New to Roku and getting horrible quality

Moderators: RokuDouglas, RokuShawnS, RokuRyan, RokuJamesL, RokuKen

New to Roku and getting horrible quality

Postby dauphin07 » Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:42 am

We just got a Roku for xmas after I read about it somewhere. It was super easy to hook-up, no confusion or problems there. We used an upgraded HDMI cable for setup. Loaded up some movies and shows into our instant queue and started watching.
Got a "1 dot" on the quality scale. Watching the show was slightly painful. Did a little research under the FAQ's section here and figured it was our internet connection (we had the slowest and cheapest that Time Warner offered, well under what Roku states is even needed to make the player work). So I called Time Warner and upgraded our internet (which increased our internet costs to twice as much...grrr). Now we're under the 2mbps plan (I know that in order to get HD quality, it needs to be a bit higher, but we'd at least like a 2 or 3 dot quality).
Anyhow, we tried to watch something last night again, and we're still getting the lowest quality possible.
There is nothing else running on our internet connection. It's just me and my husband and we're not using the computer while we're trying to watch tv.
Our Roku is set up on a wireless internet connection, since our internet is downstairs and our tv is upstairs. It's a linksys router.
Can anyone help us figure out how to make our Roku work?
Thank you for any help!
dauphin07
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:32 am

Postby jeffrok » Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:11 am

Hello,

You really want a connection that's at least 3mbps especially if you have other computers running at the same time you're watching a movie. 4-star quality is really necessary if you ask me.. 3-star is "ok' but using a premium video cable is not going to do you any good if your internet connection is too slow to download the best quality video. Trying to think of a witty analogy right now, but I'm only coming up with "Using a good video cable from a less than premium source is like putting premium gas in your 1988 Chevy Nova"..

You really want an internet connection that gets a solid 3mbps or more.
Yeah, I got some Rokus.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koy2eg1ioZ8&list=HL1380998604&feature=mh_lolz
User avatar
jeffrok
** Valued Community Member **
 
Posts: 3593
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:51 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Postby DoomsDay » Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:12 am

With that low of bandwidth, you need to do two things. First you need to upgrade to the newest firmware. Just go in and have it search for an update several times in a row and it should see the new firmware.

Second, also with that low of bandwidth your probably going to have to force the connection speed you want since the roku box may always think that it needs more speed than what it does. Before doing this though, try it with just the newest firmware. that may help a bunch. If not, then try going into the debug screen and manually set your speed. You will have to do this any time the box is rebooted or unplugged but it may be your best solution. To get to the debug menu, hit HOME 5 times on your remote, then REW 3 and FF 2 times. Each one about 1/2 a second a part. It may take you a couple tries but it is there. This will not hurt your roku in any way. It also reverts back to normal settings any time the box is reset or rebooted.
DoomsDay
 
Posts: 318
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:53 am
Location: Charlotte NC

Postby -LD » Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:21 am

It really sounds you're trying to squeeze blood from a turnip. Your Internet connection speed is pretty slow (for streaming high quality video). You likely will rarely max out at 2Mbps. Even Roku recommends 2.5Mbps for high quality.

No sense dancing around the issue, your connection speed is too slow to get good quality.
-LD
 
Posts: 1604
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:27 am

Postby eri3k » Fri Jan 02, 2009 11:03 am

The hidden bit rate override menu (or secret screen) is where the advanced settings are. You reach it by pressing [HOME] 5 times, [REW] 3 times, [FF] 2 times in fairly rapid succession. It may take one or two tries before you get the timing right. If you accidentally switch [FF] and [REW] in the sequence, it will take you into another menu with software update options that are disabled and have no impact on the player.

In the bit rate override menu, the first item listed is "automatic". This is the default setting and refers to automatic stream selection. The player measures your available bandwidth and uses an algorithm to select the appropriate stream based on the result.

After "automatic" there are several bit rates listed in the form "#.# Mbps". This is how you force a stream. By setting a bit rate, you are forcing the player to forgo the bandwidth test and select the stream closest to the bitrate you designated. If you force the player to select a stream that requires a connection faster than the one between your player and the Netflix server, you will be subject to periodic interruptions during playback when the player empties the buffer and waits for it to be refilled.

The last option in the menu is "enable playback debugging". Enabling playback debugging shows the bitrate of the stream that will play and the results of your bandwidth test when you first start playback. The debugging screen looks like this:
Image

If you force a stream the playback debugging screen will not show, even when you have debugging enabled.

Keep in mind that the bandwidth reported by the box is not the bandwidth of your internet connection, although that is a factor. It is the bandwidth of the connection between your player and the Netflix server.
Last edited by eri3k on Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:50 pm, edited 6 times in total.
eri3k
 
Posts: 810
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:57 am
Location: Walnut Creek, CA

Re: New to Roku and getting horrible quality

Postby petem » Fri Jan 02, 2009 11:16 am

dauphin07 wrote:... So I called Time Warner and upgraded our internet (which increased our internet costs to twice as much...grrr). Now we're under the 2mbps plan (I know that in order to get HD quality, it needs to be a bit higher, but we'd at least like a 2 or 3 dot quality)...

