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How to control the Bandwidth for Your Roku Box, the Roku and Roku Plus
How to control the Bandwidth for Your Roku Box, the Roku and Roku Plus
Welcome to the 1776.CLUB Weekly Blog.  This Blog is a multi-topic look at different technologies as well as small business ideas, and from time to time the unusual. I look forward to entertaining and informing.  Please tell others where you found me.
Welcome to the 1776.CLUB Weekly Blog.  This Blog is a multi-topic look at different technologies, do it Yourself,  as well as small business ideas, and from time to time the unusual. I look forward to entertaining and informing.  Please tell others where you found me.
Bandwidth Control of the Roku Box
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I purchased a 4K wide screen TV the other day, and man was I loving it!  Problem.... it eats up the bandwidth like nobody's business!

So, I discovered the 3.5 meg per second streaming video on my Roku makes the Internet unusable for everyone else in the house.   I soon found myself up against
my ISP’s bandwidth cap, and I needed to limit my data usage.

If  you are like me, and don't care about the 4K experience on older Analog Broadcast TV Shows as there is no improvement in the quality.  You just want to watch a few flicks in HD now and then.

More than likely you’ve probably browsed the Roku’s settings looking for a bandwidth cap, and found nothing.  You thought it was hopeless and resolved yourself to just watch a hand full of movies and that would be it. Surprise!  There is a way to regulate your bandwidth!

The Roku does offer a system-wide cap on bandwidth usage: it’s just hidden from the general public for reasons unknown.  Word of Warning, if you unplug the power to the Roku, it will revert back to the default 3.5 megs per second data rate.  So you will need to reset your bandwidth setting each time you plug it back in.

On your Roku remote, you need to press a particular series of buttons in the right order.

You need to press:
The Home button 5 times.
The Rewind button 3imes.
And Finally, the Fast Forward button 2 times.

Then you will get this screen as seen below.

Bandwidth Control of the Roku Box

Bit Rate Override:
As you can see the rates vary from 3.5 Mbps to 0.3 Mbps, the .3 being the lowest rate. 

Note that, by setting a limit you are putting a ceiling on how good your streaming videos will look.  Just remember, many video sites can go well over the 720p content and go way beyond the 3.5 megabits per second as the Roku Box will go to the automatic mode as default.

Remember, 720 dpi is not full HD, but also isn’t awful on a 55" or 65" HDTV. Go much lower than 1.5mbps, however, and your videos will likely be at SD or worse.  Just remember most old time TV shows were 288 x 240 dpi, or VHS quality.  So why waste bandwidth when you can drop it to 0.6 or even 0.3 to watch them?

Of course, this is the entire point of a bandwidth limit. Your high end videos won’t look as great, but they’ll also clog up your “bandwidth input” a lot less.  If that trade-off is worth it to you, this hidden screen can help you out, even if you only use it toward the end of the month, when you’re up against your bandwidth allowance it can make a difference.

AT&T and other DSL Providers limit Bandwidth to 150 Gigs per month:
For those who stream video from online sources, the speed at which data can be sent into their home is critical. If your connection isn't fast enough, streaming video can sometimes stall as it buffers in the receiving device, or the content provider might send a lower-quality stream because it senses that your available speed can't handle anything more.

What many refer to as "Internet speed" is actually the bandwidth available to accept data from the Internet into your home. Measured in megabits per second (Mbps), it's the amount of data that can be transferred from "the cloud" to your connected devices in one second.
Most of my life I lived in a rural area. We were excited to get DSL with speeds over 4 Mbps. At that speed, a HD-denition Netflix movie would not stall and buffer or freeze.


OK its not 4K, but do you have a choice?:
With the new 4K HDTV I used 39 gigabytes over my limit the first month on DSL with AT&T.  I soon found that most programs look pretty good even when I dropped them down to 0.6 Mbps.  They are watchable.  At 0.3 it is only good for old videos from pre-year 2000.  Here is the basic run down.......

We usually measure bitrate in Kbps (Kilobits per second) or Mbps (Megabits per second). Note that this is a different scale than used to calculate file size. The more common kilobytes and megabytes are 8 times larger than their bit-cousins. Eight megabits = one megabyte.

While bitrate and resolution are distinct settings, they are also linked. Higher resolutions should be matched with higher bitrates. That’s because higher resolutions demand more bits to “carry” a greater amount of image data to the viewer.

