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Amazon Prime Video is among the many services offered by Amazon Inc. Launched in 2006 as Amazon Unbox in the U.S., the subscription video-on-demand service has grown exponentially and expanded its library. Also, over the years the service has undergone significant changes a couple of times. First with the introduction of the Prime subscription, when Prime Video membership was added, and the service was renamed Amazon Instant VOD. And about a decade later in 2016, when Amazon Inc. decided to split Prime Video and Amazon Prime in the U.S., and Prime Video was also launched worldwide.

Prime Video primarily distributes TV series and films produced by or licensed to Amazon Studios. Besides Amazon Originals, the service hosts content from a variety of other providers, allows content add-ons, gives you access to live sporting events, and offers video rental and purchasing services. The platform has thus come to hold its own in the relentlessly competitive ‘streaming wars’ among the top contenders in the industry. Today, Prime Video has advanced to be one of the most popular streaming platforms with over 200 million subscribers worldwide.

If you too are looking to become a Prime Video subscriber, it is important to know how much data you will be using while streaming video content. Streaming platforms need an internet connection to run, and not all internet deals allow unlimited data. And, when you don’t know how much data your streaming service is likely to use, chances are you’ll not be able to keep your binge-watch sessions from translating into a shocking internet bill.

Our article today sheds light on the amount of data Amazon Prime Video uses, and also how fast your internet connection should be to support good quality streaming. Read on to find out how you can strike a balance between a decent viewing experience on Prime Video and your monthly data allowance. 

Video quality options you get with Amazon Prime Video

Prime Video offers you a few options to pick from as far as the video quality is concerned. Here, take a look at what you can do to manage your precious monthly data allowance:

Switch on the Data Saver if you don’t mind low picture quality

This option is suitable for people who do not have access to a high-speed internet connection and also do not have too much data to spare on streaming videos. When you choose to switch on the Data Saver in the Prime Video app on your mobile, you can save data for sure, but be ready to watch in low picture quality. Also, depending on the bandwidth of your connection, you may not be able to play content on larger screens such as TV or laptop. 

In order to switch on the Data Saver on your mobile device go to Menu > Settings > Stream & Download > Streaming Quality. And, choose the Data Saver option from the menu.

Pro Tip: In the Streaming Quality menu you will also see the option “Use highest quality when on WiFi”. Remember to disable this option when you switch on the Data Saver, otherwise it will stream in the highest quality when you are connected to WiFi despite the Data Saver option being enabled.

Switch on the “Good, Better or Best” video quality options

On the Streaming Quality screen in the Prime Video app, you will see Good, Better and Best listed as the 3 picture quality options you can use.

Good is suitable for people who have a relatively fast connection in place, and have enough data to spare. The video quality of the content would be better than the Data Saver option, pretty much the same as you get with standard definition (SD). And you can stream on medium-sized screens like a desktop or tablet with ease.

Better is better than Good. You can also compare it to high-definition (HD). Which means you can expect to enjoy a more than decent picture quality. And when you have a big enough data allowance and fast enough speed, you can stream on both small and big screens.   

Best is literally the best video quality you can get on Prime Video. And if you want to know what is Best equivalent to, you can compare it to UHD (ultra high definition). Which means  you’ll get the most enjoyable viewing experience with your Prime Video favorites. But for this option to work seamlessly you must have an internet connection that is fast and delivers consistent speeds. Preferably Fiber-backed Cable as with Spectrum and Xfinity or pure Fiber from the likes of AT&T & CenturyLink.

How much data does Amazon Prime Video use?

While Amazon offers its viewers different video quality options so they can manage their data consumption, as it is Amazon does not make public its findings on how much data does Prime Video actually use when you stream content. There are certainly other sources which provide estimates based on Prime Video user experience, but it turns out these approximations are pretty much the same as indicated in the Prime Video app.

  • When you are in the Data Saver mode, expect to consume under 1 GB (0.06 GB) data per hour.
  • In the Good streaming quality mode, in one hour you can consume up to 1 GB (0.72 GB) data.
  • The Better streaming quality option can take up to 2 GB (1.82 GB) per hour.
  • And when you switch to Best, you must be ready to let go of up to 7 GB (6.84 GB) data in one hour.

