Tips for Managing Internet Data Use

As a Cooperative, Mid-Rivers members have invested in a state-of-the-art broadband network, and we believe all members should have the opportunity to experience the full speed and power of that investment. Rather than creating slow lanes and fast lanes with speed tiers, we’ve opened the pipe on your Internet connection, delivering unrestricted speeds and a superior Internet experience to all Wide Open Internet users. Like other utilities, your monthly rate is determined by how heavily you use the service – your Data Use – up to a monthly cap of $79.95. If you want to pay less than $79.95, these tips can help you manage and control your monthly Internet bill.


SmartHub is a free account management tool you can use to view your Internet data use on all your Mid-Rivers Internet connections by month, day, or hour. The Detail Usage feature even shows you which applications and devices are using the most data. SmartHub also provides a variety of methods to easily contact Mid-Rivers with questions or to report problems.

If you are not currently signed up for SmartHub, visit, or contact your local Mid-Rivers office. SmartHub is FREE, and all it takes to get set up is a valid e-mail address! You can use any valid e-mail address (, or or any other valid account).

Access SmartHub today by going to, or download the My Mid-Rivers SmartHub app from the Google Play Store on your Android device or the App Store on your iPad or iPhone. Take control of your account with SmartHub today!

Know Your Settings

One key way to manage the amount of data you are using is by checking the quality settings of video streaming websites or applications. Video streaming uses the highest amounts of data of any online activity. Downloading and updating online games (xbox, Playstation) can also use large amounts of data if you are continually updating a large number of different games.

If you have concerns about your data usage, we recommend first reviewing the video playback settings (resolution/video quality and autoplay) on the apps and devices where you stream the most. Choose SD or HD versions of content rather than UHD or 4K.

If you have gaming devices such as xbox or Playstation, remove games you aren’t using and let updates finish before disconnecting the device. Updates that are interrupted will start over next time you connect.

Interfaces for these apps and devices change frequently and not all available apps and devices are listed. Visit the manufacturer’s support page for your specific app or device for the most up-to-date information.

Data Used per Hour of Netflix Streaming

If you are using the Amazon FireTV Stick to stream, there are a few ways you can control the amount of data used.

Disconnect When Not in Use

  1. The Fire Stick has been known to use data when it’s plugged in even when it’s not in use. You may want to keep it unplugged when you are not using it.

Control the Video Quality for Amazon Video

  1. Open Settings, then navigate to Preferences
  2. Select Data Monitoring
  3. Select Set Video Quality
  4. Choose one of the three video quality settings to stream your Amazon Videos.  Higher quality uses more data.

Set Up a Data Alert

  1. Open Settings, then navigate to Preferences
  2. Select Data Monitoring
  3. Select Change Data Alert
  4. Enter the amount of Data you what to be alerted for and select next
  5. Enter 17 as the start of your usage cycle (This is the start of a new data period for Mid-Rivers customers) and select next.
  6. You will then receive a message notifying you that you will receive an on screen alert with your Fire TV Stick has used the selected about of data. Select Confirm to set the alert.

Turn off Auto-play

  1. Open Settings, then navigate to Preferences
  2. Select Featured Content
  3. If ‘Allow Video Autoplay’ and ‘Allow Audio Autoplay’ options are set to ON, tap the select button (i.e. the big round button) to disable them.

Amazon video detects your network’s capability and sets your video quality automatically. When purchasing a movie or TV series, you should have the option of downloading the video in SD, HD, or UHD. Data use can be reduced by downloading videos in the Standard Definition format. Learn more about Amazon Video Quality.

If you watch Amazon Prime Video with the Prime Video App on your mobile device, you can adjust the video quality settings within the App by:

  • Going to “My Stuff”
  • Click Gear Icon for Settings
  • Click Stream & Download
  • Click Streaming Quality

    Some devices will allow you to choose whether you stream content in HD or SD by changing the setting in your video player. For more information visit

    Turn off Autoplay to help limit usage when no one is watching.

    Turn on your Chromecast and then at the top right of your TV screen, select your profile and then Settings .

    Select Display & Sound.

    You’ll should then have the option to adjust the “Resolution & Frame Rate” depending on the features available on your TV. To adjust resolution, select Advanced display settings.

    Learn more at

    Select the video content you want to watch.  On the video player, click on the Settings icon (the gear in the top right corner).

    Select the “Video Quality” of your choice from the menu.

    If you are watching Discovery+ over an external device, such as a Chromecast or Roku, you can also adjust resolution settings at the device level.

    Learn more at

    Playback settings for Disney+ can be managed through the Disney+ App using the following steps.  Settings are at the DEVICE level, so you will need to adjust your setting on every individual device on which you are watching Disney+.

    • Download the Disney+ App
    • Login to your account
    • Go to Profile
    • Choose Video Playback Settings

    Roku is a supported device for the app; Xbox One and PS4 are both supported devices, as well as some smart tv’s.

    If your TV is compatible with the app, you can access the video playback settings by:

    • Selecting the profile icon
    • Choose App Settings
    • Use controls for video playback settings

    Turn off Autoplay to limit data usage for a TV series when no one is watching.

    You can reduce the amount of data that Facebook uses by disabling the video auto play feature or setting videos to play in SD only. To manage the video setting on your Facebook account,

    • Login to your Facebook account.
    • Click on the drop-down arrow in the upper right side of the screen
    • Select “settings.”
    • Click on “Video” from the menu on the left of the page.
    • You may now use the drop-down menus to set your video preferences.

