Too Much Netflix Buffering/Viewing Laptop Through Television - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 10-28-2013, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
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FIRST ISSUE

Three years ago I purchased a used Toshiba 42" and entered the HDTV world. I then purchased a Panasonic DMP-BD65 Blu-ray and ran a cheap HDMI cable from my office to my TV (App. 40'). Most evenings, streaming works quite well with only the occasional buffer. Some evenings everything works fine until I pause and hit play and the buffering begins. On rare occasions, the streaming screen will not even load and I am forced to watch one of my old DVD's. I visited Best Buy the other day and was told...

-that Century Link is terrible and to switch to Comcast (I had Comcast and it was no better).

- any HDMI cable under $40 was a waste of money

- that the inside of the cables can deteriorate

SECOND ISSUE

I also am running an HDMI cable from my laptop to the TV to view YouTube. I wanted to purchase a dongle and go wireless but was told by the same clerk that there is no way to make my old TV a Smart TV and that today's TV's have a life expectancy of 5-8 years.

My Blu-Ray is not wireless (I paid $100 as opposed to $150 wireless version).

I would prefer not to purchase a smart TV at this time if it can be avoided.

Can I replace my Blu-Ray with an newer version (Some of the new players on display were priced well below $100) or buy a streamer such as a Roku?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 17 Old 10-28-2013, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reeltoreel View Post

I visited Best Buy the other day and was told...

- any HDMI cable under $40 was a waste of money

- that the inside of the cables can deteriorate

Thanks for the reminder why I never shop at Best Buy.

FWIW, your HDMI cable has NOTHING to do with your streaming issues but rather the ability of your player to communicate with the Netflix server via the internet. For maximum quality you want a fast consistent internet provider with a wired connection to your Blu Ray player or Media Player. A high quality wireless router and wifi player can mitigate some of the advantages of wired connections.

It would seem that the easiest solution would be a new player of some type but only after you rule out your internet internet speed using a website such as Speedtest.net in the evening when your neighbors are also streaming.

Also, if your TV is 40' feet away is there a way to replace the 40' HDMI cable with a 40' ethernet cable so your TV and player are in the same room? (Hint: high quality yet inexpensive ethernet cables and HDMI cables are available from this forum's sponsors.) You could also leave the HDMI cable in place and add the ethernet data cable and thus use the HDMI port on your computer to stream to the TV.

For equipment possibilities, take a look at the Sony BDP-S5100 (or S3100) Blu Ray player or the Ruku 3. Both do streaming from the major providers and have improved hardware compared to your existing player which should improve the streaming quality provided your problem is not your internet connection. Both are less than $100 and either one would make your existing TV a "smart TV" and both offer wired and wireless connections. (FWIW, of the two suggestions, only the Sony Blu Ray player has YouTube "out of the box' without requiring additional setup steps.)
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post #3 of 17 Old 10-28-2013, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
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I performed the speed test at 7 PM Mtn. time with the results as follows ping 41 ms / download 26.16 Mbps / upload .80 Mbps

I was using a Cisco E1000 but now have the Century Link C1000A.

It appears that I was mistaken and am using an ethernet cable running from the Century Link to the bluRay and an HDMI from the bluray to the TV.
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post #4 of 17 Old 10-28-2013, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by reeltoreel View Post

It appears that I was mistaken and am using an ethernet cable running from the Century Link to the bluRay and an HDMI from the bluray to the TV.
Ok, that's good news.

Here's a couple other ideas to try before you buy anything new:

1) Verify that your existing Blu Ray player has the most current firmware installed (this can be done from the player)

2) If you have a laptop, plug it into the 40' ethernet cable used by the player and check the speed again with the laptop's wifi turned off (we want to eliminate a cable problem)

3) Verify the most current firmware is installed on the CenturyLink modem (instructions here)
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post #5 of 17 Old 10-29-2013, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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1.

- The firmware is set up for auto-updates but checked anyway...it was current.

-Connection Test-Passed


2.

-I connected the Ethernet cable to the laptop and Netflix streaming seemed to work okay but it was 10:15 AM.

-laptop....Ping 25ms / download 24.58 Mbps / upload .83 Mbps


3. After reboot, "Firmware Is Up To Date" on the Century Link. I do not know the status before reboot


Thank you for taking the time to help this fifty year old with these new-fangled electronics. My sixty-seven year old retired professor friend believes me to be a senior and he in kindergarten when it comes to these issues. It is certainly all relative!


I still need to do further research on the machines that you suggested.

-The reason I use my laptop for YouTube is that I am collecting live versions of all of my favorite music in folders arranged according to decade. The folders are located in my laptop. I also occasionally surf through the laptop.

