Hulu Plus Streaming Issues

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Hulu Plus Streaming Issues

Postby shelleyp » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:26 am

I thought I would start a thread for streaming issues with Hulu Plus ...

I tried out the latest Glee episode since Glee is the show I had most trouble with on my blu-ray.

The commercials now align well, but at the end, I was getting a lot of freezing. The freezing is happening almost every 10 seconds towards the end of the video. It froze long enough that I had to stop the show at one point, and start it again.

After freezing the video would then fast forward to sync up with the audio.
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Re: Hulu Plus Streaming Issues

Postby tobarefeet » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:39 am

I'm luckier. During Detroit 187 I only had 2 two sec freezes. No big deal, figure it's early days glitches that will be ironed out.
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Re: Hulu Plus Streaming Issues

Postby kwatch » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:40 am

It's important for everyone to also note their broadband connection speed here as well. Someone on DSL will have more issues than someone running on 6+ mbps.
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Re: Hulu Plus Streaming Issues

Postby shelleyp » Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:03 am

kwatch wrote:It's important for everyone to also note their broadband connection speed here as well. Someone on DSL will have more issues than someone running on 6+ mbps.


I am 6mbps DSL. This doesn't strike me as a bandwidth on my side issue, otherwise it would hit other shows. I would say this is a CDN issue or even something strange with the video encoding.

Also a note: Hulu does have a discussion forum. I'm posting these notes on both forums, because I'm not sure where the problem is happening. I'm pretty sure it's Hulu, but felt the Roku folks would want to be in the loop.

The Hulu technical issues discussion forum is at

http://www.hulu.com/discussions/9/
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Re: Hulu Plus Streaming Issues

Postby jcmolet » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:09 am

kwatch wrote:It's important for everyone to also note their broadband connection speed here as well. Someone on DSL will have more issues than someone running on 6+ mbps.


I agree that download speed is a significant factor. In fact, my guess is that it is the single most important factor. Other factors are probably CDNs, router type, modem type, wired vs wireless, distance from router if wireless, other active devices on the LAN, and any number of other small factors. I definitely don't discount or doubt the experiences of others. If someone says they are having a particular issue, I imagine they are. However, I am hesitant to just chalk it up as a Hulu problem. With my 25 Mbps service, I am not seeing these issues on my PS3s, Rokus or iPad. If it was just a Hulu problem, I would think it would show up fairly uniformly across all devices. The most difficult thing in this new streaming environment is the infinite number of factors that can contribute to the end user experience.
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Re: Hulu Plus Streaming Issues

Postby warobison » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:37 am

I have only used the Hulu Plus on Roku for a couple of hours. I was watching an episode of Detroit 1-8-7 (or whatever the numbers are!)) and the player stopped. When I hit retry, it began again at the start of the episode. I could not figure out how to fast forward to the point I had been. Thanks for any help.

WAR
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Re: Hulu Plus Streaming Issues

Postby TaylorH » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:46 am

If the streaming buffer is starved (lack of bandwidth) you'll see the video freeze because it ran out of video data and stay frozen until until it gets more data. This is LIKELY the cause of what you're seeing with video freezing.
You won't get a rebuffer screen/progress bar like you currently do with Amazon or Netflix. Now, having said that, it doesn't necessarily mean you have inadequate bandwidth. As most of you know you can have streaming problems even on 20Mbps connections.
I would venture to guess that it's either an ISP or CDN issue. Hulu+ just launched and it's possible the first day demand is high possibly causing some issues. It could be crummy CDN server you're connecting to, or simply something 'interrupting' the data between you and the CDN temporarily.

I believe the minimum internet bandwidth we're recommending is 5Mbps as the best HD stream is 3.2 Mbps.

Oh yeah, and if you're using wireless, make sure you have a good connection or try a different channel. Wifi can be deceiving.

I don't have a lot of time to monitor the forums but I'll try to check in from time to time.
Former Roku employee
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Re: Hulu Plus Streaming Issues

Postby shelleyp » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:58 am

RokuTaylor wrote:If the streaming buffer is starved (lack of bandwidth) you'll see the video freeze because it ran out of video data and stay frozen until until it gets more data. This is LIKELY the cause of what you're seeing with video freezing.
You won't get a rebuffer screen/progress bar like you currently do with Amazon or Netflix. Now, having said that, it doesn't necessarily mean you have inadequate bandwidth. As most of you know you can have streaming problems even on 20Mbps connections.
I would venture to guess that it's either an ISP or CDN issue. Hulu+ just launched and it's possible the first day demand is high possibly causing some issues. It could be crummy CDN server you're connecting to, or simply something 'interrupting' the data between you and the CDN temporarily.

I believe the minimum internet bandwidth we're recommending is 5Mbps as the best HD stream is 3.2 Mbps.

I don't have a lot of time to monitor the forums but I'll try to check in from time to time.


Thanks for responding.

Good to know that this is normal Hulu+ buffering behavior. I know I'm used to the buffering indicators we see with VOD and Watch Now, wasn't sure what was happening with the freeze.

I imagine that there will be buffering issues for a month or two. If things seem worse, or continue, I'll make any additional comments in the Hulu discussion forum.

Again, thanks for clarifying what causes this behavior.
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Re: Hulu Plus Streaming Issues

Postby ddevonb » Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:48 am

I also highly recommend connecting directly to the router via ethernet. Slow wireless or limited wireless signal can really become a bottle neck.

I have cable broadband and my Roku player are both hardwired to the router. I very rarely have a buffering situation on any channel.
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Re: Hulu Plus Streaming Issues

Postby tharvey » Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:36 pm

I just started testing hulu plus today with my 10mbps cable connection that typically averages 8 or 9mbps. I find that with Netflix streaming HD content averages around 3-5mbps steady but with Hulu Plus my router is showing a 50% duty cycle between 9mbps and 0mbps. During an hour show I found that the stream stopped and knocked me back to the 'issue has occured' dialog about 3 times where a 'retry' would re-connect and start playing where I left off.

I think they have some issues to work out - I clearly have enough sustained bandwidth but I don't understand why the streaming isn't smooth and am not happy at all by the way it pops you back to a dialog 3 or so times during an hour show.

Lets hope they get this worked out. Perhaps someone with another device that suports Hulu plus can tell us what the bandwidth over time looks like?

Tim
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Re: Hulu Plus Streaming Issues

Postby erayser » Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:17 am

ddevonb wrote:I also highly recommend connecting directly to the router via ethernet. Slow wireless or limited wireless signal can really become a bottle neck.

I have cable broadband and my Roku player are both hardwired to the router. I very rarely have a buffering situation on any channel.

We do the same, and I also recommend connect any streaming devices (besides mobile devices) via ethernet... but that might be difficult for some. All our streaming devices are connected to the router through a central switch. We were lucky that the house came standard with CAT5 ports throughout our house. Speedtest.net usually shows 40 to 50+ mbps for us connected via ethernet... but it depends on what server you are connected to.
Image

However, we were early adopters of Hulu+, and we had bad buffer issues with my PS3 through wireless. At that time when I tested my speed through wireless, I was getting around 7 to 15 mbps. I would think that is plenty fast to stream hulu+ wireless on our PS3. I connected wireless because we only had one CAT5 port in the computer/game room. I bought a cheap 5 port switch and connected the PS3 by ethernet cable, and buffer issue is gone. Not sure if it's a wireless thing... but we don't have any issues with Hulu+ on our 2 Roku boxes and PS3. I do recall having buffering issues on our iPhone's and iPad through wireless... but we don't have issues with 3G connections. I find that a little odd. :?
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