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Old 09-14-2013, 07:48 PM   #1
GreyhoundR
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Netflix streaming speed on Premiere

I don't know if anyone else has measured this, I've only gotten hard #s on two different evenings. . .but. . .

I have a Premiere, Vizio smart TV, and Apple TV all plugged a connection with the exact same bandwidth (inside my own house on just this LAN segment in question, I can transfer files from my Mac to my NAS at 128Mb/s, so controlling for other things both my router and my downstream internet are very capable).

Comcast is my ISP (& DNS), and though some shows/movies on Netflix are labeled on screen "SuperHD" yet when I go to the test URL in my browser, I get the "not supported yet."

screenshots:


Yet of all 3 devices plugged into the same connection, there is a pretty significant difference in the bandwidth they can pull down from Netflix.

Monitored by the traffic flow meter in my Asus RT-N66U router which averages over trailing 3-5 minutes, and there was no other activity on my network pulling from the internet at that time (I can verify in my lists of live connections, etc.).

1st test on 9/12/13 late evening (tested House of Cards, as screenshot above "Super HD" though info conflicted on that, minimum I should be at least HD (according to what Netflix says I'll need).

- 460 KB/s average over trailing 5 min, which is about 3.5 Mb/s to a Premiere in its Netflix application
- 950KB/s which is 7.125Mb/s, on the ATV-3

so slightly more than twice the bandwidth on the AppleTV3 (tests were within 30 min of each other as well)

two footnotes
1. My Netflix preferences on their website are for highest quality available
2. My Premiere to Premiere txfrs on my network are pretty fast, from 40Mb/s on the slowest one, to 60-80Mb/s if one or both are wired, so my actual Premiere networking appears to be in decent health.


2nd test 9/13/13 late evening, same show, house of Cards
- .92 Mb/s streaming to TiVo Premiere (!!)
- 2.67 Mb/s Netflix streaming direct to Vizio smart TV
- 5.37 Mb/s Netflix streaming to ATV3

Yes differences in video quality were noticeable, but at the same time I was also impressed with the relatively good picture at 1Mb/s. However, this is not good!

Here is a sad screenshot in which you can see the difference when I switched from ATV3 streaming to the Premiere. The tan bump of upstream activity was accidentally turning on a torrent server on my NAS for about one minute, even if you canceled out the slight downstream it brought with for that minute, the ATV3 to Premiere streaming switchover is rather conspicuous.



The only thing I haven't done in my home is test different Premieres. . .not that I think there will be a significant difference. I just wonder who to blame, and how/why it does this, and if there is anything we can do about it.

I'm wondering if anyone else has tested (controlling for other things like speed/connection quality, other LAN traffic, on multiple nights, same show, etc.).

Last edited by GreyhoundR : 09-14-2013 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:24 AM   #2
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I believe each one of those devices connects to different Netflix servers. I've read other articles about this kind of thing. I've noticed that things buffer much father on my ATV than on the Premiere. I rarely use the Premiere for Netflix anymore. Waiting to switch to a Roamio.

Joe
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Old 09-15-2013, 05:40 PM   #3
GreyhoundR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quake97 View Post
I believe each one of those devices connects to different Netflix servers. I've read other articles about this kind of thing. I've noticed that things buffer much father on my ATV than on the Premiere. I rarely use the Premiere for Netflix anymore. Waiting to switch to a Roamio.

Joe
Thanks for the thoughts, you might be exactly correct.

A quick search found a post from the Netflix blog regarding the crash last year on Christmas Eve and mentions that different resources are used for serving and routing different devices.

http://techblog.netflix.com/2012/12/...utage.html?m=1

It's unfortunate that, at least in my geographic location, the TiVo is not given higher speed access. Also the irony of my slowest Netflix device displaying the SuperHD logo isn't easily missed.
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Old 09-16-2013, 01:51 PM   #4
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It could also just be the slow processing on the Premiere and not getting the full speed that a similar device would.

