Don’t let data caps ruin your entertainment experience!

For some of us, they’re a fact of life. Data caps were originally designed to keep prices low for the 99% of people who use their internet as the provider intended. The whole point of data caps was to discourage people from running servers or file sharing sites from their homes and using up all the bandwidth allocated for a particular neighborhood. Unfortunately, data caps haven’t always kept up with the times, and sometimes threaten average folks who just want to settle in for a little bit of streaming video at the end of the day.

If your provider has a data cap, they probably tell you about it on your monthly bill, and hopefully they also tell you how much data you used during the billing period. If you have kids at home, you may find yourself exceeding that data cap. When you’ve reached your limit, your internet speed may slow dramatically or you could find yourself paying extra. Here are some simple ways to avoid running into that data cap every month:

Set streaming settings on all your devices.
Most streaming apps have settings to limit high-speed connections. Not all do, and this generally has to be done on an app-by-app basis, so be prepared to spend a lot of time on this. There may also be settings on individual devices to limit bandwidth, and you can install monitoring software on your computer to see where the bits and bytes are going. This may not be the best option, because it’s time-consuming and takes quite a bit of monitoring.

Get an antenna.
If you only run into problems occasionally, you may just want to get set up with an over-the-air antenna and live with the slow downloads. Stream a little less and check out all the free HDTV alternatives available in your area. Remember, an antenna is an investment that pays off almost immediately — it costs nothing after the initial purchase to get free HDTV channels, and you will probably be surprised by the sheer number of options out there. It’s very common for there to be 50 channels available over the air, even if your cable company only carries six or seven of them. There are old movies, game shows, public interest programs, and of course ten out of ten of the top-rated programs on TV, all available for free in crystal-clear HD. Suddenly streaming doesn’t seem as interesting, does it?

Upgrade to satellite TV
Yes, I know that there’s a lot out there on streaming devices. I use them too. But if you’re getting strung up by data caps, there’s a better option. Satellite TV doesn’t require an internet connection — although both DIRECTV and DISH can download extra content over the internet — so there’s no need to worry about whether or not your TV viewing is going to be affected by your kids’ streaming habit. You’ll find all the most popular programs, live sports, and plenty of content that’s not available on streaming, plus satellite DVRs have evolved to become one-stop sources for streaming and downloadable content as well. You can easily use your satellite equipment to get the best content available over-the-air or from the sky with no need to worry about data caps. It’s just not an issue… watch as much as you would like.

If you’re interested in learning more about your options for watching TV without worrying about data caps, look no further than the professionals at Solid Signal. We’re available over live chat and on the phone at 888-233-7563 to answer any questions you may have!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.