periodically bad Netflix picure

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Netflix picture starts out bad for a couple of minutes and periodically goes bad for a few minutes
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Stan Dodd

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Posted 2 years ago

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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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What do you mean by bad? Are you talking low resolution? What plan do you have? Mine will fluctuate at times based on the speed of the connection .
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Stephen Rice, Champion

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Yep. That's normal based on congestion. I even have that issue once in a whilenon the Liberty Pass.
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John

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This is totally normal.  Netflix adapts to the bandwidth it is getting at that particular moment... This prevents it from having to constantly stop and buffer.
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Stan Dodd

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I'm a new customer (about 6 weeks) on the 25mbs unlimited plan and expected better service. It's very consistent on the first couple of minutes being very bad quality then it goes to an acceptable (for standard def) for awhile then intermittently get the really bad picture for some period of time. So far pretty disappointed, didn't notice the fine print saying best quality was 480p even though speed was 25mbs.  
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Jim16

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Stan, John above is correct.  When you start to watch a netflix stream, they start you out at a low res. so the video starts to play faster and then the resolution will increase to what your internet speeds will support.  And Satellite internet speeds can and do fluctuate a bit ( quit a lot ) so you will see the res. go up and down when streaming.  Very normal.  Your Silver Plan streams videos at about 1-1.5mbs.
(Edited)
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Stan Dodd

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Well my only other option where I live is a very slow AT&T DSL, so overall this is better but have had problems I didn't have with DSL such as the fluctuating Netflix quality and when streaming audio via Alexa there are very long pauses between songs and sometimes it just stops completely between songs and have to restart. But I can put up with those issues for a few years until 5G networks are fully deployed and can move to that.
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Yep. I preload my Netflix to eliminate the buffering issue. If I didn't, I certainly wouldn't be able to watch in 1080p or without it buffering in Primetime. You can preload Netflix content on tablets, and there are some methods to preload Netflix using certain programs and tools, but it can be complicated.


Unfortunately, without preloading, you are going to be at the mercy of your connection speed, which can fluctuate specifically during Primetime.
(Edited)
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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I would certainly suggest double checking your resolution as your plan is optimized for Standard Definition 480p. By default Netflix will try to stream at the best quality. 
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Stan Dodd

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Double check resolution where/how?
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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Should be under your settings. If you're on a tablet there should be a gear icon, if you're doing it like on a FireTV or Roku if you scroll past the titles you'll see a settings option
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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That'd be a good starting point, if it's still a problem you can try letting it pre-load first or we can check other things like speed but I think with these unlimited plans that should be step 1 for buffering video
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Stan Dodd

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Under Playback Settings my Netflix account is set to High - Best video quality
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Set it to Auto - that way it will adapt to your current network speeds as needed. Alternately you might need to set iut to Low or Medium depending on how crowded your service are is.
(Edited)
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Jim16

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AUTO, AUTO, AUTO!!!!   It will stream at the best resolution it can and when your speed drops during streaming, and it will, Auto will adjust so you should not have buffering.  Also having things like Alexa in the mix is probably going to cause issues with a satellite internet. 
(Edited)
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Stan Dodd

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Ok, I'll try auto tonight and let you know
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Stan Dodd

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First show I watched on Netflix was fine all the way thru, which was a recent show which is probably higher def, the second show I watched was an old Cheers episode which did that thing with starting out very poor quality (kind of blurry) for a couple of minutes then cleared up then did that again a couple of times thru the show. Not sure what that means...
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John

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Most likely net congestion...
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Jim16

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Just typical satellite speeds going up and down.  I think when mine goes down it's just  George Clooney drifting in front of my beam.  Makes me smile.
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Stephen Rice, Champion

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Sometimes you want to go, where everybody knows your name.
(Edited)
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Jab

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Imho, using an ethernet connected media-streaming box, which has good buffering, might be a better setup.  There can be intermittent satellite-based download pauses, so having a larger buffer may assist.   If WiFi is used, a beamforming router, using 5 Ghz frequency, would be a better solution.

