Internet not acting as speed tests suggest it should

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  • Updated 10 months ago
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Alright, so I am just wondering if anyone else has experienced this before, when you test your streaming speed on Fast.com and it consistently says your streaming speed is far above what is needed to stream in your selected quality, yet it still struggles to actually stream the video.  

For example, from time to time I will get 3-4mbps results on fast.com, they will stay consistent like that for at least an hour or two, but I still try to stream in 480p, the viewing quality that the silver plan permits.  Yet, it still struggles to load the video on YouTube.  This baffles me, because as the speed test says I should be able to load 720p without issue, yet it is struggling to load 480p.  

I understand a lot of you recommend using auto on YouTube and other such websites, but I dislike auto 240p.  So, I manually set it to 480p, which should *not* be an issue as when I have priority data (which I do) in theory I should be able to stream 480p. On testmy.net I seldom ever get below 10mbps, in fact I usually get above that speed, which is nice for when I wish to download something, but since I primarily stream and this plan has a limited streaming speed does not help me with that. 

You may be wondering why i brought it up then, well it was to show that my "normal" speed is significantly above 1.5mbps, yet even with nobody else home and my computer being the sole device connected, I may not always get 1.5mbps on fast.com while still getting those good speeds on testmy.net.  

This has been something that doesn't happen everyday, but it does happen often enough that I wonder what the deal is.  So, that's why I marked this as a question rather than a problem I am having, I am curious to hear if anyone else has had similar problems with the Bronze, Silver and Gold plans.  


















(By the way Stephen, I too, have a Playon server, it works quite well, except it does often record Netflix shows in lower quality than I'd like, but thus far it downloads Hulu shows in good quality.  For the record, I have it set to record in "auto" quality and download only at a family member's house who has cable internet, so if you have any tips on getting guaranteed HD Netflix recordings, that'd be appreciated.)
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Marika

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Posted 10 months ago

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Ethan F

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I too have this problem more often than not. ViaSat' s video data extender does not get along well with YouTube or Netflix. Netflix especially. It can be very very frustrating trying to watch 240p Netflix on a 42 inch television. I have reported this problem many times with no help. Too bad we can't shut off our video data extender like most other plans allow.
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L.L.

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So many other factors may be coming into play here.
- Netflix is never going to play nice with any of this
- Device used
- Net Nuetrality too, although no one would ever admit to it.

So often subscribers experience poor performance from their “smart TV’s” and think it’s the ISP causing the issue especially after a speed test shows favorable results. Smart TVs use terrible processors in them and almost never go without buffering. I’ve seen 500 Mbps cable wirelessly connected to a smart TV and YouTube, Netflix and Hulu all buffering.

Try hardwiring your TV or laptop directly to your modem too.
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Andy Schack

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I also have noticed a vast difference in video quality after Viasat employed their video ext technology. I'm not sure exactly how all of that stuff works technically but there is a difference between Viasat setting a quality level and me setting it on my Roku device. 

In the past I got into my Roku's video streaming quality and had it set where I used about 1/3 gig/hr and on my 70" 4K TV the picture was very acceptable....was  pretty much dvd quality. After they did the auto 480p, the quality stayed pretty much the same. Then our VS1 beam started getting very crowded when they began offering the 150g plan again a few months ago and I started noticing a lowering of the video quality.....some nights MUCH lower....virtually unwatchable. 

Now that I've also got a VS2 Bronze Plan system here at the house as well I've been able to test it to see how it fares. In my opinion, the video quality is not even close to what I experienced back in the days when there was no Viasat video quality presets. It's watchable but definitely NOT dvd quality. Now mind you, I am using the EXACT same amount of data as before. The difference is that NOW the video quality/stream rate is being set by Viasat where in the past it was being controlled by my Roku device. 

I guess the moral to the story is that not all video quality controlling technology is created equal. 

BTW, in case you are wondering what I am talking about when I mention the ability to adjust your Roku's stream setting......you press HOME 5 times, REWIND 3 times, and FAST-FORWARD 2 times and there you are. 

Andy
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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There are so many streaming services, I am not sure one method of lowering video resolution works for all. Obviously if you can set the quality yourself, that is one thing But Viasat is trying to universally control it, and that has to be challenging.

