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Netflix streaming quality - Page 84

post #2491 of 5479
I suspect that the problem is with Netflix. They are selling more accounts than they can service. It doesn't matter what your IP provides if the server on the other end is overloaded.

And of course they are going to show your rate as too low instead of admitting they can't handle all the incoming connections. Too make it short--they lie. The fact that other services work OK and show a different speed speaks to this.

I would drop them and go with the others until they can provide a satisfactory connection. Remember this is the company that was forced to make restitution for throttling. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Floyd
post #2492 of 5479
The data stream is fine here.
post #2493 of 5479
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post

The data stream is fine here.

How do you know your steam is fine? Do you see numbers or are you just not getting buffering issues. I ask because I'm not getting any buffering issues and the picture looks HD good. I am always surprised when the Netflix rep tells me they show me streaming at such a low speed. That's why I say I find it hard to believe Netflix numbers are accurate. Because I'm streaming at 8 to 10 mb on the other services. Yet only about 2 MB on Netflix. Something doesn't make sense.
post #2494 of 5479
Quote:
Originally Posted by gary50 View Post

How do you know your steam is fine? Do you see numbers or are you just not getting buffering issues. I ask because I'm not getting any buffering issues and the picture looks HD good. I am always surprised when the Netflix rep tells me they show me streaming at such a low speed. That's why I say I find it hard to believe Netflix numbers are accurate. Because I'm streaming at 8 to 10 mb on the other services. Yet only about 2 MB on Netflix. Something doesn't make sense.

Here are the possibilities that I see.

* Perhaps you actually are streaming at only 2Mb/s but don't perceive the quality difference.
* The Netflix rep was confused and told you the wrong number.
* Netflix bandwidth tracking reported the wrong number.
* When you spoke to the Netflix rep on the phone, the stream was momentarily at a lower bit rate.

In your first post you mentioned that the HD picture quality wasn't good, but now that it does look good. Did something change?

You said you are "always surprised when the Netflix rep tells me...". Just how many times have you spoken to them?
post #2495 of 5479
I watched "God Bless America" on Vudu Saturday and selected the HDX stream. No rebuffering at all and great picture quality. I'm going with the "Netflix can't keep up with demand" especially over school holidays for rebuffering issues.
post #2496 of 5479
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Conrad View Post

I watched "God Bless America" on Vudu Saturday and selected the HDX stream. No rebuffering at all and great picture quality. I'm going with the "Netflix can't keep up with demand" especially over school holidays for rebuffering issues.

From our perspective, all we can definitively say is that there is a capacity or bandwidth problem somewhere in the delivery chain. This could be, as you pointed out, overloaded servers or networks under netflix's control. Another possibility is that there is limited network bandwidth somewhere between you and netflix. This could be a result of the peering battle being waged between netflix and ISPs such as Comcast. In other words, it could be a bottleneck between your ISP and wherever your streams are being hosted. The bottleneck may or may not be somewhat intentional on your ISPs part. This issue is going to become quite heated in the next few years. ISPs are competing with Netflix so it isn't inconceivable that they wouldn't work to hard to ensure adequate bandwidth for netflix streams.

Granted, from a non-technical perspective, the distinction could rightfully be considered meaningless in regard to choosing a streaming provider. If one works well and another doesn't, that's all that really matters.

Luckily for me, FiOS in Pittsburgh has always provided flawless Netflix streaming.
post #2497 of 5479
FiOS for me in Harrisburg has also provided flawless service. Once in a great while I'll see the quality indicator (on my PS3) dip from X-HIGH to only HIGH for a little bit, but it's a rare occurence.

I suspect it's more likely your ISP or the "last mile" during busy times (or a combination of several things). If it was Netflix, everyone would be experiencing the issues, not just a select (unlucky) few.

I agree with dfiler....the issues between ISPs and content providers such as Netflix is going to become pretty heated sooner rather than later, especially if it comes out that they are throttling service (as I suspect some are).
post #2498 of 5479
Yep I didn't have buffering last night, but the PS3 took FOREVER to get to HD last night (started on low SD) an I have a flipping 30 meg connection that was nowhere near saturated when I did several speed tests. Same low quality issues on the Xbox client. It's just ridiculous. I'm not paying for low quality video and I will cancel if it doesn't give me the HD promised.
post #2499 of 5479
For those experiencing problems, could you post where you are located and the name of your ISP?

