The new 126.96.36.199 software update has just started rolling out to all Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick models and, apart from bringing the new interface to older devices, it adds a new option to monitor data usage on the device. In the Preferences section of the device settings is a new Data Monitoring menu that displays the system wide data usage, as well as data usage by app. You can set a data cap value to be alerted when it’s reached and a day of the month when your data monitoring should be reset.
The new data monitoring option is disabled by default. You’ll need to go into Settings > Preferences > Data Monitoring to enable it. Once enabled, you’ll have access to video quality settings, data alert settings, and a list of data usage by app. Video quality options are Best, Better, and Good. I’ll investigate video quality in a separate post.
When you select the Set Data Alert option, you’re prompted to enter a data limit in GB and the start day of the month that your monthly bill starts. Fractions are accepted when entering a data limit value, so you aren’t limited to 1 GB increments. The idea is the Fire TV will track how much data it uses from the start of your billing cycle to the end. On the day of the month that you enter for the start of your bill, data tracking will automatically reset and start again from zero.
When the Fire TV has used the data amount you’ve set as a limit, a message telling you so will be displayed. The Fire TV will not disable itself or do anything different once the data limit has been reached. This is strictly a notification only, so it’s up to the user to decide to stop using additional data. I don’t believe the message will reappear again until the next time the data limit is reached during the next billing cycle.
Once a data limit is set, a bar chart showing total system data usage during the current month will appear. This allows you to easily see, at any time, how much data has been consumed during the current billing cycle.
Selecting the Monthly Top Data Usage menu option will display a list of data consumption used by each app. In addition to displaying data usage by apps you’ve installed, the list also shows data usage by Amazon Video, Prime Photos, the Fire TV Home interface, the Fire TV System, and the Amazon appstore.
While home internet data caps are thankfully not too common in the US, they are fairly common in other countries. With the Fire TV expected to launch in additional countries soon, being able to monitor its data usage will be more necessary.