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Netflix issues

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by TiVoStephen, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

    4,354
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    Feb 2, 2006
    Ellicott...
    I just watched my first show streamed from NetFlix (30 Rock pilot episode) and I am not impressed. The picture quality is about what I expected and was actually quite annoying to watch. I viewed it via my HTPC and not my Tivo, hence I was using the Silverlight software viewer. I have a 60" Sony HD RPTV so the level of noise and grain were amplified to the point where the image was intolerable to me. The audio also didn't sound right, most likely because it was probably reduced to stereo vs. AC-3 for the original HD broadcast.

    I held off watching a streamed program from NetFlix for quite a while because this is exactly what I expected to see and hear from this type of service. I'll just put the rest of the shows I want to watch in my queue and wait for the DVD or Blu-Ray disc to arrive. Even DVDs look better than the streamed crap on my HDTV.
     
  2. orangeboy

    orangeboy yes, I AM orangeboy!

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    Apr 19, 2004
    East Moline, IL
    Why not try it on your Tivo where HD is an option?
     
  3. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Jul 6, 2006
    Near...
    And be aware only a fraction of the instant watch videos are HD. Select the HD Genre under the Instant Watch tab in the web interface. You should see the bars all the way across with a "HD" off to the right when it's buffering.

    This seems to conflict with what a Netflix CSR told me the other night, which was that all instant watch are streamed in 720p HD if your internet connection permits. If that's really true, what's the distinction of a video being in the HD Genre?
     
  4. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    Jul 10, 2004
    San Diego,...
    I own a TiVo, Xbox 360 and a PS3 and have viewed Netflix on all of them as well as on my PC (my PC's monitor is the same panel that I view all of the other devices on). I can tell you that the PC is by far the worst platform for Netflix streaming. For one (big) thing, there are no HD streams for it. You should definitely try it on TiVo before passing judgement. (Why would you report your impressions of streaming to a PC here? It's almost off-topic).

    To see the HD genre, go to www.netflix.com/wihd?ftr=no. I believe that 30 Rock is one of those.

    Netflix Watch Instantly is definitely not A/V-ophile stuff, but if you're already a Netflix subscriber, it doesn't cost anything extra. For me, at least, it has its uses.
     
  5. Qwertinsky

    Qwertinsky New Member

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    Oct 24, 2006
    Being new the Netflix I thought I would throw my complaints into this thread just in case they are counting users with the same issues. I know some of this has probably been addressed but I have not read this entire thread, so give me a break.:rolleyes:

    I am on my third month of Netflix. We got it mainly for the streaming to our Tivo.

    Overall the streaming is a real pain in the ass to use because I can not just go to the Netflix menu on the Tivo, browse the movies, and pick one like I can with Amazon and Blockbuster on the Tivo.

    I have to go in to my office,
    start up the computer,
    go to Netflix website,
    browse their selection,
    add the movie I want to watch to the streaming Que,
    go back out to the living room,
    navigate to the Netflix menu,
    pick the movie from the Que,
    I can finially start the stream.

    Then the aspect ratio is often messed up so I spend ten minutes dinking with the aspect settings on the Tivo and on my TV to find the proper aspect ratio combination that will put the Netflix stream in the proper aspect ratio.

    Once I never could find the proper setting and had to watch an entire movie squished to 4:3.:mad:

    If the stream gets interrupted for any reason (like Comcraptic internet service) you have to restart from the beginning then fast forward to the place you left off.

    If you do not get 5* during the streaming quality test the streaming picture quality looks worse than the average You-Tube video.
     
  6. av_dude

    av_dude New Member

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    Mar 28, 2003
    Irvine, CA
    Make sure you are in the "Panel" mode before you go into Netflix. You will need to be on an SD channel first, I believe.

    Also, the TiVo does, indeed, remember where it left off. I've had the occasional kick to the NPL, and it always gives me an option to resume play. The same is true when I leave the movie myself.

    Lastly, just put a bunch of movies in the queue, so you don't have to worry about it for a while.
     
  7. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Ziphead

    10,364
    22
    Aug 2, 2003
    No need to be on an SD channel. You won't be able to see the results of the Aspect mode change directly on an HD channel*, but you can still read the mode in the oval in the lower right corner as you change it. But, yeah, you can't do it from within the Netflix app; you can only toggle the Aspect mode from Live TV or during playback of a recording.

