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Video Download Services & Hardware > Netflix streaming quality
T-Bone's Avatar T-Bone 12:35 PM 01-02-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

At best you'll have 5.4Mbps real time which won't get you the 1080p encodes. Once in a while you might bounce into them but overall that's simply not enough bandwidth to stream them.

Sure, I understand that. My main point was that non-HD looks like crap, and HD (720p in my case if that's what I am getting) may look OK on xbox/720p 50" plasma, but looks like crap on PC/110" 1080p PJ.

Maybe the xbox encodes are different than PC encodes. This thread is large... guess I could search it

Although I did sample Vudu via my Panny BDT-210 BD player - displayed on 110" screen... Vudu stated I was getting 720p. Far and away better than anything that I've watched from Netflix HD.

-T

Charles R's Avatar Charles R 01:42 PM 01-02-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Bone View Post

My main point was that non-HD looks like crap, and HD (720p in my case if that's what I am getting) may look OK on xbox/720p 50" plasma, but looks like crap on PC/110" 1080p PJ.

SD has always looked lousy in the last decade I have had projectors whether streamed or not. Of course the 1080p encodes aren't Blu-ray quality (including audio) but I don't think that's their target market and as such I wouldn't expect them to compete.
michaeltscott's Avatar michaeltscott 01:54 PM 01-02-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Bone View Post

Maybe the xbox encodes are different than PC encodes. This thread is large... guess I could search it

That was true before the new version of the Xbox player that appeared with the latest dashboard upgrade. There was once three or four different set of encodes in use but I think that they're trying to converge on a single one (AVC w/Dolby audio introduced with the PS3 player). The Xbox and TiVo were using the oldest encoding (WM3 with WMA audio, I think).
NxNW's Avatar NxNW 09:58 AM 01-03-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

TiVo [was] using the oldest encoding (WM3 with WMA audio, I think).

Does anyone know if there are plans to change this? TiVo has been rolling out significant software upgrades lately and has a major overhaul planned for Q1 2012. I wonder if they will change how they stream Netflix?
wingnut4772's Avatar wingnut4772 10:06 AM 01-03-2012
I've decided to get rid of my DSL and get Comcast. DSL is just too darn slow.
michaeltscott's Avatar michaeltscott 01:20 PM 01-03-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by NxNW View Post

Does anyone know if there are plans to change this? TiVo has been rolling out significant software upgrades lately and has a major overhaul planned for Q1 2012. I wonder if they will change how they stream Netflix?

TiVo has confirmed that they're working on a new 1080p-capable Netflix player. No information has been given as to when to expect it or whether some version of it will come to the Series3 models (which obviously can't display 1080p). 1080p would imply the newest set of encodings.
NxNW's Avatar NxNW 02:28 PM 01-03-2012
Thank you for that link. Can't wait to see what happens.
Jim McC's Avatar Jim McC 08:22 PM 01-03-2012
At Netflix' end, what is the source of a Netflix movie/TV show when it streams? Does it come off of a giant hard drive or what? Thanks.
michaeltscott's Avatar michaeltscott 11:51 PM 01-03-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McC View Post

At Netflix' end, what is the source of a Netflix movie/TV show when it streams? Does it come off of a giant hard drive or what? Thanks.

Probably out of some room full of equipment which looks like this:

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)


A picture of one of Amazon's data centers

This equipment would not belong to Netflix, but to a Content Delivery Network company (CDN) who they pay to host their content (last I heard they were using Amazon's CloudFront service, a bit ironic since Amazon's Prime Instant Video is kind of a competitor for Netflix's streaming service).
Keenan's Avatar Keenan 12:13 AM 01-04-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

Probably out of some room full of equipment which looks like this:



A picture of one of Amazon's data centers[/center][/spoiler]
This equipment would not belong to Netflix, but to a Content Delivery Network company (CDN) who they pay to host their content (last I heard they were using Amazon's CloudFront service, a bit ironic since Amazon's Prime Instant Video is kind of a competitor for Netflix's streaming service).

I thought they were using Level 3, and is what prompted the big blowup between Comcast and Level 3 over the payment structure, the huge influx of Netflix content? Prior to that I believe Netflix had been using Akamai as their primary CDN.
michaeltscott's Avatar michaeltscott 12:46 AM 01-04-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

I thought they were using Level 3, and is what prompted the big blowup between Comcast and Level 3 over the payment structure, the huge influx of Netflix content? Prior to that I believe Netflix had been using Akamai as their primary CDN.

See "Four Reasons We Choose Amazon’s Cloud as Our Computing Platform" at Netflix's Tech Blog.

