What are the minimum hardware requirements to run Netflix HD? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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So I found out that streaming Netflix HD cannot play on my dual-core 1.66ghz D510 Intel Atom processor.

So what is the bare minimum needed to run Netflix HD? Does anyone know? I did some googling and was unable to find a definitive answer.


It seems the definitive factor is the CPU

Minimum Hardware requirements (Updated as of 11/23/10)
dual core 2.5ghz 1mb L2 cache (Intel or AMD)
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post #2 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 10:57 AM
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Unfortunately, I already got rid of my Pentium E2160 1.80 GHz so can't test with that. At a guess, probably somewhere along the lines of 1.5~2.0 GHz Core 2 or Phenom II. The nice thing is even a $40~50 modern CPU will exceed that.

The Celeron E3300 2.5 GHz handles it well enough. Never really took note of CPU utilization, though. You might wanna check the Dell Zino thread to see if it handles it any better than an Atom.
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post #3 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post

Tried the same stream on other computers.

GF9300-G-E + Celeron E3300 2.50GHz
Average CPU: 40%
Maximum CPU: 55%
No framedrops

GTS 250 + Core i7-860 2.80GHz
Average CPU: 7%
Maximum CPU: 15%
No framedrops

From the AV Stream information:
Playing bitrate (a/v): 128 / 3800
Buffering bitrate (a/v): 128 / 3800
GPU Acceleration (attempted/enabled): True / True

However, here's an interesting observation (happened to have GPU-Z open on the i7-860+GTS-250 while doing the tests). On Hulu HD (Flash), GPU load is 4% while Video Engine load is 20%. On Netflix HD (Silverlight), GPU load is 40% but Video Engine load is 0%. Tested some H.264 and VC-1 streams on MPC HomeCinema and results are similar to Hulu. High Video Engine load but fairly small GPU load. Really curious how Silverlight implemented hardware acceleration given it doesn't appear to offload the decoding which is fairly CPU intensive.

Well, would you look at that... Apparently, I did take note of CPU utilization.
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post #4 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post

Well, would you look at that... Apparently, I did take note of CPU utilization.

That is definitly helpful, Thanks!

So at the moment we are looking at the following CPU requirement to stream Netflix HD content.

dual core
2.5ghz
1mb L2 cache
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post #5 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 01:26 PM
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well i can stream netflix hd on my oldie...

its a dell precision 450
daul xeon 3.06ghz w/ ht (yes these are single cores, but at least i have two of them)
hd2400pro agp card with 256meg of ram...
4gb of system memory

never have any dropped frames, can't remember what CPU % is like, but can't be too bad.

also i'm not sure how much this will help. windows experience shows that my dual 3.06ghz are about the same as a e4300

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post #6 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 01:49 PM
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Has anyone been able to display @ 24p (24hz) any HD content from Netflix?

I was trying to get the silverlight player on my PC to do 24p, but it would jump around and stutter, playing back at 23/24/25fps every few seconds.

My Question:

- Is 24hz possible from Netflix? using the Silverlight player on a PC, or on a hardware device (ps3, roku, etc) ??

I'm trying to figure out if I'm on a wild goose chase trying to get 24p from Netflix on a PC.

thanks!
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post #7 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 02:10 PM
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The feeds are 60hz, not 24. Wild goose chase.
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post #8 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 02:11 PM
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I have a dual core 2.2ghz & 2gb DDR2 on XP and I can play Netflix HD (now that I have Fios that is) but I do need to make sure nobody is doing anything else on the PC as my CPU load runs at 50% ish. I watch through firefox.
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post #9 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTJ View Post

The feeds are 60hz, not 24. Wild goose chase.

Thanks for the reply!

hmm, while watching the silverlight stats screen (ctrl+alt+shft+m), it claims to be playing back @ 24fps, but then jumps around to 23/24/25 for a few seconds, depending on activity in video.

I guess it can vary from content to content. Even at 60hz I'm getting strange stuttering.

- Q6600 cpu (quad), ATI 4XXX gpu, 4GB memory, Win 7 x64
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post #10 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 02:52 PM
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Netflix is known to stutter/judder on the PC. Smooth on PS3.

Can you post one of those that showed 24fps? I'd like to be proven wrong on this, I have a TV that's 24fps compatible. I can test it at my end and see what it looks like for me.
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post #11 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 03:18 PM
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^ AFAIK, Netflix streams whatever the source is. Movies are 24fps, TV shows are 60fps. You would need to set the PC refresh to 24Hz as well to pass-through successfully to the TV.

