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Pville_Piper
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Streaming frustrations

Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:32 pm

Sorry if this is in the wrong place but it seems like this is largely a networking problem so here it is.

My wife decided to cut the cord and gave me very little notice. We have an Amazon Prime account so she bought a Fire Stick and canceled the cable TV. It mostly works well except for playing archived videos on (mostly) A&E on Sling TV... Which is what we mostly watch right now. I found some information that suggested that the app for Sling TV is not very good and that if you reset it, it will clear the buffers and you will not get the freezing during playback. This does work but you have to re-enter the account information when you do it and you will have to do it at least once a night. The post that talked about that said it was the Amazon Fire Stick app that was the problem so I bought a Roku Streaming Stick and found that it is pretty much the same thing.

As "popular" as cord cutting is it seems like the information is pretty vague, not really giving you any specs and much of what the sites I have visited stated are either contradictory or just the very basics for the router and it only says that the modem should have DOCSIS 3.0. Can anyone direct me to some better sites or make some suggestions?

I currently have a cable modem with 60 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up. The current modem is ubee U10C035 that is provided by Charter. I do have a Motorola SB6141 that is just laying around that I used at my last place. I think I will get Charter on the phone to replace the modem as the Motorola looks to be twice as fast or should I go faster?

The router is a N600 Belkin that I had and I also have tried it with a D-Link DGL-5500 and it was no different in the terms of stopping the freezing. I will most likely swap back to the D-Link later today.

Current wireless network usage is the TV, Ipad, and 3 cellphones and I have a wired connection to my main computer. It will, however, be increased by 1 TV and cellphone as my daughter is boomeranging on us so the network usage is going to go up (as well as my blood pressure and adult beverage intake!)... Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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LostCat
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:47 pm

DGL-5500 should be good for streaming overall, but D-Link naturally stopped supporting it so it may not be terribly secure.

Personally, I think Amazons devices still leave much to be desired, but I have no experience with the sticks. I suspect they are functional but poor performing.
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JustAnEngineer
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:55 pm

I stream Amazon Prime and X-Finity On Demand to my TiVo without any hiccups.
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:08 pm

LostCat wrote:
DGL-5500 should be good for streaming overall, but D-Link naturally stopped supporting it so it may not be terribly secure.

Personally, I think Amazons devices still leave much to be desired, but I have no experience with the sticks. I suspect they are functional but poor performing.


The recent Sticks are quad-core, I think they're not bad. At this point though, Amazon is offering some pretty big deals on full FireTVs; that is, 4K televisions with Amazon Fire software built in, they are selling them under their own name. I have a friend that bought one, and he's happy so far (I sold them a FireTV stick that his wife loved, and they decided to upgrade).

I think with the sticks, the key is having good wireless bandwidth and good Internet bandwidth more than anything else, and owning a rcent model. Gen1 models were definitely on the slow side. My real issue is that I'm not a big fan of being monetized by Amazon, having someone try and target me with ads, so I'm very happy with my TiVo, and my HTPC.
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blahsaysblah
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:40 pm

I'd get a Chromecast Ultra, the wall charger part has an ethernet port built in. Only the thin grey cable goes to the Chromecast.

Or if you have a Chromecast, buy an Ethernet Adapter for Chromecast for $15 from Google. (Same thing included with Chromecast Ultra.)


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Re: Streaming frustrations

Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:13 pm

We use Sling TV for the last 4 months, on a FireTV box, and Fire Stick.
For some strange reason, it doesn't always update to the latest version of the app. What I had to do when I was having a ton of buffering issues was manually update the app. The latest version is currently 5.3.626.
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Also, I'm using a SB 6141, with a Asus RT-AC68U. I have QOS enabled with streaming the highest priority, along with the FireTV and FireStick as the highest priority devices.
 
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:49 pm

LoneWolf15 wrote:
The recent Sticks are quad-core, I think they're not bad. At this point though, Amazon is offering some pretty big deals on full FireTVs; that is, 4K televisions with Amazon Fire software built in, they are selling them under their own name. I have a friend that bought one, and he's happy so far (I sold them a FireTV stick that his wife loved, and they decided to upgrade).

I think with the sticks, the key is having good wireless bandwidth and good Internet bandwidth more than anything else, and owning a rcent model. Gen1 models were definitely on the slow side. My real issue is that I'm not a big fan of being monetized by Amazon, having someone try and target me with ads, so I'm very happy with my TiVo, and my HTPC.

I gave away my Fire TV gen 2 for an auction as it didn't perform as well as I thought it should.

So maybe I'm a little biased against em, I haven't really had that bad a video streaming experience with anything else I own. It wasn't terrible, it just didn't seem anywhere near as good as it should've been.