EDIT: I'm confused--they do seem to still be using Level 3, but what they write on the engineering blog implies that they're storing their content in AWS S3. Whatever .
Keenan's Avatar Keenan 10:17 AM 01-04-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

See "Four Reasons We Choose Amazon's Cloud as Our Computing Platform" at Netflix's Tech Blog.

EDIT: I'm confused--they do seem to still be using Level 3, but what they write on the engineering blog implies that they're storing their content in AWS S3. Whatever .

Maybe what they do with AWS is everything but the actual storage and delivery of the content, it sorts of reads that way anyway. It sounds like AWS does the software frontends/UI interaction/websites, etc, but maybe the content is still coming from Level 3.

I don't know...
b_scott's Avatar b_scott 12:28 PM 01-04-2012
I can't understand why they removed the "saved watch later" section. Half the time I don't know what expired and won't remember to get it another way.
michaeltscott's Avatar michaeltscott 12:37 PM 01-04-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by b_scott View Post

I can't understand why they removed the "saved watch later" section. Half the time I don't know what expired and won't remember to get it another way.

Supposedly they only removed the display of the titles. If you had something on your IQ when it expired, if it comes back it'll return to your IQ. Apparently displaying them confused a lot of customers.

I don't know why they do a lot of things. They used to list every registered streaming device individually and let you unregister them individually. Now there's only a "unregister everything" request. If you do it to unregister one you have to go back and register all the others again .
aaronwt's Avatar aaronwt 12:46 PM 01-04-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

Supposedly they only removed the display of the titles. If you had something on your IQ when it expired, if it comes back it'll return to your IQ. Apparently displaying them confused a lot of customers.

I don't know why they do a lot of things. They used to list every registered streaming device individually and let you unregister them individually. Now there's only a "unregister everything" request. If you do it to unregister one you have to go back and register all the others again .

I like it better now since there is a fifty device limit. Before I had to constantly unregister and register devices depending on which one I wanted to use. Now I just register them all and I don't have to worry about them again.
michaeltscott's Avatar michaeltscott 01:06 PM 01-04-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Maybe what they do with AWS is everything but the actual storage and delivery of the content, it sorts of reads that way anyway. It sounds like AWS does the software frontends/UI interaction/websites, etc, but maybe the content is still coming from Level 3.

They also use Amazon's "Elastic Compute Cloud" to generate their stream encodings (see this):
Quote:


Netflix is leveraging many different AWS services today for a variety of mission-critical workloads, including:
  • Delivering content to members faster and on more devices: Netflix is utilizing the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) to transcode and store the movie subscription service's growing movie content library for delivery on new platforms, including the Nintendo Wii and the Apple iPad. The flexibility and scalability of AWS allows Netflix to utilize vast numbers of servers to transcode and store TV episodes and movies into new formats quickly, and AWS pay-as-you-go pricing ensures that Netflix pays only for resources used. Netflix can do all of this without being exposed to the costs and burden of maintaining large amounts of infrastructure that go underutilized.
  • Maintaining a highly available and resilient member-facing website: Netflix runs several of its website application functions on AWS, and is rapidly migrating more of these components to AWS. The important functions migrating to AWS include the delivery of movie and member metadata within the Netflix website. Using this data, Netflix is able to continue developing a more accurate recommendation engine, ensuring that Netflix members receive the TV episodes and movies they want, when they want them.
  • Analyzing data to improve streaming quality: Netflix is using Amazon Elastic Map Reduce to analyze streaming sessions and extract business metrics around performance, viewing patterns and more, which enables Netflix to continue to improve the quality of streaming.


Brian Conrad's Avatar Brian Conrad 01:18 PM 01-05-2012
Looks like the problem with my Sony S480 on Netflix and Amazon were due to the "Auto" which was probably using AT&T's DNS server and when manually configured to Google's 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 connects fine. I might have to see if the Samsung was using a AT&T or maybe a different DNS server.
dfiler's Avatar dfiler 02:26 PM 01-05-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Conrad View Post

Looks like the problem with my Sony S480 on Netflix and Amazon were due to the "Auto" which was probably using AT&T's DNS server and when manually configured to Google's 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 connects fine. I might have to see if the Samsung was using a AT&T or maybe a different DNS server.

If I understand correctly, you're talking about the player's network configuration.

Auto would likely mean using the DHCP specified name server. Your router is what is telling the player what it should use as a name server. Routers can be configured to override this value with one specified manually. By default though, it passes along the name server it was assigned via your ISP.

In order to choose the optimal node or farm of the CDN to connect to, you need to be using DNS that is aware of your location. Typically this means using the default name server as assigned by your ISP.

In other words, do nothing other than use the default values and you'll have the optimal configuration. Auto should acheive the best results.

If there is an exception to this I would be interested in hearing the details. Thanks!