    Also, "Panel" isn't always the right mode for Netflix. Hence why this is a pain in the ass.

    * The actual distinction is 4:3 vs. 16:9, but this just happens to coincide almost 100% with SD vs. HD. Also, the above assumes that your TiVo is set to 16:9 output; if it's set to 4:3, then it's the SD channels that don't change when you run through the Aspect modes.
     
  8. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    Jul 10, 2004
    San Diego,...
    In a recent Xbox update, the Netflix player was given the ability to browse 100 titles each in about a dozen genres (presumably the most popular 100 titles of each). You can play these titles without putting them in your instant queue, you can add them to your instant queue and you can delete things from your instant queue. The GUI for the new PS3 player (a Blu-ray disc) has the same capabilities. Perhaps one day they'll add something similar (or better) to TiVo.
     
  9. morac

    morac Cat God

    8,940
    20
    Mar 14, 2003
    NJ
    TiVo's Magret Schmidt (VP of User Experience) tweeted on November 20th that Netflix has been integrated into TiVo Search. I've never tried it though.
     
  10. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

    2,389
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    Jul 10, 2004
    San Diego,...
    Huh. I'll be damned if it doesn't work!!! I went into TiVo Search and searched for 30 Rock. It showed that it was in the guide, available from Amazon, Netflix and was available in HD. I brought up its Episode Guide; individual episodes showed as being available from Amazon and Netflix in HD (episodes of the current season only from Amazon). Arbitrarily, I selected Season 2, Episode 12 ("Subway Hero"). The first two choices that came up were "Watch Now" (where the only choice was "Netflix") and "Purchase From...". I selected "Watch Now" which brought me to the Netflix program description dialog for the episode, with choices "Play" and "View my Instant Queue". I selected "Play" and it started streaming the episode, in HD. It was not in my Instant Queue (I've never watched the series), nor did viewing it place it in my Instant Queue. Using the same path, I brought the episode list for Legend of the Seeker (also something I've never watched) and selected the episode which first aired on the 20th of this month, which I also started streaming, in HD.

    Finally, I looked up Jarhead, which I'd watched a couple of minutes of on my PC when I first saw that it was available for Instant Watching, though I hadn't placed it in my queue. It was available from Amazon, Blockbuster and Netflix and had "Watch Now", "Rent From..." and "Purchase From..." options. I selected "Watch Now" and it started streaming from where I left off on my PC.

    Pretty slick :). If there's not a thread for this, I'm going to repost this to start one.

    EDIT: I looked, and there already is a thread about this (here) from about six days back. As someone in that thread points out, this isn't a browser for Netflix streaming titles, but it's still pretty cool.
     
  11. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Near...
    Thanks for the mini-tutorial mikeyts ! Worked for me just like you described. Their 720p looks pretty good on my 40" 1080p LCD, not quite as crisp as really good 720p but quite viewable -- way better than SD. I think I read somewhere (probably earlier in this thread) that HD is compressed to around 3.8 Mbps, so you can't expect miracles, even with H264.

    Of course there has to be some glitch or it's not a TiVo.;) I'm playing the Legend of The Seeker episode you mentioned for a few minutes while I write this post and now the remote control response is gone -- no yellow light and no response to any buttons. After a minute or two the response is back and I have a theory about this based not just on this incident but also others I've had just playing back recordings: This problem seems to be correlated with times when the video is very dark, almost black. Response came back to normal when the video got brighter. Anyone else see this behavior?

    My remote response is weak (have to aim the remote carefully) during the first minute or so of TV warm up. I've read this is related to the backlighting. It isn't obvious to me how this same effect could explain what I just reported above, however (which occurs long past the TV warm up). TV is a recent Samsung 600 series, using component inputs.

    EDIT: Think I just verified my remote lockup effect is due to something the TV is putting out when video is dark. It happened again and this time I turned the TV off and remote response was immediately back (evidenced by yellow light response). Does the backlighting vary in such a way as to put out more IR noise when the video is dark ???

    EDIT#2: Further verification: If I move up in front of the TiVo and TV such as to block whatever is coming from the TV from reaching the TiVo, the remote response returns.
     
  12. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

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    Feb 28, 2001
    North...
    yes, that seems to be a very common problem with recent Samsung TVs. See this thread with several comments (you seem to have it better than some!)
     