I hope they use better video chips in their next kit, whenever that happens.
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:45 am

For HD streaming, there are so many variables. Why in the world cheap out on a stick solution where wi-fi or processing power can be the limiting factor? I use a Roku with a wired connection. I don't know if I have ever seen anything ever "buffering". Get something, anything, that works with Ethernet.

If you want the greatest stability and bandwidth, go wired.
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:44 pm

The new stick models are much better with processing power, but I would've gotten a model with a hard-wire connection. Sling offers 50% off the Roku Premiere+, but since you've already signed up, the deal might not be available.

I would also strongly suggest using your SB6141 modem
 
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:14 pm

I'm consistently frustrated with my Fire TV (a year or two old) and my Chromecast (not Ultra). My wifi is capable of 600-700 Mbps on 5 GHz and ~200 Mbps on 2.4 GHz. Both the Fire TV and Chromecast have trouble with Plex...locally. I have to restrict bitrates to 8 Mbps or less for it to be smooth without frame drops...and sometimes it just refuses to play content smoothly at all regardless of encoding settings.

The Prime Video stuff is consistently good on the Fire TV and Youtube is fine on the Chromecast (assuming it will connect, it has a mind of its own) but the third-party plugins seem to be consistently bad.

I'm ready to ditch them and just go back to a damn HTPC.
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:03 pm

Roku+Plex ftw. I bought a Roku 3 right when it came out and have been using it for years. Not really any complaints.
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:29 pm

The Apple TV is by far he best quality and consistency of streaming decide in my circle of friends. We have both he current gen and last gen. They don't have Vudu or Amazon though. At least not yet. Sling is super smooth though, much better than the PC version in my experience.
 
Pville_Piper
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:57 pm

The Egg wrote:
I would also strongly suggest using your SB6141 modem


I did switch to it and it seemed to help. I also switched to the DGL-5500 and it seemed to help as well, right up to the point my I got a couple of disconnects and my speeds went to hell in a hand basket. The Belkin N600 DB that is my backup seems to be very inconsistent with the wireless speeds so I may just up and buy a new router. I've been looking at the netgear nighthawk ac1900 which is reasonably priced and has good range. I really don't want to spend more than $150 on a wireless router if I can help it. I just ordered an ARRIS SURFboard SB6183 for $65 plus tax. I figure that with 3 times the speed and 4 times the channels it should be relatively future proof (if anything can really be!)

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Sling is super smooth though, much better than the PC version in my experience.


The only issue seems to be the archived files on A&E. We watched a 3 hour program on A&E that was live and it ran fine but just before the archived 1 hour show ran like crap. Everything else plays real well on both the Firestick and Roku streaming stick.
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The Egg
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:02 am

Pville_Piper wrote:
The Egg wrote:
I would also strongly suggest using your SB6141 modem


I did switch to it and it seemed to help. I also switched to the DGL-5500 and it seemed to help as well, right up to the point my I got a couple of disconnects and my speeds went to hell in a hand basket. The Belkin N600 DB that is my backup seems to be very inconsistent with the wireless speeds so I may just up and buy a new router. I've been looking at the netgear nighthawk ac1900 which is reasonably priced and has good range. I really don't want to spend more than $150 on a wireless router if I can help it. I just ordered an ARRIS SURFboard SB6183 for $65 plus tax. I figure that with 3 times the speed and 4 times the channels it should be relatively future proof (if anything can really be!)

Blah. Are you still able to cancel the order? There's no perceptible difference until you hit the 6141's top speed (which is 343mbps), so you'd have to be paying for some top-tier service to see the benefit. There could be any number of things messing with your wireless signal, and changing routers may not necessarily help either. I would get a hard-wired set top box first, unless running a network cable just isn't an option.

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
The Apple TV is by far he best quality and consistency of streaming decide in my circle of friends. We have both he current gen and last gen. They don't have Vudu or Amazon though. At least not yet. Sling is super smooth though, much better than the PC version in my experience.

I've still yet to try an Apple TV, but I have used the Roku 3, Roku 2 (updated version), and Premiere+ extensively, and all have been excellent. They have a better interface than the Amazon devices, and also seem to be the most platform-agnostic.
 
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:33 am

Some good suggestions here; I'd like to throw the Nvidia Shield TV into the ring as a solid option too, I've used a few devices (Apple TVs, Amazon, Roku, Chromecast, even Microsoft WDA) and I think the Shield TV is the best all rounder, if not the cheapest.

Personally, I can always seem to justify an HTPC to friends and family, even if it's a cheap and low-powered one. Having a full desktop OS on tap comes in handy, even if you don't immediately think you'll want or need it on a TV. Hell, if you are hankering for a desktop upgrade, consider repurposing some of your current hardware for use as an HTPC and use the HTPC project as an excuse to buy that shiny new desktop you've been itching for ;)
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JustAnEngineer
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:44 am

When Microsoft killed off Windows Media Center, it killed the HTPC for me. I use the TiVo for streaming now.
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:18 am

Pville_Piper wrote:
The only issue seems to be the archived files on A&E. We watched a 3 hour program on A&E that was live and it ran fine but just before the archived 1 hour show ran like crap. Everything else plays real well on both the Firestick and Roku streaming stick.