A comment on the device playing it. I have heard that streaming video wireless via 5Ghz is better than 2.4Ghz (I know 2 4Ghz is more prone to household interruptions from other devices). The downside with 5Ghz is it has lower range, so the wireless connection might be difficult to maintain. I can't speak for hardware issues doing streaming, but obviously a wired connection is the best. It is just not practical for a lot of homes to have a wired Smartv or Blu Ray device.
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Jim16

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Andy, from all that I have read, even from Roku, changing the rates in the special screen DOES NOT change the streaming quality of the Roku.  That is why setting it to it's lowest setting still looks great.  Roku has stated that it is used by their techs for something else.

From Roku:

It should be noted that the bit rate override screen does nothing for adaptive streams, such as the ones used by Netflix and Amazon.  And for non-adaptive streams, it normally doesn't matter if you set the bit rate override because the system will automatically play only streams that are below your measured network bandwidth.  There may be a few situations where the bit rate override improves buffering, but they shouldn't be common.  The screen is a debugging tool and was never intended for general purpose use.

(Edited)
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Interesting stuff!
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Andy Schack

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Jim, if you notice, they state that the system will automatically play only on streams that are BELOW your measured network bandwidth. Without this setting that I did, you could watch one movie and burn up multiple gigs of data....Amazon Prime Video could use dang near 10 gigs on a long movie. After doing this setting we never used more than 1/3 gig/hr. Now also remember I'm talking about the days when Viasat did nothing to reduce bandwidth usage while watching videos. Doing this setting basically makes the Roku unit "tell" the video provider that you can't handle any stream rate higher than whatever setting you set it on. 

When I brought this up in Denver, believe you me, it was TESTED and TESTED. When they saw that it worked they put the information up on Viasat's site. 

Andy
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Jim16

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Andy,

I have set the rate to .3Mbs on the Roku and there is a slight difference in image quality.  I am watching the new Lost in Space show on Netflix on my 48" TV.  The streaming quality is much better than the Viasat "video data saver" at 1-1.5Mbs.  I would have no problem streaming at this rate, .3Mbs, all month.  This is why I thought it didn't work.  If this is working, everyone needs to get a Roku and do this!
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Lost in Space. Okay series, but hard to beat the original. But for a Netflix series, it is a cinema quality production. Netflix basically blows away network television series in terms of quality and production.

I have a Roku but haven't played around with it. Will have to test. Really need something to watch Amazon content because of course my Viasat speed during primetime is too slow to stream anything real time.
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Andy Schack

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Jim, glad to hear it worked for you. About 3 yrs ago I actually suggested that they, Viasat, work out some kind of deal with Roku where we could give a new customer a basic Roku device. Roku's technology is simply the best out there AND it works with any of the streaming services. 
Another thing that can make a big difference is having a 4K tv.....let me correct myself, a GOOD 4K tv. The scalers in the 4k's really make a difference in the pic quality, no matter what the video source is. I've got Dish's Hopper 3 and when I switched from our regular led tv to a 4k, the pic quality difference was astounding. To me, regular led tvs look a little blurred now that I'm used to seeing mine.

For the record, I set mine at the second from the bottom (the Roku setting) .6 and then tried the .3 and there was absolutely NO difference in data usage. Don't know why but that's what I found.

Andy
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Jim16

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Now the big question. Can doing this stop a lot of buffering people with very slow speeds are having? Vetsat, can you try your Roku and see if you can stream at your slow speeds?
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Yea. I will try to play around with it. By primetime I should have speeds of 500k. I can try with Amazon through Roku and then the Blu Ray or Smartv
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Jim16

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So if you set the Roku to .3 then your 500k should be enough to keep things happy.  Real world may be different!
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Bev, Champion

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I agree, I'm supposed to have 480 res. well, mostly I get 240 except when it glitches and forgets me and I get 720 or 1080.

I don't like the forced video throttling, be okay if it worked as intended but, it doesn't most of the time. Plan A watch only on cell phone, Plan B pray for the "forgot me" glitch. Plan C hope Viasat gets it fine tuned and working properly soon.
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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You should be able to toggle the data extender on/off I wonder if that helps in these situations. You don't really need a lot of speed to stream (hence why some DSL plans offer 4mbps and call it good) I know some factors like the device like VeteranSatUser suggested might be a culprit too. 

