Amazon Prime HD Videos Stuttering

dar124

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So, last week I signed up for Amazon Prime when they had their $73 deal. I figured I'd be able to save $73 in shipping charges over the next year to at least break even and make it worth it. Another nice benefit to Prime is their Prime Video. I've slowly been working towards cutting the cord. I had this thread a while back about cleaning up the coax in our house and then getting a network port, coax, HDMI and USB ports set up by my living room TV for my HTPC. I wanted to make sure that everything was wired up correctly and that I had network access in the appropriate places to have access to my media. Things have for the most part been good. Currently all of the TV series & movies that we watch are ripped / downloaded and put down on my WHS server and then we either watch them with Kodi / HTPC on the living room TV or with the WD TV Live on our bedroom TV. Again no major issues.

Now I'm attempting to add streaming videos into the mix. Over the weekend we were gonna watch the Hunger Games with our niece. So I figured it would be a perfect time to try out Amazon Video (don't really think it matters, but the first Hunger Games movie wasn't available for free via Amazon Prime Video, so we ordered it from Amazon for $3.99 and then streamed it). We got everything going and the movie played ok for a couple minutes, but then started stuttering pretty bad. I tried to pause it for a few minutes and then play it again thinking it would buffer for a bit, but that made no difference. I was able to switch to the standard definition version without much hassle and from that point on it played perfectly.

I would think with my setup that I'd be able to stream HD content without any issues. I'm pretty confident that my modem, router and switch can handle HD streaming. They have all be recently upgraded with this thought in mind. But I wanted to get some [H] opinions about what's going on.


SURFboard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem

TP-LINK TL-WDR3600 Wireless N600 Dual Band Router

TP-LINK TL-SG108 8-Port 10/100/1000Mbps Switch


All of the network cabling in the house is Cat5e from Monoprice. I bought pre-made cables so there wouldn't be any issues with putting ends on correctly, etc. Also about 95% of the coax in the house has been replaced. I do have Time Warner Cable for internet and we have "standard internet". I've been trying to figure out the speeds for their standard level, but I'm having some trouble finding any info on it. Another thing that I thought of is that we tried to stream this movie around 8:00pm on a Saturday, so would it be possible that the slowness was on Amazon's end because it was a weekend night, which would possibly be busier for them??

Thanks in advance for any assistance.
 

sharknice

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charold

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Honestly, I've been a little frustrated too with Amazon Prime Video myself. I have 25/5 connection with ATT U-Verse, 2 users, with my roommate just doing basic internet crap.

At first I was viewing it through a browser, and it stuttered. I got a Roku and it now stops to buffer and occasionally goes to 480p instead of HD. I don't have anything running on the network that's using bandwidth. I even went as far as shutting down anything that may be using internet bandwidth, and it's done it still.

It seems better on the Roku, but still isn't perfect.

I think it has more to do with the ISP throttling, similar to Netflix, but I have to do more research to figure that out.
 

Brian_B

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Probably your ISP, but check the QOS options in your router - sometimes those can cause funny problems
 

dar124

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I doubt your equipment is causing any bottleneck but it could be your "standard internet" connection.
You can do a speed test here http://www.speedtest.net
There is a more advanced speed test you might also want to try here https://www.dslreports.com/speedtest

HD Amazon streaming supposedly only needs 3.5 MBit/s, I would think your connection can handle that.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201422810

You could try using a different web browser.


I looked a bit more on TWC's site and wasn't able to find anything about the "standard internet" speeds. So I called them and it's 15 down / 1 up, which seems to fall into Amazon's requirements for streaming HD. The next step up would be their "Turbo" plan with 20 down / 2 up for another $10 per month. If we go farther with cutting the cord I would probably look at that time to upgrade a bit to get a bit better speed. And now that I think about it a bit more, I do notice a bit of slowness If I'm downloading a few torrents and also trying to do something online. Or downloading and being online with our phones, so maybe the standard isn't quite enough. But we're trying to lower our cable bill, so it's gonna have to do for now!!!

I'll check out those speed tests when I get home to see how close to the 15/1 I'm getting.
 
