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Old 11-04-2009, 09:44 PM   #1
AndyNorris1974
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Netflix Streaming Problem

I have a Tivo HD Series 3. I have the Netflix streaming thingy and FIOS with a huge amount of bandwidth...20Mbps in 10 out...My connection to the router is wireless....just cannot run cable easily....and sometimes the shows roll no problem....but sometimes I am getting the "wait" notice whilst it catches up and downloads the next bit. Here is what is killing me...it will start a program with full bars in HD...then it keep stopping and buffering all the time...and it SOMETIMES down shifts to lower quality and plays fine...GOOD RIGHT....but other times it REFUSES to acknowledge the fact that it is stoping ever 90 second for 20 second to catch up....point blank will not shift down...and DAMN IT I WANT TO BE ABLE TO FORCE IT TO LOWER QUALITY so that I can watch my show....but no...the software is supposed to be smart enough...and helpdesk said "your ISP should be able to help get better connectivity" which I have tested and is INCREDIBLE so no issue there...and surely most people have their connection wirelessly...so MAKE IT CLEVER ENOUGH THAT IF THE SHOW PAUSES TO CATCH UP MORE THAN THREE TIMES IN 10 MINUTES IT SHIFTS DOWN REGARDLESS....
Sorry for all the caps but it is infuriating!!!!

Any help out there?
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Old 11-04-2009, 10:05 PM   #2
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This feature has been pretty flaky in general. I have similar bandwidth and can get Netflix streaming to my Series 3 OR my Xbox360. Both are wireless G connections to my Linksys Wireless Router.

More times than not, the Tivo streams HD then rebuffers, rebuffers... over and over. We'd switch to Xbox and it'd be flawless.

Why? *shrug*... better hardware, better implementation of the streaming. Dunno.. but Xbox has KILLED Tivo for this feature. Yeah, it's convenient having the Netflix on the Now Playing List -- but it's not worth it.
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Old 12-13-2009, 10:36 PM   #3
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Andy, I noticed the same thing.

When it DOES downshift in quality, it works fine. But most of the time it insists on stay in HD, and consequently has the constant rebuffer problems. There needs to be a way to force Tivo/netflix to use lower quality at times like that. Or the software needs to be smarter about it.

Who do we yell at?
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Old 12-13-2009, 11:17 PM   #4
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The bottom line is that Netflix implementation on the TiVo pretty much sucks. I have a 50/10 connection with an all hardwired network, and I still have problems streaming from time to time. Not to mention the fact that Netflix often causes the TiVo to spontaneously reboot. Oh well, I'm sure they'll have it figured out by the time they roll out the S4's.
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Old 12-14-2009, 05:24 AM   #5
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Cool Roku

Yes, if it goes HD for me, the same problem. Have not had problem so far with standard definition. Guess I'll start wiring again and put the Roku back. Easier for the kids anyway. One thing Tivo does not do, is rollover on menus.
What I mean is, if you have a large netflix list and have reached bottom, it stops, will not just start at #1 again, you have to scroll back up.
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Old 12-14-2009, 05:23 PM   #6
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There MUST be a way to force it to use lower-quality on the streaming. *sigh.* Most of the time it works pretty well, anyway.
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:31 PM   #7
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This seems to be a, ahem, step up from the screen-freeze and hard drive crashes when this option was first introduced. I recently watched two films a few days apart that stayed HD for the entire two hours each - but I dared not to pause either of them.

Has anyone else recently had the "pink (or whatever color) screen of death" when pausing a streaming Netflix film via TiVo? I am afraid to test it to see.

One small nit-picking thing too: if in your Netflix folder you have an "Instant" queue longer than what can be seen on your screen, moving to the next page is stupidly sloooowwwww...

I've had a TiVo HD Series 3 for two years and never had a hitch with anything - no missing shows etc. - except the above.