-is the only advantage of a bluray player over the Roku the ability to play DVD's ? That is why I purchased my current bluray although I have played only a few DVD's with it and have never viewed a bluray disk

-would my laptop be able to pick up the signals from the bluray or Roku or would I need a dongle of sorts?
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post #6 of 17 Old 10-29-2013, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reeltoreel View Post

Thank you for taking the time to help this fifty year old with these new-fangled electronics.

My pleasure. I'm currently a stay at home dad (but only for a few more weeks) so surfing on AVS is great fun during nap time.
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-The reason I use my laptop for YouTube is that I am collecting live versions of all of my favorite music in folders arranged according to decade. The folders are located in my laptop. I also occasionally surf through the laptop.

First, what kind of laptop do you have?

Could you please try Speedtest.net again from your laptop using wireless while seated in front of your TV?

Are your favorites saved as bookmarks in your web browser or saved within a YouTube account?
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Originally Posted by reeltoreel View Post

-is the only advantage of a bluray player over the Roku the ability to play DVD's ?

Essentially, yes. (In addition to the addition of the built-in YouTube app on the Sony)

If you don't need something to play physical discs and if you only use Netflix and YouTube for streaming then the other media player I would strongly recommend is the AppleTV. It is VERY user friendly and has a really nice interface for both Netflix and YouTube.
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-would my laptop be able to pick up the signals from the bluray or Roku or would I need a dongle of sorts?
Neither, really.

The laptop can control your YouTube and Netflix accounts (sorting lists, adding favorites, etc) but both the Sony and the Apple TV are stand-alone units for playback. If YouTube is a desire then I would remove the Ruku from consideration unless there is also a convenient way to stream YouTube to your TV and the best method to stream directly from your laptop depends upon your laptop.

A dongle could be useful depending upon your laptop. For example, the Chromecast dongle works with your laptop (when using the Chrome browser) but also requires a good strong wifi signal for both the Chromcast and the laptop.
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post #7 of 17 Old 10-29-2013, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
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HP Pavillion

Speed-test through the wireless Ping 25 / down 24.50 / up .83

I only stream Netflix as YouTube is achingly slow using my remote and my folders are in my Vista/Firefox bookmarks.

I was originally told over the phone to use a CHromcast but the clerk in the store said it would not work.
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post #8 of 17 Old 10-29-2013, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
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It appears that the only difference between the Sony players is that the 5100 plays 3d discs. The Roku offers more "channels" but I cannot envision using anything more than Netflix for now.

So...by switching to a "smart" bluray, Roku or AppleTV will solve my Netflix buffering issues and eliminate having to use an HDMI cable from my laptop to my television as long as I insert the Chromecast into the laptop?
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post #9 of 17 Old 10-29-2013, 05:28 PM
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The Chomecast dongle actually plugs directly into a HDMI port on the TV (review). It uses WiFi to communicate with both the internet and the laptop with the Google Chrome (free) browser installed (you can export your Firefox bookmarks to Chrome) on the laptop. As long as you have a reasonably strong Wifi signal it works like magic---and it sounds like you probably have one. It would certainly be the least expensive option to try.

If that does not do the trick, I would try the AppleTV via the wired connection. Last I checked, Apple had a 14 day return policy if you buy it directly from them. I'm sure other major retailers have similar return policies so it would be worth a low-risk tryout. The AppleTV works a little bit differently than the Chomecast in regard to YouTube but you could add the bookmarked videos to your YouTube account and access them directly using the AppleTV.

I have three of the units I suggested (BDP-S5100, Ruku 3, and AppleTV) and after learning more about your situation I'd recommend the Roku or AppleTV for ease of and forget about the Sony since you already have the Panasonic for discs. But...Roku does not have a YouTube channel. With the Roku you'd probably want the Roku + Chromecast to cover your bases.
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post #10 of 17 Old 10-30-2013, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Just a reminder that my Toshiba TV is maybe five years old and not "smart" (or would the Chromecast make it "smart"). Would your suggestions still be valid or do I need to upgrade my TV?

I read the review and find the fact that I could stream my Netflix cue through my phone at friends houses quite intriguing!

I just purchased my first smart phone this Summer and only use the browser on rare occasions while away from my house. Computer monitors and TV's screens keep getting larger and yet the trend seems to be to use the tiny screen on phones as our primary way to view online content. No thanks (unless I switch from my 3.5" screen to the Samsung Note's 5.7").

Cnet gave the Roku a slight edge over the Apple. Do you trust Cnet?
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post #11 of 17 Old 10-30-2013, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reeltoreel View Post

Just a reminder that my Toshiba TV is maybe five years old and not "smart" (or would the Chromecast make it "smart"). Would your suggestions still be valid or do I need to upgrade my TV?
Your TV is basically being used as a monitor in all of these scenarios. As long as you have an available HDMI input you should be good to go.
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Cnet gave the Roku a slight edge over the Apple. Do you trust Cnet?
CNET is reasonably good but remember.....Ruku 3 does not currently have a YouTube channel. The big advantage for the Ruku, IMHO, is the other available streaming services such as Amazon and Vudu that are not available with the AppleTV. For Netflix and YouTube the AppleTV wins for a polished interface, IMHO.

