Video and Audio Streaming on Viasat Internet
Many of our subscribers are curious to know how our service works streaming video on services such as Netflix and YouTube, and how much data music streaming services consume. The good news is that these services work great with our service. The flip side is that video uses a fair amount of data, so you can go through a 10 GB data allowance rather quickly by watching a lot of video.
There's a pretty big difference between the kind of video you get on YouTube compared to what’s served up on Netflix or Hulu. YouTube videos are typically short and only consume an average of about 6 megabytes of data per minute. Using some quick math, you can see that a 3-minute YouTube video = approx. 18 megabytes or 0.018 GB. You could watch 100 of these and use only about 1.8 GB of data — or less than 1/5 of your monthly allowance on a 10 GB plan.
That’s not so bad, and the reality is that lower-definition video like this typically won’t chew up your monthly data allowance — unless you’re really hooked on those cat videos.
Netflix and similar services are another story, since they serve up video in much higher definition. A standard (SD) definition movie or TV show on Netflix or Hulu averages about 0.75 GBs per hour, while a high definition (HD) movie is up to 3.0 GB/hour. If you’ve got a 10 GB/month plan, it’s easy to see you’ll be hitting your data allowance limit before long at this rate.
What to do? One option is to change the settings on your video streaming playback. On Netflix, for example, you’d navigate to “Your account” and then to “Playback settings.” If it’s set on “high” or “auto,” you may want to change it to “medium.” This will allow you to consume less data and watch more video. Netflix allows each subscriber to have up to five user profiles; you'll have to change these settings for each profile on your account.
If you are on a metered plan, such as a Liberty or Classic Exede plan, you can opt in to the Video Data Extender (VDE), which automatically optimizes video to 480p (standard definition). For more information, check out our article on the VDE here
– and toggle your settings on MyViasat
You can do the same on YouTube, and other video services have similar adjustment capability. You can also tweak the settings on each individual YouTube video by clicking on the gear icon, then selecting the quality option from the menu and selecting the streaming quality that best fits your needs (see below).
To adjust your streaming settings, you'll have to log into Netflix in a browser. Hover your mouse over your name in the upper right corner, and click "Your Account." In the "Your Profile" section of your account, select "Playback settings." This gives you options of what you want the default to be for streaming content.
Netflix offers four data usage settings to choose from:
Low - 0.3 GB per hour per device
Medium - SD: 0.7 GB per hour per device
High - Best video quality, up to 3 GB per hour per device for HD, and 7 GB per hour per device for Ultra HD
Auto - Adjusts automatically to deliver the highest possible quality, based on your current internet connection speed
To adjust your settings on Netflix, after you’ve signed in to your account:
Select the profile you'd like to change your data usage settings for. Please keep in mind that data usage settings cannot be adjusted from a Kids profile.
Under My Profile, select Playback Settings.
Select your desired data usage setting, keeping in mind that this will affect the quality of video.
Select Save. Your changes will take effect within 8 hours.
Hulu has two options when it comes to data quality — a data saver option, which helps you mind your data usage, and best available, which maximizes your video quality during playback. For more information and instructions on how to switch options, click here.
Disney+ will stream according to your package. For example, if you are on a Bronze plan, your streaming will be at 360p.
For questions about troubleshooting video quality or to find out how the plan your currently on is associated with your video stream quality, please click here.
If you use Amazon Fire Stick, you can also monitor your data consumption and change video settings to consume less data. Learn how here.
If you use Roku, the 9.2 update includes a Bandwidth Saver Mode. "When you turn on the Bandwidth saver, if you have not used your remote in 4 hours a message will display asking you if you're still watching. If there is no response, the channel will stop streaming and save your network bandwidth". Click here to learn more about this Roku feature.
How about music streaming? Music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora use far less data. You'll use about 1 GB after listening to music for about eight hours at the highest-quality setting.
Still too much? With the exception of Pandora's free service, all major streaming services give you the option of listening offline so you won't consume any data. Most of them also let you change the stream quality settings; a lower setting - typically indistinguishable to the ear - reduces the amount of data used.
Chromecast is a streaming adapter that plugs into the HDMI port of a TV, phone, tablet or computer to access TV channels and web music and video content. The Chromecast also converts any TV or monitor with an HDMI port into a smart device that can interact with your mobile phone or tablet. Click here to learn more.
If you find you’re bumping up against your data allowance on a regular basis due to video, you can upgrade to a bigger plan, Buy More data, watch video during the Free Zone or tweak your habits a bit. Note: The Free Zone comes with Classic, Evolution, Essential and select Liberty plans only.