don't know, personally, as I don't stream anything.  

2.6GB for 1.5 hours of video suggests a streaming bandwidth of about 4Mbps.  
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Amazon can be bad for streaming, but if you download their content to a tablet and watch it that way, you can maintain more control over size of the download.
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I usually download Amazon Videos with Playon during my Free Zone. So, it's not usually an issue.

But, a few days ago, I streamed an Amazon Video, on Roku, with bandwidth limited to 0.6 Mbps. It seemed like there was too much data usage.

So, I decided to execute a test. It seems like the Roku bandwidth override isn't reducing the data usage from Amazon Prime Videos.