Tivo, Netflix or ATT?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by cappy, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. cappy

    cappy New Member

    74
    0
    Jan 17, 2010

    Advertisements

    I've got a series 3 Tivo with a Comcast dual cable card.
    My DSL is from ATDD & I have the elite package, which is "up to 5Mb/sec" download. My Tivo is connected to my router via wired ethernet, to avoid wifi signal dropout issues.

    When streaming movies from Netflix, many times our movie gets interrupted and has to rebuffer. Some nights this happens 4-5 times during a 90+ minute movie. One night some sessions lasted several minutes.

    Calls to Netlfix tech support always points to my DSL connection. One Netflix tech claims that Netflix has enough bandwidth for several times the number of customers they currently have.

    I've asked them to check their logs and see if they can see any connection problems with my service. They said they can't can't an accurate reading because of the way Tivo works, They did tell me they were seeing extremely fast rates though, numbers which are hard to believe for a home (non-business) connection.

    One tech suggested that I power cycle my modem and router once a week. This doesn't make sense, but I've tried because I'm almost desperate.

    I've started checking the 3 lights on my modem when the Netlfix interruptions occur. Every time I look all 3 lights are green (good).

    Calls to ATT DSL tech support have not been helpful.
    They alway do a line test which of course works at that time. I've asked the first level tech to check their logs during the times I've noticed the the rebuffering. Level one techs don't have access to that information.

    One thing Netflix suggested was to have ATT perform a long-duration test, which should last for 10-20 minutes to see if any significant dropouts show over time. I think I'll call them tomorrow and request this.
    We had one rebuffering issue tonight, but it didn't last long.

    While watching the movie tonight, at one point about 40 minutes into the movie, Tivo exited the movie and went to live TV. It was like I had bumped the "Live TV" button. The remote was on the table several feet from me when this happened. This has never happened before.

    Is it possible that my Tivo is responsible for these rebuffering issues?
    Does Tivo have phone tech support? I've never tried calling them, but I would expect they can't do much in the way of isolating the issue.

    Does anyone have some suggestions on isolating this problem?

    Thanks
     
  2. takeshi

    takeshi Member

    197
    0
    Jul 22, 2010
    What else is using your DSL connection at the time?

    Yup. Number is on their site.
     
  3. orangeboy

    orangeboy yes, I AM orangeboy!

    4,089
    0
    Apr 19, 2004
    East Moline, IL
    Was this around midnight EST? I had the Netflix app close with error 0xffff at about the same time. For me, this rarely, if ever, happens, and I found it unusual.
     
  4. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    8,955
    749
    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    Does anybody try searching the forums before posting a new thread? Never mind answering, it's a rhetorical question (i.e., I know the answer: "No"!) :rolleyes:

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=466888

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=413339

    The second link is a huge thread showing all kinds of problems that continued with Netflix from its inception on TiVo. People with hardwired networks and 20 Mbps download speeds have had problems.

    Do you have the latest TiVo software update (11.0k) ? It was supposed to have a fix for Netflix lockups when internet connection fails. I'm wondering what unintended side effects this introduced since I've had more trouble with Netflix after the "fix".

    If you continue to have Netflix problems on TiVo, it might be worth it to prevent damage to your health to get a Roku box. They have three models ranging $60 - $100 and have a reputation of much better Netflix performance than TiVo. It also gets Amazon and Hulu Plus.
     
  5. brettatk

    brettatk Thread Killer

    11,884
    224
    Oct 11, 2002
    Powder...

    Advertisements

    I would suggest running some bandwidth tests from your computer to see what speeds you are actually getting. Just because at&t says it's "up to 5Mb/sec" doesn't mean you are getting anywhere close to that. If you are getting close to the max range then perhaps your router is dropping the connection periodically.
     
  6. cappy

    cappy New Member

    74
    0
    Jan 17, 2010
    The problem with this is the same as when ATT does their tests. If it doesn't occur when the Netflix stream has problems it isn't helping.
    By the time I would get the computer setup to run a bandwidth test, the rebuffer session is likely to have completed.
     
  7. cappy

    cappy New Member

    74
    0
    Jan 17, 2010
    I don't know if it is a dsl problem-the modem lights look good.
     
  8. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

    1,631
    527
    May 28, 2005
    New Mexico...
    There are lots of people complaining about the Netflix buffering issue, and many people like to blame TiVo. As far as I am concerned, this is absolutely NOT a TiVo problem. There are many other devices that can access Netflix, but they do not all access the same media source "assets" at Netflix. (See post #72 by TivoJerry in this thread: http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=464902&highlight=netflix&page=3)

    Lots of people seem to like the Roku device, but it is not HD; therefore, it is not surprising if it can get by on less bandwidth or lower server performance.

    I have a Blu-Ray DVD player that also has a Netflix capability. It does receive HD quality streams from Netflix, and it also has the identical buffering issues that TiVo has at any time that TiVo has them. Testing has shown me that the buffering problem is VERY common during prime time viewing hours and after noon on Sundays. It rarely happens at other times. I do a tremendous amount of recording from Netflix streams during the day, and so far I have never experienced a single re-buffer of any program between the hours of 0400 and noon. By comparison, it is almost impossible to watch an HD stream from Netflix during prime time on any day of the week without experiencing at least one or two re-buffering interruptions.

    Network traces have shown that all the programs where I get re-buffering have been coming from Netflix servers in Phoenix, AZ (I have no idea if that is significant, nor even if there are other Netflix servers). The same traces have consistently shown that my internet connection and internet performance in general has NOT been a problem when experiencing the re-buffering issues.

    My testing is certainly not definitive, and I cannot say exactly what is really causing the problems, but I have seen enough to be absolutely positive that the re-buffering is NOT caused by either the TiVo hardware or software.
     