    Video Playback settings may be adjusted on some devices. To see if your device has this ability go to

    Turn on “Data Saving Mode” to limit usage. In our lab tests, Duo sessions without Data Saving mode use less than 1GB per hour.


    Google Hangouts Meet is commonly used in schools and small business to host virtual meetings. Learn how you can adjust the settings for a Hangout Meet to match your preferences.

    Hulu playback settings can be adjusted in the video player while you are streaming content. To adjust your playback setting, go to the gear icon in the bottom right of the screen (you will need to be able to see the playback progress bar to access this). Under quality, you may then select to have Hulu automatically detect the optimal quality for your connections speed, or for more control over your data use, you can select the playback quality of your choice. For more information visit the Hulu Help Center.

    Netflix can use up to 7 GB of data per hour at the highest quality settings. The good news is you can control how much data Netflix will use. To change the settings on your Netflix account and manage the amount of data used, go to “My Account.” Then find the “Playback Settings” located in the Profile section. You may then choose from a Low, Medium, High or Auto data setting (depending on your Netflix subscription plan). Go to Netflix to learn more.

    Peacock TV does not currently allow manual adjustment of your resolution settings, but streaming quality is determined by your subscription level.  Content in the free package will stream in HD (typically 720p).  Some content is available in UHD and 4K only with the premium subscriptions.

    You may be able to adjust your resolution settings at the device level if watching Peacock over an external device like a Firestick, Chromecast, Roku, etc.

    Learn more on Peacock’s website.

    Downloading the initial games and downloading updates to a large number of games at once are the largest data using activities on Playstation gaming devices – far more than actually playing games. Each game should provide information on the size of the initial download and any subsequent updates. You can restrict the data usage by turning the app refresh in the background option to off. As long as you do not download anything and keep the updates shut down, you will be able to save a lot of data. Remove games you are no longer playing to prevent data usage you don’t need.

    During the initial setup, your Roku player will analyze your connection to determine the resolution supported by your TV and will automatically select the highest resolution.

    To change the display type manually, press Home on your Roku remote and scroll to Settings.  Select Display Type.  Choose one of the available display types.  They are typically listed in order from the lowest resolution (least data usage, lowest-quality picture) to the highest resolution (most data usage, best-quality picture).

    Go to Roku Support to learn more.

    Windows 10 is known for using its fair share of data. Learn more about how to manage the amount of data your Windows 10 device is using with these three quick steps at

    Xbox gaming consoles can use a large amount of data when the system or a game you are playing needs an update. The best way to avoid a large unexpected bill with gaming is to remove games you no longer play. If you have 50 games on a box, all 50 can update at once which can be a huge amount of data.  To learn how to update your xbox manually, check out these instructions. Though the amount of data used by different games varies widely, this chart can provide an estimate of the update sizes of many popular games. If you are curious to see how much data your xbox is currently using, follow these instructions. Once your xbox begins downloading an update, make sure to leave it connected and let it finish, or it will start over again next time you connect.

    YouTube offers a couple of options for changing the video playback size. This first option requires you to be logged in to your YouTube account. Click on the account icon in the upper right corner of the screen and select the gear icon to adjust your YouTube settings. Next click on “playback” in the menu on the right of the screen and adjust the settings.

    If you don’t have a YouTube account, or are not signed in, use the settings within each video to adjust the size of the video. To do so, simply begin the video you want to watch. Once the video has started, mouse over the lower third of the video to make the control bar appear. Click on the gear icon and select “quality.” You should see an array of options for adjusting the size of the video, where the larger the number, the more data that video will use.

    YouTube TV (the Live TV subscription that looks just like cable) automatically makes adjustments to the quality of the picture to match the resolution of the program you are watching and your connection speed at the time. Because Wide Open Internet is so fast, it will usually default to HD or higher, but it is very simple to switch to SD by following these steps based on your device:

    On a smart TV or mobile device:

    1. Open YouTube TV
    2. Play a video or TV channel
    3. Click “More” in the video player
    4. Click Quality
    5. Select the video quality

    On most smart TV’s, this is as simple as arrowing down with the remote two times and then over to the left to the little “HD” icon during whatever program you are currently watching. Then select an SD option and hit OK on your remote.

    YouTubeTV Resolution Settings

    Changing the video resolution of a YouTubeTV channel or program

    On a computer:

    1. Visit YouTube TV
    2. Play a video or TV channel
    3. Click “Settings” in the video player
    4. Click Quality
    5. Select the video quality

    This will only change the picture quality for the video or channel that’s currently playing, so you may need to make this change again each time you switch to a different program or channel. However, it is possible on some devices to make a device-wide adjustment to the picture quality. This option will most readily be available to those using the mobile app. Instead of selecting an actual picture quality, you will be presented with “Auto”, “Higher picture quality” and “Data saver” options, with the selected picture setting automatically applying to all videos watched on that device. To check if this option is available on a device, the option can be found under the general YouTube TV settings menu.

    Change video quality permanently:

    1. Open YouTube TV
    2. Click profile picture
    3. Select Settings
    4. Click on “Video quality preferences” (if available)
    5. Select the video quality

    Zoom typically consumes very little data, but for new Zoom users concerned about data usage there is a Settings option to Enable or Disable HD.  Leaving “Enable HD” unchecked will help reduce data usage.