Perhaps the problem isn't on your end? If current stuff streams fine, but old archived stuff doesn't, and nothing on your side has changed...

--SS
 
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:58 am

The Egg wrote:
Blah. Are you still able to cancel the order? There's no perceptible difference until you hit the 6141's top speed (which is 343mbps), so you'd have to be paying for some top-tier service to see the benefit. There could be any number of things messing with your wireless signal, and changing routers may not necessarily help either. I would get a hard-wired set top box first, unless running a network cable just isn't an option.


Thanks, canceled the order. It was a sale on the thing that triggered the impulse buy. Future proofing is a poor excuse to upgrade. Who knows... They could bring in fiber in the next couple of years and then I won't need the thing. The main item I was thinking about is the fact that is that the extra channels may make it better at handling area congestion.

[added] You are correct in the speed of the SB6141 modem, however, most cable companies limit it to 8x4 modems to 100Mbp. But since I only have 60Mbp service it is not an issue. WOW has moved in and offer 100/500Mbp service but the reputation of them over on in Montgomery and the surrounding areas is very poor, as was Knowlogy before them. Charter has had their issues but here lately they have been doing well as far as I'm concerned. I totally expect them to upgrade and match WOW before long. And since Charter doesn't charge for modem rental it doesn't make sense to buy a modem.

SecretSquirrel wrote:
Perhaps the problem isn't on your end? If current stuff streams fine, but old archived stuff doesn't, and nothing on your side has changed... --SS


That is what I have come to think. I did a series of tests on the wireless signal using my laptop and running speed tests on speedtest.net. What I have found is that the speed drops by 1/3 to about 40-45 Mbp when you get to the living room. Later on in the evening, when the Roku started having streaming issues, I ran some more speed tests and found that the signal had a hard time getting to 30 Mbp and the ping went from 10ms to 30ms where typically it is fairly steady at around 15 ms. I did not check the wired network. Both the 5 Ghz (N class only) and 2.4 Ghz seem to have the same issues and speeds.

I think that the archived stuff is not well optimized for streaming and a stronger signal may be required to power through the WiFi congestion at night. This leads me to think a router with external antennas would be better than what I have but I hate buying routers. So much is overkill and it seems like they only last a year if you are lucky. I went through router after router until I got the WRT54G which gave me a few years of service before it went bad. Now it seems to be going back to the same old 1 year cycle.

Getting a wired connection to the living room would be a real pain with the vaulted ceilings so that is out.
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:10 am

I know you say you can't get wired to that point, but wireless really sucks. How about doing PowerLine Networking to get wired connectivity over there.

Forget the routers with WiFi. If you need good WiFi then go to something like a Unifi Access Point. I have an AP AC LR and it is impressive. I live in a neighbourhood with a lot of high tech folks, 33 different SSIDs seen in the last 7 minutes, some at up to 82% signal strength (-57dBm) and it still gets great performance.
 
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:38 pm

notfred wrote:
I know you say you can't get wired to that point, but wireless really sucks. How about doing PowerLine Networking to get wired connectivity over there.

Forget the routers with WiFi. If you need good WiFi then go to something like a Unifi Access Point. I have an AP AC LR and it is impressive. I live in a neighbourhood with a lot of high tech folks, 33 different SSIDs seen in the last 7 minutes, some at up to 82% signal strength (-57dBm) and it still gets great performance.


That was my solution. If you live in a neighborhood, you are not in control of your wireless bandwidth. If I go upstairs in my house, I see about 25 different access points. As that APs get active, they start to interfere with mine. Streaming over wireless just isn't a realistic endeavor in my mind.

--SS
 
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:24 pm

Pville_Piper wrote:
[added] You are correct in the speed of the SB6141 modem, however, most cable companies limit it to 8x4 modems to 100Mbp. But since I only have 60Mbp service it is not an issue. WOW has moved in and offer 100/500Mbp service but the reputation of them over on in Montgomery and the surrounding areas is very poor, as was Knowlogy before them.

I've never heard of that. I only have a 4x2 modem (SB6120) and briefly had 105mbit through Comcast without issue, hitting speeds closer to 115-120. It's possible that a few cable companies have their own arbitrary rules about channels, but those would be artificial limitations, not the modem itself.

notfred wrote:
I know you say you can't get wired to that point, but wireless really sucks. How about doing PowerLine Networking to get wired connectivity over there.

