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Odd Netflix issue - X-High/HD no longer available - Page 6

post #151 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by jagouar View Post

Going back to win8.... its actually doing an odd thing on my surface. To get the 3850 stream I have to manually select it, when I let it auto ramp up it will only go to the 3000 tier. I know the surface is 720p in resolution but it does that even when I use the external hdmi to my 1080p tv.
I'd guess that the app isn't paying attention to the output capabilities of the external monitor, which would be nice, but not too surprising that they aren't that thorough. It's nice that they present the resolution on the Stream Manager display for you to choose. Does it do that when the external screen isn't connected?

A couple of my devices will ramp up to the 1080p encode even when their video output is constrained to 720p (TiVo Premiere, Panasonic DMP-BDT220) but most of them won't. The old web player limits you to 720p.
post #152 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by jagouar View Post

Going back to win8.... its actually doing an odd thing on my surface. To get the 3850 stream I have to manually select it, when I let it auto ramp up it will only go to the 3000 tier. I know the surface is 720p in resolution but it does that even when I use the external hdmi to my 1080p tv.(...)

Good catch.

I am wondering if the embedded Netflix players (PS3, TVs, BD players) are doing the same, automatically going up to 3000 kbps max.

This would explain the "High/HD" limit as well as the perceived decrease in video quality.

An since the embedded Netflix players does not have the option to manually select the 3850 kbps stream, these players are in fact observing a quality degradation when limited to 3000 kbps.

This honestly seems throttling from Netflix, regardless if they are using (or not) any new compression technology.
post #153 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

I'd guess that the app isn't paying attention to the output capabilities of the external monitor, which would be nice, but not too surprising that they aren't that thorough. It's nice that they present the resolution on the Stream Manager display for you to choose. Does it do that when the external screen isn't connected?
A couple of my devices will ramp up to the 1080p encode even when their video output is constrained to 720p (TiVo Premiere, Panasonic DMP-BDT220) but most of them won't. The old web player limits you to 720p.

Took a couple grabs of selecting the 2 streams. Both were taken when resolution was set to 1080p via external hdmi. I think the player has a display bug though because when I paused the 3000 stream it says it is playing at 560 but was at 3000.
3000:
https://u3kh1q.sn2.livefilestore.com/y1pIRcXsIdXclPRkxHDsTaYjdTdN2as7aVkREnGnpFm8rI_LGNLodZuxurQMhsnIEmG88q6xfzKijwKB5SplN6eiVwkp4SrF6be/Screenshot%203000.png?psid=1
3850:
https://u3kh1q.sn2.livefilestore.com/y1pOZ9OXXCLAkyZajn_8UDgwxbysHg1gEzinXMV7ATcciVL4mLUJl3itMcVBYC6IWeuK19KvckhhwUGy4NPzepQMNCT0jCVfG4W/Screenshot%203850.png?psid=1

Quote:
Originally Posted by drdsouza View Post

Good catch.
I am wondering if the embedded Netflix players (PS3, TVs, BD players) are doing the same, automatically going up to 3000 kbps max.
This would explain the "High/HD" limit as well as the perceived decrease in video quality.
An since the embedded Netflix players does not have the option to manually select the 3850 kbps stream, these players are in fact observing a quality degradation when limited to 3000 kbps.
This honestly seems throttling from Netflix, regardless if they are using (or not) any new compression technology.

Not sure if the xbox was ever updated for 1080p but I started experimenting with this further and was able to finally figure out how to view the stats on the xbox360 version. It actually did the same for most movies as well where it quickly ramped to 3000 and stayed there. A few movies did go to 3600 so not sure if that was a 1080p stream or not. Guessing it has not been updated to see the new streams.
post #154 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by drdsouza View Post

This would explain the "High/HD" limit as well as the perceived decrease in video quality.
An since the embedded Netflix players does not have the option to manually select the 3850 kbps stream, these players are in fact observing a quality degradation when limited to 3000 kbps.