It would be interesting to see if there is a pattern that can be linked to a geographic area or specific ISPs.
post #2500 of 5479
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

For those experiencing problems, could you post where you are located and the name of your ISP?

It would be interesting to see if there is a pattern that can be linked to a geographic area or specific ISPs.

ISP typical connection speed and date/time of the issue would also be helpful.

I really wish Netflix would put quality indicators on all the devices like the PS3 and a couple have, as it would help debug or differentiate between quality issues with the encodings vs. quality issues with the connection or device.
post #2501 of 5479
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

For those experiencing problems, could you post where you are located and the name of your ISP?

It would be interesting to see if there is a pattern that can be linked to a geographic area or specific ISPs.

Time Warner Cable. I also tried using Google's DNS and same issue happened.

I did speedtests with speakeasy.net and speedtest.net and had my full 30/5 available. It eventually got to medium HD and that's it. Nothing else was downloading/going on in the background of my connection either.

Time was around 10:30PM last night (4/15) I believe. I reported both shows I had issues with (Doctor Who on PS3 and Archer on Xbox) via the Report Issue button.
post #2502 of 5479
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

Here are the possibilities that I see.

* Perhaps you actually are streaming at only 2Mb/s but don't perceive the quality difference.
* The Netflix rep was confused and told you the wrong number.
* Netflix bandwidth tracking reported the wrong number.
* When you spoke to the Netflix rep on the phone, the stream was momentarily at a lower bit rate.

In your first post you mentioned that the HD picture quality wasn't good, but now that it does look good. Did something change?

You said you are "always surprised when the Netflix rep tells me...". Just how many times have you spoken to them?

I've spoken to Netflix reps quite a few times because I just can't believe the numbers they're giving me. I know that I'm streaming fast and the PQ is good. I never said my HD wan't good. What I said or at least meant was that according to Netflix reps my speed is low. I specifically stated that was a surprised since my speeds are good everywhere else. Also, the picture looks good as well.

I went on Speedtest.net and it shows I'm getting download speed of over 30 and that I'm faster than 91% of the country. I think that's pretty good. Again, Vudu and Amazon tell me that they show me at between 8 and 10 mg. So I'm very skeptical of the Netflix numbers and wonder if they're even accurate. That's why I would like to hear from someone who has a device that shows the speed they are streaming and then have that person call Netflix and see if the numbers are even close.

Something doesn't make sense.
post #2503 of 5479
I live in Central New Jersey and my ISP is Comcast.
post #2504 of 5479
More of the same tonight. Started in low SD an took 5 minutes to get to medium HD and then just dropped again! I am calling and complaining. I'm so pissed.
post #2505 of 5479
There's a test for whether you're getting 1080p streams using the Swedish title Let the Right One In (a very cool vampire movie remade with English speaking actors as Let Me In). The subtitles above the letterbox get cropped in the 1080p encoding and only in the 1080p encoding--see this post by msgohan, who discovered it.

They should fix that title, since if you do have the bandwidth to get the 1080p encoding, it unwatchable if you don't speak Swedish. But they should create a sample clip with the bit rate of the current encoding written on the scene for diagnostic purposes.

EDIT: Right now, I'm seeing a "you can't have 1080p" thing with Netflix. Solid High/HD, won't increase to X-High/HD. I tried running some stuff in VUDU and I'm getting solid 3-bar HDX, which averages 9 Mbps. I'll try again in a couple of hours and see if things changed.
post #2506 of 5479
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

EDIT: Right now, I'm seeing a "you can't have 1080p" thing with Netflix. Solid High/HD, won't increase to X-High/HD. I tried running some stuff in VUDU and I'm getting solid 3-bar HDX, which averages 9 Mbps. I'll try again in a couple of hours and see if things changed.

I was wrong--the observation was based on playing Let the Right One In; if I play some other HD title I can get the 1080p encoding. It appears that they "fixed" it by removing the bad 1080p encoding, making it one of a small handful of 720p-only titles

So, the Let the Right One In 1080p quick-test is gone. Oh well--it was a bug after all and it was only right that they fix it one way or another.
post #2507 of 5479
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

From our perspective, all we can definitively say is that there is a capacity or bandwidth problem somewhere in the delivery chain. This could be, as you pointed out, overloaded servers or networks under netflix's control. Another possibility is that there is limited network bandwidth somewhere between you and netflix. This could be a result of the peering battle being waged between netflix and ISPs such as Comcast. In other words, it could be a bottleneck between your ISP and wherever your streams are being hosted. The bottleneck may or may not be somewhat intentional on your ISPs part. This issue is going to become quite heated in the next few years. ISPs are competing with Netflix so it isn't inconceivable that they wouldn't work to hard to ensure adequate bandwidth for netflix streams.

