You can now select from 3 video quality settings on the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick

The Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick 5.2.4.1 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.

Update

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.

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37 comments
  1. clocks says:

    “At the “Best” quality, 5 minutes of streaming used about 542 MB of data.”

    Holy crap!!!!!!! Doesn’t that seem insane for 1080p?

  2. clocks says:

    Are they no longer using x265?

  3. Craig says:

    Looks like it’s simply selecting 480, 720 and 1080 streaming qualities.

  4. HeyRadar says:

    What size TV did you use? I’m wondering if the ‘good’ option would be ok on a 32in TV.

    • AFTVnews says:

      I didn’t include that information because perceived quality will vary with each person based on TV size, distance from TV, video being played, and their own eye vision quality.

      Like I said in the article, “Best” to “Better” showed little difference in my opinion. “Better” to “Good” showed noticeable difference. I’d say your average person will not immediately notice a difference if you dropped to the “Better” quality, but most will notice something has changed if you drop to the “Good” quality.

      • Richard says:

        thanks for doing the comparison! It will be interesting to see how it all plays out when the update reaches all the units and you’re able to dive a bit deeper into comparisons… but so far it’s pretty eye-opening and just having the option will probably help me get my dad to reduce his bandwidth usage.

  5. 2WhlWzrd says:

    A feature that is caused by greed that should be totally unnecessary.

  6. jaybird says:

    Elias, I can’t tell clearly from your article. Does the video quality setting you’re talking about ONLY pertain to video streamed thru Amazon Video, or also thru other (non-Amazon) video streamed via the Fire TV device itself?

    • AFTVnews says:

      Sorry, I should have been clearer on that point. Video quality settings only affect video coming from Amazon.

      To adjust video quality for video within apps, like Netflix, you’ll need to look for settings within the app or through the service’s website. Netflix, for example, allows you to adjust your video settings on their website in your profile settings.

      • Richard says:

        Aw man…. I was hoping it was universal… DIRECTV now still has constant buffering problems and honestly I’d definitely sacrifice a bit of quality for a smoother experience.

      • Jaybird says:

        Thanks much for the clarification. I was guessing that was the case (Amazon video only), but wasn’t quite sure.

        Checked my Fire TV Box 2nd gen today, and no new OS update yet.

  7. Jerry says:

    Does this finally give users a way to force Amazon to give you the “1080p HD” stream?

    • Richard says:

      My understanding from a previous comment is no… basically it sets a MAX standard… but will still dynamically reduce the quality if it decides your bandwidth isn’t up to snuff.

  8. Russell Tanner says:

    We have been cord cutters now for a few years. Netflix makes it easy to change the resolution and that was the venue we used the most. Prime, though excellent, would eat up the gigabytes with movies at 1080p. Now that the option to lower resolution was included with the Fire tv box we now watch more Prime content.

    The difference between 1080 and 720 is slight and for my old tired eyes is ok for us. The difference in the internet bill is much more noticeable. At 1080p we would use up our 250GB of data in two weeks. Were in Alaska, it’s $90 a month for internet at that plan and I would like to keep it there. So far we are staying under the 250GB cap just fine keeping things at 720p resolution.

    Now an unlimited plan would be nice, then I would turn everything up!

  9. Roger D says:

    HeLP! This setting isn’t available and I’ve called Amazon Canada and they said it’s only available is you buy a movie then you can select SD or HD?

    So as I said, I know this setting was available when I streamed from my Amazon.com Prime account but today I stopped paying for the US Prime account because Prime Video came to Canada finally and it’s not in the settings menus on the firestick? This isn’t nice because I’m on a rural internet package that only offers 100gigs for 70 bucks a month. Yikes.

  10. Jeff says:

    You have to turn on Data Monitoring. Once you do that the option menu appears for setting video quality, data alerts, and monthly top data usage

    • cesc85 says:

      Hi, I’ve the 5.2.6.1 version in my fire stick tv, but I’ve not this setting…

      • Jeff says:

        I have the same software version. Go into the settings then Preferences, Data Monitoring, then click on Data Monitoring to turn it on. Once you do that “Set Video Quality” will appear. Highlight and select Set Video Quality and a new menu appears with the three options: Good Better, Best. Select the one you want then use the back button to exit. Hope this helps.

  11. Jeff says:

    I have the same software version. Go into the settings then Preferences, Data Monitoring, then click on Data Monitoring to turn it on. Once you do that “Set Video Quality” will appear. Highlight and select Set Video Quality and a new menu appears with the three options: Good Better, Best. Select the one you want then use the back button to exit. Hope this helps.

  12. Michael says:

    Recently purchased Fire TV Stick – Basic-Cdn from Amazon.ca. Installed and upgraded OS to 5.2.6.1. Set up Data Monitoring in Preferences but there is no menu item to Set Video Quality. Live in a rural area with satellite internet. Pay $113/month for 100GB so I would like to use SD instead of HD so that I can watch more and reduce bandwidth consumption. Recently upgraded to 20+ mbps with 650ms Ping time. Anyone know how to set video quality, Thanks you advance for any assistance.

    • cesc85 says:

      Hi, we cannot select video quality. In the Italian Amazon forum there are many users with our problem. The assistence user will report this issue to the developers. We only hope to have this function in the next update.
      Yesterday I’ve tried to watch a movie (1h 30m) and the data counter of my internet key say I’ve used about 6GB!!! It’s toooooo much!!!

      • cesc85 says:

        P.S. For now I have to try to download movies in my phone at good quality (about 300Mb for 1 hour), then watch it in my old tv with smart view connection (installed in the Fire Stick TV). In this way (for a movie long 90minutes) I have to use about 450Mb for the download in my phone and other 450Mb for the “upload” in my Fire Stick… 900Mb VS 6GB!

  13. Steve says:

    Thank you! Our data consumption was going through the roof. Everything was 1080p and out tv is only 720! No more monitoring every day to make sure we didn’t hit the max. Bless you.

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