This might be worth a call to our tier 2/tier 3 tech support team
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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Toggle on/off if you're on a Liberty Plan*
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Bev, Champion

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I'm on Unlimited Silver on VS1. Not giving up my 150 GB Priority data for 50 GB at the same price.

Speed is great except for video over the Ethernet connection, not so much over wifi. Same computer, located 3 feet from the SB2+ Modem.

Ethernet:



Wifi:



FAST TEST same wifi or Ethernet.
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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If the throttling rate on Silver is consistently that low, it's not surprising that 480P quality cannot be consistently delivered across all content providers - that's barely enough for a simple 640X480 (4:3 aspect ratio) - wider screen formats (aspect ratios) delivered at 480P would require more bandwidth. Horizontal resolution (not simply vertical resolution - the 480 is vertical pixel resolution although the P stands for progressive scan) is a variable also as to how much bandwidth is required.

If your content provider is configured for auto, good chance you'll be getting 360P  or lower if the aspect ration is 16:9 or higher. Some of the limited content providers I do use, consistently select 240P or 360P when I have the video data extender enabled and when fast.com shows in the 1.0 Mbps range.
(Edited)
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Bev, Champion

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1 to 1.5 Mbps for video on Unlimited Silver, that's it, always has been it for that plan. Most monitors are 16:9 or higher today. Maybe the video traffic shaper needs to be adjusted for that.
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Yes I know.

Physical monitor aspect ratio doesn't really matter - the video's aspect ratio does in terms of bandwidth required. Viasat simply detects video streaming and throttles bandwidth according to plan you have. Those rates are a bit on the low side IMHO and need to be adjusted upward to account for some satellite peculiarities (including latency)

The content provider determines the quality to be delivered based on its perception of Viasat's current network conditions - perceptions vary ;) The only optimization going on is that of the content provider attempting to optimize the user experience (minimizing pausing/stuttering), which is not the same as optimizing the video quality.
(Edited)
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Jim16

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"Toggle on/off if you're on a Liberty Plan*"

Or if you're on the Freedom Plan*****

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Bev, Champion

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Nope, Unlimited Silver, can't turn it off. I don't mind 480, don't stream on large screen TV but, 240 is ridiculous outside of peak hours.
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Jim16

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I think we have done enough samples on streaming speeds on the "unlimited" plans to  see that Viasat is on the very low end of what is considered 480p.

Netflix:

1 Mb/s for viewing standard definition on a laptop computer. While you can stream Netflix at speeds of 1 Mb/s, the quality will be grainy on a large screen, much like watching an old VHS movie

  • 2 Mb/s for viewing standard definition video (480p) on a TV
  • 4 Mb/s for viewing high-def video (720p, 1080p)
(Edited)
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Ethan F

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Last night I noticed another family member was streaming Netflix and the picture was not getting any better. So I clicked the special menu button to see the bitrate/resolution and these were the results. It was during primetime so I shut off everything pulling data and ran a speed test. It came back to my surprise at around 13mbps. So this just really makes no sense to me. It's so frustrating.
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That video speed is bad!

Something is off somewhere.
(Edited)
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MEM

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I have the same problem also. There are times when the speed test indicates web pages should load reasonably fast. However the web pages load at dial-up speeds. I never have a need to stream and am quite content with sending/receiving emails and web surfing.

A cynic could speculate that Viasat intentionally puts gaps in the download speed so that a speed curve is shaped like a saw-tooth or sine wave. This might give the impression that download speeds are faster than they actually are. Consider a voltmeter that measures your household voltage to be 110 volts AC. That is the macroscopic result. When examined microscopically in increments of 1/60 th of a second, the voltage is constantly changing from +110 volts to zero volts to -110 volts and back to zero volts in a sinusoidal shape.

If this were the case then the user would be misdirected into thinking the problem is with his equipment rather than with the actual integrated speed coming from Viasat.

Confusing? Yes. Intentional? Don't know.
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Stephen Rice, Champion

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Sounds like a good conspiracy.  I've got my tin foil hat ready.
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Ethan F

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11:32am Sunday. Can't watch tv without it buffering. I shut everything pulling data off (except my phone) ran a speed test and here's the results:

P.s. @Stephen Rice - no need to reply to this comment of mine. I already know your service is spectacular. Plus you'd just tell me something I already know.
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Ethan F

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I can't remember who, but someone once told me that typically if the upload speed is higher, much higher than the download speed....that it's major congestion. Anyone know if that's true?
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Upload should remain rather constant. That said, in general its probably true because during primetime on congested beams it is not unusual for the download to be slower than the upload. I can replicate that scenario every night!
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Stephen Rice, Champion

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There's no way your going to be able to stream HD video with a 1 mbps connection. That's perfectly fine for SD video though.
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Andy Schack

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Was that really called for?