M

mls1995

Guest
I have business class 90 mb down hardwired from Netgear Nighthawk x6 router and the video rarely stutters but it doesn't play in HD all the time. Often it downgrades into crap quality. Totally not impressed with Amazon Video and I've had it for a long time now.
 

dar124

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I ran both speed tests this morning. The results are below.

It looks like I'm getting a bit above the 15/1 speeds. That seems good, for what I'm paying for, even though I got a "F" for Buffering and for Speed. Is the "F" for speed just because my connection is the lowest / slowest option at 15/1 that TWC offers??


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24276771409_af40832115_z.jpg
 

dar124

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Maybe the issues really were on Amazon's end??

Just a few minutes ago I received this email:



Hello,

We noticed that you recently experienced poor video playback on Amazon Video. We're sorry for the inconvenience, and have issued you a refund for the following rental(s) and amount(s):

$3.99 - The Hunger Games

While Amazon Video transactions are typically not refundable, we are happy to make an exception in this case. This refund should be processed within the next 2 to 3 business days and will appear on your next billing statement for the same credit card used to purchase this item.

Please visit our troubleshooting page for tips on ways you can potentially improve your viewing experience: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201431300

We hope to see you again soon,

Amazon Video Team
 

Trepidati0n

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Maybe the issues really were on Amazon's end??

Just a few minutes ago I received this email:



Hello,

We noticed that you recently experienced poor video playback on Amazon Video. We're sorry for the inconvenience, and have issued you a refund for the following rental(s) and amount(s):

$3.99 - The Hunger Games

While Amazon Video transactions are typically not refundable, we are happy to make an exception in this case. This refund should be processed within the next 2 to 3 business days and will appear on your next billing statement for the same credit card used to purchase this item.

Please visit our troubleshooting page for tips on ways you can potentially improve your viewing experience: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201431300

We hope to see you again soon,

Amazon Video Team

Maybe not. Streaming video services typically do monitoring how "smooth" the data transfer is. If it gets really bad...they know something is going wrong. Amazon is just "playing nice" because it makes sense to not blame the customer for something they most likely don't have control over.

Sorta like this. You make a reservation at a cabin that is "no refunds". Sometime before the rental the bridge to that location is out. The cabin owner could say FU...but it wouldn't be smart. Better to say...here is a refund.
 

htpc_user

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Something is definitely up. I only have a 7 Mbps download connection and Amazon streams fine. Even before I stepped up to 7, I only had a 4 Mbps connection, and it was fine.
 

Climber

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I've used Prime Video for years and haven't many problems with it. In the beginning I had a few problems with buffering and losing quality.

I'm now using Prime UHD and and 4k video streaming from them without problem.

The big question are you streaming wirelessly or are you hardwired? Are you using MOCA adapters or a powerline network? All of those tended to be the weak point when I first started using Prime Video and Netflix.
 

Technical_Advisor

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I only have a crappy cheap internet connection (DSL) and Amazon Prime works fine for me. I have a wireless connection to a laptop I have in the bedroom hooked up to a led tv with hdmi and it works just fine. The laptop is an ASUS RoG high end version, but that shouldn't make much difference.
 

dar124

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I've used Prime Video for years and haven't many problems with it. In the beginning I had a few problems with buffering and losing quality.

I'm now using Prime UHD and and 4k video streaming from them without problem.

The big question are you streaming wirelessly or are you hardwired? Are you using MOCA adapters or a powerline network? All of those tended to be the weak point when I first started using Prime Video and Netflix.


I'm streaming the Prime Video from my hardwired HTPC which is connected to my TV via HDMI. Not using either MOCA adapters or a powerline network. Regular old coax - modem - router - switch - network cable to the PC's. I've done the extra work over the last year or so so that I wont have to rely on WiFi (eventhough it could probably handle it) to stream my media. I replaced all of my coax, coax splitters, I'm using all new Cat5e network cables and recently upgraded my modem, router & switch. In the past I've wirelessly streamed my local media to my TV, but I went thru these upgrades preparing to get to the point that I'd be streaming online media.

This was really the first time that I've streamed any online video's so maybe it was just bad luck the first time?? I'll hopefully be able to try it again this weekend and will report back with the results.
 

defaultluser

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Yeah, it could just be YOUR Time Warner local shared cable node gets overloaded at prime time (to be expected if there are lots of cord-cutters like you intend to be).

Or it could be Amazon getting overloaded.

