A freelance writer got a rude shock when the Kindle Fire TV managed to chew up his entire monthly bandwidth allotment with Cox Cable, all 250GB of it, in just days.
Tyler Hayes, a writer for Fast Company, documented the mess on his personal blog. He was notified early last month by his cable provider that he'd blown through his entire monthly download cap, which he had set to 250GB.
"That data allotment has always been enough in the past, even streaming all TV, movies, music and having 10+ connected devices in the house," he wrote.
After some sleuthing, he used the Mac app Little Snitch and saw 80GB had been consumed the prior day, and a few days had gone through 60GB. In desperation, he turned off the Kindle Fire TV and switched back to the Roku box. Usage levels promptly returned to normal.
Hayes suspected that it might be attributable to ASAP – the feature to predictively cache shows you might want to watch based on what you are already watching. And as he noted, there was no way to turn the feature off.
"The Fire TV is fast, its large picture visual UI makes Apple TV and Roku feel ancient, and yet I still can’t use the box because it consumes too much data," he wrote.
Amazon contacted him on June 24, and six days later, he got a response. It wasn't ASAP, it was the screen saver. Amazon told him:
We have confirmed this issue was not caused by ASAP. You’ve helped us find an edge case bug related to our screensaver – there is a small possibility if a customer uses the “mosaic” feature (not the default setting) on the screensaver images will not be cached. We’re working on a software update that will fix this bug, and in the meantime you can turn off the mosaic view for the screensaver to avoid the issue.
Bandwidth caps are the bane of home users, but as Tyler pointed out, with a connected home like his he still managed to stay well under the 250GB cap. The bummer of this all, to me, is we don't have a PC version of Little Snitch. I think most folks could use that.