The Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick 18.104.22.168 software update adds a set of new data monitoring options that let you keep track of how much data your device is using. In addition to data monitoring, the new feature adds the option to select from 3 video quality settings, in order to reduce data usage while watching Amazon Video.
The 3 video quality options to choose from are Good, Better, and Best. The Best option is selected by default, but you can choose to select one of the two other video quality options if you want to reduce the amount of data consumed while watching Amazon Video.
To try to determine how much data is consumed by each video quality setting, I played a 1 minute 36 second trailer of The Grand Tour from Amazon Video using each quality setting and monitored how much data was consumed. Video was played on a 1080p television and I used the values reported by the Amazon Video app in the new data monitoring feature.
At the “Best” quality, the 1:36 video used 84.91 MB of data. At the “Better” quality option, 47.95 MB of data was consumed. At the lowest “Good” setting, just 7.32 MB of data was used. These values shouldn’t be used to estimate how much data a particular video will consume because that will vary greatly depending on what action and scenes are in the video. These values are best to be used as a rough comparison of each video quality compared to the other. In my test, dropping down from “Best” to “Better” resulted in a 43% reduction in data consumption. Dropping down to “Good” resulted in a 91% reduction in data compared to the “Best” option, and an 85% reduction in data compared to the “Better” option.
I originally used the first 5 minutes of a TV show episode for my measurements, but a commenter below suggested I instead use a full short video to avoid pre-cached data of the rest of the episode affecting the data values. I have redone my measurements with that suggestion and have updated the article.
As for the actual picture quality, I could not see a noticeable difference between the “Best” and “Better” options. If you’re concerned about data consumption, but don’t want a poor viewing experience, dropping down the video quality setting one notch is a great option. The lowest “Good” quality option resulted in a noticeably worse viewing experience.
The Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick will automatically adjust the video quality based on your network speed. As long as you have the bandwidth, the device will stream the best quality video it can. This new video quality setting essentially allows you to set a maximum quality cap for videos streamed by Amazon. This is a great new feature for those with data caps who want better control over how much data their Fire TV consumes.