If TiVo can't get this right.... Any recommendations for a Blu-Ray player for Netflix, or is Roku the best option?
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:10 AM   #8
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If TiVo can't get this right.... Any recommendations for a Blu-Ray player for Netflix, or is Roku the best option?
I bought a Samsung BD-P1600 which includes Netflix. I've been extremely happy with the BD-P1500, so I feel pretty confident about the BD-P1600. Now at least, if I have issues with Netflix, it won't crash my TiVo. Yesterday, I came home only to find my cableCARD was unauthorized. A restart fixed it, but I'm not using Netflix on my TiVo any more. Last thing I need is another Comcast truck roll.
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:26 AM   #9
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I also have the 1600 and the Netflix viewing (HD) has been great. No pauses or rebuffering so far.

I have only watched a half dozen movies.
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Old 12-15-2009, 07:03 PM   #10
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I also have the 1600 and the Netflix viewing (HD) has been great. No pauses or rebuffering so far.

I have only watched a half dozen movies.
I just set up my new BD-P1600. The menu interface is MUCH better than wiith TiVo. You get a half screen Video Cover for each item in your que. And the picture quality appears to me to be much better than with the TiVo. You also get MUCH more feedback when rewinding or fast-forwarding. It now appears to me that the TiVo, at least the original S3 and (I'm guessing the S2), was a preliminary attempt at making this work. Maybe the THD's are better, but this Samsung with Netflix is way better than with my TiVo S3.
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:13 PM   #11
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Yesterday I tried to stream a film on Netflix. It streamed at full HD and stuttered constantly. It never downshifted to a lower resolution. I spent all evening optimizing my router and wireless connection until I had 100% signal strength. I downloaded a TV show from Amazon and the TiVo reported 6.92 MB/S, which isn't overly fast but seemingly fast enough to stream Netflix at full HD. My laptop on wireless (farther from the router than the TiVo) reaches around 9 MB/S downstream, 3 MB/S upstream on Speed Test and Speakeasy.

Today I tried streaming another film, and this one was either not available or never reached HD resolution. It was full bars just below HD. It also stuttered constantly, and I believe this is the 1.5 MB stream, which should be easily reachable with my broadband connection and wireless speed.

I have a Linksys WRT54G 2.0 with the latest firmware. I'm considering a new router but I'm not sure that's where the problem is. I also rebooted the TiVo and reset the router. Any suggestions on how I can test my setup before I purchase a new router? Are there variables I'm not considering? Also, I have an Apple AirPort Express which repeats the router signal and which allows me to reach 100% signal strength. It's very near the TiVo wireless adapter. Without it I can only get 65 - 70% signal strength from the router.
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:02 AM   #12
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Yesterday I tried to stream a film on Netflix. It streamed at full HD and stuttered constantly. <snip>Today I tried streaming another film, and this one was either not available or never reached HD resolution. It was full bars just below HD. It also stuttered constantly, and I believe this is the 1.5 MB stream, which should be easily reachable with my broadband connection and wireless speed.<snip>.
If it helps any, first of all, it does not sound like it is your end at all. It could be their server. Second of all, not all movies come in HD. So, even though you might have a 50Mbps pipe, it will not be in HD at all times. But, from what you have described, it does not sound like an issue on your end, IMHO.
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:06 AM   #13
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I'm certainly no wireless expert, there are lots of things which can influence the quality of a wireless signal which would not necessarily be seen by someone casually surfing.

I would have a similar issue from time to time, outside of the capacity issues on friday/sat pm. I went to hardwire and have have not a single problem since.
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:30 AM   #14
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Yesterday I tried to stream a film on Netflix. It streamed at full HD and stuttered constantly. It never downshifted to a lower resolution. I spent all evening optimizing my router and wireless connection until I had 100% signal strength. I downloaded a TV show from Amazon and the TiVo reported 6.92 MB/S, which isn't overly fast but seemingly fast enough to stream Netflix at full HD. My laptop on wireless (farther from the router than the TiVo) reaches around 9 MB/S downstream, 3 MB/S upstream on Speed Test and Speakeasy.

