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AT&T to throttle streaming video quality by default in 2017

AT&T on Friday announced Stream Saver, an upcoming "data-saving" feature that automatically reduces high-resolution streaming video content to standard definition DVD quality for mobile service subscribers, including those with unlimited data plans.




According to AT&T, Stream Saver saves on data by scanning incoming data streams and capping detected high definition content to 1.5 Mbps, roughly the equivalent of DVD video, or about 480p. The service will be turned on by default for new and existing customers when it launches in early 2017.

Depending on how content providers deliver video streams, Stream Saver in some cases might not be able to detect and optimize video, AT&T says.

Stream Saver affects all postpaid rate plans, including Mobile Share Advantage, AT&T Unlimited Plan, Mobile Share Value, Mobile Share, AT&T 1GB Tablet Plan, AT&T 1GB Car Plan, Unlimited Data plan and others. It will also be applied to certain AT&T GoPhone plans, excluding those that serve connected vehicles.

AT&T is spinning Stream Saver as a positive for consumers; a free, value-added feature that helps customers avoid overage fees.

"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," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer at AT&T Entertainment Group. "And, they are in control - it's their choice on how to use this innovative feature."

Though the feature is switched on by default, subscribers have the option of turning it off —and on again —at no extra cost via myAT&T, Premiere, or by dialing 611 from a smartphone.

AT&T says it will notify customers by text message when Stream Saver goes live.