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post #1 of 394 Old 06-11-2010, 10:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Has anyone managed to get streaming Netflix to display properly on their PC?

To me it looks like the player is not displaying frames at a consistent rate. The result is jerky motion and hitches, especially apparent on scenes with lots of movement or pans.

It is not telecine judder, I know what that looks like. This is more random and distracting, it might hit once every few seconds.

It is not a 23.976 vs 24 issue as that should only hit once every 40 s or so.

It is not a network bandwidth issue. All machines are wired, with good internet connections. Same problem on SD and HD streams.

It is not dropped frames or a decoding performance issue. If I use the Ctrl-Alt-Shift-M mode in the player, it doesn't report dropped frames. All machines were using < 25% CPU while playing.

I've had the same problem on 4 different machines in two different locations. I've never not seen the problem.

I've tried Win7 32-bit and 64-bit. Silverlight 3 and 4. Media Center plug-in or browser player. Same problem on NVidia, ATI and Intel GPUs.

I've got the latest versions of all software/drivers/etc.

Anyone have this working properly? Anyone else see the same issue?
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post #2 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 05:01 AM
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I just setup a new Netflix account last night and watched Race to Witch Mountain and Wall-e (don't ask, that's just the mood I was in). Both looked fine to me. No drop out, no stuttering in media center. I've got a core i3 in my system.
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post #3 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 05:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkscout View Post

I just setup a new Netflix account last night and watched Race to Witch Mountain and Wall-e (don't ask, that's just the mood I was in). Both looked fine to me. No drop out, no stuttering in media center. I've got a core i3 in my system.

I'm interested in knowing your configuration. OS? Video card? Silverlight version?

Thanks.
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post #4 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 08:49 AM
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My Netflix ran fine for me and I never had a problem until Sliverlight 4. Once SL4 was installed I started having stuttering and what appeared to be serious lag in the 7MC controlling of Netflix. I uninstalled SL4 and installed version 2.0 and things seem to be back to normal in 7MC. I never had any problems with Netflix in a web browser.
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post #5 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
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pkscout:

I tried watching "Race to Witch Mountain" and I found a scene that exhibits the problem in a fairly obvious way, at least to me. Try viewing the crane shot of the taxi in the desert that starts around 13m18s. Instead of moving smoothly the scenery or the taxi will jerk along. You may not notice it every time, try playing it several times. The jerking/hitching will happen a different points in the shot.

I've tried this on a 32-bit Vista install as well and the exact same symptoms. In all cases DVD playback is fine, but Netflix via Silverlight has a problem.

As an experiment I tried playing something that was encoded at 24fps (I verified this with the Ctrl-Shift-Alt-M mode in the player) and also set my display refresh to 24Hz. With this configuration, DVD playback is perfect, even the 3:2 judder is gone. However, Netflix is really awful. It looks like frames are being doubled almost constantly, almost as though it were playing at 12Hz but not for every frame. It should be perfect at this refresh rate.

These experiments have convinced me that PC playback of Netflix has a problem with display and rendering refresh synchronization. It must be something more subtle than attempting to update during a display refresh because I don't see tearing, but there is still something not quite right.

I'm particularly sensitive to these kinds of temporal artifacts, I cannot watch DLPs without seeing rainbows and I even see plasma trails under certain circumstances, and this hitching/stutter/jitter makes it unwatchable for me.

I might pick up a Roku or equivalent to see if it is something inherent with Netflix or it is just PC playback.
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post #6 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 09:00 AM
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I just watched the scene in the desert - I didn't notice any playback issues. I'll try it on my Roku...

*edit* My Roku seemed to play back a little smoother, but it's on a different, non-HD display, so I don't know if that will affect the playback.
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post #7 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kegobeer View Post

I just watched the scene in the desert - I didn't notice any playback issues. I'll try it on my Roku...

*edit* My Roku seemed to play back a little smoother, but it's on a different, non-HD display, so I don't know if that will affect the playback.

If PC playback was working properly then the Roku should not be smoother. The is especially true if the Roku is connected to a non-HD display which presumably cannot do inverse telecine nor 24 Hz refresh.

Can the display on your HTPC accept 24 Hz? If so would you mind trying to set your PC to output 24 Hz and then viewing some 24 Hz Netflix content, for example "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"? With the display at 24 Hz the jerkyness should be very apparent almost all the time. Even with a 60 Hz display at around the 1:50 mark, the shot of the moving chocolates is very jittery.

