Based on customer feedback, Viasat made a couple of recent improvements to make it easier for subscribers to manage their data and video resolution options on Viasat’s residential unlimited data plans.
Customers on these plans who’ve used all of their High-Speed Data can now buy more, and they can also access a data extender that lets them control the quality of their video viewing experience.
High-Speed Data option
While all Viasat’s unlimited data plans come with an unlimited supply of standard data, customers have a set amount of High-Speed Data. Once a subscriber uses their monthly allotment of High-Speed Data, they begin to use standard data. If the network is congested, that can mean slower speeds. To avoid shifting to standard data, customers can now buy 5 more gigabytes of High-Speed Data for $9.99, or 10 gigabytes for $14.99.
“Your internet service is still unlimited, but if you’re a user who needs more High-Speed Data, you now have this option if you need it,” said Viasat marketing manager Kristin Lopez.
In June, Viasat also introduced its new Choice plans, which provide cusotmers with more data and speed, for the same price.
In late October, Viasat added Data Extender, an online switch that lets subscribers control the quality of their streaming experience to use more or less data.
Streaming quality is based on screen resolution. Viasat unlimited data plans are set at a default video screen resolution of 480p, considered “standard” or “DVD quality.”
But if a customer wants to watch video at a higher resolution, they can now go to My Viasat and turn Data Extender OFF. Doing so allows the customer to stream video at a higher resolution (if otherwise allowed by their plan). The Gold 50 and Platinum plans typically allow for the highest resolution — up to 4K video streaming.
“We are letting customers decide what they want their streaming experience to look like,” Lopez said. “But we also remind and caution that the higher the resolution, the more quickly you use your High-Speed Data.”
Video streaming is generally the largest user of data, and the pace at which streaming data is used depends on the video quality setting. Consider what you actually watch to help you decide if it’s worth the data hit to choose the higher setting. For kids watching cartoons or you viewing typical TV or movies, the lower settings are probably fine. Higher-end fare like sci-fi movies or sporting events will likely look better in higher definition. The Data Extender makes it easy to switch back and forth.
Here’s an example of how much data could be used for an hour of video streaming depending on resolution:
- 480p (DVD quality): .7-1 GB/hr
- 1080p (HD): Up to 3 GB/hr
- 4K: Up to 7 GB/hr
With the above example, you can see that HD streaming can use up to three times more data than DVD quality streaming, while switching to 4K gobbles up data up to seven times faster. Data usage values can change depending on screen size, but this example is a good indicator of how video resolution impacts data usage. By keeping an eye on resolution choice, users are able to avoid surprises and get the most out of their data.