Using excerpts via review on Roku Ultra

  • There are too many factors that go into 4K HDR buffering to say how much is attributable to the Roku Ultra, how much to the app and how much to the broadband connection. At the very least, the Roku Ultra has the capacity to buffer content very fast, and usually does.

Hence, a media-streaming box that can handle 4K might be a better option for sat users, if it has a decent buffer.  If using a USB stick...read reviews, in regards to buffering.
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Agreed. I think one of the reasons for the video resolution downgrader is Viasat knows they cannot support a consistent stream on many beams to support HD video. Therefore they lower the bar to eliminate the peaks and valleys that cause buffering. You then get a consistent picture, but at the cost of not getting HD resolution.
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Bob Powell

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I’m running Speedtest consistently over 30 Mbps, and more commonly over 40. Prime Video works fine no buffering. Terrarium, slight buffering depending on the server I pick, YouTube, no worries, Netflix, no buffer, but the picture BLOWS. I run the Network test on Netflix and everything checks out until download speed and it’s claiming it’s under one Mbps. I’m inclined to say the issue is theirs.
And I’m using an nvidia shield. Said to be the best for streaming.
(Edited)
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Depends on the plan you got. If you got a plan with a video resolution downgrader, speed under 1Mbps sounds right.
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Jim16

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Nvidia shield?
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Bob Powell

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Then why is everything fine EXCEPT Netflix?
I have the 25 Mbps Silver plan, my Speedtest are consistently 30 or higher, usually well over 40 Mbps.
YouTube, no problem. AmazonPrime, no problem, even Terrarium. An occasional buffer. No more.
Netflix on the other hand, absolutely pixelated to the point we turn it off. And nowhere near the ‘unlimited data cap’ which breaks my brain just to type. lol
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Bob Powell

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Jim16 yes Nvidia Shield TV. According to pretty much all accounts the best Android streaming device available. Funny everyone expresses how pricey it is, generally overan 800.00 telephone.
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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It doesn't matter what your speed test is. When you have an "unlimited" plan such as Silver, your video streaming speeds will be downgraded to around 1Mbps as the video resolution you should receive will be 480p.

You might want to play around with your Netflix settings and see if that makes any difference.
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Jim16

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Your Netflix payback should be set on AUTO.
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Bob Powell

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Kinda funny how it ONLY happens on Netflix and not at all on Amazon Prime. Explain THAT.
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Most people use Netflix to stream. I would say the video resolution downgrader is tailored to lower streaming speeds first and foremost on Netflix.
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Jim16

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Kinda funny how it ONLY happens on Netflix and not at all on Amazon Prime. Explain THAT.
Not funny at all. Netflix is one of the very few streaming services that allow the user to set their streaming rate. Set the playback speed to AUTO and see if that helps.
(Edited)
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Stan Dodd

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yeah, I'm using auto, went back to that after trying all other options with no change. 
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Andy Schack

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I've noticed the same thing with the pic quality on Netflix and I am VERY versed in how sat internet works. I am using the SAME amount of data that I did back when I had my Roku set to .3mbps (notice the . ) but the pic quality if noticeably worse. Not as noticeable on Amazon Prime. There is something about Viasat's handling of Netflix streams that is degrading the pic. 

Andy
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Perhaps having a consistently throttled speed?

It is one if the many reasons I dont want the "unlimited" plans. Keep your hands off my video resolution!
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Or perhaps having a throttled speed that is not the minimum one needed to support the plans "typical" quality - only under the best of circumstances taking all factors into account will you receive that quality - anytime the speed falls below  that throttled speed because Viasat can't even deliver even that due to network conditions, the content provider's adaptive streaming algorithms kick in and deliver lower quality or you'll get excessive buffering to cause stuttering - Viasat doesn't muck with the video itself (that would be wrong) just the speed causing the content provider to muck with it - the content provider determines the resolution you get Viasat only influences their decision. Different content providers different decisions and alogorithms.

