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 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.

  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?

    • AFTVnews says:

      This test was done on the Fire TV 1 because it’s the only device I have that has received the update at this point. The Fire TV 1 does not support H.265.

  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.

        • Veronica says:

          I did a online chat today with the someone from DTVN and he said that the app is optimized to work at the setting placed in the amazon firstick preferences. So if you have it set at best, it will play at that. Better it will play at that, etc. I went ahead and followed that up with a call to Amazon to confirm this because…well that is what I do. At first the person at amazon said the same as the poster here. This only applies to the amazon content. I told him what I was told by the Direct Tv Now agent and then he put me on hold to escalate the question with a specialist. They came back and contirmed that it does in fact change the content on the apps when optimized to work this way. DTVN is one of those apps. I’m currently trying to figure out if Vudu Does too. Most of the individual apps do not have settings so this is an issue. Netflix does but no other I have used had access to this type of setting.

          • Dave says:

            Wow, thanks Veronica! if this is true it’s a game changer for me and DTVN. I just found and changed the settings to “good” on my Fire TV and will see how it goes!

      • 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 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 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.

        • cesc85 says:

          Thanks for your answer. That’s the problem, I’ve tried as you said, but in data monitoring I can only set the data consumption limit, no screen to set quality video.
          I bought the stick 2 days ago on Italian Amazon store… I hope it hasn’t a different hardware and so a different fw (it’s called Fire TV Stick Basic Edition)

  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 Installed and upgraded OS to 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.

  14. John S says:

    Can someone run this same test using a “Fire TV Stick 4K” please? I need to know before upgrading from Fire Stick to 4k if my data usage will grow without being able to reduce it using the Good/Better/Best setting.
    – The previous Firestick was 1080p, but data usage appeard to grow more than 4X (4k/1k), to something closer to exponential.
    – Also, is there another another tier added on the 4k for streaming qualities like Bestest or Poor? [480=Good, 720=Better (43% more) and 1080=Best (10X more data) ]

  15. Malcolm says:

    Hi. Do these settings apply just to Prime (I imagine so) or to all streaming on the fire stick?

    • I’me pretty sure it’s just to Prime Video still.

    • Mongo jerry says:

      My roommate is using an ungodly amount of data. He only has a phone and firestick. I’ve narrowed it down to the fire stick. I changed his to good from best. I explained how that worked. I checked today and it’s back on best. I switched it back. The thing is he doesn’t have prime. I do but his is on his own account. He uses third party apps. So I believe it affects all apps.

  16. Reef says:

    My issue is when looking at live tv(sport) it(app) tends to freeze and pause. What video quality is the best option to stop buffering? I tried each. I’m using Fire tv stick.

  17. Joseph Lucas says:

    I get blurred screen on my firestick 4K

  18. Dave Brown says:

    We have a problem with watching Prime videos. With Netflix no problems at all they stream great. However, if we want to watch Prime the show will start snd every 3-4 minutes it will stop and take a few minutes to load another 3-4 minutes of the movie we are watching. How can we solve this problem?

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