AT&T has apparently started rolling out the Stream Saver feature announced last year, which automatically throttles video quality to save data.
The carrier announced back in November 2016 that it planned to enable Stream Saver by default on all mobile devices starting early 2017, and it now seems that the time has come for the feature to take effect.
AT&T users have reportedly started to receive notifications from the carrier that the Stream Saver feature is now live. This means that all higher-quality video is now throttled at 480p by default, even on unlimited plans.
"Stream Saver lets you watch more video on your wireless phone or tablet while using less data, by streaming most higher definition video at standard definition quality, similar to DVD (about 480p)," AT&T announced back in November. "Stream Saver helps your data go further."
While some might welcome the feature because it allows them to watch videos online without burning through their data plan too quickly, others might find it unnecessary and frustrating. For the latter category, the good news is that although Stream Saver is enabled by default, it's easy to turn it off at any time.
How To Disable AT&T Stream Saver
To turn off the Stream Saver feature, head over to AT&T's website and sign into your account. Head over to the section called Account Overview, then access the Manage Stream Saver link. You'll then see a screen with toggle buttons for each line, where you can switch Stream Saver on or off. Simply toggling the switch will do the trick.
How To Disable AT&T Stream Saver In Mobile App
The process is equally easy for those who want to turn off the Stream Saver feature from the mobile app. Just sign into the app, head over to the Usage section of the slide-out menu, scroll down to the bottom and select the Manage My Usage option. From here on, tap the button next to the line for which you want to disable Stream Saver.
Keep in mind that it might take a few minutes for the changes to take effect, so don't expect to see higher-quality videos as soon as you've disabled the AT&T Stream Saver feature. To start streaming again in higher quality, give it a few minutes and restart your device, as AT&T says a reboot is necessary.
If, on the other hand, you later realize that you're using too much data watching online videos, you can always go through the same process to turn Stream Saver back on. The feature costs nothing to enable and disable and there's no limit on how many times you can turn it on or off.
All in all, throttling video quality by default may seem like a nasty move to pull, especially if you miss the notification and suddenly realize all videos are in 480p, but at least you have the option of turning it off and it's fairly easy to do so. Will you be leaving the AT&T Stream Saver feature enabled or not?