I think some people are more sensitive to this than others. My wife can see it, but it doesn't bother her as much as me. I guess I'm lucky she's not that picky or I might still be single. :-)
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post #8 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 10:46 AM
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No, my LCD doesn't accept 24 Hz. I'll have to check to see which Silverlight I have installed and see if that's part of the issue.
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post #9 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 10:51 AM
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What kind of bandwidth do you have? I just read a blog that alluded to needing a 5+ MB connection to get a smooth feed, just for SD. Something to do with the Silverlight player.
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post #10 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Interesting, do you have a link?

I get at least 5 Mb/s sustained, with burst up to 25 Mb/s. I would be surprised if that is the issue, because AV stats indicates I have plenty of buffered data even on HD titles.
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post #11 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 01:01 PM
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Do you have Aero enabled? Sometimes that can have en effect. I've seen some people claim it runs smoother with Aero enabled, some have to turn it off. Something to try anyway.

In any case, I've never seen totally smooth playback from any Internet streaming source, even Netflix. Netflix is pretty good for me but will get some tearing or artifacts once in a while. But it's not a real big issue, for me anyway. I barely notice when it does happen. I do have rock solid 6 mb though.

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post #12 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigPotato View Post

I tried watching "Race to Witch Mountain" and I found a scene that exhibits the problem in a fairly obvious way, at least to me. Try viewing the crane shot of the taxi in the desert that starts around 13m18s. Instead of moving smoothly the scenery or the taxi will jerk along. You may not notice it every time, try playing it several times. The jerking/hitching will happen a different points in the shot.

I have Silverlight 3 and no other video card. I'm using the built in video of the core i3. I watched that scene a dozen times, and I guess I can convince myself I'm seeing what your talking about. I upgraded to SL4 with similar results.

It's awfully subtle to my eyes. I think if you are that sensitive to it, you may want to consider just watching everything on BluRay or OTA. I think anything else with even a bit of compression may be too much for you.
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post #13 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkscout View Post

I have Silverlight 3 and no other video card. I'm using the built in video of the core i3. I watched that scene a dozen times, and I guess I can convince myself I'm seeing what your talking about. I upgraded to SL4 with similar results.

It's awfully subtle to my eyes. I think if you are that sensitive to it, you may want to consider just watching everything on BluRay or OTA. I think anything else with even a bit of compression may be too much for you.

I just popped down to my local BestBuy and picked up a WD Live Plus. Netflix streams perfectly on it. There are no frame rate jitters. It has a number of other problems including random crashes, but the actual quality of the playback is fine.

This is not a compression or streaming issue. I can live with high levels of compression. I find even Netflix SD acceptable on the WD and the high levels of MPEG2 compression on most OTA is also ok.

The frame rate jitter on PCs is purely due to a bug or substandard implementation of video playback in Netflix/Silverlight. This problem is on every machine/OS/network/Silverlight/video card combination I've tried, and I've tried quite a few.

I guess it depends on your particular physiology, some people just don't notice it or don't find it bothersome. However, the frame rate jitter on Netflix PC playback makes it completely unwatchable for me.
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post #14 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonscott87 View Post

Do you have Aero enabled? Sometimes that can have en effect. I've seen some people claim it runs smoother with Aero enabled, some have to turn it off. Something to try anyway.

In any case, I've never seen totally smooth playback from any Internet streaming source, even Netflix. Netflix is pretty good for me but will get some tearing or artifacts once in a while. But it's not a real big issue, for me anyway. I barely notice when it does happen. I do have rock solid 6 mb though.

Thanks for the suggestion.

If I turn Aero off I get tearing AND jitter, which to me seems like yet another bug with Netflix/Silverlight on PCs. I can't think of a good reason why turning Aero off should result in tearing, but it does on all the machines I tested.

A recently acquired WD Live Plus can play back without these issues on the same display and network that causes problems with my PCs. This would indicate that there is nothing fundamental about streaming that makes it impossible to implement properly. I'm convinced the framerate jitter on Netflix PC playback is a Netflix player or Silverlight limitation/bug.
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post #15 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 02:26 PM
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I get this same thing and find it very bothersome. From my looking around it seems both Netflix and MS are in denial about there being any problem. It doesn't help that so many viewers appear to be blind to it as well. It's damn near headache inducing to me.
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post #16 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 03:27 PM
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i have stutter on panning in media center, other than that its fine.

