AT&T is rolling out a new service called Stream Saver that will cap video streaming on its network to 480p, or DVD quality as it’s calling it. Stream Saver was announced by AT&T late last year but it’s now starting to go into effect.
At face value, this looks like a really bad move on AT&T’s part given how Verizon and T-Mobile are setting the threshold of video streaming caps at 720p with their respective plans, but digging a little deeper reveals it’s not too bad. The plan, as AT&T is marketing it, is supposed to help keep the amount of data customers use down, so that they can keep more of their data for other activities. Stream Saver will affect any AT&T customer has its Mobile Share Advantage, AT&T Unlimited Plan, AT&T 1GB Tablet Plan, legacy Mobile Share Value, legacy Mobile Share and legacy unlimited data plans.
Beginning later this month, customers with these data plans will automatically be switched over to Stream Saver. The big caveat is that customers can turn this feature off within the AT&T app or online in case they want to stream higher than 480p. That’s a big differentiating factor over other carriers.
AT&T is sending customers emails about Stream Saver but it’s being explicit about customers ability to turn off the feature. Obviously the company prefers customers keep it on so it can ease congestion on the networks, but having the option to turn it off is really cool. This applies as well to customers of its unlimited data plans.
It’s an annoying move, but not a deal breaker
This new feature screams of a carrier trying to throttle the video streaming of customers, but AT&T actually threw its customers (including myself) a bone this time. Not too long ago, T-Mobile’s One unlimited plan capped off video streaming at 480p but could stream at higher resolutions if they purchased an extra plan and changed it in the setting every single day, or else it defaulted again to 480p.
AT&T didn’t do anything that bad. Once the plan goes into effect, I’ll go into the app and turn off Stream Saver. I give it up to AT&T for giving me and many other customers this choice.