Re-buffering problems with streaming services - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-14-2013, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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In response to people complaining about re-buffering reports being put in supposedly inappropriate threads I am beginning this thread. It's for all services including Netflix, Vudu, Amazon, Redbox, etc. Some of us have been noting really unusual buffering behavior especially when we have high bitrate broadband.

One recent experience was trying to watch a movie on Netflix late Sunday evening called "388 Arietta Avenue" which is HD. All was well until exactly midnight when re-buffering started and bitrate dropped to below 1 mbps. I let it rebuffer several times which would result in a 1 or 2 of the film playing. Then I gave up. It was if the folks at Netflix decided no one watches at that hour so were going to do some server maintenance. Usually I have no problem streaming after 10 PM.

Then a night or two later trying to watch one of the "popular" movies "Hard Times" it would only have a very low 1-2 mpbs bit rate. This film is also in HD. Some of us have suggested that "popular" movies may have too much demand for Netflix servers. Another movie "Hick" which is in HD played just fine all the way through and this was before 10 PM.

My experience with PPV servers such as Vudu and Amazon is like "you paid for it you get it". IOW, if they don't have the capacity at the moment you might get a message they can't deliver that film at the moment though I have never seen that but have with Netflix though trying to start the film resulted in it playing anyway. I don't think I've ever seen rebuffering with Amazon and relatively none with Vudu.

Maybe it is that streaming is so new and iterative in development it is essentially not really ready for prime time.
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-15-2013, 06:22 AM
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Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't there so many variables to this issue that it is useless to have a thread for it? Again, not complaining or dissing you specifically, but there will almost never be enough rhyme or reason for this to make this thread useful for anything but for venting.

Now, if your idea was to discuss ways to make it better, then I'd like to hear it. However, that too is not something any of us can do anything about unless we own an ISP or the video service ourselves, correct?

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post #3 of 15 Old 03-15-2013, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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In the past we have frequently discussed re-buffering issues. Some of these are under the streaming quality thread and some in the finds and gems thread. This thread is for posting experiences with re-buffering. Yes there are a lot of variables but others have noted too that the popular titles are often the ones they find getting re-buffered. It's sort of the luck of the game. Also I note whenever there are school holidays re-buffering complaints arise. Netflix from time to time may offer an explanation but I think we've found those seem to miss the mark. IOW, written by their PR department.

There are some of us here that find this issue interesting. If you don't you don't need to read it. Some of us like myself develop software and know a bit about technical issues. It's frustrating when the film you've picked to watch won't work unless you wait until after 10 PM.

We are also interested in ISP issues too and how they may reflect. I have U-Verse 12 mpbs service and the trucks were in the neighborhood recently and one at the pole outside my house. I asked the technician what they were doing and he said "improving service." They did replace the old junction boxes up on the pole which including mine seemed to be falling apart. However if I have re-buffering issues I pick up my Android phone and run Speed Test and it shows full speed. Also my Sony BD player runs the speed test each time you start a film and it mostly shows full speed. If it doesn't then the phone does. The phone is checking via wifi BTW.
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post #4 of 15 Old 03-15-2013, 02:22 PM
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Oftentimes there is no rhyme or reason to rebuffering on Netflix, just when I think my rebuffering days are over I hit a snag.

Just recently Season 2 of The Killing was announced to all subscribers, my wife is a big fan of the series so that evening we tried my old Roku XD streamer. It played fine in HD for a while then stopped to rebuffer, came back at 4 dots and looked soft. I stopped the player and resumed the show, it started again in HD then stopped rebuffered and came back at 2 dots! Oh the hell with that! I thought and switched to my Apple TV3 and resumed the show and the rest of the first episode played fine. We proceeded to watch two more episodes without any rebuffering with the ATV3.

From that experience what conclusion do I come away with? None really. Is my first-gen Roku XD not up to snuff? Is it a hardware/firmware issue? Were the Netflix streams for the Roku overloaded that evening but not for the ATV3? Was it just a temporary glitch?

Although my collection of internet streamers is not as impressive as Michael Scott's I do own a WDTV Live and a Panasonic Blu-ray player that streams in addition to the ones mentioned. I only keep the Roku XD around because it streams Amazon Prime. All my devices are ethernet connected and I get a reliable 15-16 Mbps from TWC.

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post #5 of 15 Old 03-15-2013, 03:27 PM
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Sorry no problems here with Netflix or anyone else. I do have Optimum and Open Connect and although I have had a couple of less popular titles throttle back and forth from HD to SD, its a rare occurrence. I usually watch using my Roku 2, but I get similar results with my PC's, Panasonic BD players and Tablet. Have been watching The Killing and House Of Cards all week and they look great. I wasn't surprised that Cabevision was rated 2nd in the US by Netflix's average streaming test. http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/11/netflix-launches-speed-index-to-highlight-the-best-isps-for-streaming/


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post #6 of 15 Old 03-16-2013, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by mailiang View Post

Sorry no problems here with Netflix or anyone else. I do have Optimum and Open Connect...