Andy
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James Besser

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mr rice knows how too push some one over the edge he's very good at it
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Jim16

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So it's O.K. for someone to constantly post on here and whine about Viasat but not O.K for someone to constantly post on here about how good the service is? 
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Ethan F

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That was between Stephen and myself. Mind your own business. Geeze. It's like high school all over again.
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Jim16

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Stephan is already spoken for Ethan.
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Stephen Rice, Champion

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Ethan can come by and speed the night if he wants. He can even sleep in my room. The choice is his. My Viasat connection and Plex server covers the whole house via wifi.
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Jim16

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You never invite me over...
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Ethan F

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Okay man. Can we get back to helping eachother out with these video stream throttle problems? If you don't have any Interest in helping then stop commenting please. It's not funny.
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Stephen Rice, Champion

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That's because you are to nice to me. I like it rough.
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Jim16

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Ethan, you say you stream on 2 Rokus at once on occasion?  You have that good of speed at certain times?
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Ethan F

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Sometimes yes. Not very often though. Pretty easy to stream two rokus with Netflix simultaneously due to the fact that they are both streaming 240 resolution. :(
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Jim16

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Have you tried Andy's trick with the Bit rate on the Roku?

( we need to start a Roku thread and test some of this stuff out)

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Bev, Champion

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Ethan, a couple of points. First on the SB2+ modem (the Viasat 1 wifi modem) wifi speeds are typically slower than wired, as my post further up in this thread shows. Second, Download speed should be between 4-5 Mbps except rarely during heavy congestion on your beam.

Video on Unlimited Silver will ALWAY be at 1-1.5 Mbps, that means 480 resolution or lower, as the Fast.com speed test shows. Now on a widescreen it's going to buffer a bit at even 480, for larger screen, to watch without buffering, you may need to force it to an even lower resolution and, during high usage times on your beam, you'll want to go with 240 if you don't want a bit of buffering.

Anything above 480 is going to buffer every time PERIOD, the higher the resolution, the worse the buffering. Our video is at 1 Mbps, that's it, that's all we get for video, work on that assumption and, you'll know what to expect.
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Stephen Rice, Champion

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I tried to say they wouldn't get HD with 1 mbps but they just told me to quit kissing Viasat's butt.
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Ethan F

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Oh yeah man. You're just so funny and witty. Just stop. You're not amusing anyone but yourself and that's really sad. Everyone else including myself is on here to talk about issues with our internet...and to help eachother problem solve. You're acting like a damn child. So do us a favor and stop. You like this so much.....make your own "stephen loves ViaSat" forum.
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Jim16

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When you say "watch TV", what do you mean?  Tell us more info.  As Bev has stated,  the Silver plan only streams at 1-1.5Mbs.  For everyone.  Tell us your setup and what you are watching, if you really want help.
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Stephen Rice, Champion

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Obviously it's a HD setup.
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Andy Schack

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Jim, when a customer tells us they are having issues "watching tv" we always inquire WHAT streaming service they are trying to watch. Some of them are awful.....not enough servers, constant buffering. We always ask them if they can watch Netflix. If they say yes, then we tell them then it is obviously the service they are trying to watch, not their internet connection. 
A lot of these streaming services are simply not ready for prime-time in my opinion. A couple years ago we had a customer complain that he got constant buffering. Turns out he was trying to watch baseball....MLB. Everything was fine when I went out to his house....Youtube and Netflix fired up just fine. We did a quick Google search for "problems streaming MLB:" and there were tons of complaints. Didn't matter what the ISP was. 

Andy
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Jim16

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I agree.  Some streaming services are not set up to stream at low rates.  I tried watching the NFL game and it was impossible because the stream was in HD and live.  A very bad combination.  Netflix should be the easiest place to stream, if you have it set right. (AUTO).

