AT&T is gearing up to launch a new feature called Stream Saver next year, which will effectively throttle video quality by default even on unlimited data plans.
Touted as a data saving feature, AT&T's upcoming Stream Saver will cap all higher-quality video at standard definition quality, or about 480p. If you're an AT&T user, you don't get a say in this. If you suddenly start viewing videos on mobile in poorer quality than you're used to, it means AT&T switched on Stream Saver by default.
And the carrier will make Stream Saver the default on all plans, which doesn't really make sense. If its purpose is to allow for data savings, how does it help unlimited data plan customers? If they have unlimited data, why do they need data savings?
Opt Out Of AT&T Stream Saver
Nevertheless, some good news is still on the table. AT&T users who don't want to watch 480p video on mobile to save data will be able to opt out of Stream Saver. To start watching high definition video again, you can use either the myAT&T app or the AT&T website to opt out of Stream Saver. The carrier says it will not charge users for enabling or disabling the feature.
"We know our customers love to be entertained while mobile, and Stream Saver lets them enjoy more of what they love, whether it's video or something else," says David Christopher, AT&T Entertainment Group CMO. "And, they are in control - it's their choice on how to use this innovative feature."
When Stream Saver is available and running, AT&T will send customers a message to notify them that it's on. The carrier will also offer instructions on how to turn the feature on or off.
Zero-Rate Streaming In Tow?
With the new Stream Saver turned on by default and likely used by plenty of customers low on data, AT&T could have some room to strike enticing deals for zero-rate streaming. The carrier has yet to announce any such plans for the future, but it could well be headed in this direction.
AT&T already offers free DirecTV on mobile without it counting against your data cap, but this may not last since AT&T owns DirecTV and the FCC is not happy about this offer. The carrier doesn't believe this deal violates net neutrality rules, but it remains to be seen whether it will be able to convince the FCC.
Zero-rating or not, AT&T will still start throttling video come next year to help users save up on mobile data. Will you be using Stream Saver or opt out? Drop by our comment section below and let us know what you think about this new feature.