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post #17 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelWill View Post

I get this same thing and find it very bothersome. From my looking around it seems both Netflix and MS are in denial about there being any problem. It doesn't help that so many viewers appear to be blind to it as well. It's damn near headache inducing to me.

Good to hear I'm not alone in finding it very annoying.

I guess it hasn't been fixed because no one is taking the issue seriously. I'm sure the owners of this are swamped with so many complaints due to networking or other unrelated issues that it gets lost in the noise.

I'm going to try to raise this with Netflix, but I have doubts I'll get anywhere. It sucks because I really wanted to use my newly built HTPC, but without working Netflix support it has lost a large amount of value to me. I can't justify having a PC and a seperate box for Netflix, and the incremental value of an HTPC over something like the WD Live is minimal. Especially since the WD Live Netflix app does most/all of what the 7MC Netflix plug-in does. Unlike a lot of the Netflix implementations you can see more than just what is in your queue, which is a big deal for me.
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post #18 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigPotato View Post

Good to hear I'm not alone in finding it very annoying.

I guess it hasn't been fixed because no one is taking the issue seriously. I'm sure the owners of this are swamped with so many complaints due to networking or other unrelated issues that it gets lost in the noise.

I'm going to try to raise this with Netflix, but I have doubts I'll get anywhere. It sucks because I really wanted to use my newly built HTPC, but without working Netflix support it has lost a large amount of value to me. I can't justify having a PC and a seperate box for Netflix, and the incremental value of an HTPC over something like the WD Live is minimal. Especially since the WD Live Netflix app does most/all of what the 7MC Netflix plug-in does. Unlike a lot of the Netflix implementations you can see more than just what is in your queue, which is a big deal for me.

Here's something to try: uninstall Silverlight completely, then reboot. Fire up IE, go to netflix.com, and try installing the Silverlight that's available over there. I saw this over at greenbutton.

http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/p/89681/456940.aspx

It's not for the exact same issue, but I figured it's worth a shot. I haven't tried it yet, but I plan to do it tomorrow.
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post #19 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I've done this and it has no effect on the issue I'm seeing and I've not experienced the problems in that thread. If you install from the netflix site you get Silverlight 3, which has the same problem I'm seeing on Silverlight 4. I've seen the same problem on 4 different PCs with different operating systems, video cards, Silverlight versions and networks, so I'm certain this is not an errant configuration or strange set of coincidences. It is something inherent in the Netflix player or perhaps the Silverlight video playback system. I know the hardware, drivers and OS are capable of smooth jitter-free playback because DVD and high-def H.264 playback works perfectly, it's just the Netflix player that has the problem.
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post #20 of 394 Old 06-12-2010, 11:46 PM
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Add one more to the list of Netflix users who find the PC Netflix player unwatchable due to judder (both Media Center and Internet Explorer).

Although the judder is subtle, it makes me slightly nauseous to watch (I am also easily susceptible to motion sickness from boats, airplanes, and rollercoasters)

On the same network I have an XBOX 360 and TiVo HD which both play Netflix streaming without this issue.

My setup:

Windows 7 64 Bit
Silverlight 4.050524.0
AMD Athlon II X2 215 Processor 2.70GHz
NVidia GeForce 210
3 GB Memory
Panasonic Viera 32" 1080P LCD (using HDMI Input)
CPU Usage: 30%
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post #21 of 394 Old 06-13-2010, 01:01 PM
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I have been having the same problem with jitter with playback through windows, especially with panning shots. Although subtle, I cannot imagine anyone being content with this.

Neflix plays smoothly through my Samsung bdp1600 blu-ray player, so I doubt it is related to my network.

Windows 7
silverlight 4
athlon ii x2 240 cpu
amd hd 5670 1gb gddr5 gpu
corsair xms3 ddr3-1600 4gb RAM
Toshiba 720p
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post #22 of 394 Old 06-14-2010, 07:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atscntsc View Post

Add one more to the list of Netflix users who find the PC Netflix player unwatchable due to judder (both Media Center and Internet Explorer).

Although the judder is subtle, it makes me slightly nauseous to watch (I am also easily susceptible to motion sickness from boats, airplanes, and rollercoasters)

On the same network I have an XBOX 360 and TiVo HD which both play Netflix streaming without this issue.