To the OP: Get a video card that handles decoding of MPEG2, h.264, and VC-1 and you willl have no problems playing back HD on your Atom machine.

Remember that the Atom is just a Pentium III with a new name. It's fine for web-browsing and email, but not much more these days.
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post #12 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 03:26 PM
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I thought I read somewhere that Netflix had converted all their sources to 60fps, but that doesn't mean it was correct or that I read it right. Like I said, I'd love to be wrong on this. On the PS3 I don't know of any way to check it, but it's already set to play BD at 24fps. But I'd love to find this works on the HTPC. The juddering drives me nuts.
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post #13 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

^ AFAIK, Netflix streams whatever the source is. Movies are 24fps, TV shows are 60fps. You would need to set the PC refresh to 24Hz as well to pass-through successfully to the TV.

To the OP: Get a video card that handles decoding of MPEG2, h.264, and VC-1 and you willl have no problems playing back HD on your Atom machine.

Remember that the Atom is just a Pentium III with a new name. It's fine for web-browsing and email, but not much more these days.

spiv, I have an ati 5570, it doesn't fix the problem.
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post #14 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 04:32 PM
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How do you stream HD from Netflix?
I sign in and start watching with my PC & PS3 and it just starts playing. How do you choose HD? Does it just depend on your connection speed?
Thanks.
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post #15 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikknightt View Post

How do you stream HD from Netflix?
I sign in and start watching with my PC & PS3 and it just starts playing. How do you choose HD? Does it just depend on your connection speed?
Thanks.

Only select titles are played in HD http://www.netflix.com/WiHD
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post #16 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krodami View Post

spiv, I have an ati 5570, it doesn't fix the problem.

Hmm, that should be all you need. What's your CPU usage like when playing HD?
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post #17 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

Hmm, that should be all you need. What's your CPU usage like when playing HD?

Silverlight has gimped support for hardware acceleration. See the following thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1275584

Quote:


Silverlight GPU acceleration is for now very limited. It only allows screen elements to be cached in video memory, which will massively improve performance on many types of animation such as scaling, translating, rotating, skewing, etc, but only if the element's untransformed appearance rarely changes. When they change, the cache in video memory is invalidated and must be refreshed, meaning the CPU must re-render the element and push it across to the video card, which is what normally happens when it isn't cached. Because videos are changing dozens of times a second, enabling hardware acceleration will actually reduce performance because that cache is constantly being invalidated.
It's a limitation of Silverlight. Maybe in future versions Microsoft will improve it.

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post #18 of 41 Old 11-22-2010, 08:56 PM
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Just tried Legend of the Seeker s02e01 on my CULV laptop with Core 2 Duo SU7300 1.30 GHz. Got a few framedrops whenever CPU usage hits the 70~80% range. Same thing with Heroes s01e01. Guess Core 2 @ 1.3 GHz isn't quite fast enough for a smooth experience.

On a side note, anyone have a suggestion on what video is available on Netflix HD that's taxing on the CPU while being fairly decent? Legend of the Seeker sucks. The opening scene of s01e01 was fairly acceptable since it was mostly just action but s02e01 has very little action scenes while being heavy on the cheesiness.
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post #19 of 41 Old 11-23-2010, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post

Silverlight has gimped support for hardware acceleration. See the following thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1275584

That's outdated information. Since Silverlight 3, it has had full DXVA support on Vista and Windows 7. Only XP still has partial support but you can't blame Microsoft for not putting in too much effort on a 10 year-old OS. The quote from that thread is from a random developer on the Silverlight forum, not from Microsoft.
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post #20 of 41 Old 11-23-2010, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

That's outdated information. Since Silverlight 3, it has had full DXVA support on Vista and Windows 7. Only XP still has partial support but you can't blame Microsoft for not putting in too much effort on a 10 year-old OS. The quote from that thread is from a random developer on the Silverlight forum, not from Microsoft.

That was for Silverlight 4 and I'd like to see a document from Microsoft stating that it supports DXVA per se and not just GPU hardware acceleration as those are two different things. You can have GPU hardware acceleration (e.g. for resize, etc) but still have the CPU doing all the decoding. I've actually read through some of Microsoft's white papers and I've found none that specifically mentioned Silverlight supports DXVA.

From what I've noticed with the way Silverlight works, video engine load is near zero while most of the load is on 3D (!). Try playing a Netflix HD stream (in browser) and monitor GPU load with GPU-Z and see what you get. Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Shift+M in the Netflix window during playback should bring up a menu and you can select A/V Stats to monitor the Netflix stream (bitrate, frames rendered/dropped, etc) as well as CPU usage.

