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Netflix streaming quality jumping around on Panasonic Smart Viera app - stable connection/network

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,

I signed up for Netflix last night and did a few test runs on my new Panasonic 50UT50 TV, using the built in Panasonic Smart Viera Netflix app. I found that most content starts at "Medium SD" and eventually settles into Medium HD, but will bounce around between Medium SD, High SD and Medium HD (never Low HD for some reason).

From what I understand this is still not the highest level of quality available from Netflix (order being: Low SD, Medium SD, High SD, Low HD
Medium HD, High HD, X-High HD).

I also played a few trailers and 2 min previews on the Vudu app, and was able to use X-HD with full 3 green bars no problem, from the start of each sample video without any drop in quality. Based on this, I don't think the problem is my network or connection, it's either server load on Netflix end (I can test early in the morning for this I guess) or a setting in the app somewhere that I can't find.

Netflix on Medium/High HD is certainly watchable, but noticeably worse quality (especially in dark scenes, macroblocking/dithering) than the Vudu material I previewed. I know current Netflix will not match Vudu X-HD, but I'm ok with that since it's cheaper. I just want the maximum quality Netflix will provide given their server load. Is there anything I can do? On the Netflix webpage I have my preferences set to the highest quality, but I think that only affects browser playback.

Config:

*Using Unblock-us DNS to access US Netflix from Canada

*Cable internet 25mbit down/2.5mbit up - tested with Speedtest provides the rated speeds in both directions

*Linksys 310N Router w/ DD-WRT

*D-Link 500AV -> D-Link DHP-540 Powerline ethernet - tested at 90mbit via SMB share read/write, low latency (~10ms to local router)

*Panasonic 50UT50 TV with latest firmware

Thanks
post #2 of 4
Nothing you can do. Netflix resolution depends on the speed or the network from their server to your devices. If there is any interruption in between the resolution will be reduce accordingly. Vudu is a pay per view option, and they've got more $$$ to have faster servers and better connection. I live Vudu over Netflix, but then again, I usually buy new movies and put them on my server.

Lately, there has been a lot of people complaining about Netflix picture quality. So, you are not alone. However, what can you expect from a company that is losing money every day.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

Nothing you can do. Netflix resolution depends on the speed or the network from their server to your devices. If there is any interruption in between the resolution will be reduce accordingly. Vudu is a pay per view option, and they've got more $$$ to have faster servers and better connection. I live Vudu over Netflix, but then again, I usually buy new movies and put them on my server.
Lately, there has been a lot of people complaining about Netflix picture quality. So, you are not alone. However, what can you expect from a company that is losing money every day.

Good point about Vudu being able to afford better infrastructure, and of course renting 2 movies costs the same as a Netflix sub for a month.

Last night around Around 12:30AM PST (so well past prime hours in North America) I reverted to my default DNS to access Netflix Canada then tested Inglorious Basterds (HD DD 5.1) and within a minute it locked into X-High HD and stayed there (I only tested about 5 minutes), looked very nice.

Immediately, I reverted to Unblock-US (US DNS) and then tested with The Fighter (HD DD 5.1) as for some reason Inglorious Basterds is not on US Netflix at the moment. Results were the same as my previous tests with US, bouncing around from High SD, Medium HD and a bit of High HD.

Based on this, it seems there is a performance penalty from using the DNS service, which is odd because it is not a VPN, so I am still connecting directly to Netflix US' CDN which should easily be able to provide X-HD, even if the data center is in Florida. I'll do some tests on my PC so I can identify which CDN servers I am hitting in the US and Canada and traceroute them.

At the end of the day, I'm happy with the service/selection for the price. I'll continue to use Blu-ray for serious movie watching and probably Vudu as well for some new release rentals.
post #4 of 4
I found similar moderate quality viewing on my Panasonic Smart Viera TV, but interestingly find consistent HiDef viewing on my Panasonic 3D Blueray Smart Viera player. One would guess that the same network conditions would exist for both of these devices.

I'm on 6mbit/s DSL service with wired ethernet to both devices from the router.

I can only guess that even though both devices were manufactured in 2012, and both have similar Smart Viera menus, that somehow the software or perhaps hardware is different. I've tried Panasonic tech support online and over the phone with no solutions.
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