Here is a list of common video resolutions and the bitrates that I recommend you use along with them:

426 x 240 pixels - Also known as 240p, recommended bitrate = 500 Kbps
640 x 360 - AKA 360p, recommended bitrate = 1 Mbps
854 x 480 - 480p, recommended bitrate = 3 Mbps
1280 x 720 - 720p, recommended bitrate = 5 Mbps
1920 x 1080 - 1080p, recommended bitrate = 8 Mbps
3840 x 2160 - 4K, recommended bitrate = 25 Mbps (rarely used for live streaming)


Higher isn’t always better
There are a few caveats here. First, higher resolutions and bitrates require a faster internet speed. These streams will also use up data via your online video platform faster. In most situations, this is fine-but it’s good to be aware.

Finally, you should be aware that not all users have fast-enough internet to watch higher resolution streams. However, there is a solution to this. It’s called multi-bitrate streaming, and we’ll share how it works below.

How much bandwidth do you need for live streaming?
Now that we’ve covered the ideal settings for your Roku, we can discuss the final part of this puzzle: bandwidth requirements.

As mentioned above, bandwidth is critical for live streaming.  You should also be aware that most Internet connections advertise speeds “up to” a certain number. This is a peak measure and often means that sustained speeds are 25% slower, and frequently even 50% slower. Despite enabling you to watch live streams, these lower than advertised speeds may mean that your connection is inadequate for live streaming.  So if you want to watch live events on say YouTube, depending on your personal taste, SD, or 480 dpi streaming may be adequate.

So How Much Bandwidth? Remember most shows were produced during the Analog TV Days:
Streaming at 64kbps will consume about 28MB or 0.03GB of data, which means you can expect to hit a gigabyte in just over 36 hours.
At 128kbps, hourly data use literally doubles to 56MB or 0.05GB, and that means your watching or listening time will effectively halve to a little over 18 hours.

I watched "Andromeda" TV series, all 5 seasons in one month.  In 720 dpi I ran 160 Gigabytes of bandwidth!  Had I ran it at say, 0.6 which is watchable, I could have cut that down so much I could have included the entire series of Babylon 5 and had fallen below the cap.

So remember... most of you older TV shows and movies were produced for TV of old, and not the UHDTV of today.  Even now, most are humming along below the 1080i bandwidth videos.  Take Gunsmoke for instance.  Watching it at 9 Gbs is foolish as it does not improve the image or sound quality at all.  It can be watched in 0.3 Gbs and it will show up in native resolution!

Now you are armed with the knowledge of how to set the bandwidth on your Roku Box.  Start watching today!

Bandwidth Control of the Roku Box

I purchased a 4K wide screen TV the other day, and man was I loving it!  Problem.... it eats up the bandwidth like nobody's business!

So, I discovered the 3.5 meg per second streaming video on my Roku makes the Internet unusable for everyone else in the house.   I soon found myself up against
my ISP’s bandwidth cap, and I needed to limit my data usage.

If  you are like me, and don't care about the 4K experience on older Analog Broadcast TV Shows as there is no improvement in the quality.  You just want to watch a few flicks in HD now and then.

More than likely you’ve probably browsed the Roku’s settings looking for a bandwidth cap, and found nothing.  You thought it was hopeless and resolved yourself to just watch a hand full of movies and that would be it. Surprise!  There is a way to regulate your bandwidth!

The Roku does offer a system-wide cap on bandwidth usage: it’s just hidden from the general public for reasons unknown.  Word of Warning, if you unplug the power to the Roku, it will revert back to the default 3.5 megs per second data rate.  So you will need to reset your bandwidth setting each time you plug it back in.

On your Roku remote, you need to press a particular series of buttons in the right order.

You need to press:
The Home button 5 times.
The Rewind button 3imes.
And Finally, the Fast Forward button 2 times.

Then you will get this screen as seen below.
Bit Rate Override:
As you can see the rates vary from 3.5 Mbps to 0.3 Mbps, the .3 being the lowest rate. 

Note that, by setting a limit you are putting a ceiling on how good your streaming videos will look.  Just remember, many video sites can go well over the 720p content and go way beyond the 3.5 megabits per second as the Roku Box will go to the automatic mode as default.

Remember, 720 dpi is not full HD, but also isn’t awful on a 55" or 65" HDTV. Go much lower than 1.5mbps, however, and your videos will likely be at SD or worse.  Just remember most old time TV shows were 288 x 240 dpi, or VHS quality.  So why waste bandwidth when you can drop it to 0.6 or even 0.3 to watch them?

