Your Digital Media Has Never Looked So Good

 
Billee
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Is real time media streaming really viable?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:30 am

Now that the initial "new toy" phase of my Roku has passed, I am wondering if real time internet media streaming is going to be viable in the long run. The weaknesses seem to be limited content and transmission speed.

Most of the free content is sketchy at best. "You get what you pay for" still applies. Premium pay content is much better, but if I have payed to watch something, I want to see a good quality picture without breaks and pauses. This leads to the transmission problem.

When you look at the difficulty of transmitting millions of high speed video streams over the internet without momentary interruptions, it's hard to imagine that the problems that cause breaks, reduced picture quality, and re-buffering will ever be solved. The problems will tend to increase as more people use the technology (trying to watch a Netflix HD movie at 9:00 p.m. illustrates this problem).

Perhaps the solution is a "Roku Recorder". You would schedule the streams you want to see in advance. They are recorded and you can then watch them in high quality with no breaks, and have instant fast forward and replay with no re-buffering. For example, Netflix could be set up so that placing a movie in your queue would automatically start the recording process.
 
vmps
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Re: Is real time media streaming really viable?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:41 am

Billee wrote:
When you look at the difficulty of transmitting millions of high speed video streams over the internet without momentary interruptions, it's hard to imagine that the problems that cause breaks, reduced picture quality, and re-buffering will ever be solved. The problems will tend to increase as more people use the technology (trying to watch a Netflix HD movie at 9:00 p.m. illustrates this problem).


I've never had problems streaming HD at 9:00. Did it at least 3 or 4 of the last 7 days. The technology is only getting better, and realtime is definitely where things are going.
 
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KennyJ
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Re: Is real time media streaming really viable?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:08 am

Roku is my primary method of watching TV and Netflix makes up the bulk of that. I watch stuff all the time at either 4 dot or HD. I don't have any problems with the picture. I consistently get 4 dots/HD and I use my Roku every day, usually for atleast a couple hours at night. On top of that, my son also has a Roku in his room and frequently we're streaming at the same time with absolutely no issues.
 
destruk
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Re: Is real time media streaming really viable?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:48 am

NPR works fine. :)
 
Billee
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Re: Is real time media streaming really viable?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:17 am

[/quote] I've never had problems streaming HD at 9:00. Did it at least 3 or 4 of the last 7 days. The technology is only getting better, and realtime is definitely where things are going.[/quote]


There are a number of us who are not as fortunate, even with hard wired high speed connections (lots of messages on this board). I understand that Netflix has a number of different server locations and some of them may be less loaded than others.
 
vmps
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Re: Is real time media streaming really viable?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:42 am

Billee wrote:
There are a number of us who are not as fortunate, even with hard wired high speed connections (lots of messages on this board). I understand that Netflix has a number of different server locations and some of them may be less loaded than others.


That's quite obvious. The point is that the technology is not a fantasy, even if it hasn't made primetime everywhere yet. And frankly I suspect most of the problems are not on the netflix end, and lie in customer configurations or ISPs. I understand that doesn't help if you're the guy who can't hold a stream, but it defies historical trends to expect that the situation won't improve with streaming being the obvious future path that it is.
 
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kc8pql
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Re: Is real time media streaming really viable?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:47 am

I'm reminded of my childhood in the very early '50s, when we watched snowy analog signals on two channels. When color came along, the few that had a color set always had a mirror setting around near the TV, so when they crawled behind the set to try to get a color adjustment that looked sort of natural they could see the screen at the same time.
It'll get better. Have no doubts Grasshopper...
Last edited by kc8pql on Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
No, I don't work for Roku.
Netflix Player N1000X, XDS 2100X (premature death by lightning)
Roku2 XD 3050X, Roku2 XS 3100R, Roku2 4210R
 
stratcat96
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Re: Is real time media streaming really viable?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:51 am

no, it's not viable. Streaming is a fad and just another "pie in the sky". I suggest everyone sell their Rokus (probably at a loss) and take your money and run before the market bombs out and you're stuck with a modern day laser disc player. Although, the ONE thing that could save it is a PBS channel..... :lol: :lol: :lol:
 
scyber
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Re: Is real time media streaming really viable?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:54 am

Billee wrote:
I've never had problems streaming HD at 9:00. Did it at least 3 or 4 of the last 7 days. The technology is only getting better, and realtime is definitely where things are going.



There are a number of us who are not as fortunate, even with hard wired high speed connections (lots of messages on this board). I understand that Netflix has a number of different server locations and some of them may be less loaded than others.



