Disney+ data usage tested — with surprising results

MyBroadband has tested how much data Disney+ consumes in South Africa and found that the video streaming service’s “Data Saver” mode does not work.

We previously tested the data consumption of various streaming services in South Africa.

To ensure our results were comparable, we used the same setup as before — streaming through Google Chrome on a Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 with a 2496×1664 display.

For our first test, we streamed two hours of The Book of Boba Fett using the default “auto” setting.

We recorded the data consumption using Glasswire, and the 2 hours of streaming consumed 1.2 GB of data.

The highest resolution we could set the stream to was full HD — 1080p.

However, given the amount of data used compared to services like Showmax that features 720p content, “auto” on Disney+ seems to default to 720p.

We then set the streaming quality to the lowest option, where it does not give a resolution, but only states “Data saver”.

After streaming another two hours we found that Disney+ had consumed another 1.2 GB — exactly the same as before.

To try and verify our results, we streamed for two hours on the HD (720p) setting, which is between the low and full HD settings. Once again, it used 1.2 GB.

While this is a reasonable data consumption for 720p “HD Ready” content, some users may want to stream using capped mobile data plans.

For them, Data Saver mode is an essential feature.

When we tested data saving settings on other prominent streaming services, DStv went as low as 258.5 MB for two hours of streaming in its 360p mode — nearly 5 times less than Disney+ uses.

This may be an issue that Disney+ is still working on, as we noticed many users reporting glitchy experiences after its South African launch.

MyBroadband contacted The Walt Disney Company Africa for comment and it said it was investigating the issue.

Streaming Data Use Compared
Streaming Service Default Setting Data Used Lowest Setting Data Used
Disney+ Auto 1.2 GB Low (Data Saver) 1.2 GB
Netflix Auto 598.0 MB Low (0.3GB/H) 550.8 MB
DStv Catch Up Highest 983.3 MB Low (360p) 258.5 MB
Showmax Maximum 1.0 GB Low (0.3GB/H) 593.4 MB
DStv Live Highest 1.1 GB Low (360p) 388.6 MB
Prime Video Best (6.84GB/H) 7.4 GB Good (0.38GB/H) 575.8 MB

Now read: DStv vs Openview vs StarSat decoder and dish price comparison

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Disney+ data usage tested — with surprising results