Netflix Pays Comcast for Smooth Streaming - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
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In a move that is sure to upset proponents of net neutrality, Comcast and Netflix came to an agreement over how Netflix connects to Comcast's network. Netflix will pay Comcast to make sure its content streams smoothly in a deal said to be worth millions of dollars per year. Netflix had asked Comcast to provide access to its network free of charge, but the cable giant declined.

 

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"Netflix has agreed to pay Comcast for a direct connection to the Internet service provider’s network, which will improve its streaming video quality for Comcast customers, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Comcast confirmed the “mutually beneficial interconnection agreement” in a statement emailed to VentureBeat, but declined to provide the terms of the deal." source: venturebeat.com

 

Comcast is not alone in spurning Netflix's request to connect free of charge, but Comcast is by far the largest broadband Internet service provider in the US, with 40 percent of the market. Meanwhile, Netflix accounts for about 30% of all internet traffic during peak hours. It was inevitable that the two companies would have to negotiate some sort of mutually agreeable terms, ever since Comcast users started complaining that the company was throttling Netflix content.

 

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"Netflix was pushing Comcast to connect to its servers without compensation, but the broadband provider refused to take on the heavy traffic load free of charge. After seeing average speeds to Comcast customers drop as much as 27 percent during peak hours since October, Netflix buckled and agreed to pay." source: venturebeat.com

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My own personal experience with Comcast Internet service and Netflix mirrors that of other users with complaints—it's hard to maintain an HD quality stream, even though my connection is rated at 100 Mbps. What's your take on the deal, is Comcast becoming too powerful, or is Netflix traffic growing too fast for the company to get away without paying its fair share?

 

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post #2 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 04:44 PM
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Funny I have been with Uverse for years now and never had an issue maintaining HD stream or even now SuperHD streams, yet instill recently upgraded form 24/3 to 45/5.
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post #3 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 04:50 PM
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I saw the Example Short 23.976 reaching 5800 kbps last morning but during prime time last night it buckled to 1050 kbps or less typically. Might be awhile until things get a lot better.



This plot represents how bad it was getting lately before this agreement.
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"(The connection to Cogent) was starting to become overwhelmed with Netflix traffic, congesting traffic and leading to slower Netflix streams for Comcast Internet users, people familiar with the matter said. At the same time, Comcast presented Netflix with more attractive deal terms than the operator had been offering, the people said. The deal spans several years. Netflix was aiming for a long-term deal to make sure its projected traffic growth wouldn't put it at a disadvantage, one of the people said. The connection is a so-called "paid peering" deal, which connects Netflix's network to Comcast's directly. Netflix was previously using several middlemen to access Comcast's network."

From No, Netflix's New Deal With Comcast Probably Won't Destroy The Internet. Yet.

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post #4 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 05:10 PM
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so was it throttling? does everyone else connecting to Comcast's servers have to pay in some way? These are the first questions that come to mind.
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post #5 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 05:15 PM
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This Netflix issue and others has been discussed ad nauseum in the Video Download Services and Hardware forum.

http://www.avsforum.com/f/184/video-download-services-hardware

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post #6 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mo949 View Post

so was it throttling? does everyone else connecting to Comcast's servers have to pay in some way? These are the first questions that come to mind.
Routing and load problems by using Internet Middlemen rather then a more direct connection. See the article on my previous post.

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post #7 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

This Netflix issue and others has been discussed ad nauseum in the Video Download Services and Hardware forum.

http://www.avsforum.com/f/184/video-download-services-hardware

 

After yesterday's news, presumably it will no longer be as big an issue going forward.


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post #8 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 05:33 PM
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I like this news . . .

AT&T Also Says They're In Talks With Netflix

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On the heels of Comcast striking a direct interconnection relationship with Netflix, Verizon today stated that they too had been in negotiations over such a deal for much of the last year. Not to be outdone, AT&T also says a deal is underway in a statement e-mailed to DSLReports (and everyone else). AT&T didn't state how long these negotiations had been underway, or when they expected to come to an agreement.
I hope they don't all trip over each other to look good.

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post #9 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 05:41 PM
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post #10 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnAV View Post

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Originally Posted by mo949 View Post

so was it throttling? does everyone else connecting to Comcast's servers have to pay in some way? These are the first questions that come to mind.
Routing and load problems by using Internet Middlemen rather then a more direct connection. See the article on my previous post.

Thanks I overlooked that article - it was a good read. So from reading it and your response the answer is "no" to intentional throttling by ISP. As to the other question, do others have direct connections that bypass 'internet middlemen' and do they similarly pay for that direct connection?
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post #11 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mo949 View Post

Thanks I overlooked that article - it was a good read. So from reading it and your response the answer is "no" to intentional throttling by ISP. As to the other question, do others have direct connections that bypass 'internet middlemen' and do they similarly pay for that direct connection?
Thats a good question (Vudu, Hulu, YouTube, Etc) , I assume they have similar non-direct agreements, along with direct agreements.

