AT&T’s Stream Saver

AT&T’s Stream Saver throttles video to standard definition or 480p quality.[1] Stream Saver is enabled by default on AT&T’s Unlimited Elite plan and most of AT&T’s prepaid plans.

How do you turn Stream Saver off (or back on)

AT&T has a webpage with instructions for turning Stream Saver on or off. Here are AT&T’s instructions for personal (non-business) plans:

  1. Go to your usage in myAT&T.
  2. Look under the usage pie chart and select Manage data.
  3. Toggle Stream Saver Off or On for the device you want to manage.
  4. Select Save.
  5. Wait 5 minutes and restart the device you updated.

What does the video quality look like?

480p is sometimes referred to as “DVD-quality.” While streaming at 480p uses substantially less data than streaming in high definition, video should still be very watchable on a mobile device. The average person won’t find 480p video to look pixelated or grainy.

In my opinion, the video-watching experience is basically identical whether you’re watching something on your phone in 480p or high-definition quality. However, those with an eye for visual quality might appreciate being able to stream at a quality higher than 480p.

Is all video throttled?

No. Stream Saver will only throttle traffic that AT&T has pre-identified as streaming video traffic. Most popular streaming services will be throttled when Stream Saver is enabled, but video traffic from less popular sources may be unaffected.

Footnotes

  1. “If Stream Saver is turned on, data speeds for content that is recognized as video will be capped at 1.5 Mbps, which generally is equivalent to Standard Definition quality, similar to DVD (about 480p).”
    From AT&T’s Stream Saver webpage on 4/20/2020.