Joe
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Old 09-16-2013, 01:57 PM   #5
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I have no problem getting the SuperHD 5600kbps streams on my Elite or two tuner Premiere. They typically ramp up to the 4800kbps and 5600kbps SuperHD bitstreams within 20 to 30 seconds. They will typically ramp up quickly and stay at the higher bitrate throughout the title.

The Premieres are perfectly capable of playing the superHD bitstreams without issue. And in my use, if other devices have had streaming issues, I can typically go to one of my TiVos and it will be streaming fine.
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:51 AM   #6
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I have no problem getting the SuperHD 5600kbps streams on my Elite or two tuner Premiere. They typically ramp up to the 4800kbps and 5600kbps SuperHD bitstreams within 20 to 30 seconds. They will typically ramp up quickly and stay at the higher bitrate throughout the title.

The Premieres are perfectly capable of playing the superHD bitstreams without issue. And in my use, if other devices have had streaming issues, I can typically go to one of my TiVos and it will be streaming fine.
+1 it has nothing to do with the premiere processing
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:55 PM   #7
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Netflix streaming speed on Premiere

It might have nothing to do with the processing of the premiere, but in my geographic area a premiere (and other devices Netflix lumps with it) do not get served by a geographically specific server that will give it good bandwidth. Whose fault is that? Netflix/Amazon server design and an imperfect AWS Elastic Block Storage system that underpins it which focuses on uniform network wide reliability, and not all out performance maybe? I'm not sure.

If your ISP has the agreement that allows for SuperHD, it's a moot point because you're getting served by Netflix servers that physically reside at your ISP, IIRC. I believe it was just showing me the SuperHD icon in error, it is pretty widely known by Netflix that my ISP (Comcast) isn't on board with the Netflix Open Connect initiative. Maybe the logo was to serve as a reminder to write a note to Comcast ha. Who knows, maybe it's very confused and is trying to connect my premiere to a superHD server but it's far away and that's why I'm getting the logo but slow streams.

I will use wireshark and find which servers each of my Netflix streaming device is using.

Last edited by GreyhoundR : 09-17-2013 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 09-20-2013, 07:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyhoundR View Post
It might have nothing to do with the processing of the premiere, but in my geographic area a premiere (and other devices Netflix lumps with it) do not get served by a geographically specific server that will give it good bandwidth. Whose fault is that? Netflix/Amazon server design and an imperfect AWS Elastic Block Storage system that underpins it which focuses on uniform network wide reliability, and not all out performance maybe? I'm not sure.

If your ISP has the agreement that allows for SuperHD, it's a moot point because you're getting served by Netflix servers that physically reside at your ISP, IIRC. I believe it was just showing me the SuperHD icon in error, it is pretty widely known by Netflix that my ISP (Comcast) isn't on board with the Netflix Open Connect initiative. Maybe the logo was to serve as a reminder to write a note to Comcast ha. Who knows, maybe it's very confused and is trying to connect my premiere to a superHD server but it's far away and that's why I'm getting the logo but slow streams.

I will use wireshark and find which servers each of my Netflix streaming device is using.
I'm on FiOS. I have to use UnBlock US to get access to the SuperHD streams.
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:42 PM   #9
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I'm on FiOS. I have to use UnBlock US to get access to the SuperHD streams.
I think I'm going to test that out this weekend and compare my speeds to my devices. Thanks for sharing your solution.
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:37 PM   #10
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I tested it a bit, not exhaustively, but it appears that using the UnblockUs DNS it does magically make the "HD" option on the AppleTV turn to "SuperHD" (they have always said SuperHD on the Tivos) and I can go into my router's list of open connections (though I can't [haven't tried yet] to see the actual data flow from an individual IP address), and it appears they draw from AWS (amazon cloud) normally, but switching to UnblockUs (and running trace routes and Whois IP lookups) sends it to actual Netflix video servers.

However, the actual bandwidth the Netflix servers provide is right in line with the bandwidth AWS provides. I really have to do more measurements and checking of the data flows, and I'm not sure how dynamically the bandwidth they provision for a device may or may not adjust (my viewing samples have been about 10-15 min in length, and very consistent after the first 2 minutes).

