Cutting access to the Internet, cable to the router

Here Are 3 Tips to Help You Stay Under Your Data Cap


Data caps have become a growing concern for cord cutters as more Internet service providers start to add them. The good news is you don’t need to worry about data caps because it is possible to be a cord cutter and stay under data caps.

#1 Turn Off Auto Play

Auto Play is a great feature to just kick back, clean the house, and have the TV play your favorite show; however, it can also be a great way to burn through data. Many streaming players, such as Roku and the Fire TV, will keep playing even if you do not have the TV turned on.

Netflix will play three episodes and Amazon Video will play six episodes before asking if you are still watching. If you fall asleep during the first episode, you could easily burn through an hour of data with Netflix or five hours of data with Amazon Video. With HD video consuming anywhere from 3 to 5 GB an hour that could easily burn 25GB of data.

If you fall asleep just four times a month as you stream that is 100GB of data wasted, so make sure to turn off Auto Play for all your streaming services if you keep going over your data cap.

#2 Try SD Video

We often want to get everything in HD, but you should consider trying SD video. SD streaming uses a fraction of the data of HD—often less than a GB an hour.

When my daughter wants to watch cartoons we stream them in SD. You will be shocked at how great SD video can look with cartoons. Older shows not originally shot in HD also look just fine in SD, saving you a ton of data.

#3 Download Shows You Rewatch

My daughter is addicted to “Mickey Mouse Club House” right now. Shows like this are a great example of something you can download to save data. You can purchase a season of the show on Amazon and download it to a tablet because the Amazon Video app now allows downloading on Android, iOS, and Fire Tablets.

This allows my daughter to rewatch the same episodes over and over again without it eating into our data cap. The best part is you still have access to the TV as your kids watch their shows.

You will be surprised at how you can cut the amount of data you use every month just by trying one or all three of these tips.

Bonus Tip: Find a New Internet Service Provider

If AT&T is an option in your area consider looking at Toast.net. It resells AT&T Internet with no data cap and is a great way to get around AT&T’s data caps.

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  • Loren Kruse

    Is data caps really still a problem with internet providers? Neither of our cable providers have data caps. Additionally, if you have your internet with AT&T then DirecTV NOW is data free on both hard lines and wireless.

    • Kevin Johnson

      It’s absolutely a problem, we are over or near our 1TB cap every month since we cut. ATT didn’t charge us the first two times and I’ve kept us under with a few setting changes. I’ve also changed our Roku max streaming speeds to 2mb/s. When I trialed DirecTV NOW, it did count against your cap on home devices or I probably would have used it instead of SlingTV.

    • Vegas Steve

      I never had a problem, but I’m not a real heavy TV watcher. Cox in our area went with 1TB of data and jacked up everyone’s rates. I was lucky they just ran Centurylink fiber by my house… unlimited data, cheaper, lifetime price guarantee. If they can do unlimited, it just shows that cable companies are gouging their customers.

      • Carl Brenda

        It shouldn’t be a problem. If you approach 1tb a month, you are definitely watching too much tv………..

  • HiroRoshi

    On Roku, you can force a lower bitrate for all content. Got to home screen. Press Home button 5 times, the Rewind 3 times, then Fast Forward 2 times. Select the maximum bit rate.

  • You can also get business class internet. It’s more expensive for sure. I need it for an email server but the added bonus is no data cap.

  • Evan

    $70/Mo for 25MBps DSL speeds whether on DSL or cable. We have the slowest internet in the world.

    • Cooper McChester

      we have ATT BSL 12 gbs for 64 bucks… AWFUL deal. Iam really thinking about the Toast.net because I can get the 28MBs for the same price.. Data cap is not a worry for me

  • Sean Berends

    Good tips.