Seeking opinions on streaming services.

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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby columbia on Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:23 pm

A quick report on Hola. I tried it last night for two different blacked out games - for me - on GC:

1.) The Hurricanes games streamed fine after I turned on Hola
2.) The Blackhawks game on NBCSP did not
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby pittsoccer33 on Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:47 pm

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1516087/media ... chromecast

This is rad. Its a way to get live tv from your cable provider to a Chromecast. There are some caveats (basically you need Comcast or Verizon) and a moderately powerful PC, but this makes it possible.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby mac5155 on Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:35 pm

Question. Moved one step further to cutting the cord.. I have set up PS3 media server from my Windows Vista laptop. However, when streaming from my PC, the movies get choppy and buffer slowly. Is it because my computer and router are not powerful enough? If so, what are some other options, other than building a HTPC, for streaming MKV files to PS3?
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby Factorial on Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:39 pm

Maybe your video card is not powerful enough?
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby mac5155 on Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:01 pm

It plays fine on my PC. I thought the PS3 was doing the rendering, anyway. Maybe it's the PS3 that isn't powerful enough.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby pittsoccer33 on Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:21 pm

Look at your resource monitor when watching a movie - I bet its at 100%. explains the buffering problem. very few pieces of software are set up to take advantage of gpu hardware encoding, so running a transcoding server requires a fairly powerful processor.

I tried PS3MS and didnt like it at all, but I wasn't using a PS3 on the other side. I use Plex for this now and like it much much better. You're going to be stuck using and modifying DLNA profiles on a PS3 regardless of which server software you use, so I don't know if Plex will be better (but I suspect it woudl be).

The problem you're [likely] having is that PS3MS is trying to transcode your files. What are the media details of it?
-video codec
-audio codec
-container (just mkv files?)

My suspicion (and I'm not a Sony expert) is that the PS3 can't play MKV files. It probably wants .MP4 files with H264 video and AC3 or AAC audio. So PS3MS is trying to convert the MKVs into something compatible on real time, and as a result your CPU can't keep up and you get stuttering and buffering.

just for kicks, download a small free program called tsmuxer. create a .m2ts file out of your .mkv file. im 95% sure that PS3 supports m2ts. I'm curious if that will play.

A few possible solutions here:
-if the audio and video in your files is compatible, but not the container, you can try remuxing on the fly. Plex can do this, but I'm not sure how to do it with DLNA profiles. This won't convert audio or video, it will just repackage them into a compatible file type which is way less resource intensive.

-transcode to a lower bitrate. this could be the solution to a few potential problems. are you doing this over wifi? wifi sucks badly for HD video. even if your files are compatible bluray quality files cannot be reliably streamed over wifi.

if you transcoded them on the fly to a lower bitrate then you will have less bandwidth going on. that will also help your pc speed situation, because the computer can transcode to a 3000kbps 720p stream much easier than an 8000kbps 1080p one.

if you are interested in a low cost htpc look into the new Intel Bay Trail NUC. You could load OpenELEC onto it instead of Windows as a free alternative and have the entire thing up and running for well under $200
Image
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby mac5155 on Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:35 pm

Now that I've read that three times, I think I somewhat understand. Thanks :lol:
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby pittsoccer33 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:22 am

there is one of two problems here:

1) your wifi speed is not good enough to get the video from the pc they are stored on to your ps3

2)you have files that your PS3 is unable to read and play.

so PS3 Media Server (aka a transcoding server) will attempt to convert your file(s) in real time to something the PS3 can play. a transcoding server can also compress files on the fly to a smaller file size to make them easier to transmit over wifi or onto the internet/to a cell phone.

my guess is that the problem is caused by #2. your computer is trying to convert the file but can't do it quickly enough. I went onto Sony's site to figure out what types of files the PS3 can play. They weren't totally clear on which containers (.mp4/.mkv/.avi) worked with which audio and video codecs but this is what I could discern:

.mp4
video:H264
audio:AAC

.mpg/.mpeg
video:mpeg1
audio:mpeg2
(this hasn't been commonly used in like 10 years)

.mpg/.mpeg
video:mpeg2
audio:AAC or AC3(aka Dolby Digtal)
(this is found on digital HDTV, DVDs, and some bluray discs)

.ts
video:mpeg2
audio:AAC or AC3(aka Dolby Digtal)
(this is found on digital HDTV, DVDs, and some bluray discs)

.ts
video:H264
audio:AAC

.avi
video:divx/xvid
audio:???

.m2ts/.mts
wasn't clear, but I assume H264 w/ AAC or AC3. This is what new camcorders spit out and is on bluray discs

But you have MKV files which are not on that list at all. If you are making them yourself from your disc collection I can tell you how to make them instantly compatible with your PS3. I'm 99% sure they have H264 video which is good because it is well supported on the PS3. Your audio is likely either AC3 or AAC, also good because they are both supported well too.

My suspicion is that PS3 Media Server is trying to convert your files even though you have video and audio that the PS3 supports. That will max out your CPU if it isn't powerful enough (GPU won't be any help to this process at all). You could try lowering the "quality" settings on PS3 media server till they are low enough that your computer can keep up. That would be the easiest thing to try.