Today I tried streaming another film, and this one was either not available or never reached HD resolution. It was full bars just below HD. It also stuttered constantly, and I believe this is the 1.5 MB stream, which should be easily reachable with my broadband connection and wireless speed.

I have a Linksys WRT54G 2.0 with the latest firmware. I'm considering a new router but I'm not sure that's where the problem is. I also rebooted the TiVo and reset the router. Any suggestions on how I can test my setup before I purchase a new router? Are there variables I'm not considering? Also, I have an Apple AirPort Express which repeats the router signal and which allows me to reach 100% signal strength. It's very near the TiVo wireless adapter. Without it I can only get 65 - 70% signal strength from the router.
I think it's best summed up in this post's last 2 sentences
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:15 AM   #15
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If it helps any, first of all, it does not sound like it is your end at all. It could be their server. Second of all, not all movies come in HD. So, even though you might have a 50Mbps pipe, it will not be in HD at all times. But, from what you have described, it does not sound like an issue on your end, IMHO.
Thanks. I assume if a movie isn't available in HD, Netflix doesn't use their highest bandwidth stream? I read somewhere their max stream is 3.8 MB/S, and the next one down is 1.5 MB/S. So if a movie isn't displayed in HD, I would expect it to stream fine. Even with poor wireless performance I would expect I could at least get 1.5.

I forgot to add that I've been using Netflix somewhat regularly since September and except for a few spotty issues watching The Office at peak viewing times, I've never had a problem. My router is several years old, though, and I'd be willing to replace it if I thought it would make a difference. I have great signal strength (repeating the wireless signal with the AirPort), but maybe the router has some other problem that I don't understand.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:21 AM   #16
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I think it's best summed up in this post's last 2 sentences
I suppose if my performance doesn't improve, I'll have to hardwire it. What's frustrating is I've enjoyed good performance for more than three months and I'm not sure why it would suddenly be so terrible. Maybe there is some new source of interference? I've tried a variety of wireless channels, and that changes the signal strength somewhat, but at 100% you would think interference isn't really an issue.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:43 AM   #17
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I have noticed the problem is movie specific. One HD movie will play without an issue, go to another one, starts and stops. So i think the play settings are set by movie, not by the service. Netflix should ask to play in HD , or SD.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:44 AM   #18
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I suppose if my performance doesn't improve, I'll have to hardwire it. What's frustrating is I've enjoyed good performance for more than three months and I'm not sure why it would suddenly be so terrible. Maybe there is some new source of interference? I've tried a variety of wireless channels, and that changes the signal strength somewhat, but at 100% you would think interference isn't really an issue.
You should double check overall network activity. I was downloading a mega-torrent one day and it completely killed any attempt at Netflix streaming. Also, someone else reported problem when uploading large amounts of data.

FWIW, I have been using WIndows Media Center in Windows 7 - connected to my Sammy 32" LCD via HDMI - to watch Netflix. Works pretty good.

Other TiVos are pretty much trouble-free when the network is idle.
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Old 12-16-2009, 12:30 PM   #19
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Thanks. I assume if a movie isn't available in HD, Netflix doesn't use their highest bandwidth stream? I read somewhere their max stream is 3.8 MB/S, and the next one down is 1.5 MB/S. So if a movie isn't displayed in HD, I would expect it to stream fine. Even with poor wireless performance I would expect I could at least get 1.5.
Sorry, I don't know any of those specifics. Makes sense though. And like another poster said, I do see different results with different movies as well.

Another thing I found is that the lip sync has been TERRIBLE with my TiVo lately. I was watching with the Samsung Blu-Ray last night and the lip sync was close to perfect.
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Old 12-17-2009, 02:11 PM   #20
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I suppose if my performance doesn't improve, I'll have to hardwire it. What's frustrating is I've enjoyed good performance for more than three months and I'm not sure why it would suddenly be so terrible. Maybe there is some new source of interference? I've tried a variety of wireless channels, and that changes the signal strength somewhat, but at 100% you would think interference isn't really an issue.