I don't know if the issue with DXVA not being supported is related to Silverlight itself or just the Netflix implementation. Either way, the outcome is the same - for now, an Atom still won't do for Netflix HD.
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post #21 of 41 Old 11-23-2010, 08:44 AM
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By the way, just found a comment from someone who works for Microsoft.
Thread
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Taylor View Post

Yes, hardware decoding of video is a new feature in Flash 10.1, which was released earlier this month. We are evaluating adding this capability for a future release of Silverlight.

thanks!

- Tom

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Taylor View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by frostking View Post

I really need to step in and voice my concern on this topic as well. I got an Asus 1015PN this month with the Intel Atom N550/ION GPU with optimus platform. It hurts me to pay for my netflix account just for streaming and have an HD option that I can't use.

Please, I urge you to include hardware support like adobe flash in the next release or update.

Thanks for your feedback on this topic. I can assure you that we are listening to these requests, but unfortunately I cannot share any details at this point about when this functionality will be available for users.

Quote:
Originally Posted by csmba View Post

your reaction should be: Silverlight will get an update in (1, 2, 3, or 4) weeks that will make your problems go away.

Other than confirming that we are very keen to enable this for end users, I cannot provide any details or timeframes for this. What I can tell you, however, is that this is a non-trivial amount of development and test work for any software developer to enable across a breadth of different devices. In addition, we have to keep in mind the other high-priority needs of our developers and their customers, and making sure that we are enabling the scenarios that they want to achieve as well.

- Tom

Those comments were made after the release of Silverlight 4.
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post #22 of 41 Old 11-24-2010, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krodami View Post

spiv, I have an ati 5570, it doesn't fix the problem.

Glad/sad to see I'm not the only one having problems with the HD streams and stutter/judder.

At this point, I'm ready for a video card upgrade, and would buy any < $100 card that someone reports working perfectly with Netflix HD streaming @ 24p. Anyone?
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post #23 of 41 Old 11-24-2010, 09:40 AM
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Based on personal experience using computers from an Atom based netbook to a quad core workstation, the minimum hardware requirements to get fluid, tear-free Netflix playback is... ...a non-PC based Netflix hardware player.

Sorry, but Netflix playback on the PC has sucked ever since they upgraded from WMP to Silverlight.

-Suntan
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post #24 of 41 Old 11-24-2010, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by protovision View Post
Glad/sad to see I'm not the only one having problems with the HD streams and stutter/judder.
Not really. The stutter issue referred to in this thread is a result of dropped frames due to too slow CPU. The issue regarding judder would have to come after that one's working.

I'm not really sensitive to the and I'd rather not look for it now (in case I start noticing it in the future). Another thing, it's probably not all that noticeable on my set-up since I only have a 50" plasma, unlike others watching on 100+" projection screens.
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post #25 of 41 Old 11-24-2010, 11:36 AM
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I have a very beefy HTPC and the problem is not video card related. Suntan is correct.
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post #26 of 41 Old 11-24-2010, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post
Based on personal experience using computers from an Atom based netbook to a quad core workstation, the minimum hardware requirements to get fluid, tear-free Netflix playback is... ...a non-PC based Netflix hardware player.

Sorry, but Netflix playback on the PC has sucked ever since they “upgraded” from WMP to Silverlight.

-Suntan
I concur. There is a big ole thread here on this. Buy a Roku and don't waste the time or money on your on PC for Netflix.
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post #27 of 41 Old 11-28-2010, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelWill View Post

I concur. There is a big ole thread here on this. Buy a Roku and don't waste the time or money on your on PC for Netflix.

Steel,
Roku's picture quality is the bottom of the barrel when compared to any other netflix device. Definitly not a solution for watching Netflix HD movies.
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post #28 of 41 Old 11-28-2010, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krodami View Post

Steel,
Roku's picture quality is the bottom of the barrel when compared to any other netflix device. Definitly not a solution for watching Netflix HD movies.

Well is there anything Netflix's streaming works properly on?
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post #29 of 41 Old 11-28-2010, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelWill View Post

Well is there anything Netflix's streaming works properly on?

Xbox 360, PS3, Blu-ray players, etc.
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post #30 of 41 Old 11-28-2010, 06:25 PM
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I tried it on a AMD Athlon II X2 250U processor 1.60GHz, 2MB Cache Dell Inspiron One, Netflix HD plays just fine.
CPU usage averages around 40%.
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