But Ethan is doing something right, he has used over 100gigs before his month is up.  Way more than I ever use on my 150 gig plan.  He says he had to shut everything off that was pulling data?  Is that where you should be looking for your slow speeds?

(Edited)
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Ethan F

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I stream on a roku. Two actually. Sometimes at the same time, sometimes not. Both rokus are 5ft. Or less away from the modem/router. I've tried all kinds of settings. Nothing else pulls data that hard. I just meant shutting off everything that was connected so I could get an accurate reading.
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Jim16

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Have you tried Andy's trick with the Bit rate on the Roku?

( we need to start a Roku thread and test some of this stuff out)

(Edited)
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Ethan F

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I have not Jim. I'll have to give that a try and see what happens. It just really sucks that all this is due to the forced video data extender. I wish they would let us shut it off and I would take both my rokus and switch the resolution to 480p. Boom problem. Solved. I really don't mind watching in 480p. It's very watchable. And yes it saves data vs 720 or 1080. Of course if the data was truly unlimited and the beam wasn't congested id love to watch everything in 1080 or 4k but it's just not gonna happen anytime soon. Totally fine with that. :)
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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Some of the "TV streaming" apps like DirecTVNow or Sling has been reported as buggy or buffer-heavy by high speed cable users as well. I think that's a very good point. Sometimes it *is* on their end rather than the Viasat connection
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Jim16

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Ethen, do you have your Netflix playback set on AUTO? 
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Ethan F

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My Netflix account settings are on auto and yes ive tried medium...ect... but someone told me I need to keep it on auto for best results. Do you suppose that's true?
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Jim16

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Yes, let Netflix determine your internet speed and they will compensate when it goes up and down. 
(Edited)
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Ethan F

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Now I do want to point out a fact...so when I'm watching Netflix on roku...if you press the star button it brings up a real time bitrate/resolution viewer. I know that my video throttle is 1.1mbps. I have never seen it get that high through viasat. It just jumps around. Very strange. But mostly stays at 240p or 388p
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Ethan F

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And also I forgot to mention. I used a vpn for a while with ViaSat and tested my bitrate and it was upwards of 5mbps at 1080p. So I know that something is screwy with the video data extender.
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Jim16

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I have seen you post that star button thing before.  I have tried that and it does not show my speed on the screen like yours.  I have the Roku Ultra.
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Ethan F

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It only works on Netflix.
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Ethan F

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While it's playing that is...
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Bev, Champion

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Step Son just returned his recently purchased Roku Express. YouTube and Netflix are fine for him, no buffering, running at 360 day and 240 Prime time. (He's on the Bronze plan.) Roku, even at the lowest setting buffered every 2-3 minutes.

I helped him troubleshoot it and, it didn't take long for me to figure out that it was either the Roku Express or Roku's server, not his internet.

If other streams like Netflix and You Tube are fine, then it's the provider or the device, not the internet.
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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This thread is starting to get heated. Please refrain from personal attacks and name calling as it's a violation of our forum guidelines. 

This is a open community for ALL Viasat customers. While support and help is the primary focus, keep in mind that not all users are upset with the product and are legitimately trying to help fellow customers. They are in no way compensated by Viasat. Likewise we don't want a customer that's upset to feel attacked by people that like the service.  If you'd rather speak to Viasat directly and not engage in spats on here please email viasatlistens@viasat.com to speak directly with the Corporate Social Care team.
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MEM

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So Brad, Viasat Employee,

Why does my post a few days ago state:

"This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies."

This gag order was imposed after only one day of its initial post.

There is no profanity.
There is no name calling.
There are no personal attacks.
There is no overheating.

See my post titled "Comments from a Long Time User" by MEM.
Who could have added this restriction and why?
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Ethan F

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Brad, I am sorry things got heated. There's a certain user on here who gets mouthy and disrespectful and thinks its funny and I'd had enough. I like this forum. It's great for problem solving. Thank you.
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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No worries Ethan. That was directed at multiple users obviously. I think somewhere buried under all the unnecessary bickering some good advice and suggestions came up over streaming settings that might be useful. 
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Oliver

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I also see this problem with the video data extender. I have two viasat 1 systems. One of my accounts allows me to turn it off so it's easy for me to test and compare. Viasat's video data extender glitch's out many times and I can't even stream 480p or it will give me 1080p in 1 out of 10 videos.