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Is wireless video streaming supposed to be this difficult?!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I would REALLY appreciate some advice, as I have not been able to accomplish what I had thought would be a simple task: streaming ripped videos (avi, mp4, mkv) from my laptop to my TV, via a media streaming device. In the past 4 months I've bought an ATV2 and a WD TV Live SMP and both have ultimately failed me: sometimes the video plays, sometimes the video won't play at all, and sometimes the file plays for a while then stutters then eventually freezes. I'm wondering how much my problems might be related to whether the video is HD or not.

Here's some further information:

Computer: 2009 Dell Inspiron 1555 (Intel Core Duo @ 2Ghz) with Windows Vista SP2
WiFi Card: Intel WiFi Link 5100 (NOTE: operates in "Draft N" mode - could this be the source of the problem?)
Router: Actiontec V1000H (positioned 40 feet away from TV down the hall)
Internet Connection: DSL (today tested 13.4 Mbps download and 0.86 Mbps upload).

Also, I attached a thumb drive to the WD today and ran LAN Speed Test. It shows 15.5 Mbps writing and 20.9 Mbps reading. I have no idea what that means, but I thought it might relevant.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide.

D.
post #2 of 11
Most here recommend against wireless streaming- especially HD content. Low bitrate SD content should stream if all is well with your wireless setup.
From what I've read- wireless is best for bursts (like loading a web page then basically no activity till you change to another page). Wireless is poor for sustained large transfers at high speeds (basically streaming).
If you want to see if it's the wireless that's causing the problem- buy a $20 switch at Amazon/Newegg/BestBuy, etc... connect your laptop and media player to it and give it a try.
post #3 of 11
Frankly you are using sub par wireless gear. Get yourself a new router. Not a cheap to be. But a good quality router like a Net gear wndr3700 or a wndr4500. And yes your draft n client is an issue too.

I use wireless with ATV 2 and ROKU and all is good.

Bob Silver


Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
post #4 of 11
Wireless is no good for streaming based on just how wireless works. the faster wireless goes the worst it gets because they keep moving up to higher spectrum which degrades faster.

Take your average wireless N setup, in the same room you might be able to sustain 100Mbit fine. Add in one wall and 20 feet and suddenly you are lucky to get 20Mbit.

Wireless G is actually better for long ranges but doesnt have the bandwidth capacity.

If you cant use wired your next best solution is MoCA or homeplugs.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobsilver View Post

Frankly you are using sub par wireless gear. Get yourself a new router. Not a cheap to be. But a good quality router like a Net gear wndr3700 or a wndr4500. And yes your draft n client is an issue too.
I use wireless with ATV 2 and ROKU and all is good.
Bob Silver
Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

Neither of them boxes play high bitrate files. ATV2 can sometimes play a 1080p file and the roku gets 1080p netflix which is only 4.8Mbps hardly anywhere near high bitrate.
post #6 of 11
Wireless streaming of video is not recommended, especially for HD video. Many people have tried it..and not many have succeeded.

If the streaming source and the box are in the same room, buy a gigabit switch and connect the source to the streamer through the switch. If not, then you do have the option of trying ethernet-over-powerline adapters (which some people have had some luck on), or you could try Ethernet-over-coax adapters (And that's IF the source and the streamer are located near coax outlets). Either of these technologies are *vastly* superior to wireless when streaming video.

Try to find a retailer which has a good return policy with no restocking fees. Ethernet over Powerline adapters are very situational, but many people have had success with them (Just not on powerbars..they have to be plugged into the wall directly).

I personally use MoCA Ethernet-to-coax-adapters. Faster speeds than wireless or powerline, isn't affected by electrical interference, and can handle blu-ray rips without stuttering.

For either of these, you need an adapter at the source, and an adapter at the streamer. Powerline adapters are easy to find - but are highly situational. Coax adapters are not so easy to find (amazon has them), but they are far more reliable and faster.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ok. I went out and bought a gigabit switch and with it a new problem....I am now getting an "unable to obtain IP address" error when I try to connect the WD streamer to my laptop through a wired connected (via Network Settings -> Network Setup -> Wired -> Automatic). I've rebooted the laptop, router, streamer and switch, all to now avail. I also tried to enter an IP address manually, but the information provided in ipconfig doesn't match what the WD is asking for. My router assigns a dynamic address though to confirm it is not wired to anything.

When I go into Windows Explorer to see what is connected, there is a message near the top of the screen stating "Network discovery and filing sharing are turned off. Network computers and devices are not visible. Click to change...." But accepting the suggested changes (which I had already manually input when I first set up the WD) doesn't resolve the problem -- I keep getting the "unable to obtain IP address" error. Finally, I stuck a thumb drive into the WD and was able to transfer files back and forth between the laptop and the thumb drive -- I know this was done over the wired connected as I disabled WiFi first. So

BTW - just curious -- why is a switch necessary to transfer data between the laptop and the WD? Both have ethernet ports so why can't I directly connect the two with an ethernet cable?