I've taken measurements which clearly show that the embedded players advance to the 3850 Mbps encodes. I'd cited them in a table which used to be in a post above until I destroy it accidentally while extracting stuff for a new post. Here it is:

Bit Rate Table (Click to show)
I took some measurements using the realtime bandwidth monitor in some open source firmware that I run in my router (Tomato). I sample bandwidth usage while playng minutes 5-14 of Ong Bak 2: The Beginning, used because it features an encoder-challenging sequence of martial arts combat in the rain and because it was available on Netflix, Amazon, VUDU and Xbox Video so I could use it for apples-to-apples comparisons. The table shows the readings that I got a few days back as compared to measurements that I made months ago on the same device (over a year ago for everything except the Panasonic DMP-BDT220 BD player, which wasn't on the market until February this year). In each cell, the top number is the raw 10 minute average in Kbps, the middle number is the total bandwidth consumed in MB (2-to-the-20th) and the bottom number is an average taking into account the 2 minute buffer in the PS3 and Roku 2 (2 minutes, 30 seconds currently in the BDT220), minus the 384 Kbps DD+ 5.1 sound (192 Kbps stereo in the old Roku 2 measurement). You may have to expand the width of this browser window to see the table properly:
Code:
___________|          New          |          Old          |     Old % of New
           +-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+
           |   1080p   |   720p    |   1080p   |   720p    |   1080p   |   720p    |
-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+
PS3        |  5128.76  |  4038.36  |  6282.32  |  4776.66  |   122.5   |  118.3    |
           |   366.84  |   288.85  |   449.35  |   341.65  |           |           |
           |  3889.99  |  2981.34  |  4851.30  |  3596.51  |           |           |
-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+
Roku 2 XS  |  5119.99  |  4004.54  |  6217.56  |  4752.05  |   121.4   |  118.7    | 
           |   366.21  |   286.43  |   441.71  |   339.89  |           |           |
           |  3882.65  |  2953.15  |  4762.29  |  3576.00  |           |           |
-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+
BDT220     |  5319.61  |  5227.43  |  6263.17  |  5979.02  |   117.7   |  114.6    | 
           |   380.49  |   373.89  |   447.98  |   427.65  |           |           |
           |  3871.70  |  3797.88  |  4835.34  |  4598.48  |           |           |
-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+
Note that the BDT220 still ramps up to the 1080p encode even when its output resolution is constrained to 720p, so its 720p numbers are useless (the TiVo Premiere's player also does that).

My guess is that the embedded players which display that information overlay choose which quality level to display based on bit rate and that the encodings are marked with their bit rate. So, anything between 3600 Kbps and 4800 Kbps gets marked as "High/HD" and every encode at least 4800 Kbps gets marked as "X-High". 3000 Kbps gets called "Medium/HD" because, though it's higher than 2350 Kbps, it's lower than 3600 Kbps, so it can't be called "High/HD". The same logic gets 3850 called "High/HD"; it's higher than "High/HD" should be but not high enough to qualify as "X-High/HD".
post #155 of 429
The "Example 8 Hour 23.976" and "Example Short 23.976" clips have apparently had their 4800 Kbps encodes converted. The information display shows up through 3600 Kbps then disappears as it switches to the higher encode. Sad that they're not being marked with their new bit rate and resolution as they get converted.
post #156 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

If you've watched HD streaming Netflix lately on a 6 Mbps or better network, then you've probably already seen it. But as I recall, you're a skeptic who's only recently been exploring streaming, so maybe you haven't. If not, you should sign up for the free trial and check it out.

I think I will. It doesn't cost much to see.
post #157 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by jagouar View Post

Not sure if the xbox was ever updated for 1080p but I started experimenting with this further and was able to finally figure out how to view the stats on the xbox360 version. It actually did the same for most movies as well where it quickly ramped to 3000 and stayed there. A few movies did go to 3600 so not sure if that was a 1080p stream or not. Guessing it has not been updated to see the new streams.