The Washington Post had a interesting take on this news . . .Comcast’s deal with Netflix makes network neutrality obsolete
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In recent months, the nation's largest residential Internet service providers have been demanding payment to deliver Netflix traffic to their own customers. On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Netflix has agreed to the demands of the nation's largest broadband provider, Comcast. The change represents a fundamental shift in power in the Internet economy that threatens to undermine the competitive market structure that have served Internet users so well for the past two decades.

The deal will also transform the debate over network neutrality regulation. Officially, Comcast's deal with Netflix is about interconnection, not traffic discrimination. But it's hard to see a practical difference between this deal and the kind of tiered access that network neutrality advocates have long feared. Network neutrality advocates are going to have to go back to the drawing board.

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post #12 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 06:26 PM
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If download rates improve immediately then Comcast wasn't being overwhelmed. If they were being overwhelmed it would take time and new infrastructure investment to improve the bottlenecks.
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post #13 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 06:43 PM
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If download rates improve immediately then Comcast wasn't being overwhelmed. If they were being overwhelmed it would take time and new infrastructure investment to improve the bottlenecks.
Actually - it appears that it was not Comcast that was being overwhelmed. It was a network that is BETWEEN Comcast and NetFlix. The deal removes the intermediate network from the route, enabling Netflix to connect directly to Comcast.

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post #14 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 06:47 PM
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post #15 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 06:51 PM
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And for that privilege Netflix pays Comcast? I am not saying that what you described isn't the case but why is Netflix then paying Comcast more money if a third party couldn't handle them. I have also read that Netflix offered to host content servers within internet providers networks to avoid what you just described and it was denied by every internet provider so far. This is about another financial shake down that will be passed to customers. IMO
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post #16 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 07:11 PM
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^ yeah Netflix pays Comcast rather then paying Cogent or like to access Comcast's network directly. On the other topic, why would any backbone provider subscribe to someone setting up their own cache servers within their infrastructure without any financial benefits?

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post #17 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
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And for that privilege Netflix pays Comcast? I am not saying that what you described isn't the case but why is Netflix then paying Comcast more money if a third party couldn't handle them.
Sure. Comcast will be adding physical connections to Netflix to the infrastructure at its network boundaries. It will have to add hardware and licenses. It will also be increasing the workload on the labor that monitors and maintains that infrastructure. All of that costs money. Who would YOU expect to pay for that? If you are tempted to say, "Comcast". Well - what's in it for them?
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I have also read that Netflix offered to host content servers within internet providers networks to avoid what you just described and it was denied by every internet provider so far.
Again - those connections would add infrastructure INSIDE the cable providers' networks...at whose cost? Again - what's in it for them? Oh - and having someone else's boxes on your premises is SUCH an attractive prospect.
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This is about another financial shake down that will be passed to customers. IMO
Yes, it will. You can call it a shakedown. You can irrationally blame Comcast or TWC or whomever for dead babies and AIDS too. Netflix outgrew the ability of a large chunk of the internet, as it currently stands, to handle all of the traffic that Netflix generates. Why on earth should someone else have to pay for the upgrades needed to compensate for that?

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post #18 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 07:38 PM
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So it's basically the same as if I paid the post office to deliver a letter overnight, and then the person I sent the letter to, must pay the office to receive the letter on time.
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post #19 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 07:46 PM
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I like this on the surface. I mean currently I KNOW my internet provider is too slow, and doesn't care because they are also my cable company, and Netflix is obviously their competitor.

I think it's great for the consumer when the same company is responsible for the service and the delivery, that way when it doesn't work, they can't blame each other.

how this affects things in the long term, I don't know

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post #20 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 08:06 PM
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meh. it's all just greed. comcast bitching about how much data netflix puts out? preety much every time netflix gets a new customer @$8 a month, comcast gets a new customer @$50 a month. imo there's absolutely no reason netflix should have to pay extra.
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post #21 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 10:16 PM
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im not irrationally blaming anyone. I pay my ISP for a service and those terms of service including whatever I want to stream. I pay for a speed and I somehow get it or very close to it from most other sites I choose to view. We don't need an internet full of behind the scenes relationships. I pay Netflix and I pay my ISP. That kind of transparency is in everyones best interest.
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post #22 of 106 Old 02-24-2014, 10:20 PM
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So it's basically the same as if I paid the post office to deliver a letter overnight, and then the person I sent the letter to, must pay the office to receive the letter on time.

