Amazon's Fire TV Can Be a Data Hog

A blog post on Listen reports that Amazon's freshly-based Fire TV may be a data hog for many users. The news comes from blogger Tyler Hayes who reports that he received an email from Cox Cable stating that he reached the monthly data limit.

"With the particular speed of service I'm signed up for, I get 250 GB/month," Hayes writes. "That data allotment has always been enough in the past, even streaming all TV, movies, music and having 10+ connected devices in the house."

After receiving the email, Hayes immediately assumed that someone nearby was leeching off his wireless network, and changed the router's administrator and wireless access passwords. He also checked his wife's computer as well as his Mac.

Eventually, Hayes figured out that the Fire TV device consumed 80 GB of data in a single day. Once he unplugged the box, the data consumption went back to normal. "This seemed weird until I went back through some of the Fire TV's features and realized ASAP – the feature to predictively cache shows you watch – was the culprit," Hayes writes.

Amazon launched Fire TV back in April, a $99 set-top-box for streaming movies, music and playing Android games. This device also includes a service called Advanced Streaming and Prediction (ASAP), which according to Amazon "predicts which movies and TV episodes you'll want to watch and buffers them for playback before you even hit play."

Unfortunately, users can't turn this feature off. The good news is that Amazon looked into the matter and determined that the data gulping has nothing to do with ASAP, but stems from the screen saver images.

"You've helped us find an edge case bug related to our screensaver," Amazon's email states. "There is a small possibility if a customer uses the 'mosaic' feature (not the default setting) on the screensaver, images will not be cached. We're working on a software update that will fix this bug."

To avoid the data gulping issue, customers should turn off the mosaic view for the screensaver until the problem is addressed.

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  • Christopher1
    Time for companies to improve internet infrastructure.

    More time to ban caps. You get X level of service 24/7 in Mbps and any other 'fiddling' is banned.
  • razor512
    Transfer caps are not an infrastructure issue, they are completely made up as a way to oversell, and discourage the use of the internet in a way that will take advantage of the speed you are paying for.

    Think of it as a politician restricting air travel to an altitude of 20 feet. It will effectively ban air travel without violating the the right to travel.

    Networks are limited by throughput, e.g., a Gigabit connection can give 10 customers a 100mbit connection. An ISP builds out infrastructure to provide a certain amount of throughput, they then price based on throughput, e.g., a 100mbit connection will cost more than a 50mbit connection. The issue is what happens if you want to sell more than you have? Well you cannot technically do that, but you can still make it work if you find a way to make customers not use what they pay for.
  • Anonymous
    80gb screensaver, not bad!