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Three tips to save money on streaming

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A key strength of smartphones is that aside from calls or productivity purposes, they are also excellent little entertainment units.

The range of video streaming options open to Australians has expanded rapidly in recent years, but with it we've seen an explosion in mobile data usage.

Video streaming is extremely data intensive, and that means it can be very expensive if you're not careful.

Three tips to save on streaming:

1. Use offline viewing

Netflix and Stan both have offline viewing services. This allows you to download TV shows and movies onto your Windows 10 laptop, mobile or tablet to watch without an internet connection.

If you find yourself streaming on-the-go, this option saves you spending your mobile data and running into excess data charges.

These are usually $10 per gigabyte on top of your monthly plan cost.

2. Turn the quality right down

If you often stream while commuting or find yourself playing YouTube clips to keep your kids entertained when you're out, dropping the quality of the video stream down will lessen the cost and avoid buffering delays.

For example, change your Netflix to standard definition and make sure your YouTube is set to the lowest quality: you can change this via the gear icon.

On a similar note, save yourself data costs by switching off auto-play in your Facebook and Instagram feed. You can always tap on videos that do interest you to play them anyway.

3. Check your plan

Some phone providers have deals where you can watch unmetered Netflix or listen to Spotify as much as you like without it counting towards your data limit. If you find yourself regularly binge-watching on-the-go you might want to consider a plan which includes this feature.

Alternatively, if you're regularly going over your data allowance, it could be time to look for a new plan with a higher quota, rather than incurring all those extra usage fees.

Generally speaking Australians use 2-3GB per month on their phones right now, which means that the vast majority of plans don't even meet the needs of video streaming services now, not to mention the needs of users a year or two from now.

Just a few hours of Netflix a month can easily gobble up your mobile quota if you're not careful.

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Alex Kidman is the tech and telco editor at Finder.com.au.
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