Binge-watching your favorite programs and movies on Disney+, Netflix and/or other streaming-video services might cost you hundreds of dollars a year beyond the subscription fees. The culprit? A “data cap” imposed by your home Internet service provider.

Some Internet providers—including Comcast, Cox and AT&T—set monthly caps. That may not be a problem if you don’t do a lot of binge-watching and mainly use your Internet service to visit websites and listen to music. 

If you do like to binge-watch, you may not realize that you could quickly go over a monthly data allowance. Streaming a one-hour TV show in HD uses up a big chunk of data, perhaps 3 gigabytes (GB). If you exceed the monthly cap, the service provider may slow speeds or impose an extra fee. Examples: Xfinity from Comcast may charge an extra $10 for every 50 GB over the limit…or an extra $50 for unlimited data that month.

The typical monthly data cap is one terabyte (1,024 GB). That means you could hit your limit at home in as few as 10 hours of streaming video daily. This is very easy to do if there are multiple users in your home and/or you treat streaming as though it’s traditional TV, leaving it on just for background noise. Self-defense… 

Monitor your usage on your Internet provider’s app.

Disable autoplay or log out after you finish watching. When a show or movie ends, most streaming services automatically keep playing related content. Check the settings of your streaming device or the service you use to turn off this feature. 

Opt for an Internet service that has no data caps. These include Frontier, Optimum, Spectrum and Verizon Fios. 

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