Edit:

Hmmm, i'm starting to wonder why DNS is being used for this. Wouldn't it be better for the netflix app to check for itself on a regular basis, which part of the CDN delivers the best performance. Using DNS for this seems like a kludge. Although maybe it is consistent enough that DNS is sufficient. (?)
andyross63's Avatar andyross63 04:26 PM 01-05-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Conrad View Post

Looks like the problem with my Sony S480 on Netflix and Amazon were due to the "Auto" which was probably using AT&T's DNS server and when manually configured to Google's 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 connects fine. I might have to see if the Samsung was using a AT&T or maybe a different DNS server.

With full auto DHCP, the player gets all the values from the router, or your ISP if you connect direct to the modem. In most cases, the DNS will either point at your router if it does DNS proxy, or it will pass on your ISP's DNS addresses.

When my S380 has troubles (started with latest firmware update), it picks up nothing and does not get any addresses. I have to disconnect/reconnect the cable, or I can run through the setup to wake it up.

Also, as mentioned, you are best off using your ISP's DNS servers if possible. Sometimes, different DNS servers may point at different addresses for the same name, typically pointing at the closest or most 'efficient' connection.
Brian Conrad's Avatar Brian Conrad 01:23 PM 01-06-2012
Second night in a row Netflix came right up using the non Auto settings. Yes, theoretically the router's DNS should work but we're talking 2wire junk and AT&T here. Probably also explains why Firefox on this machine has problems resolving servers too. So if it works, don't change it. I may hook up the Samsung to see what it uses (someone suggested it was hitting it's own servers).
NxNW's Avatar NxNW 01:48 PM 01-06-2012
TiVo is now finally rolling out its new HD UI (and Android app if you're interested) but no word if the Netflix client changes in this release.

http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/05/t...treaming-more/

I'm really hoping there's movement on this because I've been watching Downton Abbey streamed via Netflix on my TiVo this week and the "Video Quality" (the point of this thread) is not too good.

I see blotchy color, strangely elevated black levels.

Motion portrayal seems good, no unnatural hitching motion during slow pans, but overall it's basically SD quality with a lot of digital artifacts.

I get the maximum number of "bars" (on my 12 Mb/s cable internet feed) so I don't think network connectivity is involved.

Not to open up a whole can of worms, but have people compared several different delivery mechanisms and made their own conclusions as to quality?

Does it go something like

Roku > PS3 > PC silverlight client > Sony Blu-Ray player embedded client > TiVo > Android phone > ...

or whatever?

Because I'm guessing *currently* TiVo is pretty far down the list.
b_scott's Avatar b_scott 02:15 PM 01-06-2012
glad for the update, but they need update netflix too.
mproper's Avatar mproper 02:24 PM 01-06-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by NxNW View Post

Not to open up a whole can of worms, but have people compared several different delivery mechanisms and made their own conclusions as to quality?

Does it go something like

Roku > PS3 > PC silverlight client > Sony Blu-Ray player embedded client > TiVo > Android phone > ...

or whatever?

Because I'm guessing *currently* TiVo is pretty far down the list.

I'm not sure something like that exists as far as on a device-by-device basis.

Netflix doesn't list "Downtown Abbey" as available in HD, so I'm guessing it's not even an HD title...that most likely is the reason for it looking somewhat shoddy. Maybe try an HD title to see how it compares?

Also, I know there are only a handful of devices that currently support 1080p/5.1 and Tivo isn't one of them, which might also be contributing to your woes. I do know my PS3 (1080p streams) looks tons better than my XBOX (720p streams).

You can find some more info about 1080p support and devices here at this blog, which states perhaps Tivo support for 1080p is coming by year's end (2011) so maybe this update will help with it? http://www.techofthehub.com/2011/10/...ing-to-my.html
NxNW's Avatar NxNW 03:03 PM 01-06-2012
Good point about non-HD version - might not be fair to hold that particular title to the highest PQ standards. Still, we all agree TiVo needs a technology refresh for Netflix streaming.

Thanks for link. As for sound, my system can't do much, so I'm just looking for a clean picture right now.

The Good The Bad and The Weird is often mentioned in this thread as a good example of an HD title for Netflix: it only looks fair on my TiVo. I keep that title in my Instant Queue just so I can check every few months to see if anything has improved. Not much so far..
michaeltscott's Avatar michaeltscott 08:04 PM 01-06-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by NxNW View Post

Good point about non-HD version - might not be fair to hold that particular title to the highest PQ standards. Still, we all agree TiVo needs a technology refresh for Netflix streaming.

Thanks for link. As for sound, my system can't do much, so I'm just looking for a clean picture right now.

The Good The Bad and The Weird is often mentioned in this thread as a good example of an HD title for Netflix: it only looks fair on my TiVo. I keep that title in my Instant Queue just so I can check every few months to see if anything has improved. Not much so far..

