Couple watching videos on a laptop at home

3 Tips to Help You Stay Under Your Data Cap


Couple watching videos on a laptop at homeData caps have often been called an attack on cord cutters; however, don’t let them scare you away from becoming a cord cutter. You can be a cord cutter even if your Internet service provider (ISP) has a data cap.

When my family became cord cutters we had a data cap from our DSL provider of just 250GB a month. We successfully stayed under that cap by using the following tips.

#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 just keep playing even if you do not have the TV turned on.

Netflix will play three episodes and Amazon Video will play 6 episodes before asking if you are still watching. If you fall asleep during the first episode you could easily burn through an hour of date with Netflix or maybe 5 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.

#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. Also older shows not originally shot in HD can 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.

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  • jack pollard

    Another thing I do is; I set my router to “turn off” internet access from 12:00am – 6:00am every night. If say I had a rouge device trying to access the internet, it can’t. My daughter had her auto backup on her iPhone when she got it and I could not understand where this daily 25 or so gig was coming from.

  • Andy Horton

    If you leave your tv on for noise at night like me, turn off Sling TV, Vue, and DTV now. Yes, it’ll cut off after 3 hours, but that’s wasting a lot of usage towards your data cap. Try music or local OTA channels instead!! It helps me as I wake up after about only 5-6 hours sleep and my data cap is 1TB. That’s 33 GB per day and by night, after Skype, Pandora, Netflix, etc it adds up. Also try expanding your viewing habits a little by watching OTA tv. That costs nothing!! And you’d be surprised what simply 2 hours of not using internet helps avoid your data cap!!