Network - Wireless & Wired Connections

Help & troubleshooting for network issues, including connecting your device to your home Wi-Fi network, connecting to public networks, troubleshooting wireless issues & ethernet connections, and optimizing streaming performance.
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mmajunkie7
Level 7

Roku taking up too much data

Hey guys, basically I'm wondering why my roommate's roku is taking up all of our data. I have a 300gb data plan through Cable One. I've just received my 3rd and final notice stating that we've gone over our data plan. Now I purposely stopped playing Xbox online, and I only download maybe 3-4 movies and tv shows each a week. The roommate and I have different days off from work, so I decided to check the data usage on our days off. When the roku is not in use, it still takes up data, but just not as much as when its in use. On his days off, the roku will stream around 25gb A DAY! How is this possible? Does anybody have any suggestions on what I could do to significantly lower our data usage? I believe he has a Roku 2. He also states that before he lived here, he was using AT&T and the house had about 5 rokus going at once and they never reached their data limit and the bill was always $30. I apologize if this thread is in the wrong section. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you!
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45 Replies
mikebdoss
Level 7

Re: Roku taking up too much data

"mmajunkie7" wrote:
Hey guys, basically I'm wondering why my roommate's roku is taking up all of our data. I have a 300gb data plan through Cable One. I've just received my 3rd and final notice stating that we've gone over our data plan. Now I purposely stopped playing Xbox online, and I only download maybe 3-4 movies and tv shows each a week. The roommate and I have different days off from work, so I decided to check the data usage on our days off. When the roku is not in use, it still takes up data, but just not as much as when its in use. On his days off, the roku will stream around 25gb A DAY! How is this possible? Does anybody have any suggestions on what I could do to significantly lower our data usage? I believe he has a Roku 2. He also states that before he lived here, he was using AT&T and the house had about 5 rokus going at once and they never reached their data limit and the bill was always $30. I apologize if this thread is in the wrong section. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you!


If he's watching in HD, he's using about 3GB/hour, so if he's streaming for 8 hours, that would get you to 25GB/day. You can set the Roku to lower quality, and you can set some individual channels to use a lower quality stream as well (Netflix is especially good at this).

This isn't limited to Roku; anything you're streaming with will pull down this much.
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Basil
Level 10

Re: Roku taking up too much data

"mmajunkie7" wrote:
Hey guys, basically I'm wondering why my roommate's roku is taking up all of our data. I have a 300gb data plan through Cable One. I've just received my 3rd and final notice stating that we've gone over our data plan. Now I purposely stopped playing Xbox online, and I only download maybe 3-4 movies and tv shows each a week. The roommate and I have different days off from work, so I decided to check the data usage on our days off. When the roku is not in use, it still takes up data, but just not as much as when its in use. On his days off, the roku will stream around 25gb A DAY! How is this possible? Does anybody have any suggestions on what I could do to significantly lower our data usage? I believe he has a Roku 2. He also states that before he lived here, he was using AT&T and the house had about 5 rokus going at once and they never reached their data limit and the bill was always $30. I apologize if this thread is in the wrong section. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

Roku, like any device, doesn't care if anyone is watching, or if the TV's on or off. It's a machine.

If the Roku is actually using that much data, it's because it's streaming. Is your roommate starting the Roku device, turning off the TV and leaving, and thinking the Roku has stopped streaming? Because, in this scenario, it's still streaming.

By the way, how are you certain it's the Roku? I'm not doubting that your data usage isn't excessive, but you haven't posted anything that indicates it's the Roku. How do you conclude it's the Roku?
Basil
https://www.basilsblog.com/
Roku Ultra (4660)
Apple TV (5th gen), TiVo

Previous:
Roku boxes from every generation.
Apple TV (2nd, 3rd, 4th gen)
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mmajunkie7
Level 7

Re: Roku taking up too much data

I download 3-4 movies a week, which is roughly 5gb or lower and a couple tv shows which are roughly 300mb each. I dont use anything else that would eat up data, besides my phone, which I dont stream anything on. I've checked the bandwith usage on each day, and the days he's off (which the roku will stream all day long) takes up around 25gb. I'm almost certain it's the roku eating up all the data. What else could it be? I was 80gb over my 300gb plan.
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mike_ekim
Level 7

Re: Roku taking up too much data

Neighbors could be stealing your wifi.
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Basil
Level 10

Re: Roku taking up too much data

"mmajunkie7" wrote:
... What else could it be? ...

Check the devices connected to your network. Do you recognize them all? There could be other stuff on your network if you aren't running a properly secure network.

If you unplug the Roku, does the high data usage stop? Because if it continues, it's not the Roku.

You haven't addressed whether or not the Roku is left streaming. Are you understanding that you can press PLAY, turn off the TV, walk away, and it will continue to stream?

There's a lot of missing information here, and it's hard to nail down what the problem is until that information is provided.
Basil
https://www.basilsblog.com/
Roku Ultra (4660)
Apple TV (5th gen), TiVo

Previous:
Roku boxes from every generation.
Apple TV (2nd, 3rd, 4th gen)
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mmajunkie7
Level 7

Re: Roku taking up too much data

I apologize, the roku stays plugged in. Abd yes, the only device I see connected to my network is my modem and that roku. When he leaves I'm assuming it's at the home screen but I will make 100% sure some time today. I was under the impression that if you're not watching anything, then it can't be using bandwith. He also said he has the automatic updates turned off and does it himself manually. But I will find out as soon as I can. Thank you for your help though!
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Basil
Level 10

Re: Roku taking up too much data

"mmajunkie7" wrote:
I apologize, the roku stays plugged in. Abd yes, the only device I see connected to my network is my modem and that roku. When he leaves I'm assuming it's at the home screen but I will make 100% sure some time today. I was under the impression that if you're not watching anything, then it can't be using bandwith. He also said he has the automatic updates turned off and does it himself manually. But I will find out as soon as I can. Thank you for your help though!

You can't turn off automatic updates on Roku, so there may be a miscommunication there.

When you get near the TV, turn it on. The TV, I mean. Don't touch the Roku remote. Switch the input to the one the Roku uses. You'll either see a screen saver (indicating the Roku is not streaming) or you'll see something playing, indicating it is. But, it's that simple to test: turn on the TV and look.
Basil
https://www.basilsblog.com/
Roku Ultra (4660)
Apple TV (5th gen), TiVo

Previous:
Roku boxes from every generation.
Apple TV (2nd, 3rd, 4th gen)
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mikebdoss
Level 7

Re: Roku taking up too much data

"mmajunkie7" wrote:
I apologize, the roku stays plugged in. Abd yes, the only device I see connected to my network is my modem and that roku. When he leaves I'm assuming it's at the home screen but I will make 100% sure some time today. I was under the impression that if you're not watching anything, then it can't be using bandwith. He also said he has the automatic updates turned off and does it himself manually. But I will find out as soon as I can. Thank you for your help though!


The Roku (just like any network device) uses a small amount of data when it's not actively streaming, but it's nowhere near the amount used while streaming. But like I said above, if he's streaming 8 hours a day when he's off, that would easily account for the 25GB/day.
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Dick_Drivel
Level 7

Re: Roku taking up too much data

The only way to be sure is to unplug the Roku when not in use and see if usage drops during those hours. Unless a movie is left on streaming inadvertently, it is unlikely that the Roku is the source of your overage.
Particularly if your room mate is away for several days/weeks at a time and the Roku is unplugged you should be able to confirm or rule out your suspicion, otherwise you're barking up the wrong tree...
I'm in the habit of unplugging mine every night, along with the TV and rest of stuff connected to the TV.
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