Any help is as always greatly appreciated. I am close to returning this to the store (if I don't throw it across the room first).

Thanks again.
post #8 of 11
You'll need to set the router to use static IP addresses, not DHCP, and manually assign a separate IP address for each device on your network - separate for the WD, laptop etc. This way the IP address will not change and an IP address will be obtained. You connect the router to the switch and the WD to the switch. I'd disable wireless and rely exclusively on Ethernet until you get the IP addresses sorted out. There are a million guides out there on how to set this up, more info is here:

http://community.wdc.com/t5/WD-TV-Live-Hub-Network/Connecting-WDTV-to-computer/td-p/207262

http://community.wdc.com/t5/WD-TV-Live-Networking/WD-will-not-IP-after-installing-new-Netgear-WNDR3700-router/td-p/118954
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by danielplainview View Post

just curious -- why is a switch necessary to transfer data between the laptop and the WD? Both have ethernet ports so why can't I directly connect the two with an ethernet cable?
Unless one of the network devices (either your computer or streaming device) or has an "Auto X" crossover port you would need a (uncommon) crossover cable to connect the two ports directly without a switch/hub/router. Using a crossover cable requires all manual network settings on both devices too. Unless you're fluent in networking- it's best to use a switch between devices for easy configuration.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone who has posted to date. I have a question below about possibly slow transfer speeds with the WD, but first, and for the benefit of others, this is how I got the wired network up and running:

- brought my router into the same room as all the other equipment (I did this just to be able to connect everything by wire; my router must be returned to another room in the house)
- connected laptop to router
- connected router to switch
- connected WD to switch
- disconnected my wifi connection on my laptop
- on the WD, cleared the login info for the network shares

I then followed various directions online for assigning a static IP address to my computer, namely, confirming ethernet information via ipconfig, then assigning a local number to my computer. I found this video particularly helpful: http://www.trainsignal.com/blog/windows-vista-ip-addressing. It might be relevant to note my router's "wan connection status" is "dynamic" but that didn't appear to change anything. The laptop now has an internet connection, which can only be coming from the wired connection (wifi disabled).

I then went into WD Network Setup, chose "wired" as opposed to "wireless", and manually assigned an IP address for that device (I used the same numbers as for my laptop IP address, but changed the "local", i.e., the last two digits). At this point, the WD was no longer giving me errors about IP addresses and DNS servers - the "check connection" test comes up fine.

I then tried to access my files, but the only option WD would give me was the USB thumbdrive I had inserted (that is, it didn't give me the usual menu with options for local storage, network shares, etc). I finally removed the thumbdrive, and rebooted the WD and the problem was solved. This was annoying -- why would the WD block other file / network options simply because there was local storage attached via USB?!

I was finally able to stream two BluRay rips over the wired connection with no problems at all (each about 8gb in size). This is a huge leap forward after not being able to stream 1gb movies wirelessly.

I then disconnected everything from the router, and connected my laptop to the switch. Everything was working fine and I was still able to stream these same two movies.

QUESTION...

But then I plugged the thumbdrive back into the WD to test transfer speeds across the "network" (this was while one of the 8gb BR rips was playing). I chose a 1gb file and drag and dropped it from my laptop to the thumbdrive connected to the WD. The normal window on my laptop came up confirming the file transfer, but it got hung on the "calculating" stage. Then the movie I was playing froze, then I got two "Open Window" Windows message stating that the WD was not available. The first ended by stating the specified network name is longer available. The second message was identical but ended with "The Server service is not started."

Eventually the movie started to play normally again but I was disappointed that this file transfer issue crashed the WD temporarily. I stopped the movie and low and behold the file had actually transferred to the thumbdrive. I then transferred it back o the laptop at speeds of about 10mb/sec. Should I not be expecting wired network speeds much higher than this, given that I have a gigabit setup? I would have thought this volume of data would be easily handled. Is the "weak link" the WD? My laptop has a gigabit ethernet card. I am using CAT6 cables but my switch is indicating that only the connection to my computer is a gigabit setup, whereas the one to the WD is 10/100 -- is that normal? Is the WD's ethernet 10/100 not 10/100/1000?

My thanks again for all the suggestions and advice. Getting the WD TV Live working has been a monumental PITA from day one (but it seems like perhaps I have a setup I can now live with (after giving up on streaming 1080). I would appreciate some thoughts on the transfer speeds.

ND
post #11 of 11
Most USB drives have very poor transfer speeds for large files.
Most media players are considerate enough to accommodate transfers to plugged in USB devices- but they're certainly not optimized for data transfers so their transfer speeds are 'disappointing' to downright dreadful.
Testing your network transfer speed this way is not accurate.

Perhaps attach another computer to your switch and transfer a file from one computer to another computer. If you have a gigabit switch, a gigabit NIC in your laptop and relatively short cat6 cables- your transfer rates to another gigabit device (other than a media player) should be excellent.
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