Two easy ways to check this:

1. Try streaming from another service like Netflix RIGHT AFTER you have streaming issues on Amazon. If Netflix streams fast, it's Amazon's servers at fault. If it streams slow, it's your local node getting overloaded (nothing you can do except wait until later to stream, or change providers).

2. Run these speed tests during the time you are having video problems. If the speed is low, then your local node is overloaded.

You have to test WHEN you're having the issue, not later. Cable is shared, and the bandwidth on Amazon's server is shared, so if one of those bottlenecks, it can cause your issue only for a short while.
 
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Vengance_01

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Also can be a peering issue with which data center your trying to get to on Amazon's side. I used to see this kinda thing on Youtube back when I lived in LA with u-verse. Certain 1080P streams would hardly download while others were fine and these were back to back.
 

dar124

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So over the weekend I used Amazon Prime Video twice. Once on Saturday around 3:00pm and then again on Sunday around 7:00pm. Both times I got the same stuttering when using the HD stream. When it happened on Saturday I immediately stopped and ran both speed tests, which are posted below. Each time I was able to switch to the SD version and it worked without any issues.

Also, when I had the stuttering on Sunday I installed Google Chrome and tried playing the show with that browser, but still got the same stuttering. I'm still working on trying to borrow someone's Netflix to test with another service to see if it's just with Amazon.



24462211620_92b1422f5f_z.jpg



24731514126_8a0bff4e32_z.jpg
 

defaultluser

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Right, as Vengance_01 stated, it may be a peering issue (connection between Amazon server and your ISP).

That Is why I suggested you try Netflix and see what kind of performance you get. Or you could just try streaming something in 4k resolution on Youtube. Just choose something that will stress your connection properly, and make sure it's from a different company (different peering).

Read here if you want to understand the money behind poor peering between companies:

http://arstechnica.com/information-...ecret-deals-that-make-and-break-online-video/

Long story short: you won't know how well a particular streaming service is connected to your ISP until you try it out for yourself!
 

ledcriss

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I love Amazon Prime haha Especially if your a student you can grab it for around $60
 

Rustynuts

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Not sure if same issue, but my Fire TV sometime stutters and horrible synch issues with vid/audio. Usually with Netflix. Only thing that fixes it for awhile is a hard power cycle of the Fire box. Has to be hardware related? Maybe. The fix usually lasts for a few days then starts again.

I have 75 up/down FIOS.
 

Adidas4275

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try using a VPN to rule out ISPs messing with your traffic... ProXPN is just one example of one that offer free trails that are fast enough to stream 1080p content....

With using once to rule it out
 

dar124

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Work, life, etc distracted me from working on this over the past couple of months. But I'm back with an update. I don't seem to be much farther along, but I've got an update.

Yesterday, I tried to stream a TV show using Uverse online (got a co-worker's logon) and I got the same stuttering. I tried using both IE and Chrome and got the same result (however it worked better / smoother in Chrome). The screen shot below is the speed test while attempting to stream the show.



26903973186_6bbe29e13d_c.jpg



So I'm pretty sure my hardware (HTPC, modem, router, switch), cabling (Cat5e & coax) and internet service are good enough quality to handle the streaming. And now I've used 2 different streaming services, 2 different browsers and the up / down speeds seem to be fairly consistent. But the playback issues are still happening.

Any additional suggestions???
 

gimp

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Where is that speedtest server you've been using? Is it one hosted by your ISP? If so, try a different one.
 

Vengance_01

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The only thing you can do is hotspot from your phone and share this connection with the HTPC. If the video plays fine, it proves my point that your issue lies upstream on your ISP's end and the peering location possibly not owned by your ISP IE Level 3 Comms. I would use the direct forums on dslreports.com(with your ISP) This might get you a better chance of solving this.
 

Vengance_01

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Not sure if same issue, but my Fire TV sometime stutters and horrible synch issues with vid/audio. Usually with Netflix. Only thing that fixes it for awhile is a hard power cycle of the Fire box. Has to be hardware related? Maybe. The fix usually lasts for a few days then starts again.