I don't doubt that people are having issues, but I think that people are too quick to blame Netflix and not their ISPs or local configurations. I have a similar experience as KennyJ when streaming Netflix and IIRC, both of us use FIOS as our ISP. FIOS isn't as susceptible to slowdowns during peak hours as cable ISPs are (I've never had one in 4+ years). It would be interesting to start collecting ISP information for those that are having issues.
 
vmps
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Re: Is real time media streaming really viable?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:19 pm

scyber wrote:
I don't doubt that people are having issues, but I think that people are too quick to blame Netflix and not their ISPs or local configurations. I have a similar experience as KennyJ when streaming Netflix and IIRC, both of us use FIOS as our ISP.


ditto. :)

Also, people are quick to pull out "but my speedtest says" and seem unaware that 1) a short lived speedtest is not representative of a long lived download 2) the route to the speedtest is likely different than the route to netflix (some ISPs even host speedtests locally to make them seem faster) 3) some ISPs have a truly stupid feature known by marketing names like "speedboost" which allow an uncapped transfer for a short time and then after a while throttle a connection. This allows a speedtest to complete before the throttling kicks in, and is almost a worst case for streaming (because the dramatic change in available bandwidth causes the TCP congestion algorithms to engage and performance collapses until a new equilibrium is reached). (It's amazing that they could keep a straight face when selling that as a feature.) 4) some ISPs reportedly go so far as to boost the priority of speedtests (especially ISPs that are bandwidth starved, so they can lie to their customers and say everything is ok).

I have speedtest results that show I get my max bandwidth, but I also routinely download hundreds of megs of files at my max bandwidth with no sags or stalls--so I actually trust that number. I also recommend that people try http://www.pingtest.net/ also, as the latency numbers help establish whether the traffic is bursty independent of how fast the connection is.
 
AAMFlyer
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Re: Is real time media streaming really viable?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:44 pm

I would pretty much agree with what is being said here and it's important to look at the big picture.....there a lot of different factors to astreaming connection - ISP, Router, ROKU, Netflix, DNS, Wifi, Wired etc...... Basically my ROKU box has been useless since the last update in December.....I have not successfully been able to watch any program without issues or reduced quality on either Netflix or Amazon or even 2 min previews on Flixter.... I've tried it every night this week and cannot get through an entire program without decreased quality, stops and starts, or extremely long load times or nothing at all...and I've done just about everything I can and I'd say I have a solid 12 mbps DSL connection....I can't figure it out!

If you look at other solutions like Apple TV....they are having issues too....but their concept is similar to what is suggested above....download first or at least for awhile then start playing.....or you can download completely and you have up to 30 days to start your rental.....that's intriguing because you can always have something sitting there or sitting on your computer and/or stream via itunes.....so Apple has issues like everyone which beckons the question is the full infrastruction from ISP to Streaming Provider ready for the main stream user??? I'm not sure.... I am considering an HTPC...but then rumors are that streaming to PC's is out the door and "boxes" like Roku/Apple/Google are the future!

Apple DNS Issues....Hmmm - they say DON'T USE GOOGLE OR Open DNS... http://www.zdnet.com/blog/apple/reminde ... aming/8960

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jsp ... 5&tstart=0
 
vmps
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Re: Is real time media streaming really viable?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:30 pm

AAMFlyer wrote:
Apple DNS Issues....Hmmm - they say DON'T USE GOOGLE OR Open DNS... http://www.zdnet.com/blog/apple/reminde ... aming/8960


Trusting zdnet commentators for computer advice is like trusting mcdonalds chefs for cooking advice. Anyone who has a simple answer like "always use opendns" or "never use opendns" is full of it.
 
RWatson
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Re: Is real time media streaming really viable?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:42 pm

Watch all the time, virtually never have a problem, always 4 dots or HD, picture qualify almost always excellent. Occasionally during prime time loading a video doesn't start, but on the next try it does load. All this probably has to do with location as we are near San Jose and also we have Uverse which is extremely stable. (12 meg service, but had 6 before and it worked just as well--)
 
tobarefeet
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Re: Is real time media streaming really viable?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:34 pm

stratcat96 wrote:
no, it's not viable. Streaming is a fad and just another "pie in the sky". I suggest everyone sell their Rokus (probably at a loss) and take your money and run before the market bombs out and you're stuck with a modern day laser disc player. Although, the ONE thing that could save it is a PBS channel..... :lol: :lol: :lol:




I want PBS local feeds. The thought of watching the beg-a-thon played out in 3 time zones makes me shudder in excitement.
 
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KennyJ
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Re: Is real time media streaming really viable?

Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:13 pm

Yes. I use Verizon FIOS.

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