When you know what your data allowance lets you do, all you’d need to change is the Streaming Quality on your app, and select the option which seems to be the most appropriate given your speed and data limitations.

Be mindful of the fact changing the video quality settings on one device won’t automatically change the settings on all devices, so make sure you set your video quality preferences on each device when using it.

As a side note, let’s add data consumption for Prime Video is not too different from what Netflix streaming consumes. The Low option on Netflix takes up to 0.3 GB/hr., Medium consumes up to 0.7 GB/hr. while High has 3 tiers to it i.e. SD, HD and 4K which require 1, 3 or 7 GB per hour.

How to manage data usage on Amazon Prime Video?

If you are worried your current connection may not be supporting your streaming habits over Prime Video, there are a couple of things that can help you get out of the dilemma.

Be ready to compromise on video quality

As we have mentioned earlier, Prime Video gives you options to pick the streaming quality you can sustain on your internet connection. If you think your current streaming quality settings are leading you to use too much data, go for a lower option. Better may be the best if you are viewing your favorite TV show or movie on a TV or laptop, but if you are streaming Prime Video on a smartphone, consider choosing the Data Saver or Good option.

Use a data calculator to plan your internet usage

You can use programs and websites to plan and evaluate your monthly internet data usage. Just put in the number of online activities you perform in a regular month and the hours you spend on each, set the monthly data limit you’ve got to work with, and see how your internet usage compares. You can then assess which online activities do you need to cut back on and which ones you cannot compromise on in terms of data usage

Plus, when you know how much data your Prime Video streaming is likely to consume in a month, it’ll be easier to plan how select you need to be in your viewing habits. By watching what you love and dropping what you like, besides some compromise on picture quality, you are likely to save substantial amount of data.

Go for an upgraded plan or switch ISPs

If you are happy with the dealings with your current ISP, contact them and ask about your upgrade options. Many internet service providers, which offer plans with a data cap, also let you subscribe to unlimited data without having to upgrade to a higher speed tier. For instance with internet plans from Astound Broadband Powered by Wave you can double your data allowance or purchase unlimited data with any speed tier of your choice. This way you only pay for what you need.

On the other hand, if you are not happy with your current service provider, check out Fiber Internet options in your area, or even some cheap internet deals at your address. You never know you maybe able to land a bargain deal with a skinny Cable and Internet bundle, such the Choice Double Play from Xfinity. Which gives you up to 100 Mbps download speed, and a basic Cable TV lineup with 10+ channels to supplement your Amazon Prime Video subscription. Xfinity does have a data cap in select service regions, but 1.2 TB proves virtually unlimited from the viewpoint of standard usage.   

And if you are lucky to have one of the “unlimited data providers” like Spectrum, Windstream, Optimum and Suddenlink serving your area, you will be rid of having to make all those data calculations.  

Final Word

Before we close, let’s reiterate the changes in Amazon Prime Video data usage are quite dependent on which device you are using. TVs and desktops use slightly more data as compared to when the same content is viewed on mobile devices in the same picture quality. All in all, there are a number of ways you can save your data, but in order to do that, you first need to quantify the amount of data you are using. Once you have figured that out, you can adopt another more appropriate solution to save your data. 

To inquire about high-speed internet packages available at your address, you can call at 1-855-349-9328 anytime, and check if there is a better deal with another ISP.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of internet connection is best for streaming on Amazon Prime Video?

Fiber Internet services offered by the likes of AT&T, CenturyLink and MetroNet are one of the best options depending on which one is available in your area. To determine offer availability at your address call at 1-855-349-9328.

What to do if you experience buffering on Amazon Prime?

If your favorite movie or show is constantly being interrupted by poor quality internet and results in buffering, this most likely has to do with your internet speed. Amazon recommends a minimum download speed of 8 Mbps for SD and 40 Mbps for HD per stream. If you are subscribed to an internet service that is too slow to accommodate your Prime Video subscription along with other household usage, check for an upgrade or look for other service provider options in your area.