I have 75 up/down FIOS.
BTW I have this issue with Watch ESPN stuff mostly. I think its the feed and not your connection. It also could be the device. I never used to have this issue when using chrome cast
 

sharknice

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try using a VPN to rule out ISPs messing with your traffic... ProXPN is just one example of one that offer free trails that are fast enough to stream 1080p content....

With using once to rule it out

Try a VPN. It could be your ISP throttling or legitimately bottlenecking on that connection. I think Opera has a free VPN built into the browser now, you could try that.
 

dar124

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Where is that speedtest server you've been using? Is it one hosted by your ISP? If so, try a different one.


I used http://www.speedtest.net for the speed tests and just let it pick the server. Which was probably the closest one to my location. So I just ran a test again and picked a server out in Baltimore, MD (I'm in Ohio) and I got 17.14 down / 1.02 up. That still seems like comparable numbers to what I have been getting.
 

dar124

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Try a VPN. It could be your ISP throttling or legitimately bottlenecking on that connection. I think Opera has a free VPN built into the browser now, you could try that.


It took me a while to find "Opera 38 Developer" with the VPN option available. But it's installed on my HTPC now. I'll check it out with attempting to stream some shows over the next couple of days and will report back.
 

dar124

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Last night I tried streaming a TV show again, with Opera & the VPN, on the Uverse site. And the stuttering was the same. I would think that if everyone had streaming issues like this, even if it was just everyone in my area (on my street, neighborhood, development, city, TWC service area, etc) I would hear more complaints from people that I know. This makes me think that it might not be the streaming service or the internet.

This evening I'm going to try streaming a show with my desktop PC to see if it works any better.


I'm not sure if I specifically asked this but, my HTPC is a "ASRock AMD E350 1.6GHz with a 64GB Crucial M4 SSD, 4GB of Ram running 64bit Windows 7 Pro". Is this setup sufficient for a HTPC to stream videos?? I'm using the onboard video, because I don't think my case will allow me to add a video card. I did a quick search and found this Newegg link for the board ASRock E350M1/USB3 AMD E-350 APU (1.6GHz, Dual-Core) AMD A50M Hudson M1 Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo - Newegg.com

In the comments it seems like a lot of people complain about the video performance with this motherboard. Hopefully I wont have to set up another HTPC!!!
 

project86

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I have issues sometimes, I think this sort of thing is 1) random and 2) more common than most people might think. My internet speed is supposedly 100mbps but usually hits 175 or more. I use a Roku to watch Amazon, Netflix, and HBO for the most part. All have intermittent issues along with semi-long periods of reliable performance. I still have no idea what the problem is but I figure it is on their end.

The most recent was HBO dropping frames. I had a clean 1080P movie playing and all was good except every 10 or 20 seconds it would "skip" to some small degree. Every show/movie. Very annoying. Netflix and Amazon will sometimes throttle way down to 240P before eventually going back up to 1080P. Sometimes I stop the show and restart and that fixes it more quickly.

Bottom line, it's probably their fault, but there may be nothing you can do about it.
 

Ocellaris

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I see HBO skip frames when they are overloaded, freaking drives me crazy. Now I wait an hour or so before starting new Game of Thrones episodes.
 

project86

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Yes, it's very frustrating. Funny thing is I'll see it on Game of Thrones when watching the newest episode (which sort of makes sense) but also when catching up on old ones from season 3. Can't imagine there's so many people watching those but maybe I'm wrong.

I've also seen it on random movies. It seems very unlikely that many people are watching Spaceballs.
 

dar124

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I've done a bit more investigating / testing and also posted in the "Motherboards" forum to get some additional info about my HTPC. It looks like my HTPC processor is under powered. The quote that I got from the Motherboards post was:


"The problem the AMD Bobcat platform had was it had a limited list of accelerated video formats, and even then some standard format videos didn't play back smoothly at 1080p.

The CPU is too weak to do it for you in software, so you need a faster CPU."



After reading that I tried to stream using Uverse online with my laptop connected with a HDMI cable. It wasn't perfect, but it was 90% better. I didn't have the time to get a network cable for the laptop so I was even streaming wirelessly with the laptop and it was better. Again, it wasn't perfect but definitely watchable. And a LOT better than with my hard wired HTPC. So I've now got a little project to set up a new HTPC. They recommended me a motherboard / CPU combo in the other forum. So HTPC rebuild here we come!!!