I don't know that I'd use The Good the Bad the Weird as a gold standard anymore. For one things, there's quite a bit of judder apparent in the high motion scenes. I used to use it for my bandwidth consumption test, but I switched to Ong Bak 2 because it similarly had a long high complexity action sequence at the beginning and was available on all platforms. Ong Bak 2's encodings are very good--there are martial arts sequences in the rain with thousands of moving particles which don't break up into a pixelated mess. However, it does have a kind of monotonous color palette.

I'm not sure that I have a "gold standard PQ" Netflix title. The HDTV series are generally pretty sharp. Lost looks pretty nice. I've been using a scene at the beginning of the pilot (after-plane-crash chaos on the beach) as my surround sound test standard.

If you'd like to see the difference between Netflix 720p and 1080p, see my post back here
Mr.G's Avatar Mr.G 08:23 AM 01-08-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Conrad View Post

I got a Sony BDP-S480 that arrived last week and picture quality is much better than the Samsung C5500 I was using but boy the network errors to connect! It took me 20 minutes the other night to connect to Netflix after numerous tries. But once connected there were no rebuffering problems. Connecting to Vudu and YouTube was instantaneous. Not sure why Netflix and Amazon would have such problems other than network congestion due to new subscribers and vacation watchers. I'll see what happens this coming week. In the meantime I've posted the problem on the S480 thread over on the Bluray player section. I see from a search others have had similar problems but their solutions didn't necessarily work. The Samsung was never this bad at connecting.

Well last night's experience on Netflix was a new low - performance wise. Tried watching "Bloodworth", it would start in HD for a minute or so before dropping back to 2 dots on my Roku XD. Kept trying other HD movies with same result. Switched to Amazon and watched "Mrs. Doubtfire" in HD which worked great until final 15 minutes when it froze the player and I had to power cycle to get it operational again. Restarted the movie but only managed 3 dots, no HD. It was a Saturday night so perhaps that's the reason for the slow down and my Roadrunner 10 Mbps download speed was being compromised. I've ordered an WD Live streamer in hopes of narrowing this down to the player or internet.
met_fan's Avatar met_fan 01:03 PM 01-08-2012
I have constant Netflix buffering issues with my Apple TV 2, however, no such problems with my Xbox or Boxee Box. Everything is wired via Ethernet. Anyone else notice problems on the ATV?
Brian Conrad's Avatar Brian Conrad 01:26 PM 01-08-2012
I had problems with Netflix last night too trying to watch an episode of the third season of "Being Human" in HD. This happened around 8 PM but by 8:15 the rebuffering episodes stopped. Probably too many people trying to watch Netflix causing network congestion. This is why I usually reserve weekends for discs.
xcrunner529's Avatar xcrunner529 01:49 PM 01-08-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by met_fan View Post

I have constant Netflix buffering issues with my Apple TV 2, however, no such problems with my Xbox or Boxee Box. Everything is wired via Ethernet. Anyone else notice problems on the ATV?

Yep, all the time when everything else is usually fine. There's a long thread over at the Apple forums that has been going for quite awhile. One user over there did a lot of testing and research and narrowed it down to a specific 3rd party CDN Netflix uses causing issues and while the Apple TV would be served that CDN, other devices in the same location would not get it.

Long story short, the guy got in contact with Apple and it was resolved by Netflix for several months, but has now started up again. It sucks because I consider it to have one of the most polished Netflix interfaces.
undecided's Avatar undecided 02:07 PM 01-11-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

If I understand correctly, you're talking about the player's network configuration.

Auto would likely mean using the DHCP specified name server. Your router is what is telling the player what it should use as a name server. Routers can be configured to override this value with one specified manually. By default though, it passes along the name server it was assigned via your ISP.

In order to choose the optimal node or farm of the CDN to connect to, you need to be using DNS that is aware of your location. Typically this means using the default name server as assigned by your ISP.

In other words, do nothing other than use the default values and you'll have the optimal configuration. Auto should acheive the best results.

If there is an exception to this I would be interested in hearing the details. Thanks!

Edit:

Hmmm, i'm starting to wonder why DNS is being used for this. Wouldn't it be better for the netflix app to check for itself on a regular basis, which part of the CDN delivers the best performance. Using DNS for this seems like a kludge. Although maybe it is consistent enough that DNS is sufficient. (?)

My exerience is using the OpenDNS servers works best for all my Netflix devices. No rebuffering or problems connecting.

I have the OpenDNS servers set up in my router and all my devices on my network use them.

Interestingly ROKU suggests this as a way of improving the streaming experience.

http://support.roku.com/entries/4205...ontent-servers

If you gooogle Netflix and OpenDNS you will see many others using this configuration and seeing improvement.
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