Granted, from a non-technical perspective, the distinction could rightfully be considered meaningless in regard to choosing a streaming provider. If one works well and another doesn't, that's all that really matters.

Luckily for me, FiOS in Pittsburgh has always provided flawless Netflix streaming.

I'm on U-Verse which is fiber at 12 mbps. I don't think it is throttling and I've seen the same behavior every time there is a school vacation. There are teens in the neighborhood. School is back in session and I had no problem watching "Mozart's Sister" in HD on Netflix last night (which would really benefit however from 5.1 sound).
post #2508 of 5479
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Conrad View Post

I'm on U-Verse which is fiber at 12 mbps. I don't think it is throttling and I've seen the same behavior every time there is a school vacation. There are teens in the neighborhood. School is back in session and I had no problem watching "Mozart's Sister" in HD on Netflix last night (which would really benefit however from 5.1 sound).

What is the evidence that the ISP isn't throttling?

I'm not asserting that they are, just that we have no evidence either way. If U-Verse were to throttle customer connections, it wouldn't be surprising if they did it during peak usage, when approaching full bandwidth saturation. That throttling might also only be applied to their overloaded connection to particular CDNs and/or types of network traffic.

What the evidence says so far is that a percentage of people experience load related issues somewhere in the delivery path from the netflix streaming servers to the end display. It isn't clear which parties involved are at fault, or put another way, which parties could take action to fix the problem. It could be a netflix only problem, an ISP specific problem, or a combination of the two. In some instances, networking problems in the home (wifi) could be at fault as well. If an ISP problem, the conversation becomes more interesting, with motivations coming into play.
post #2509 of 5479
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

What is the evidence that the ISP isn't throttling?

Then why wouldn't they throttle when I was watching the Vudu movie at 1080p and eating up much more bandwidth on Saturday night which would also be peak usage? I just highly doubt that is the case and you would think they would have also throttled on my Monday night movie on Netflix but didn't. As I said these seem to correspond with school vacations when NF is probably getting above normal usage. And some of the NF rebuffering during the spring break also occured on an SD offering.
post #2510 of 5479
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Conrad View Post

Then why wouldn't they throttle when I was watching the Vudu movie at 1080p and eating up much more bandwidth on Saturday night which would also be peak usage? I just highly doubt that is the case and you would think they would have also throttled on my Monday night movie on Netflix but didn't. As I said these seem to correspond with school vacations when NF is probably getting above normal usage. And some of the NF rebuffering during the spring break also occured on an SD offering.

It is possible that the ISP's connection to Vudu's CDN is far less congested than their connection to Netflix's CDN. Unless the bottleneck is in the last mile, this is the other most likely connection to be bandwidth starved. The key concept here is that it really matters where the traffic is going. If Vudu traffic doesn't travel over a congested connection, that would explain what you're seeing.

Another possibility is that the ISP manages bandwidth allocated to specifically to Netflix during peak usage. Vudu is a rounding error as compared to Netflix traffic. There are tons of streaming sites and technologies on the net. When ISPs attempt QOS management, they tend to only address traffic that represents a significant portion of the total.

Again, I don't claim to know what is going on. Instead, I'm trying to list what all of the various possibilities are. I welcome others to correct or add to this theorizing. To arrive at a definitive answer, we'll probably need more information than is readily available. It isn't as simple as: netflix is flakey so their servers must be overloaded.

ArsTechnica has published a couple interesting articles on the Comcast / Level3 peering situtaion. Here is one that touches on a bit of what we're discussing here.
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/n...castlevel3.ars
post #2511 of 5479
What do you guys mean by "throttling"?
post #2512 of 5479
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McC View Post

What do you guys mean by "throttling"?

That your Internet Service Provider is limiting the amount of bandwidth you can use in certain situations, even though your service subscription specifies a larger bandwidth limit.