I tested it and the Xbox is definitely not getting up to 3850--looks like 3000. I've come across titles which still have 3600 Kbps encodes as well, but which have 3850 1080p encodes; I think that the process of replacing the old encodes is a work in progress.
post #158 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

Say what you want about the new encoding scheme, but it looks noticeably worse. Less compression artifacts than you would previously have seen at the lower bit rate, but it still has less detail and "softer" image than the old X-high bit rate. It's not difficult to understand why Netflix wants this new compression, but improved image quality is not one of the reasons.

Sounds like what Apple did with iTunes 1080p shows. They claimed they were using better compression to keep bitrate low on the 1080p, but in reality their 1080p encodes look worse than their 720p with the exception of animation. Soft and lacks detail.
post #159 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

I tested it and the Xbox is definitely not getting up to 3850--looks like 3000. I've come across titles which still have 3600 Kbps encodes as well, but which have 3850 1080p encodes; I think that the process of replacing the old encodes is a work in progress.

Yeah that is what I saw.... had been away from Netflix for a while but with the Disney deal I am back. Was not sure if the xbox was ever updated for the 1080p encodes. Based on what I saw most video was 3000 with a few using 3600.

Pro tip you can see the video stats by loading the diagnostics screen and bypass having to watch the bw flow.... similar to the konami code.
up up down down left right left right up up up up (put that in at the first screen where you choose neflix or the kids version)
post #160 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by jagouar View Post

Pro tip you can see the video stats by loading the diagnostics screen and bypass having to watch the bw flow.... similar to the konami code.
up up down down left right left right up up up up (put that in at the first screen where you choose neflix or the kids version)

That is just...frickin'...wonderful! Input that, select "Show AV stats during playback" and you get pretty much the same stats screen overlay on the Xbox as you get by typing CTRL-SHIFT-ALT-D in the web player (and, I presume, the Win 8 app), with a little info. Thank you very, very, very much!

Lately to collect that bit rate average on the Xbox I've had to actually let the damn thing run for 14 minutes while I watched because if I switch the display back to this PC the Xbox will stop playing (something which only started happening recently). It was a complete pain the ass. Now I can get the answer in seconds.

It would be nice if it had that "Stream Manager" dialog to show the bit rates of the available encodes for a title but its wonderful to have what it does.

EDIT: I tried that sequence in the Netflix-or-Just-Kids screen on the PS3, Panasonic BDT220 and Sony S390 (the other players I have with that screen) and it just game some version information for various components and an option to deactivate the play--none of the cool diagnostic stuff offered by the Netflix player. Oh well smile.gif.
post #161 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

(...)EDIT: I tried that sequence in the Netflix-or-Just-Kids screen on the PS3, Panasonic BDT220 and Sony S390 (the other players I have with that screen) and it just game some version information for various components and an option to deactivate the play--none of the cool diagnostic stuff offered by the Netflix player. Oh well smile.gif.

Right. I had tried that with PS3 and Samsung BD-E5300 and got the same results (essentially the Netflix software version and an option to deactiate Netflix). I will give a try on a Panasonic LCD TV TC-L47E5[BG] tonight, but I expect the results to be the same.

I also installed Windows 8 on a Virtual Machine (to try the native Metro Windows 8 Netflix App) just to discover that somehow Netflifx knows it is running in a VM and then refuses to playback anything... frown.gif
post #162 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

That is just...frickin'...wonderful! Input that, select "Show AV stats during playback" and you get pretty much the same stats screen overlay on the Xbox as you get by typing CTRL-SHIFT-ALT-D in the web player (and, I presume, the Win 8 app), with a little info. Thank you very, very, very much!
Lately to collect that bit rate average on the Xbox I've had to actually let the damn thing run for 14 minutes while I watched because if I switch the display back to this PC the Xbox will stop playing (something which only started happening recently). It was a complete pain the ass. Now I can get the answer in seconds.
It would be nice if it had that "Stream Manager" dialog to show the bit rates of the available encodes for a title but its wonderful to have what it does.
EDIT: I tried that sequence in the Netflix-or-Just-Kids screen on the PS3, Panasonic BDT220 and Sony S390 (the other players I have with that screen) and it just game some version information for various components and an option to deactivate the play--none of the cool diagnostic stuff offered by the Netflix player. Oh well smile.gif.

