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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22 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.

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