I was under the impression that one of the reasons SuperHD was feasible was because they were able to pair you with an actual Netflix server at your ISP or closest geographical internet exchange, but UnblockUs seemed to be connecting me with a server that was hundreds and hundreds of miles away.

I'd be curious if anyone else has calculated actual bandwidth they receive as measured by their router and/or Wireshark and has tried default vs UnblockUs DNS on various Netflix client devices at the same time of day with the same content.

I will do a bit more measuring and data gathering and post up some more results this week.
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Old 09-28-2013, 09:49 AM   #11
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No need for unBlock US to get the SuperHD streams any more. Netflix is now giving everyone access to their SuperHD and 3D streams. I cancelled unBlock US the other day and went back to using my FiOS DNS IP addresses in my router. SuperHD is working great from my TiVos and other Netflix devices.
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Old 09-28-2013, 11:12 PM   #12
GreyhoundR
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Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post
No need for unBlock US to get the SuperHD streams any more. Netflix is now giving everyone access to their SuperHD and 3D streams. I cancelled unBlock US the other day and went back to using my FiOS DNS IP addresses in my router. SuperHD is working great from my TiVos and other Netflix devices.
Interesting. . .I did some more tests and for the first time ever (in my experience, from my location, and keep in mind I've only actually checked this maybe 10 times) they are using Akami to do some CDN of the Netflix instant content (in addition to AWS & their own ix.nflxvideo.net infrastructure that I've seen in the past).

Using my native, Comcast ISP supplied DNS, I end up getting about the same results as I did in my initial test when comparing TiVo Premiere vs. AppleTV3 streaming the same content, except now my DNS will allow a "genuine" SuperHD indication in the AppleTV. The bandwidth I'm getting via "SuperHD" is about the same as it was in my earliest post, sans SuperHD.

Here is a screenshot I did showing a 10min average chunk of House of Cards (same test material I used the first try) I just did tonight.



And I went into my router's active connection listings and pruned out the AppleTV & TiVo Premiere. I do not have a switch w/ port mirroring so I cannot get in and look at the actual dataflows, just the connections each device makes. A sample of one doesn't make a very good data set, but at least in this case it looks like the AppleTV was getting served by Akami. Regardless (eg in earlier test it was still faster, and wasn't using Akami), it still is getting the same increased bandwidth provisioned to it compared to my TiVo.

Here's a link to the shared google doc of my router's connections, the tail end of many of the addresses got truncated by my router's terminal window, but you can copy and paste what remains into google and it seems to be able to figure them all out if you are curious.

http://bit.ly/NetflixStreamingHDcomparo
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Old 09-29-2013, 10:45 PM   #13
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I tested tonight on another Premiere, this one is connected to a gigabit switch and hardwired directly into my router.

Doing same test material, House of Cards S1E1 first 15min or so, got similarly poor results on this TiVo of around 1.5Mb/s (in my first test in the first post, same content, I got about double the bandwidth that particular evening. . .so I think a lot of this is Netflix's moment to moment tweaks of its CDN resources).


For the sake of comparison I also tried out the TiVo's built in YouTube app (which I noticed is updated and looks identical to how it appears on my Vizio TVs, and it can be controlled with iOS and Android devices over WiFi so you don't have to type out stuff using your remote). Streaming an episode of Jay Leno's Garage (which is one of the nicer looking HD content sources on YouTube) I got about double the Netflix bandwidth, approx 3+Mb/s.



And just to further confirm that there isn't a problem on my LAN or w/ the horsepower of the Premieres, I streamed (eg, not transfer) from one Premiere to another on my LAN, an episode of 5th Gear on Velocity HD and it's moving across at 13.5Mb/s+.



So, people in other places in the country/world might be getting different results than I am, but on at least 4, pretty carefully monitored evenings, streaming the exact same show, on multiple Premiere units and other Netflix Instant SuperHD capable devices (ie AppleTV), the Premieres got the worst Netflix bandwidth every single time, often half or less than other devices could get because they seem to pull in from different server resources (per my previous post).

FWIW the Premiere I tested tonight connected to a similar variety of AWS & nflxvideo.net servers, same as last night, no Akami servers like the AppleTV also seemed to pull from.
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