We've seen a lot more data being used the past month with everyone homebound due to the coronavirus. I wanted to give you a few tips on how to keep that usage (and your bill!) down.
How Usage is Calculated
Usage is calculated based on your number of viewers, at what bitrate they are watching, and for how long. We estimate that the average viewer uses 1 GB of data per 1 hour of viewing in 720p. Facebook and YouTube Live do not count towards your usage, but anywhere you have placed our embed code or m3u8 does. On demand counts, as does anyone watching your DVR content.
Managing data on Live Streams
One of the biggest ways you can keep your usage down is to adjust what bitrate you are sending. We recommend that if you are streaming in 720, you keep your bitrate around 2500. For 1080, we recommend 3500. You can go a little higher or lower, this is not set in stone. The higher you go, the more data you will use. If you have a high amount of viewers, you might consider dropping your bitrate by 500. You'll see a drop in your usage without significantly reducing the quality of your stream.
Managing data on Simulated Live Streams
The best way to lower your usage for simlive is to make sure that the files you're uploading and streaming are the proper size. You can use our recommended encoder settings when you're exporting the file. Once the file is uploaded, there's an easy trick to make sure your bitrates are the proper size. Open up a Chrome browser, log into your Stream Monkey account, and go to your File Manager (or Media section, if you are in our new platform). Click the Preview button on that file, hit the settings button, and click on auto. This will show you the bitrates for that video:
You can see here that the highest bitrate is 2960. That's a great bitrate. If you see a number larger than 5000 here, your file is too large and will use a significant amount of data.
What do do if you go over
First you should know that we don't cut off your streams if you go over on your usage. If you go over significantly, we recommend that you reach out to us before the end of the month and let us know that you'd like to upgrade your plan, and we can backdate it to the current month so you don't incur overages. If we don't hear from you, we'll simply charge you for the overages on your next bill.
I hope this helps! Please feel free to reach out to our team if you have any questions. Stay safe, and happy streaming!