AT&T is automatically downgrading your video streaming quality to 480p without your permission

It’s a bit funny AT&T is enabling its new data Stream Saver plan to downgrade its customer’s video quality at a time it is touting its unlimited data plans. It’s also activating it without user permission and selling it as a feature with little to no notifications.

While T-Mobile offers free video streaming service on its unlimited plans at a video quality of 480p, AT&T created an automatic video quality downgrade program for all of its main data plans it calls Stream Saver. While this is a nice feature to have available for those who want to stream as much video data as possible without burning through their data plans, automatically enabling the feature is a bit scummy considering most people don’t check their emails for a change like this.

In the email message I got for my AT&T account, I was informed that I will be getting Stream Saver activated in February when I received the actual email on March 3rd. Not only did AT&T add this so called feature without my permission, it also notified me after it had activated it while seemingly giving me time to opt out of it before it was to be activated. It could have at least told me it was doing this over text message.

I pay quite a bit of money for my limited data plan, and the last thing I want is for AT&T to mess with the quality of the videos that I could adjust on my own anyways. While AT&T’s Stream Saver web page has FAQs listed on it, one of which is how to deactivate it, conveniently it lacks a good step by step way of how to turn it off.  It does list instructions for how to turn it off under its support web page or you can also call 611 and have a live support person help you turn it off.

Main steps

Manage Stream Saver from myAT&T

  1. Go to the View usage page.
  2. Select the Manage my data usage link. (This link is hard to find, but it’s about half way down the page under Basic Plan Usage)
  3. Follow the prompts to turn Stream Saver Off or On for the device you want to manage.
  4. Wait five minutes and restart the device that was updated.

Stream Saver is a nice option for those who wish to conserve data automatically, but it shouldn’t have been activated prior to notification like it was in my case. Nor should it be sold as a feature when forced into it when apps like Youtube and Netflix already offer methods for reducing video quality through their respective apps.


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