I'd try that, or maybe drop down into the basement through a closet, and then come back up through the floor behind the TV. The need for an internet connection at your entertainment center is only going to increase over time (I currently have 4 devices), and you don't want to be constantly struggling with wireless.
 
Pville_Piper
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:36 pm

Heh... I live in Alabama, we don have no steenkin basements!

I have used the power line adapters before and they worked well, while they lasted... Maybe 8 -10 months. I can route a cable thru the attic but that might have to wait until it cools down a bit. And I still have to buy a Ethernet unit.
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:39 pm

Pville_Piper wrote:
Heh... I live in Alabama, we don have no steenkin basements!

'Twas 45 years ago, but I do remember that much. Besides, any attempt to dig such a hole would just piss off the fire ants.
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:56 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Pville_Piper wrote:
Heh... I live in Alabama, we don have no steenkin basements!

'Twas 45 years ago, but I do remember that much. Besides, any attempt to dig such a hole would just piss off the fire ants.


That and with the heavy clay soil any hole becomes a pond...
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:12 pm

Your described issue sounds more like your local wireless cannot keep up with the usage. I would expect Prime Video/Netflix to be fine unless you connection is really poor at the edges.

When you say archived though, do you mean locally stored and streamed? Because if you set up PLEX/Others wrong you may inadvertently be trans-coding to extremely high bit rate. IE, use PS3MediaServer I could stream wireless (802.11n/5ghz) a 1080p source mostly okay when it stayed under 18mbps. But I had some settings wrong, and it would often with action spike to 50mbps-80mbps and that would obviously bring it down to it's knees. Theoretical speed of 802.11n is 600mbps, real world equipment and conditions is sub-100mbps.
 
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:22 pm

SecretSquirrel wrote:
That was my solution. If you live in a neighborhood, you are not in control of your wireless bandwidth. If I go upstairs in my house, I see about 25 different access points. As that APs get active, they start to interfere with mine. Streaming over wireless just isn't a realistic endeavor in my mind.

--SS

Is that true with 802.11AC as well? I've never trusted N and I don't even use it in a crowded area much.
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:23 am

LostCat wrote:
SecretSquirrel wrote:
That was my solution. If you live in a neighborhood, you are not in control of your wireless bandwidth. If I go upstairs in my house, I see about 25 different access points. As that APs get active, they start to interfere with mine. Streaming over wireless just isn't a realistic endeavor in my mind.

--SS

Is that true with 802.11AC as well? I've never trusted N and I don't even use it in a crowded area much.


Sort of, definitely less range, see almost no C, but partly because most AP are old and no one knows to use it anyway. However, with apartment/condo, up down was the killer. Distance is just too short. And they are usually clones so you both put AP in same place, like 15 feet apart. (8' ceiling, plus ceiling and a few feet for not exact same spot)
 
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:52 am

blahsaysblah wrote:
Sort of, definitely less range, see almost no C, but partly because most AP are old and no one knows to use it anyway. However, with apartment/condo, up down was the killer. Distance is just too short. And they are usually clones so you both put AP in same place, like 15 feet apart. (8' ceiling, plus ceiling and a few feet for not exact same spot)

I'd think with actual beamforming kit range/quality wouldn't be as much of an issue. I haven't really noticed any problems with AC that I didn't have with N as well...and if noone else is using it there congestion wouldn't be a problem. Especially since most N traffic is in the 2.4ghz band.

IIRC, 2.4ghz is far more prone to signal issues with microwaves or washers or things like that running also.

The only time I've really considered 5ghz poor is with my RT-N56U, which I later learned just didn't really have great range to begin with.

(Not entirely my favorite site but I still read em, and here's an IT focused article about it https://betanews.com/2017/04/21/wi-fi-2-4ghz-vs-5ghz/ )
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:47 pm

LostCat, 5GHz service has shorter range, and most SOHO devices either implement it poorly, try to use reduced antenna power in a misguided attempt to save wireless device battery life (or both).

For crowded apartments the link you provided makes a lot of sense. For suburban housing it's usually better to use 2.4 for both wall-penetration and legacy-device-support reasons. AC is a great new standard but physics starts to matter in a full size house.

5GHz band using business-class APs is the best solution, but most people don't want to spend over $100 per AP (they might need up to 3) even if they understand that it would help.
 
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Re: Streaming frustrations

Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:56 pm

Vhalidictes wrote:
For suburban housing it's usually better to use 2.4 for both wall-penetration and legacy-device-support reasons. AC is a great new standard but physics starts to matter in a full size house.

Beg to differ. Even with "weak" signal, AC is faster over our 4200 sq ft / three level house than the 2.4 GHz band. Perhaps I have a junk router (TP-Link Archer C9) but I don't think so.

I was surprised by this result, but the only time the N bands work better is if I walk out to the end of my driveway or wander outside the house by 50-60 feet.
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