My setup:

Windows 7 64 Bit
Silverlight 4.050524.0
AMD Athlon II X2 215 Processor 2.70GHz
NVidia GeForce 210
3 GB Memory
Panasonic Viera 32" 1080P LCD (using HDMI Input)
CPU Usage: 30%

Thanks for this info, given that you are seeing this on a recent NVidia card has convinced me that the problem is not video card related. If it doesn't work on newer NVidia, ATI and Intel GPUs then it must be behaving the same for almost everyone.
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post #23 of 394 Old 06-14-2010, 07:36 AM
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silverlight is probbaly having the same sort of issue that flash has/had with hulu...

does silveright have hardware acceleration?

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post #24 of 394 Old 06-14-2010, 07:52 AM
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I have looked at doing this several times, but looking at the selections there does not seem to be many movies that I would want to watch there. Are there more selections with the bought package than the trial package.

Also what is the picture resolution for these? I can get 1080p on Directv for $5.99 each, but the $8.99/month is a lot lower if I was to watch at least two movies a month.

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post #25 of 394 Old 06-14-2010, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgathright View Post

I have looked at doing this several times, but looking at the selections there does not seem to be many movies that I would want to watch there. Are there more selections with the bought package than the trial package.

Also what is the picture resolution for these? I can get 1080p on Directv for $5.99 each, but the $8.99/month is a lot lower if I was to watch at least two movies a month.

nope its the same deal. you wont get 1080p on netflix, but you also get compressed 1080p with direct tv. so netflix beats directtv with image quality with getting the disk in the mail. the online HD selection isnt great, its getting better, but the mail program still has anything you could ever want to watch. it only takes about a day to get the movie in the mail.

i use the online for watching tv shows or some movies in a pinch, but i still wait for the mail to watch anything worth watching in great quality.

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post #26 of 394 Old 06-14-2010, 08:48 AM
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I see this too, but I only really notice it on fast, wide pans. I'm using the G45 chipset for video decoding, Win7 64-bit, LCD TV connected at 60Hz over HDMI.

It's like the top half is redrawing before the bottom half.

edit: on second thought, I think our issues are different. I have occasionally seen the issue you describe, but I haven't seen it in a couple of months. I figured Netflix improved their streaming algorithm.

To the poster above, the selection is the same, and HD is just now becoming available on the PC. Personally, the selection is fine with me, as well as the quality. Don't expect new releases, and don't expect blu-ray quality (which would require a ton of bandwidth to stream) and you won't be disappointed. For $10 a month, I really can't complain.
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post #27 of 394 Old 06-14-2010, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 View Post

nope its the same deal. you wont get 1080p on netflix, but you also get compressed 1080p with direct tv. so netflix beats directtv with image quality with getting the disk in the mail. the online HD selection isnt great, its getting better, but the mail program still has anything you could ever want to watch. it only takes about a day to get the movie in the mail.

i use the online for watching tv shows or some movies in a pinch, but i still wait for the mail to watch anything worth watching in great quality.

Maybe I missed it, but how much is it for Blu-rays? I looked at the selection and I already have most of these.

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post #28 of 394 Old 06-14-2010, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgathright View Post

Maybe I missed it, but how much is it for Blu-rays? I looked at the selection and I already have most of these.

I think it's an extra $2 a month. They'll send the blu-ray if they have it. If the blu-ray is on a long wait, you can choose to receive that movie on DVD instead to get it sooner.
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post #29 of 394 Old 06-14-2010, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

I see this too, but I only really notice it on fast, wide pans. I'm using the G45 chipset for video decoding, Win7 64-bit, LCD TV connected at 60Hz over HDMI.

It's like the top half is redrawing before the bottom half.

edit: on second thought, I think our issues are different. I have occasionally seen the issue you describe, but I haven't seen it in a couple of months. I figured Netflix improved their streaming algorithm.

What you are describing is tearing, it is a different issue to the jitter that I am discussing. If I disable Aero I get tearing, there may be other settings for your GPU that controls this. Tearing is a result of the updates occuring during a refresh cycle, you get part of one frame and part of the next on the screen at the same time. To fix this updates should by synchronized to occur during the interval between frames. There is really no excuse for a video playback system to be affected by this, especially given that it is a well known problem and has a solution that all modern video hardware supports.

It is also possible that the Netflix/Silverlight playback software will not exhibit the same level of jitter if this synchronization is disabled. A pick your poison proposition. Neither one is really acceptable.
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post #30 of 394 Old 06-14-2010, 09:54 PM
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I had no problems with Netflix playback for months. Then last night I got the judder. Both with standalone browser playback, and with the Win7 Media Center plug-in.

The only thing I changed recently was upgrading TMT3 from version 170 to 180. But I don't see how that could be the cause.
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