Thanks for all the assistance here with this. At least now I'm 100% sure that I did a good job setting up my home network and that my TWC package is good enough to stream media.
 

Riccochet

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Just buy a Roku 4 and be done with it, unless you need an HTPC for DVR purposes. You'd be better off getting a NAS, like a Synology, to store your media on.

That's just my opinion. I had an HTPC. There's nothing I can't do with my Roku that I could do with an HTPC from a media content point of view other than record shows via HDHomerun. And I have my server doing that which gets played back on the Roku. ;)
 

dar124

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Just buy a Roku 4 and be done with it, unless you need an HTPC for DVR purposes. You'd be better off getting a NAS, like a Synology, to store your media on.

That's just my opinion. I had an HTPC. There's nothing I can't do with my Roku that I could do with an HTPC from a media content point of view other than record shows via HDHomerun. And I have my server doing that which gets played back on the Roku. ;)



Can a Roku4 stream the local media from my WHS server?? I looked into these players prior to setting up my current HTPC. I ended up going with a WDTV Live player for our bedroom TV. But for the living room I wanted more functionality. I liked being able to get online, stream shows from Amazon Prime, etc. A full HTPC seemed to give me a lot more of these options.
 

Riccochet

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Can a Roku4 stream the local media from my WHS server?? I looked into these players prior to setting up my current HTPC. I ended up going with a WDTV Live player for our bedroom TV. But for the living room I wanted more functionality. I liked being able to get online, stream shows from Amazon Prime, etc. A full HTPC seemed to give me a lot more of these options.

It can if you install Plex on your WHS. Actually, it should be able to read your media shares via the media browser built in to Roku. On top of that it does Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, HBO-Go and a shit ton of other streaming channels, free and pay for service.

I have a Roku 3 and 4. Both are our means of watching everything aside from the HD antenna. Coupled with Plex on the server the Roku is fantastic.
 

defaultluser

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It can if you install Plex on your WHS. Actually, it should be able to read your media shares via the media browser built in to Roku. On top of that it does Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, HBO-Go and a shit ton of other streaming channels, free and pay for service.

I have a Roku 3 and 4. Both are our means of watching everything aside from the HD antenna. Coupled with Plex on the server the Roku is fantastic.

Having one doesn't necessarily prevent having the other. I have a Roku 3 for streaming video (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Showtime) and an HTPC that I use for everything else.

That everything else includes :

Shopping,
bill pay,
catching up on news, watching shorter youtube clips
browsing forums like [H]
playing steam games on the GTX 750 Ti
Music playback.
watching recorded TV shows with the connected Happague USB stick.

The Haswell Celeron upgrade I pointed him toward costs $110 and reuses his existing case, SSD , PSU and ram. Not exactly a deal-breaker. If in the future he decides he's streaming enough content to justify the addition of a dedicated box with a dedicated remote to natively control each streaming service, then he can add one like I did.
 
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Riccochet

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Having one doesn't necessarily prevent having the other. I have a Roku 3 for streaming video (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Showtime) and an HTPC that I use for everything else.

That everything else includes :

Shopping,
bill pay,
catching up on news, watching shorter youtube clips
browsing forums like [H]
playing steam games on the GTX 750 Ti
Music playback.
watching recorded TV shows with the connected Happague USB stick.

The Haswell Celeron upgrade I pointed him toward costs $110 and reuses his existing case, SSD , PSU and ram. Not exactly a deal-breaker. If in the future he decides he's streaming enough content to justify the addition of a dedicated box with a dedicated remote to natively control each streaming service, then he can add one like I did.

I can use a web browser on my Roku's to pay bills, surf [H]. Music playback is a fucking simple. Recorded TV shows? Really? Torrent that shit. The only thing your HTPC can do that a Roku can't is play Steam games. And you need to invest in better, more expensive, hardware to do that.
 

project86

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I can use a web browser on my Roku's to pay bills, surf [H]. Music playback is a fucking simple. Recorded TV shows? Really? Torrent that shit. The only thing your HTPC can do that a Roku can't is play Steam games. And you need to invest in better, more expensive, hardware to do that.

Yeah, what's next, buying your own music?!?!?!?
 

Haste266

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Are you using any mechanical drives? One of them could be going bad causing the stuttering.
 
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