I'm having the same problem: wireless (HD) streaming on Tivo Series 3 causes buffering every 40 seconds that makes it impossible to watch a movie. I've tested and non-hd seems to stream fine. I have 70-85% signal strength. I use a Tivo g wireless adapter with WPA2 encryption. I did not have this problem up until recently. I've streamed 20+ hours of HD without this problem. There would be an occasional buffer, but nothing like this.

I don't have is a problem streaming to a wired laptop or a wireless laptop. Both stream HD shows without a problem.

So, before I take the step of hard wiring ethernet to Tivo, I'd like to know if hard wiring it has solved the problem for any of you?
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Old 12-17-2009, 04:02 PM   #21
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I'm having the same problem: wireless (HD) streaming on Tivo Series 3 causes buffering every 40 seconds that makes it impossible to watch a movie. I've tested and non-hd seems to stream fine. I have 70-85% signal strength. I use a Tivo g wireless adapter with WPA2 encryption. I did not have this problem up until recently. I've streamed 20+ hours of HD without this problem. There would be an occasional buffer, but nothing like this.

I don't have is a problem streaming to a wired laptop or a wireless laptop. Both stream HD shows without a problem.

So, before I take the step of hard wiring ethernet to Tivo, I'd like to know if hard wiring it has solved the problem for any of you?
Yes. I went from wireless (and much cursing) to powerline adapters (and less cursing) to MoCA adapters (no cursing).
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:40 PM   #22
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Yes. I went from wireless (and much cursing) to powerline adapters (and less cursing) to MoCA adapters (no cursing).
Can you elaborate ? Thanks
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:05 PM   #23
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I did a quick wire of cat5e to my Tivo3, and I just got through testing: Netflix streaming HD works again! My best guess is that neighbors turned on wireless and crowded the space. I can see 8 different networks nearby. SOLUTION: use ethernet
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:48 PM   #24
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Can you elaborate ? Thanks
I live in a loft, so my "office" where the cable modem is is upstairs, with no walls to contend with (just a railing), but I have several neighboring wireless networks around. I tried different channels but could never get a consistent signal. I've tried 2-3 different Linksys (WRT54G) wireless routers (versions 2, 5, and 6), and a Netgear (WNR3500) wireless router that is still in place, but always no luck.

I borrowed my brother-in-law's PowerLine ethernet adapters, but I think since the cable modem is upstairs, there was one too many circuits to deal with to get a consistent signal downstairs to my TiVos.

Finally I decided to go MoCA, utilizing the existing coaxial cable run that was already in place. I did very little research and ended up buying a Netgear MCAB1001 MoCA adapter. Had I known then what I know now, I probably would have saved some money with Motorola NIM100's. Either way, the MoCA adapters have been rock solid.

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Old 12-18-2009, 09:28 AM   #25
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I have noticed the problem is movie specific. One HD movie will play without an issue, go to another one, starts and stops. So i think the play settings are set by movie, not by the service. Netflix should ask to play in HD , or SD.
I've noticed this, too, and not just on HD. I had one occasion where one SD show was stuttering to the point that it literally was unwatchable (one second of playback followed by 10 seconds of buffering, repeat 400 times...), but I switched to another show and it played without a hiccup. Switched back to the original -- same deal. At the time I thought Netflix must prioritize playback bandwidth by popularity or something (the super slow-poke was a fairly obscure movie)...
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Old 12-18-2009, 10:05 AM   #26
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I've noticed this, too, and not just on HD. I had one occasion where one SD show was stuttering to the point that it literally was unwatchable (one second of playback followed by 10 seconds of buffering, repeat 400 times...), but I switched to another show and it played without a hiccup. Switched back to the original -- same deal. At the time I thought Netflix must prioritize playback bandwidth by popularity or something (the super slow-poke was a fairly obscure movie)...
I had one movie that was playing only one audio track. The sound overall was very low, but one channel was was almost inaudible. I was able to adjust the volume balance to account for it on my headphones. And, there are some movies that I've gotten that had no sound or picture and when I tried fast forwarding, the movie WAS there after all. Very strange behavior, and I do not really rely on Netflix streaming. (Maybe that's why? Or, maybe it could be the lousy selection of movies..)
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Old 12-18-2009, 02:58 PM   #27
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I've noticed this, too, and not just on HD. I had one occasion where one SD show was stuttering to the point that it literally was unwatchable (one second of playback followed by 10 seconds of buffering, repeat 400 times...), but I switched to another show and it played without a hiccup. Switched back to the original -- same deal. At the time I thought Netflix must prioritize playback bandwidth by popularity or something (the super slow-poke was a fairly obscure movie)...
Ditto. I've found that netflix is very hit or miss, and have seen the stop-start (mostly stop) behavior described. It then tried watching the exact same movie from my PC with no problems at all. It seems to be a Tivo specific issue.