No. Its more like if you hired me to pick up letters for you and deliver them to the post office. At some point I can't handle all the letters I'm picking up, so you fire me, and make a deal with the post office to come pick up the letters directly. You pay the post office a fee for this new service, but you no longer have to pay me to come pick them up. So overall it may be the same price or even cheaper, but the service is a lot better. Win/Win. Unless you are Cogent in the middle.
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post #23 of 106 Old 02-25-2014, 05:40 AM
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I'm soo glad I have FIOS. lol

You think FiOS makes it all better, look again, and I am a FiOS fan. Verizon is even demanding more money than Comcast to access their network, and in the north east, FiOS customers are saying streaming is so bad with netflix that even SD is breaking up and unable to be watched..
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post #24 of 106 Old 02-25-2014, 07:07 AM
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Sure. Comcast will be adding physical connections to Netflix to the infrastructure at its network boundaries. It will have to add hardware and licenses. It will also be increasing the workload on the labor that monitors and maintains that infrastructure. All of that costs money. Who would YOU expect to pay for that? If you are tempted to say, "Comcast". Well - what's in it for them?
Again - those connections would add infrastructure INSIDE the cable providers' networks...at whose cost? Again - what's in it for them? Oh - and having someone else's boxes on your premises is SUCH an attractive prospect.
Yes, it will. You can call it a shakedown. You can irrationally blame Comcast or TWC or whomever for dead babies and AIDS too. Netflix outgrew the ability of a large chunk of the internet, as it currently stands, to handle all of the traffic that Netflix generates. Why on earth should someone else have to pay for the upgrades needed to compensate for that?

Because the end user demands it and pays for the internet subscription. There are several fundamental problem here:

1. There is no incentives for local monopoly ISP's to expand their networks to meet the subscriber demand. They are afraid if they raise rates too much then competitors will start looking at their areas for viability and they will lose customers. They don't want to lower rates too much because then revenues suffer so they backdrop to monopoly behavior.

2. Content producers need to be divorced from data distributors and ISPs should be relegated to being dumb pipes, like my plumbing. , ISP should be servicing data not controlling it, not throttling it, not doing deep packet inspection. Customer demands and receives. There is an inherent conflict of interest if ISPs are content producers, because they compete for the same markets. No matter which way you slice it this conflict is glaring and is becoming obvious. All of this must occur concurrently with point 3.

3. Customers should be charged on a per bit basis, like a utility. More data use, more cost. The expectation then is that the user decides where the value is and chooses the correct service and bandwidth to accommodate their needs. If someone wants to stream from LA to NY accross an array of networks and ISPs, 4k movies at 60 fps, then they need to pay the tolls along the way and the bandwith to support it. This way everyone that is providing the service (intermediaries) and not just your ISPs, gets paid for their service. The ISPs track these services for their customers on an individual basis rather than through gross measurements of network traffice, as this deal does. This is the only fair way.

There is way too much market distortion at this point.
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post #25 of 106 Old 02-25-2014, 07:30 AM
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Comcast is consistently fast when I have to download huge games from steam, but Netflix almost never streams at HD, it's almost always 480p, sometimes as low as 360p, per my Oppo BDP-103. This is with a 50/15 connection. To make matters worse, I am limited to 300GB /month, or I pay an extra $10 per 50GB. It's not much data considering we have several netflix viewers, (we only use the one cable box for The Walking Dead and Comic Book Men) plus I work from home a lot, and PC games are so large (Max Payne 3 was 35GB to download via Steam). I guess now my household will further exceed the monthly limits, assuming Comcast actually lets our Netflix stream properly. I've considered re-adding our old ISP, and limiting that network's usage to Netflix only, since they never complained of bandwidth usage, but the max speed was 12/6. Either way it goes, it's a lose-lose for me, until we move and hopefully have better options available for internet.
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How can you check your wireless speed? I have Comcast and any time I use my Apple TV, or PS3 for streaming Netflix it stays in 720p for a bit but then blurs out because it drops signal and buffers again. So I'm wondering how you check the speed of your wireless and router speed?

Also need to call comcast because outside the room where the router is located the signal gets very weak even if it's only a few rooms over. Have to call CC to see what's up...
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post #28 of 106 Old 02-25-2014, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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How can you check your wireless speed? I have Comcast and any time I use my Apple TV, or PS3 for streaming Netflix it stays in 720p for a bit but then blurs out because it drops signal and buffers again. So I'm wondering how you check the speed of your wireless and router speed?

Also need to call comcast because outside the room where the router is located the signal gets very weak even if it's only a few rooms over. Have to call CC to see what's up...

Even though it's only an approximation, if you have a cell phone or tablet you can download a speed test app and run it from the same location as your Apple TV or PS3. It should give you a ballpark reading for what your generic throughput is. Upgrading to a premium router is the best move I made last year, in terms of impact on the quality of my video streaming.


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post #29 of 106 Old 02-25-2014, 09:44 AM
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Intentional throttling is an abomination, born out of corporate greed.
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post #30 of 106 Old 02-25-2014, 09:47 AM
 
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Even though it's only an approximation, if you have a cell phone or tablet you can download a speed test app and run it from the same location as your Apple TV or PS3. It should give you a ballpark reading for what your generic throughput is. Upgrading to a premium router is the best move I made last year, in terms of impact on the quality of my video streaming.

How much does a premium router for Comcast go for? We are using the one they sent with the internet package. Also my Apple TV can run a test it has an option for that, tried it once but didn't work but haven't tried it since.
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