Question about the new unlimited plans - Video streaming

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I currently have the Freedom (12 Mbps) plan, which has served me relatively well, given that I don't have much of a choice where I live.  Occasionally my wife and I go over, but we have learned to live with it. 

I just saw the new unlimited plans, and saw that the Silver has speeds of up to 25 Mbps.  It seems I could pay less per month, have unlimited data (ish), and pay less than my current Freedom plan (which I currently pay about 120/mo for).  The only thing that got me scratching my head was the "optimized for DVD quality or 480p" detail.  If I had 25 Mbps speed, that would be way more than enough to stream at 1080p, and on my Freedom plan, I can stream 720p and 1080p relatively well.  

If I am currently getting up to 12 Mbps and can stream 720p and 1080p, what is the incentive to upgrade to something that claims 25 Mbps, however, states that I will only get 480p streaming capability?  Does the plan explicitly limit video streaming only and give me up to 25 Mbps, for any other downloads?  Where does this video quality optimization come from?  

The short questions is, if I can stream 720p and 1080p on my current 12 Mbps plan, why would I go to the unlimited plan only to have worse video, even though it advertises up to twice my current speed?  

You have a very confused customer here.  
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Alex Kimball

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Posted 2 years ago

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Brad, Viasat Employee

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Hi Alex

These new plans being offered won't stop you at the 150GB limit of the Freedom plan. You *might* get throttled in peak hours but unlike say a Liberty plan, you will be at your priority speeds outside of that time but the big takeaway is that the hard data cap is gone and you DO get unlimited data. In exchange for this these plans have been optimized to work with certain resolutions depending on plan. You could try to go at a higher resolution but as the plans are optimized to certain levels you will probably run into problems of buffering and/or not playing. This will apply to streaming so if you have a digital copy of a movie that doesn't require an online connection to stream, it'll be at the resolution as indicated. Granted a speed we are offering likely could stream at 1080i, this is all still on the ViaSat 1 satellite. In order to make this work for our customers it was a choice between no data cap or optimized resolutions. 

With that said if you are on the Freedom plan and perfectly happy with it, by all means keep it. You are not required or even suggested to move to this plan. Even if the Freedom plan is no longer offered in your area we will grandfather you into it if you're on it now. As long as no changes or interruptions in service happen you can remain on that plan.

For more information please look at our FAQ here:
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Alex Kimball

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Thank you for the clarification Brad.  It just seemed weird to offer up to 25 Mbps, which is more than sufficient bandwidth to reliably stream HD (1080 or higher), however, you are pushed down to a lower bandwidth when streaming video.  Sticking with the Freedom plan seems the way to go.  I just cant see the logic in paying for up to 25 Mbps, when you know you wont theoretically get anywhere close to it when streaming video, which nowadays is what most everybody uses high speed internet for.
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Tommy Sawyer

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Bradley if you are paying for 150GB of data, you should be able to use that data as you see fit. If Exede can’t handle the increased compacity load don’t offer packages as such. The unlimited plans Exede offers are a long way from being considered a unlimited plan. I’m not comparing Exede to mobile services because WildBlue was initially created to be a home service, and it should be compared to as such. With 5G cellular systems are on the way it’s becoming increasingly apparent the Viasat and it’s services will continue to face headwinds that the will not be able to get in front of. Compacity, and High Ping are already limitations of Satellite internet and now video throttling will be another hit to the service. I don’t think Exede understands the sleeping giant they are about to awaken, when the call something unlimited and it’s anything but. Luckily for them the have government contracts and the new airplane services contracts, that should slow the bleeding.
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I get what you are saying Tommy.  You like the freedom of choice.  Don't blame you.  The Freedom plan is more your style.  I'd rather have video throttled and have essentially "unlimited" data in exchange.  Now if Exede decides after 150GB to put me down to Liberty speeds (think .6MBPS down like I had on the Liberty Pass), then we will have issues.  If I can still stream video (albeit at 480p), then I will be happy with the Silver unlimited plan.  

At some level, we all realize that there is only so much output from a satellite.  If we all streamed unlimited, no one would have decent service, or it would be astronomically expensive.
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Gerald Reed

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I also agree i would take the 480P unlimited but would not pay the 50 extra bucks they want in my area.So as it is now i will stick with 150gb.You would think the more that are  on unlimited with 480P the better the network so not sure why the huge upcharge.Would not pay more then the $100 that i do now i pay 125 for 2 lines on tmobile and one hotspot 10gb and my hotspot is unlimited
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Chilli Joshua Kuehn Fletcher

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I had the 12mb unlimited plane for a hour the resolution on videos is useless and you pay $70 plus it never went over 3mbs I went back to my $55 super slow liberty plan  I'm Just have to have dileup a little longer  it will work on a cell phone though if this all you use this service for 
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Bev, Champion

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Chilli Joshua, if your speeds are always slow, please email your account and contact information to and, ask them to have your slow speeds investigated.

Off peak, say early to mid morning, with priority data remaining you should see speeds above 5 Mbps , even on the busiest beams. If you do not, the issue can range from equipment to devices connected. (remember the speed is not per device but, shared by all connected devices.
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for every thing I agree with on both sides of people on this form . I'm going to just say it There is no truly unlimited plan on any network I don't care if its cable , cellular or fiber the unlimited only mean your services will not just drop to a no active connection state after a set data limit is reached based on provider , region and network it will still work just slow or extremely or if your a power user of all things internet there are time a provider will drop your connection over and over even on a unlimited plan they are trying to get you off the network for a little wile so other users that use way less then what they pay for don't feel shafted , I have 25m speed with 150 cap for a little over $100 I would like to try an unlimited plan but they say after 150 they give priority to others but will not say how low my priority will be . will it be loss of even streaming music from amazon and so on and I would like a choice like I just found on my 150 at 25 account a video optimizer to set on my own to save data . so at 150 or less I can choose to optimize video or not then after 150 they can do it to give people under there cap get the service speed they paid for .. but as to not over restrict my service . Exede , Wildblue , ViaSat I know you will read this so lets discuses it .
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Yes, Unlimited has a different meaning for the ISP's.  I think they will paint themselves into a corner sooner or later when all these unlimited plans begin to be throttled because everyone is jumping to these plans.  It seems to be happening already....

"Apparently, Verizon Wireless believes there’s a limit to its “unlimited” data plans.

The company confirmed this week that by mid-February some of its customers with unlimited data plans will be forced to accept capped plans or see their service cut off entirely. Why? Because these customers were using too much data, from Verizon’s perspective.  Right now, Verizon’s unlimited data plans cost the average customer about $50 per month. But if any of the affected unlimited plan customers hopes to keep on being a heavy data user in the future, there will be a tremendous price increase: Verizon plans that include 100GB of data cost a whopping $450 per month."