Actually discovered it buried in a support document on netflix (was actually related to how you disconnect your console from your account). Like I said had been away from netflix until recently, assumed since this is AVS people knew about it already but good to know I helped out in some small way.
post #163 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by jagouar View Post

...assumed since this is AVS people knew about it already but good to know I helped out in some small way.

Never a good assumption to make about a useful trick. Thanks again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drdsouza View Post

...(essentially the Netflix software version and an option to deactiate Netflix).

Though it's disappointing that there are no diagnostic options, it is still potentially useful, since the only way to deactivate a device on Netflix's site is to deactivate all of them.
post #164 of 429
X-High/HD is back! (at least here in Brazil)

Tested on a PS3 and on a Panasonic TV - tested Heroes, Monsters Inc, Quantum of Solace and some others - all these titles played back in X-High/HD. Panasonic app seems to be crashing when switching to X-High HD - needed to restart playback a few times - PS3 is working 100% fine.


Edited by drdsouza - 12/14/12 at 5:00pm
post #165 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by drdsouza View Post

X-High/HD is back! (at least here in Brazil)
Tested on a PS3 and on a Panasonic TV - tested Heroes, Monsters Inc, Quantum of Solace and some others - all these titles played back in X-High/HD. Panasonic app seems to be crashing when switching to X-High HD - needed to restart playback a few times - PS3 is working 100% fine.

That's interesting on multiple levels. It hasn't happened here so far as I can tell and we don't have either Monsters, Inc. or Quantum of Solace frown.gif. (My PS3 blue-screened when I started Netflix, which I've never seen before).

EDIT: You should ask that guy in the forums to run those titles in the Windows 8 app and examine the bit rates listed in the "Stream Manager" dialog.
Edited by michaeltscott - 12/14/12 at 6:04pm
post #166 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by jagouar View Post

Not sure if the xbox was ever updated for 1080p...

Not really, according to this Netflix's support page for Xbox 360: Netflix Features on Your Microsoft Xbox 360


Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

Lately to collect that bit rate average on the Xbox I've had to actually let the damn thing run for 14 minutes while I watched because if I switch the display back to this PC the Xbox will stop playing (something which only started happening recently). It was a complete pain the ass. Now I can get the answer in seconds.

Do you know if it has something to do with HDMI-CEC?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jagouar View Post

Actually discovered it buried in a support document on netflix (was actually related to how you disconnect your console from your account).

The page you're talking about should be this: Disconnect Xbox 360 from Your Netflix Account
post #167 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaioTheBrain View Post

Do you know if it has something to do with HDMI-CEC?

It only recently became an issue with my Xbox and Sony BDP-S390; if I leave Netflix playing on them and switch the monitor to another device they will stop playing. The Xbox puts up a dialog which says that it can't play the title now, try again later; on the Sony BD player it pauses the video. Both problems had to have been added with recent upgrades to the platforms. Whatever. I can do my little test on those devices, but I have to leave the web browser with the bandwidth monitor running on the top of my desktop, run the clip without switching and blindly press ALT-PRINTSCREEN on my keyboard when my countdown timer goes off.

I'm about to dive down the rabbit hole and perform a Win 8 upgrade. I you never hear from me again you'll know what happened biggrin.gif
post #168 of 429
Well, I made the transition to Win 8 Pro--took about an hour and a half to update saving files and apps and I've been fooling around with it for a few hours. The Netflix app won't play 1080p to my screen for some reason; I can force it to buffer the 1080p encode but it won't play it. It's like it thinks my screen resolution is 720p. I wonder if it's some sort of DRM limitation? It maybe won't play 1080p over a non-HDCP protected HDMI connection?

