For streaming video enjoyment, picking the right internet plan is key

Unlimited data plans come in different flavors based on video resolution. It’s important to match the plan with your viewing habits.


Adults in the U.S. spend almost six hours a day watching video, and subscribers to streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu are increasing in record numbers. Meanwhile, two-thirds of U.S. households with televisions have devices that can connect to their TV.

Even houses without TVs are watching.

The Nielsen Company’s quarterly Total Audience Report found six out of 10 non-TV households have access to the internet and can stream to a television, or watch on a device.

With so much time and money devoted to video, it makes sense to ensure the streaming experience is top notch. And that means choosing an internet plan that syncs with your viewing habits.

Similar to other internet service providers and cellphone companies, Viasat offers a variety of plans that feature unlimited data.

But data limits aren’t the only consideration in a plan. While many plans no longer have “hard” data caps, they may manage bandwidth-intensive video using other means.

Viasat and other companies offer plans with different video resolution options. Lowering the resolution – the number of lines or pixel rows that determine how an image displays on the screen – reduces the pace of data consumption.

That makes it an effective way for Viasat to offer customers the additional data they want while managing the overall data consumption over the network to help ensure good speeds for all.

A lower resolution – and consequently reduced data consumption – still renders well on smaller-screen devices, like cellphones and tablets. If that’s primarily where you watch video, a lower-priced plan with lower resolution may fit the bill just fine.

That same resolution may not look as good on a larger screen, making the experience less satisfying. Lines may be softer and the picture less crisp and detailed. Viewers could be distracted enough by the quality of the video that it impacts their enjoyment of the program.

For the best experience, match the plan to your devices: A large, high-quality device is best suited to a plan that delivers the highest quality streaming experience.

In many markets, Viasat offers four different plans. Its lowest-cost plan is typically the Bronze, which streams video at 360p. That quality works well on small screens like phones or tablets. But like a low-quality photograph that is enlarged, video at 360p loses definition on a larger screen.

The Silver plan, which streams at 480p – considered high definition – is a solid choice for most viewers because it produces a DVD-quality video image on most screens.

The Gold plan streams at 720p, making it a great plan for a household with big screens and many connected devices.

For the highest resolution, Viasat offers a Platinum plan in select areas, which streams at 1080p.

If you’re trying to figure out which plan will work best for you, remember that you can always upgrade your plan with no change fees if you want the next level up. To see which plans are offered in your area, enter your Zip code on the Viasat Internet homepage.