5 months after the original post an Viasat still doesn't get it apparently:

 
(Edited)
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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True. My speeds are too low sometimes to stream, regardless of any streaming throttling.
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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There's a reason Netflix has a minimum recommended 1.5 Mbps - they know anything less is going to yield a poor user experience due to factors beyond even their control.

https://help.netflix.com/en/node/306#gsc.tab=0

Those numbers there are padded to account for those factors - Viasat would be wise to do the same rather than the bare minimum. This really isn't rocket science... and the "typically" qualities are just another marketing ploy.

With the video data extender enabled on a liberty plan I'm supposed to get typically 480P - the speed I consistently get i 1 Mbps or less. Any videos I have that are set to auto typically come in at 360P or less when it's enabled - disable the video data extender and I can pull 1080P.
(Edited)
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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On another note, just trying to gather some empirical evidence... if there are those who know their core node (formerly called Accelenet server and maybe somethin g else now), does the server used by the Fast.com test correspond to your "core node" also? For example mine is or was the SLC core node, and Fast.com is showing SLC (when clicking on the new show more info button):


Also interesting to note that the data for the speed test was delivered from:



As the naming convention suggests, the actual IP address (184.63.128.49) is assigned to Viasat servers, although the domain is registered to Netflix - the naming convention also seems to suggest Viasat hosts Netflix Open Connect Appliances at its core nodes (at least for me) - but just guessing. FWIW some of the data was also delivered from LAX as suggested by the test.   
(Edited)
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Jab

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RE: empirical evidence: Data Saver OFF  (9.6Mbps)

WB-1:163, so coming in via Riverside, CA, which relays to Denver (Aurora)...what Dallas has to do with this, I'm not sure, unless that's where Netflix server is located. 

I'm not a Netflixer, so I know nothing on Nextflix.  Some devices have bigger buffers than others, and I wonder if this is an issue?

7am CDT

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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Dallas is just another Netflix OCA server from which data is delivered just as mine was also delivered from an OCA  in LAX (as well as SJC as I now see on looking closer) - it's a multithreaded test using different servers to approximate real life conditions and load balancing I would assume.  
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Jab

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RE: "Viasat knows they cannot support a consistent stream on many beams to support HD video.
<br>
" It's a hardware issue (aka traffic shaping), an Internet issue (source to point) and a playback issue. As the cite made clear,
<br>
"There are too many factors that go into 4K HDR buffering to say how much is attributable to the Roku Ultra, how much to the app and how much to the broadband connection."
<br>
This happens on cable/FIOS/etc systems. I've watched enough videos, and have observed what transpires. Video is not a constant stream, and end user's equipment must be able to catch "it all" when it comes, for best results, especially when traffic shaping is active. Needless to say, watching video during primetime may/will have interruptions.
(Edited)
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Jab

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RE: "multithreaded test using different servers"

FWIW: Viasat has had a plan B when a core node (Accelenet server) fails.  I think Denver falls back to Dallas.  Years ago, I recall one night being switched to Dallas server temporarily; it was slow.  As such, this might explain two different Netflix servers (Denver/Dallas), if this is the case.
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Jab

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RE: "Dallas is just another Netflix OCA server"

FWIW

Data Saver OFF WB-1:163, so coming in via Riverside, CA, which relays to Denver (Aurora)...but, instead of a test at Dallas server, the Seattle sever was used.  I have reservations about upload speed. 

Around 11:30 am today, so few consumers online on this Midwest beam.  Below this fast.com pic, is a Testmy pic showing their download test of 18.02 Mbps with 25 MB test size.



 


Footnote - I went to Testmy's page for ViaSat Maximum Connection Speed, and noticed this:

ViaSat fastest download speed today: 63 Mbps
ViaSat fastest download speed in the last 30 days: 1427.2 Mbps