Netflix consfusion - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 06-16-2014, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Netflix consfusion

So I have been using Netflix on an Apple TV, Windows Media Center (for Windows 8.1), and the Netflix Metro App on Windows 8.1 Pro 64 bit to watch Orange is the New Black.

Here is where I get confused:

The Apple TV has great video quality and 5.1 sound (recently fixed by Apple and Netflix). But.....the picture constantly gets interrupted an I have to wait for little circles to resolve before the play continues.

On the same network, playback is smooth without interruptions on a HTPC. Using the Metro style Netflix app, I get a good picture and surround sound. But using the Netflix plug in for Windows Media Center, I get a good picture but only stereo sound.

So.....why is Apple TV hiccupping and not the HTPC? And how do I enable surround sound on Windows Media Center; or is this somehow crippled and only available in stereo?

Thanks.

P.S. Confusion is spelled consfusion because I am consfused.
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post #2 of 13 Old 06-16-2014, 02:52 PM
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WMC Netflix not only is just limited to stereo, but also is limited to 720p, so you aren't really getting a good picture either.

My only guess about Apple TV is LAN issues (marginal wifi, possibly?).
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post #3 of 13 Old 06-16-2014, 03:03 PM
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Yea, the Netflix plugin in WMC hasn't been updated in years.

I noticed today that the search function no longer works in the plugin.

Anyone else have this issue?
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post #4 of 13 Old 06-16-2014, 03:27 PM
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Apple TV users report the Netflix app breaking/not working correctly all the time fwiw.

Edit: I should add, the WMC Netflix plugin breaks constantly too.

Last edited by staknhalo; 06-16-2014 at 03:49 PM.
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post #5 of 13 Old 06-16-2014, 04:23 PM
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My guess for Apple was going to be wi-fi too. I've had few/no issues since Comcast and Netflix reached their agreement.

FWIW, years ago I noticed that Netflix PQ seemed better using Chrome than Internet Explorer. I've not used the WMC plug-in much at all, so I don't know how it compares.
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post #6 of 13 Old 06-16-2014, 10:20 PM
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The reason is that Netflix app is using a different interface between the devices. The AppleTV is using the old interface, apparently, where when a show loaded it would determine which rate would work best for your given bandwidth at that time. Netflix will buffer about ten seconds, but if they bandwidth drops long enough, the buffer is used and Netflix can't keep up, and has to rebuffer to continue, which is what is happening when you see the spinning circle. If drops too much and consistently enough, Netflix will lower your bitrate feed.

On Windows, they're using the adjust on the fly technology that will adjust which bitrate to use based on the available bandwidth at that given time. This is why you may see picture go from crystal clear to less clear or even pixelatted. With this interface, you'll rarely see buffering indicators. It still buffers in the background.

Oeverall, sounds like your bandwidth is on the borderline whatever bitrate you initially get when Netflix starts a video. It's possible it could be your home network setup, or even the amount of traffic on it. So you may want to try different times of the day to see what happens; it'll indicated if it's a bandwidth issue.

The 5.1 dolby digit versus stereo is just depend on the platform. Honestly, Netflix doesn't give all the bells and whistle to the PC. Heck, if you use the Windows 8 app from the Windows Store, you're using the best PC inference available for the PC. Netflix focuses on set top boxes such as Roku, AppleTV, and game consoles. From my experience, I would say their next focus is on mobile devices. Next would be things such as smart televisions, blu ray players. Last, pcs. That said, the PC experience stinks compared to STB (especially newer boxes such as Roku3), game consoles (Xbox and Playstation) and mobile devices.

On a side note, I've been using Netflix streaming service since about six months after it originally debuted and was PC only. I got the Roku when it first came out and was called Netflix Media Player by Roku and was the ONLY channel on the Roku. I've used Netflix on Android, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, Android, Windows 8 app, Windows 7 through Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.
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post #7 of 13 Old 06-16-2014, 11:11 PM
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What generation ATV? Wired or wireless
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post #8 of 13 Old 06-17-2014, 07:26 AM - Thread Starter
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It appears that we do have information that the Windows Media Center plug in is stereo only, so that app is ruled out. Then it is worth exploring the Metro style app for Netflix vs. the Apple TV.

For what it is worth, and in this case this is meaningful, both the Apple TV and the HTPC are on the same wired gigabit network. With Comcast bandwidth to spare by the way. The Apple TV is the latest generation on the latest firmware. Both the HTPC and the Apple TV are connected via HDMI. So this really is Apples to Apples in terms of comparison (or Apple TV 3.0 to Windows 8.1).

The buffering explanation for Apple TV makes sense, especially for a widely streamed broadcast like Orange is the New Black. During the period of time that I and many others were protesting the lack of Dolby Digital on Apple TV (recently restored) somebody claimed that Netflix sends streams to Apple first for "grooming". Does that seem possible ?

Does anybody know what the bandwidth limit is for the Metro style App for Netflix, and what the audio specs are? I read somewhere that it is really PCM, but that seems hard to believe.

Thanks.

Last edited by originalsnuffy; 06-17-2014 at 07:28 AM.
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post #9 of 13 Old 06-17-2014, 07:49 AM
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Metro app supports all Super HD bitrates (up to 5800 mbps) and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio if your hardware supports it for bitstreaming.

Your Comcast connection is probably to blame. An HTPC has couple gigabytes of RAM for buffering which can help a little on the poor/inconsistent internet connection. Small devices like Apple TV, BD players or stream boxes have quite small available RAM dedicated for buffering. So, it is more prone to hiccups.

Last edited by Foxbat121; 06-17-2014 at 07:52 AM.
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-17-2014, 08:04 AM
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The bandwidth limit in Metro is around 6Mbps (5800kpbs 1080p Super HD with DD+), same as it is on other devices (except UHDTVs, which are 15Mbps 2160p). Audio is a couple of hundred kbps, not sure what format. I too doubt it's PCM.

Maybe some Apple TV forums would have better advice on improving Netflix performance. I've never used an Apple TV. My Sony BD players stream Netflix Super HD flawlessly, achieving the max bitrate almost instantly and staying there. My Sony never pauses to rebuffer (I have 60Mbps internet service). Unlike Apple, my Sony also plays discs. Metro works fine too, but control is very clunky in a home theater environment. I can deal with it on a laptop, but not in my living room. Even a Chromecast is easier to control than Metro, which I use occasionally when travelling.

Last edited by mdavej; 06-17-2014 at 08:24 AM.
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post #11 of 13 Old 06-17-2014, 10:08 AM
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I like my roku2xs for netflix.

Sent from my Note3 via Tapatalk
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post #12 of 13 Old 06-17-2014, 11:36 AM
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You may want to look at the threads under Video Download Services and Hardware in AVS Forum: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/184-vi...ices-hardware/

There is a more active discussion there covering streaming and streaming devices.

Of course the posters here are usually willing to hold forth on any subject and you are free to place your issues here.

Last edited by Postmoderndesign; 06-17-2014 at 11:39 AM. Reason: not a response to goros' post
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post #13 of 13 Old 06-17-2014, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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A member named Reddice has stated on the thread linked above that his performance in the evenings on ATV 3 has deteriorated since Orange is the New Black came out.

I can only conclude that there may be some truth to either the idea that the htpc is better at buffering than the ATV 3 or Netflix does in fact route its transmissions through special equipment for the ATV feeds. Well for now the workaround is to stay with the Win 8.1 metro app, which looks and sounds pretty good. Maybe not quite up there with the ATV when it works well, but the ATV is not working well at the moment.
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