A few tips for cutting the cord

Leaving cable behind? Here are some things to consider

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In the ever-changing landscape of entertainment, the trend of “cord-cutting” has changed where, when, and how we watch our shows, sports, and movies. Cord-cutting is a movement by many consumers to opt out of their cable TV and other multichannel television services and still finding plenty of great options through internet-based entertainment.

This growing trend has taken the digital world by fire, so much so that services like Netflix, Apple TV, and Hulu are becoming less known for streaming movies and more known for producing original content. Hit shows such as “Yellowstone,” “House of the Dragon,” and “The Sandman” have garnered just as much buzz and award recognition as their traditional analog counterparts.

While cord-cutting seems like a great way to cut costs, Viasat customers should check to make sure their viewing habits sync with their current satellite internet plans before taking the plunge.

A single HD-quality feature movie can consume 3-4 gigabytes of data while streaming, and an entire season of a show can consume much more.

Fortunately, Viasat internet service plans give you more options to fit your needs, so you can choose a plan based on how members of your household spend time online.

Customers can also control their streaming resolution by logging on to the MyViasat app and turning Data Extender ON. By turning Data Extender ON, video will automatically stream at DVD quality (typically 480p). If Data Extender remains OFF customers can continue to watch video at a higher resolution.

In addition to Viasat’s Data Extender, streaming devices have some additional settings that can help keep track of how much data is being used to stream entertainment.

The Fire TV/Amazon Fire stick includes a data-monitoring feature. To access it:

  1. Select settings under the Fire TV menu
  2. Open preferences and then select data monitoring
  3. Press the Select button on your remote to toggle Data Monitoring ON

From here, you can also set data alerts triggered by a specified amount of GB, view the amount of data being used by your device, and change your video quality.
Fire TV gives you tools to monitor your data usage.

Other streaming devices have a built-in resolution setting option. Here’s how to use them:

AppleTV

  1. From iTunes menu, select settings
  2. Select iTunes Store
  3. From this screen you can choose 1080p HD, 720p HD or Standard Definition. This will also determine the resolution of your rentals and purchases.

Roku Classic

  1. On the Home Screen, select Settings
  2. From here, you can select your display type, screensavers, and resolution for various apps.

Newer generations of Roku devices have a Hidden Menu (newer models may not apply to all Roku devices). Accessing it is a bit like using a video game cheat code:

  1. Press the home button 5 times
  2. Press the rewind button 3 times
  3. Press the fast forward button 2 times
  4. A menu should appear that will allow for you to change your settings.

Other streaming programs available feature app settings that can be activated to stretch your usage, with many providing an option to lower the resolution quality from the default higher resolution setting.

Netflix and Hulu have a default autoplay feature for TV shows. This is handy when you’re binge-watching shows, but can be problematic if you fall asleep and wake up five episodes later. This may be yet another place to consider when trying to manage your data usage. Netflix also allows you to change your streaming resolution pretty easily under the admin settings.

Hopefully these tips guide your decision to either dip your toe or dive headfirst into the world of cord-cutting.


Jane Reuter was a Colorado journalist for 20 years before transitioning to Viasat as a corporate communications writer. A mother of one, she lives in Golden, CO and is an outdoor enthusiast.