Ian

So it's possible TWC and Netflix are not playing nice? I switched to my WDTV Live last night and watched an HDX episode of Games of Thrones second season off VUDU with no problem although there was a long pause as it buffered and the show started. Afterward to test Netflix again I tried the animated Treasure Planet and it could not lock onto a stable signal, the resolution indicator (Options button) was all over the place swinging from the lowest resolution to High/HD. Sometimes it would show High/HD for several minutes and I would think the buffering problems were over with only to see it start the resolution swing all over again. Finally I gave up for the night and pulled out my new Willow Blu-ray to watch.

I would be tempted to buy a new router and/or modem except for the fact that my equipment seems stable with VUDU and Amazon Prime.

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post #7 of 15 Old 03-16-2013, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

So it's possible TWC and Netflix are not playing nice? I switched to my WDTV Live last night and watched an HDX episode of Games of Thrones second season off VUDU with no problem although there was a long pause as it buffered and the show started. Afterward to test Netflix again I tried the animated Treasure Planet and it could not lock onto a stable signal, the resolution indicator (Options button) was all over the place swinging from the lowest resolution to High/HD. Sometimes it would show High/HD for several minutes and I would think the buffering problems were over with only to see it start the resolution swing all over again. Finally I gave up for the night and pulled out my new Willow Blu-ray to watch.

I would be tempted to buy a new router and/or modem except for the fact that my equipment seems stable with VUDU and Amazon Prime.


It could be an equipment issue. How old is your router? I use a Netgear dual band N600, which was rated very favorably by CNET. Then again, wasn't it Time Warner who wanted to increase Netflix rental discs delays to 56 days? It was either that or loose their bulk discount rate.rolleyes.gif When they tried the same crap with Rebox, they refused, and TW dropped the idea and continued with 28.


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post #8 of 15 Old 03-16-2013, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
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mailang, you're closer to "the cloud". Maybe that's why you see no problems. So it is you after all! biggrin.gif
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post #9 of 15 Old 03-16-2013, 04:12 PM
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mailang, you're closer to "the cloud". Maybe that's why you see no problems. So it is you after all! biggrin.gif





wink.gif



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post #10 of 15 Old 03-17-2013, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

So it's possible TWC and Netflix are not playing nice? I switched to my WDTV Live last night and watched an HDX episode of Games of Thrones second season off VUDU with no problem although there was a long pause as it buffered and the show started. Afterward to test Netflix again I tried the animated Treasure Planet and it could not lock onto a stable signal, the resolution indicator (Options button) was all over the place swinging from the lowest resolution to High/HD. Sometimes it would show High/HD for several minutes and I would think the buffering problems were over with only to see it start the resolution swing all over again. Finally I gave up for the night and pulled out my new Willow Blu-ray to watch.

I would be tempted to buy a new router and/or modem except for the fact that my equipment seems stable with VUDU and Amazon Prime.

To continue my experimenting I tried Treasure Planet again last night and after a resolution swing or two it settled into High/HD on the WDTV Live and played without issue for the remainder of the movie. I decided to try another Disney animated feature Atlantis: The Lost Empire and it ramped up quickly to High/HD and stayed there through the entire movie. All of this reminds me of the old discussions about different movies being on different servers. My TWC feed comes out of the Milwaukee WI area and I have noticed that several other members here on the West Coast usually have no complaints. I get a fairly reliable feed of 15-16 Mbps using the different speed tests and almost 19 Mbps with Powerboost. Even the Shaper Probe app shows 14-17 Mbps depending on the server reached.

FWIW I have the Darbee Darblet in my video stream to my projector and even on a 120" screen I could not distinguish between High/HD (with Darbee) and the Unblock-us Super HD resolution (without Darbee).

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post #11 of 15 Old 03-17-2013, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

FWIW I have the Darbee Darblet in my video stream to my projector and even on a 120" screen I could not distinguish between High/HD (with Darbee) and the Unblock-us Super HD resolution (without Darbee).


Some notice the difference on larger screens, or projection based TV's. On most average sized sets, I doubt anyone will notice a significant improvement. Personally, unless you're into 3D, the extra detail isn't going to have enough impact over the already high quality standard HD to draw many people to change ISP's, or go to unblock to get Super HD.


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post #12 of 15 Old 03-18-2013, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by mailiang View Post

Then again, wasn't it Time Warner who wanted to increase Netflix rental discs delays to 56 days?

Time Warner ≠ Time Warner Cable, TWC went their separate ways in 2009. They license all the Warner stuff, i.e. Road Runner.
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post #13 of 15 Old 03-18-2013, 12:40 PM
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Time Warner ≠ Time Warner Cable, TWC went their separate ways in 2009. They license all the Warner stuff, i.e. Road Runner.

Then I guess old habits don't die easily. wink.gif



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post #14 of 15 Old 03-29-2013, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Let me guess, the kids aren't watching TV during spring break. Must have more interesting things to do. No rebuffering even before 10 PM with HD titles. wink.gif
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post #15 of 15 Old 03-29-2013, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Let me guess, the kids aren't watching TV during spring break. Must have more interesting things to do. No rebuffering even before 10 PM with HD titles. wink.gif
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