  9. cappy

    cappy New Member

    74
    0
    Jan 17, 2010
    I just called Tivo tech support. The first person who answered was a total jerk and should be removed from tech support. After explaining the details of my problems where I explicitly stated I've been having this problem for 6-8 months, he read a pre-written message regarding the problem Netflix had this week. He didn't want to ask about my network setup or anything, he just brushed off the problem.

    I immediately called back and talked with another support person who was very helpful and gave me a suggestion that I hadn't thought of.

    Use a laptop connected with a wired connection to the router to try streaming a movie from Netflix. Connect the laptop video output to the TV (for convenience of viewing only).

    We have used our laptops to watch movies before we got the Tivo and had rebuffering issues at that time. However our DSL connection was much slower then. Adding browser + Microsoft related issues to the mix doesn't help and I'm sure the Netflix infrastructure may have gone though a lot of changes since then.

    Tivo tech support also suggested calling ATT to do a sustained download test, which lasts for 30 minutes or more.

    I'll try these to see what happens.
     
  10. A J Ricaud

    A J Ricaud Active Member

    1,176
    6
    Jun 25, 2002
    Hacienda...
    All 3 Roku boxes do at least 720P (HD). The top 2 do 1080P. The Apple TV also does 720P:
    http://shop.roku.com/Roku-Streaming-Player-Options-W5.aspx
     
  11. brettatk

    brettatk Thread Killer

    11,884
    224
    Oct 11, 2002
    Powder...
    Right, but if you are getting around 1Mb/sec or less all the time then that might be the problem. But if you have checked in the past and know that for the most part you do get much higher speeds, then I'd say the problem isn't with at&t.
     
  12. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    8,955
    749
    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    :confused: I don't see any connection between your response and my post you quoted.

    Also, are you actually getting AT&T to do network diagnosis for you? If so I'm impressed. I hate to think what response I would get from my internet provider, Time Warner, if I asked for such support. I haven't actually tried, since I never wanted it. I'm just extrapolating from the poor support they give to TiVo-related cable TV problems.
     
  13. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    8,955
    749
    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    As indicated by V7Goose above, testing performance on a different device (in this case your laptop) is not a valid test because different "assets" are served by Netlix, (i.e., the video has a different bit rate and/or resolution). Last I remember reading, Netflix definitely says they send lower resolution to PC "devices".
     
  14. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    8,955
    749
    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    A J Ricaud has already pointed out a major error in your post, saving me the trouble:
    I don't see where your post (or any other known facts) justifies your final statement "... I have seen enough to be absolutely positive that the re-buffering is NOT caused by either the TiVo hardware or software."

    To clarify, the important issue is not whether TiVo Netlix exhibits re-buffering, but whether it is much worse than with other devices (e.g., Roku). There are numerous posts scattered over this forum where users having both TiVo and other devices report superior performance of the other devices. I know you have a Samsung device that you say is no better than TiVo. So we have one anecdote (yours) versus numerous others.

    To add credibility to the thought that excessive buffering could be a TiVo-specific problem consider the experience with TiVo locking up on Netflix, resulting in a reboot. This went on for years, reported frequently on this forum, and was just finally addressed by TiVo in software version 11.0k. Thus the idea that there could be other unaddressed deficiencies must be considered.

    All of this is anecdotal and circumstantial of course. There is no way for us to know the actual facts. However your strident defense of TiVo seems unjustified to me. Are you a TiVo Stockholder? ;)
     
  15. djwilso

    djwilso Member

    598
    2
    Dec 23, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Roku HD, XD and XDS boxes all are HD and do Netflix (in HD) far better than TiVo.
     
  16. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

    1,631
    527
    May 28, 2005
    New Mexico...
    No, I am not a stockholder, neither am I presenting a "strident defense of TiVo". I'm just tired of so many people making what I consider are unfounded claims without seeming to do any independent testing or understanding the issue.

    I am glad to be corrected on the Roku HD issue - I was wrong. I extrapolated from something TiVoJerry posted - I do not own one and I did not research it myself - my bad.

    But on the issue of re-buffering, I stand by my conclusions. The fact that the re-buffering regularly happens during prime time and virtually never happens during morning hours pretty much guarantees that the CAUSE of that problem cannot be in the TiVo box - it must be either in the servers or network between them and the receiving box.

    The fact that my Sony Blu-Ray player show the same type and amount of re-buffering as my TiVo boxes during the affected hours shows that the way the TiVo box handles the need for re-buffering is not unique to TiVo - at least one other device performs the same way.

    And that is it. I have not tried to claim TiVo handles it better than the others, nor have I tried to say that I do not think there is any possibility for them to improve it - maybe they can, and maybe they cannot. I wouldn't be surprised if a purpose built box can implement streaming better than a recording device that is designed to copy all video to the hard drive before presenting it for viewing - but I also wouldn't presume to say that is fact. I do not have any way of knowing right now if they could handle it better. But I am sure that it is wrong for people to blindly assume that the re-buffering is evidence of a poor Netflix implementation.

    But hey, you are entitled to your opinion on the subject, too. Just let both sides of the story be told so that others that come here looking for information can decide for themselves.
     
  17. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    8,955
    749
    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    I can easily believe there is some network or server condition that triggers the re-buffering but, as I tried to point out before, the really important issue is whether TiVo handles this condition as well as other boxes.
    I agree. There has been a lot of anecdotal evidence here that TiVo is inferior in this re-buffering issue and very little counter-evidence. Thus I think it is reasonable to point this out. It is conceivable that (since forums tend to register complaints about their subject devices much more than others) there is some other forum where, for example, Roku owners complain that their boxes re-buffer a lot more than TiVo's.
     

Share This Page

spam firewall

Advertisements