The other night I was watching a foreign film (forgot the title) and it simply stopped 1 hour and 27 minutes in on my S3. I tried to continue watch on my Tivo HD and got the stop-start behavior described above. Then I finished watching on my pc with no problems.

What a !$!$#@!###@@ pain in the a$$
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Old 12-21-2009, 01:20 PM   #28
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Netflix freezes TivoHD

I've got 20/10mbs internet, all my network is hard wired. I have no issues watching netflix on my tivo, except that a couple times the breaker flipped off that serves my modem and router (due to heaters, not TV stuff). When this happens and I'm watching a netflix movie, the movie pauses, the screen goes gray for about 5 minutes, then there is a message that playback was interrupted, press select to go back. Only the whole time my tivo is frozen and I can't access any features with the remote. I can still work the TV of course, but I have to pull the plug on my tivo to unfreeze and get it working again.

I'm wondering whether this would happen for any network interruption, and if there's another way to unfreeze the tivo.
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Old 12-22-2009, 08:54 AM   #29
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I did a quick wire of cat5e to my Tivo3, and I just got through testing: Netflix streaming HD works again! My best guess is that neighbors turned on wireless and crowded the space. I can see 8 different networks nearby. SOLUTION: use ethernet
I'm not sure it's that simple. I've tried the same thing, but still have the frequent stops and starts. I have a FIOS 20/10 connection. My tested download speeds are almost at 20, so the connection is not a problem. I spoke with Netflix and the first thing they did was suggest I "restart my network" meaning power down all connected devices and the router/modem, which I did. It didn't fix anything. Non-HD Netflix movies stream fine, but HD not so fine. The really odd thing is this worked two days ago. By that I mean the HD movie would start at HD quality, but would throttle back to non-HD quality. I just don't understand why this can't happen ALL the time. If HD won't work, I'd at least like the TIVO to throttle back to something usable.
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Old 12-22-2009, 09:35 AM   #30
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I'll just mention a few things that can affect Netflix streaming that most people wouldn't think about.

If you use a 3rd party DNS server such as OpenDNS or Google's new DNS servers that can affect your Netflix streaming (and things like YouTube, Amazon, etc). Netflix can use either Akamai or Limelight Networks (preferred) to deliver content. The specific server used when connecting to Akamai or Limelight is determined by your DNS. It is normally supposed to be geographically depending such that if you are using your ISP's DNS server, you should be routed to a local (geographically) content server. If you use something like OpenDNS (which is in California) you will be routed to content servers in California. That works well if you live in California, but not so well if you live on the East Coast.

Even if you use your ISP's DNS server, there can be issues with routing to or from the local Netflix servers. For about 6 months I had an issue when streaming or downloading from LimeLight Network servers (used by Amazon and other video providers) where I would literally get speeds of around 200 kbps downloading Amazon content from local Limelight servers while non-local servers gave me around 12 mbps. It turned out to be a routing problem on the return path from Limelight to me. Diagnosing problems like this is time consuming though and requires the ability to measure network traffic over time on your TiVo box.
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