Of course, this is the entire point of a bandwidth limit. Your high end videos won’t look as great, but they’ll also clog up your “bandwidth input” a lot less.  If that trade-off is worth it to you, this hidden screen can help you out, even if you only use it toward the end of the month, when you’re up against your bandwidth allowance it can make a difference.

AT&T and other DSL Providers limit Bandwidth to 150 Gigs per month:
For those who stream video from online sources, the speed at which data can be sent into their home is critical. If your connection isn't fast enough, streaming video can sometimes stall as it buffers in the receiving device, or the content provider might send a lower-quality stream because it senses that your available speed can't handle anything more.

What many refer to as "Internet speed" is actually the bandwidth available to accept data from the Internet into your home. Measured in megabits per second (Mbps), it's the amount of data that can be transferred from "the cloud" to your connected devices in one second.
Most of my life I lived in a rural area. We were excited to get DSL with speeds over 4 Mbps. At that speed, a HD-denition Netflix movie would not stall and buffer or freeze.


OK its not 4K, but do you have a choice?:
With the new 4K HDTV I used 39 gigabytes over my limit the first month on DSL with AT&T.  I soon found that most programs look pretty good even when I dropped them down to 0.6 Mbps.  They are watchable.  At 0.3 it is only good for old videos from pre-year 2000.  Here is the basic run down.......

We usually measure bitrate in Kbps (Kilobits per second) or Mbps (Megabits per second). Note that this is a different scale than used to calculate file size. The more common kilobytes and megabytes are 8 times larger than their bit-cousins. Eight megabits = one megabyte.

While bitrate and resolution are distinct settings, they are also linked. Higher resolutions should be matched with higher bitrates. That’s because higher resolutions demand more bits to “carry” a greater amount of image data to the viewer.

Here is a list of common video resolutions and the bitrates that I recommend you use along with them:

426 x 240 pixels - Also known as 240p, recommended bitrate = 500 Kbps
640 x 360 - AKA 360p, recommended bitrate = 1 Mbps
854 x 480 - 480p, recommended bitrate = 3 Mbps
1280 x 720 - 720p, recommended bitrate = 5 Mbps
1920 x 1080 - 1080p, recommended bitrate = 8 Mbps
3840 x 2160 - 4K, recommended bitrate = 25 Mbps (rarely used for live streaming)


Higher isn’t always better
There are a few caveats here. First, higher resolutions and bitrates require a faster internet speed. These streams will also use up data via your online video platform faster. In most situations, this is fine-but it’s good to be aware.

Finally, you should be aware that not all users have fast-enough internet to watch higher resolution streams. However, there is a solution to this. It’s called multi-bitrate streaming, and we’ll share how it works below.

How much bandwidth do you need for live streaming?
Now that we’ve covered the ideal settings for your Roku, we can discuss the final part of this puzzle: bandwidth requirements.

As mentioned above, bandwidth is critical for live streaming.  You should also be aware that most Internet connections advertise speeds “up to” a certain number. This is a peak measure and often means that sustained speeds are 25% slower, and frequently even 50% slower. Despite enabling you to watch live streams, these lower than advertised speeds may mean that your connection is inadequate for live streaming.  So if you want to watch live events on say YouTube, depending on your personal taste, SD, or 480 dpi streaming may be adequate.

So How Much Bandwidth? Remember most shows were produced during the Analog TV Days:
Streaming at 64kbps will consume about 28MB or 0.03GB of data, which means you can expect to hit a gigabyte in just over 36 hours.
At 128kbps, hourly data use literally doubles to 56MB or 0.05GB, and that means your watching or listening time will effectively halve to a little over 18 hours.

I watched "Andromeda" TV series, all 5 seasons in one month.  In 720 dpi I ran 160 Gigabytes of bandwidth!  Had I ran it at say, 0.6 which is watchable, I could have cut that down so much I could have included the entire series of Babylon 5 and had fallen below the cap.

So remember... most of you older TV shows and movies were produced for TV of old, and not the UHDTV of today.  Even now, most are humming along below the 1080i bandwidth videos.  Take Gunsmoke for instance.  Watching it at 9 Gbs is foolish as it does not improve the image or sound quality at all.  It can be watched in 0.3 Gbs and it will show up in native resolution!

Now you are armed with the knowledge of how to set the bandwidth on your Roku Box.  Start watching today!