Which Time Warner Road Runner tier are you now on? The normal TW RR tiers are:

Road Runner Lite: 768 Kbps (too slow for Netflix Roku)
Road Runner Basic: 3Mbps (fast enough for all except 3.8 HD)
Road Runner Standard: 7Mbps (faster than any current NF Roku streams)
Road Runner Turbo: 22 Mbps

If you've got anything above RR Lite you should have enough bandwidth for most high quality Netflix streams, and the problem may lie elsewhere (software version, DNS settings in router, wireless setup, etc.).

As eri3k notes above, check the network bandwidth reported by the Roku debugger to see what connection speed the player is getting to the Netflix servers.
petem
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:29 pm

Postby xtalman » Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:04 pm

My mother is on ATT DSL, 1.5 Mbps. With the new Roku firmware update, she's getting 2-3 dots most of the time. On one episode of Quantum Leap, she actually got 4 dots, but it kept rebuffering. Video quality was generally very good on a 1080p 42" LCD TV. Before the firmware update she would get 1-2 dots.
xtalman
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:53 pm

Re: New to Roku and getting horrible quality

Postby eri3k » Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:41 pm

petem wrote:Which Time Warner Road Runner tier are you now on? The normal TW RR tiers are:

Road Runner Lite: 768 Kbps (too slow for Netflix Roku)
Road Runner Basic: 3Mbps (fast enough for all except 3.8 HD)
Road Runner Standard: 7Mbps (faster than any current NF Roku streams)
Road Runner Turbo: 22 Mbps

The tiers may vary by market. See here.

If dauphin07 is correct about her maximum connection speed (and I suspect she is), then she may not have the headroom to accommodate variable bitrate spikes on the 1.5 Mbps stream especially when we include the possibility of problems between the Netflix servers and the headend.

However, if her current problem stems from the selection algorithm underestimating her connection then fixing her player's connection speed at 2.0 Mbps may resolve her quality problem without any rebuffering.
eri3k
 
Posts: 810
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:57 am
Location: Walnut Creek, CA

Postby Bron » Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:51 pm

I agree with the others here, I suspect there may be other issues besides your internet speed. Check other posts and/or contact Roku support for assistance. Also, find out what model router you have and check the other threads here for setup tips and advice. Lots of little things can play into it, though usually it is fairly straightforward.

Finally, if you figure it out -- please be sure to come back and post what you did to fix it so others in your situation can benefit from your efforts.

Good luck!
Bron
 
Posts: 404
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 1:23 pm

Postby dauphin07 » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:44 pm

Thank you all for your replies, I'll look into everything that was suggested and hopefully I can figure this out.
Our internet tiers are a little different here, but I am on the second tier for Time Warner, although the tier here (according to the Time Warner in our area) states it only goes up to 2mbps.
I'll work on the suggestions already given, and go from there.
I really appreciate all of the help!
dauphin07
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:32 am

Postby dauphin07 » Fri Jan 02, 2009 8:36 pm

Oh my goodness, it really was just that easy! =)
I took the very well spelled out and helpful suggestions of eri3k (but still thank you to everyone), and first I updated the software to the new version 1.5.
And that fixed it.
Amazing.
I went from a 1 dot quality to a 4 dot quality just by updating the software (firmware?).
And I tried it out on a few different shows and movies, and it's always coming up with 4 dots now! So awesome.
The quality is excellent, and as a bonus, my laptop was connected wirelessly to the internet (so I could read the forum) at the same time I was accessing movies on our Roku! So we definitely have enough internet speed.
Thank you again to everyone who helped me out.
dauphin07
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:32 am

Postby eri3k » Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:15 pm

Glad we could be of assistance. It is quite an amazing little box once you get the occasional little kink ironed out. I think the enthusiasm of the users on this forum really reflects that.

I hope you get as much enjoyment out of your Roku as I have from mine.
eri3k
 
Posts: 810
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:57 am
Location: Walnut Creek, CA

Postby Bron » Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:22 pm

Ah, glad things worked out so quickly! Enjoy your Roku!
Bron
 
Posts: 404
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 1:23 pm

Postby sammiefish » Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:53 am

does the debugging mode self-cancel or is there a specific command to go back to NORMAL mode
sammiefish
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:22 am
Location: TWC RR

Postby eri3k » Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:10 pm

If you have playback debugging enabled and you go back into the secret screen, you will see an option to disable playback debugging. By selecting it you will disable playback debugging.
eri3k
 
Posts: 810
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:57 am
Location: Walnut Creek, CA

Next

Return to Roku Streaming Player General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: brg88tx, EnTerr, gonzotek, RokuDavidM and 31 guests