Whatever--I won't be using the app for watching Netflix anyway--even without the 1080p thing it's limited to mediocre 64-bit stereo sound. I do, however, appreciate the ability to bring up the Stream Manager dialog and see the full list of available encode bit rates displayed. As I suspected, the "Example Eight Hour 23.976" and "Example Short 23.976" clips have had their 4800 Kbps 1080p encodes replaced with 3850 Kbps ones without the resolution/bit-rate information overlays (their 3600 Kbps 720p encodes remain). On other devices they step up into 1080p and the overlay vanishes.
post #169 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

That's interesting on multiple levels. It hasn't happened here so far as I can tell and we don't have either Monsters, Inc. or Quantum of Solace frown.gif. (My PS3 blue-screened when I started Netflix, which I've never seen before).
EDIT: You should ask that guy in the forums to run those titles in the Windows 8 app and examine the bit rates listed in the "Stream Manager" dialog.

I did and that guy responded saying that the Windows 8 app still shows 3850 as the maximum bitrate. And both my PS3 and my Panasonic TV Netlifx players are showing X-High/HD. I am giving up on trying to understand the logic (if any!) behind these Netflix quality levels and the actual bitrates... confused.gif

However the Panasonic player is still crashing on every X-High HD stream after 2 to 3 minutes of X-High HD playback (on other modes it works fine). It is so bad that I cannot use my TV to watch Netflix anymore (it was working fine in the past with the old X-High/HD). PS3 connected on the same router works fine with the supposedly new X-High/HD.

EDIT: just out of curiosity, I compared the Netlifx software versions on my PS3 and on my Panasonic. The version strings are so different that it is difficult to say if they are or not the same version... frown.gif

Panasonic TC-L47EBG:
  • Software version: Panasonic_VIERA 5362-10403/3.1.4-release-1106457
  • Netflix version: Netflix SDK 3.1.4-release-1106457 - Built 13:58:52 Oct 3 2012
  • User interface version: Release 409-16-p

PS3 Slim 120GB (US model):
  • Software version: Release-358 2012.2;mdxlib=2012.1.1;mdxjs=1.0-m187
  • Netflix version: NRDLIB 2012.2 - Built 13:06:32 Jul 26 2012
  • User interface version: Release API.Next2_2012_12_03-159-t

Edited by drdsouza - 12/15/12 at 5:12pm
post #170 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by drdsouza View Post

I did and that guy responded saying that the Windows 8 app still shows 3850 as the maximum bitrate. And both my PS3 and my Panasonic TV Netlifx players are showing X-High/HD. I am giving up on trying to understand the logic (if any!) behind these Netflix quality levels and the actual bitrates... confused.gif

It sounds as though they modified the HTML5 part of the players downloaded where you are to change the bit rate ranges for the quality labels in that info display, which is what I suspected (why I asked you to ask the guy).

Try playing "Example Short 23.976"; when the resolution/bit-rate info disappears, does the info display say "X-High/HD"?

EDIT: I get those same version numbers on the PS3.
post #171 of 429
Thread Starter 
I don't know if it's due to the re-encode, but the Robin Williams movie Toys has the 5.1 audio fixed. The channels were all mixed up when I first tried a few months ago.
post #172 of 429
I made an attempt at capturing some frames for comparing the new HD encodes on my PC. They're from The Gray, one at 1080p (3850 Kbps) and another at 720p (3000 Kbps). I captured them from the new Windows 8 Netflix app by pausing the movie and using the PRINT SCREEN key. Sadly, they're not precisely the same frame so one might argue that the camera focus was slightly different in each but I think that they're good enough for government work. Capturing the same frame is really difficult, especially given the granularity of the app's on screen counter.

I like to use the Chrome browser to compare these because in Chrome fullscreen is fullscreen, with no horizontal or vertical scroll bars. If you're reading this post in Chrome, just drag one of the screenshot links in the paragraph above to the new tab control on the far right of the open tabs in this window. Drag the tab created by that off into its own window then drag the other link into that window's new tab control. With that window selected, hit F11 to go fullscreen, then CTRL-TAB to instantly switch back and forth between the images.
post #173 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by drdsouza View Post

X-High/HD is back! (at least here in Brazil)
Tested on a PS3 and on a Panasonic TV - tested Heroes, Monsters Inc, Quantum of Solace and some others - all these titles played back in X-High/HD. Panasonic app seems to be crashing when switching to X-High HD - needed to restart playback a few times - PS3 is working 100% fine.