  13. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    That's it thanks -- I should have seen that thread. A lot of the posts are very recent I see. That thread is the first place I've seen problems other than just the warmup period reported. The reason I'm having less trouble is my backlight is set to 8.
     
  14. Dec 2, 2009 #754 of 992
    mlcgreenlee

    mlcgreenlee New Member

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    Dec 2, 2009
    I've been reading this thread to try to figure out why I have so many latency issues with Watch Instantly and am finally ready to post. I am increasingly frustrated by the "retrieving" bar that will show up every 2-5 minutes during a program. At first I thought maybe it was just 30 Rock, because I watched 2 seasons of the Tudors this weekend and never had that issue. On Monday, however, I tried watching the L Word and the same latency problems continue. I've deactivated my Netflix and then reactivated it again, with no success. I've also restarted the Tivo with no success. When I watch on my Mac with the same wireless network, I do not have any latency issues. which is why I am pretty sure it is not a wireless problem. Any other suggestions? The whole reason I restarted my Netflix was for the Watch Instantly function, but now I would just as soon as buy all of the seasons on Amazon VOD.

    I am excited to learn about the new Browser option though, mikeyts! I'm definitely going to try that when I get home tonight.
     
  15. Dec 2, 2009 #755 of 992
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    I believe Netflix uses lower resolution (and thus lower bandwidth) for IW on a computer, thus I think your network probably is the bottleneck causing the TiVo IW problems. Is there any way you could connect the TiVo via hardwired ethernet, at least long enough for a test? Select a video from the HD Genre (Genre menu in IW tab) for a real test. If it's able to support HD download bandwidth you will see a little "HD" to the right of the retrieving bars. This supposedly only requires 5 Mbps download speed. You might need to upgrade your router, if you're using one.
     
  16. Dec 2, 2009 #756 of 992
    bowlingblogger

    bowlingblogger New Member

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    Oct 2, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    That's true, as there is no HD option (that I know of) for instant watching on a computer. Also, I understand that Netflix uses different encodings of programs for Tivo than it does for a computer (which uses Silverlight). The "Retrieving" problem mostly went away for me when I switched from the Tivo wireless adapter to ethernet (even with HD streaming), but it still happens occasionally. I suspect the culprit to be Netflix's servers rather than my internet connection, which is never below 10 Mbps on testmy.net. Of course, this is unsatisfying since it's completely beyond our control.
     
  17. Dec 2, 2009 #757 of 992
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    My internet with router and wireless just checked 8.2 Mbps on testmy.net and 8.3 Mbps on speedtest.net (another good test site FYI). I haven't had Netflix long enough to make broad statements but so far I have had zero pauses on HD (or other) videos. My TiVo is hardwired to the router.

    It could be the Netflix servers, but also anything between your TiVo and the servers. It seems your wireless adapter is the worst bottleneck however.

    I learned from actual experience that the router can make a big difference. I had a five year old router and replaced it with a new more expensive one. My download speeds almost doubled both wired and wireless.
     
  18. Dec 2, 2009 #758 of 992
    bowlingblogger

    bowlingblogger New Member

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    Oct 2, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    Yeah, that is a definite possibility. A router setting, or inadequate hardware in the router, could definitely slow the throughput or otherwise negatively affect the connection to the point that it stutters. There are so many variables involved that I fear there is no magic fix and a lot of people will never get to the bottom of it in their particular setup.

    I like speedtest.net in a pinch, but since I have Cox with powerboost it skews the speed way upwards (26-28 Mbps vs. 10-12 on testmy.net).
     
  19. Dec 3, 2009 #759 of 992
    mlcgreenlee

    mlcgreenlee New Member

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    Dec 2, 2009
    Thanks! That helped alot. We hardlined the Tivo and rebooted it and when we tested it out last night we were able to watch instantly with no interruption. We are now just moving the router into the bedroom with the Tivo so it can stay hooked up permanently to the ethernet and will have the non-HD livingroom Tivo operate wirelessly.
     
  20. Dec 3, 2009 #760 of 992
    bowlingblogger

    bowlingblogger New Member

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    Oct 2, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    Ethernet is the best way to go...it's less convenient, but for many it eliminates the stuttering. Congratulations on making the switch and enjoy your Netflix!
     

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