I think would you be very satisfied with either one but it would appear than even the Chromecast meets your needs provided your wifi maintains its performance.
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post #12 of 17 Old 10-30-2013, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
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So if I hear you correctly...

-Issue #1 The purchase of a Roku or Apple should help to eliminate the excessive buffering ?

-Issue #2 Should be solved by using the Chromecast by eliminating the need to run an HDMI cable from the laptop to my "dumb" TV ?

I am a also a bit confused as to why I would need a YouTube channel if I my main use of YouTube is to view or add to my Bookmarks (I do watch instructional videos on occasion).

Thanks again!
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post #13 of 17 Old 10-30-2013, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reeltoreel View Post

So if I hear you correctly...

-Issue #1 The purchase of a Roku or Apple should help to eliminate the excessive buffering ?

Hopefully. Both user newer hardware/software that should be more tolerant of network issues, including those outside of your home, than your current Panasonic player. (At the same time, so should the Chromecast.)
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-Issue #2 Should be solved by using the Chromecast by eliminating the need to run an HDMI cable from the laptop to my "dumb" TV ?

I am a also a bit confused as to why I would need a YouTube channel if I my main use of YouTube is to view or add to my Bookmarks (I do watch instructional videos on occasion).

Thanks again!
I think there is a minor bit of confusion here. The laptop is not really transmitting actual YouTube videos (or anything else) to the Chomecast but instead it's really acting like a very sophisticated but transparent remote control.

Thus, for example, you can select a YouTube video to watch and your browser automagically tells the Chromecast which video to download and play. This would work well with all of your bookmarked videos. Ditto for Netflix.

This is also the reason why a "YouTube" app is useful on other devices (like the AppleTV) as there is no way to control the AppleTV that same way unless you are using a recent Mac laptop. Instead, the YouTube app on the AppleTV can play the YouTube videos you saved/favorited/playlisted in your personal YouTube account. This would require you to go in an save each bookmark from your browser to your YouTube account.

That said, Chome browser can "mirror" the desktop and send it to the Chromecast but that requires some serious CPU power, a strong wifi signal, and it's still an "experimental" feature with significant video and audio issues. So it's a work in progress.

Clear as mud?
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post #14 of 17 Old 10-31-2013, 07:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for clarifying ! Also, thank you for taking the time to help me with my issues, Doc!

I will post again when I purchase new equipment.
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post #15 of 17 Old 11-07-2013, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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I thought that I would try out the Chromcast to settle Issue #2 (eliminating the long HDMI cable from the TV to the laptop). I first downloaded the Chrome browser to my laptop. The Chromcast setup was flawless although when it asked for my routers password, instead of looking through my records to find it, I clicked let Google do it. How did they find my password????

Some issues have arisen...

A. Why is there no cursor on my TV? It forces me to keep the laptop open and use it as my primary screen and nearby which is one of the things that I wanted to avoid by going wireless (I use a wireless mouse on the leather arm of my chair). Most of the reviews mention this but gloss over the issue. I guess it is not a big deal if you use a notebook or phone as a remote but my I cannot afford a notebook and my phones 3.5" screen is too small for my old eyes to see clearly.

B. I read the local newspaper on my laptop and there is a lag while scrolling.

C. After reading countless comments concerning excessive Netflix buffering and hearing about many remedies/issues including, but not limited to, excessive use in the evenings i.e., "smart" TV's not being smart enough to handle streaming ,too much traffic in the evenings, etc. One man said that the only way to stream is through a laptop. Last evening, I thought I would try that and had no buffering, no "Unable to retrieve. Please try again later", and no interface screen freeze forcing my to reload Netlix. The picture quality was also improved tab projection quality set at High (720p). There are a couple of things that I do not understand...

D. What does it mean to have an app such as Netflix loaded on to the Chromecast? I opened a tab on my laptop, entered my username and password, allowed the browser to remember my sign-in info, chose a selection from my que and began watching but not before figuring out that it was not viewable on my TV by using the "cast tab" on the upper, right corner of my laptops screen. I did find that I needed to click on the tab on the screen under the video as it begins streaming to get the picture onto my TV (I have never streamed through my laptop before).

E. I guess that I do not need to replace my 2010 Panasonic bluray with a box! I did read of a Roku in development that will do what the Chromecast does but cannot locate the article.

Thanks for listening!!
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post #16 of 17 Old 11-07-2013, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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My phones screen is 2 x 3...not 3.5".

I am currently looking for a larger replacement.
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post #17 of 17 Old 11-17-2013, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I purchased a used Nexus 7 and have been using it as my remote. There has been only one buffering incident since using the Chromecast through my laptop or tablet and it only lasted maybe three seconds.
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