OK, X-High/HD is gone again here in Brazil. It was available again since last Friday and during all the weekend. However, yesterday (Monday) it is gone again, and we are back to the High/HD cap.

One good side effect of this is that Netflix player of my Panasonic TV (TC-L47E5B) was crashing with the (supposedly) new X-High/HD mode (PS3 was working OK with this new mode). Now, back to the maximum of High/HD, the Panasonic Netflix player is stable again.
post #174 of 429
Netflix on the PS3 app has been giving me problems since Sunday. I can watch some programs but the quality keeps dropping even with SD content. I noticed trying to watch HD program it will go up to High/HD and then drop down to Medium/HD and even down to SD. It might not do it till I watched a few programs but even an SD program I tried to watch it would drop down to the unbearable Low/SD and the quality of the video was not good to begin with. Last night I got so annoyed I watched the programs on my Dell laptop which I upgraded to Windows 8 and their app is much better because the Window 8 app has a four minute buffer as with the PS3 app the buffer is about two minutes with SD content and about one minute with HD content.

I ran speed tests and ping tests I am getting 15/1 and the ping tests are a A. To be honest though I have been having ongoing issues with Time Warner Cable with slow uploads happening around 7 PM but then it is fine after that. I would drop them but they are my only high speed provider besides Verizon DSL which is worse and Verizon won't offer FiOS in my area.
post #175 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddice View Post

...the PS3 app the buffer is about two minutes with SD content and about one minute with HD content.

It's actually 2 minutes of HD; I don't know about SD. I've tested by unplugging from the network and measuring the time until it runs out of buffered content and stops playing.
post #176 of 429
Well I noticed since Sunday even when watching Star Trek TNG which is SD the activity light on my modem just blinked non stop instead of the slow blinking after the buffer. Then with HD content it would do it to and one time I had to stop and start the stream again a few times because it refused to go higher than High/SD. Of course I hit up Google for this problem and as usual it was worthless except for the links on AVS Forum the rest was old crap about Neftlix in 2009 when you needed the disk and Apple TV this which peeves me off if I wanted to search about the crappy Apple TV I would have searched for "Netflix apple TV drops quality".

I thought maybe it was congestion so I tried today watching at 2:30 PM EST The Avengers cartoon and the light on the router blinked non stop took a few minutes which normally only takes about 30 seconds to even play in HD and most of the time it only played up to Medium/HD even dropping down to High/SD. Yet when I am just browsing the UI everything is fast. I did reboot my router. Ran the setup wizard again and even deleted the Netflix app and Game Data and it helped a bit on Monday but then it started up again. When is Netflix going to update the PS3 app it has not been updated since October and it is just getting worse everyday.
post #177 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddice View Post

When is Netflix going to update the PS3 app it has not been updated since October and it is just getting worse everyday.

It's working fine for me. When I play "Example 8 Hour 23.976" it quickly climbs up to the 3600 Kbps 720p encode and then the overlay in the video disappears, which I interpret as being its new 3850 Kbps encode. (This is what I see when I play it on the PC; when it transitions into the new 3850 Kbps 1080p encode the resolution/bit-rate info overlay vanishes).

I wouldn't expect them to update the app except to fix bugs or add new features and if what you're seeing is a bug in the player they evidently haven't perceived that yet.
post #178 of 429
What is your ISP?
post #179 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddice View Post

What is your ISP?

Cox San Diego South.
post #180 of 429
Well you are closer to the Netflix servers as I think that they are located in Seattle. I know when I normally ping California I ping at 150 ms to 200 ms. At least I think I did when I use to play World of Warcraft years ago..
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