I know that some ISPs have throttled bandwidth to their heaviest users (there have been estimates that the heaviest 1% of users consume 20% of bandwidth utilized every month; supposedly the top 1% of mobile data users consume 50% of bandwidth). I have to think that they could throttle per-customer bandwidth to the most highly utilized streaming servers if they wanted to (which wouldn't include VUDU).

Of course, if they didn't mention that in their customer service agreement it could be cause for suit. Netflix was sued for disc throttling, limiting their heaviest renters' access to the most popular discs. (Like many class-action suits it was most profitable for the lawyers, whose fees were paid; the class members just got coupons and the throttling policy was spelled out clearly in the CSA. I think that the instigators of the suit were hoping that the court would somehow order them to stop throttling ).
post #2513 of 5479
Anyone know what the new Netflix 2.07 update does (PS3)?
post #2514 of 5479
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Mack View Post

Anyone know what the new Netflix 2.07 update does (PS3)?

Whether it does what? If you're talking about throttling, all of that would be in the hands of your ISP and would be done regardless of what player you were using.
post #2515 of 5479
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

Whether it does what? If you're talking about throttling, all of that would be in the hands of your ISP and would be done regardless of what player you were using.

I just asked what it does. I wasn't referencing the other posts.
post #2516 of 5479
[quote=michaeltscott;21923815]
I have to think that they could throttle per-customer bandwidth to the most highly utilized streaming servers if they wanted to (which wouldn't include VUDU).

This is what I think could very likely be happening. As I mentioned, I am streaming both Vudu and Amazon at very fast speeds. I just confirmed with Amazon that I'm streaming at 13 mg. Already confirmed with Vudu that I'm streaming speeds of 8 to 10 mg. But Netflix reps tell me I'm fluctuating between .25 mg and 4.8 mg. Average stream speed is about 1.5 to 2 mg. That's a huge difference! So it seems to me that either my ISP is throttling Netflix stream or Netflix themselves are the culprit. I don't claim to be an expert on this type of thing but common sense tells me there must be SOME reason for the huge disparity and I cant' think of any other logical reason. If someone can come up with one, I'd love to hear it.
post #2517 of 5479
I think it would be more likely that Netflix just can't keep up with the demand. I've seen that mentioned on other forums and in articles. And if they also only see this say during school vacations they may not feel it worth build out to expand coverage or the schedule for built out is still a little behind demand. And investing in more build out might be disastrous when there seems to be more competition coming online.
post #2518 of 5479
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Conrad View Post

I think it would be more likely that Netflix just can't keep up with the demand. I've seen that mentioned on other forums and in articles. And if they also only see this say during school vacations they may not feel it worth build out to expand coverage or the schedule for built out is still a little behind demand. And investing in more build out might be disastrous when there seems to be more competition coming online.

I would agree that it is likely, or at least not unlikely. But it would be no surprise if some Netflix performance issues are due to limited last mile bandwidth or a bottleneck between the ISP and the network on which the CDN resides.

As for other forums and articles speculating on the cause, I have never seen anyone do a deeper analysis than the speculation in this thread. Most never get past the simplified perspective of what matters in the end to most users. What matters in the end is if it is possible to watch netflix without quality degradation or other streaming problems. From that simplified perspective, sure, if netflix streaming is having problems, netflix is overloaded.

If anyone knows of actual research or analysis on this topic, please call it to our attention. I for one am quite interested.

A more technical analysis would attempt to determine where the bottleneck is. If it is the peer connection between ISPs, then generally the cost of increasing bandwidth is split between the entities at each end. Note that at least Comcast has been playing hard ball and is refusing to pay for their end of the connection. This is for obvious reasons. If Comcast can make it such that netflix streams poorly during peak usage periods, they succeed in harming products (such as netflix) that compete with their cable television services.

In regard to investing in increased streaming capacity... As I understand it, Netflix doesn't own the network or servers that host their service. I think this is currently contracted out to Level3. That raises the question of how that contract is structured. L3 may simply be providing a fixed total bandwidth. Or they may be required to upgrade as merited by congestion.
post #2519 of 5479
More streaming in SD tonight and even buffering on the PS3 and an error message awaited me. I got fed up and called they said I was connecting at various speeds including under a meg. I have a freaking 30 meg down connection and they told me to contact my ISP. Sorry, netflix, it's ****ing you. I can stream from numerous other services including Vudu and iTunes at full HD speeds.
post #2520 of 5479
I had no issues streaming in HD from Netflix last night. It was rock solid which is the norm.
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