A much better option (if PS3 Media Server supports it) is to repackage your MKV files in real time to something the PS3 can play. This is called remuxing them. If the have H264 and AAC muxing them into .MP4 files would be preferred. If they have H264 and AC3 then I think .ts or .m2ts would be the best way to do it. This does not require much CPU power to do. I have a Logitech Revue in my bedroom that doesn't support some combinations of audio/video/container so I have my software set to remux them before sending them to my Revue. This all happens on the PC, not on the playback device.

If PS3 Media Server can't do that then you can either switch to Plex (which I think is much better) or do it yourself and create new files for future playback. I wouldn't want to do it for hundreds of files but its pretty fast to do for a few. TSMuxer is a free program that will help you create .TS or .M2TS files. Just drag and drop your .MKV file into the program and select what you want it to spit out. There are programs for creating .MP4 files this way but I don't use any.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby Digitalgypsy66 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:47 am

Mac, you mentioned you wanted to build a PC in the future. I recently built my second computer (first from scratch since 2005), and it is quite fun. I wish I could do it more often, but it's kind of an expensive hobby. :lol:

I love picking parts and such, and having a clean, non-garbage filled PC when I'm done (My wife bought a new Dell laptop, and I had to spend a couple of hours getting all the trialware and crap virus scanners off of it). Depending on what you plan on using the PC for, it may be cheaper to buy a prefab one. However, if you want a beefier graphics card for games, streaming, video production etc., it's better to build. And it's easy.

I recommend heading over to http://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc and give them your specs. You'll get some handy parts lists via PCpartpicker.com...and off you go! Pretty cool stuff.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby mac5155 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:22 am

Thanks for all the help PS33. Let me ask this. Would it be quicker and/or easier to just convert the MKV files to something the PS3 can play off a USB stick? That was how I used to do it before I set up PS3MS but now my, ahem, sources of files are mostly available in MKV.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby pittsoccer33 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:32 am

mac5155 wrote:Thanks for all the help PS33. Let me ask this. Would it be quicker and/or easier to just convert the MKV files to something the PS3 can play off a USB stick? That was how I used to do it before I set up PS3MS but now my, ahem, sources of files are mostly available in MKV.


Simply remuxing them to mp4, ts, or m2ts would be the fastest. That won't change the audio or video at all. Just the file extension. As stupid as it sounds that has a lot of impact on whether or not the PS3 can play them.

There has to be software that can process batches of files. TSMuxer might, I have no idea. But that is the first piece of software I would try. Just take one of your mkv files and create a .m2ts with it.

in the future when you're shopping for video files look for MP4 files with H264 video and AAC audio. that is the most widely support trio of container, video codec, and audio codec.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby pittsoccer33 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:11 am

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-1 ... gains.html

The number of Americans who pay for TV through cable, satellite or fiber services fell by more than a quarter of a million in 2013, the first full-year decline, according to research firm SNL Kagan. If the slide continues in the coming years, that means 2012 was the industry’s high point...

Still, the industrywide drop last year in video subscriptions suggests there’s a limit to what Americans are willing to pay for their TV fix. Even more worrisome for pay-TV providers, a new generation of young adults hasn’t gotten into the habit of paying for video.

“The market’s decline can be traced in part to the growing number of so-called ‘cord-nevers’ -- those who object to ever having a pay-TV subscription,” IHS said in August. “Equally as important, the price of a typical pay-TV subscription remains high, staying well out of reach for a number of consumers.”


2013 marked the first full year that pay tv subscriptions have ever fallen.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby dodint on Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:14 am

If I could get Pens, F1, Steelers, and United Sports Car streamed in HD I could drop DirecTV.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby King Sid the Great 87 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:14 am

pittsoccer33 wrote:http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-19/u-s-pay-tv-subscriptions-fall-for-first-time-as-streaming-gains.html

The number of Americans who pay for TV through cable, satellite or fiber services fell by more than a quarter of a million in 2013, the first full-year decline, according to research firm SNL Kagan. If the slide continues in the coming years, that means 2012 was the industry’s high point...

Still, the industrywide drop last year in video subscriptions suggests there’s a limit to what Americans are willing to pay for their TV fix. Even more worrisome for pay-TV providers, a new generation of young adults hasn’t gotten into the habit of paying for video.

“The market’s decline can be traced in part to the growing number of so-called ‘cord-nevers’ -- those who object to ever having a pay-TV subscription,” IHS said in August. “Equally as important, the price of a typical pay-TV subscription remains high, staying well out of reach for a number of consumers.”


The market is not stupid. Eventually all of the people cutting the cable cord in lieu of internet streaming will be paying the same price for internet streaming that they were for cable/internet.

The consumer never wins.
2013 marked the first full year that pay tv subscriptions have ever fallen.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby Digitalgypsy66 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:12 pm

Yes, it's not a mistake that most ISPs are also cable TV companies. You'll see people heading back to satellite and cable when US ISPs begin implementing bandwidth caps. Time Warner, my ISP, began featuring usage graphs a year or so ago inside "My Account" portal on their website. Also, we'll start paying $58 next month for 15/1 speed next month, up from $55.

I'm actually shocked that Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner haven't begun implementing bandwidth caps. Once one does it, they all will.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby columbia on Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:14 pm

According the Comcast portal, I'm allowed 300 GB a month.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby mac5155 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:15 pm

Yeah, my internet is going up $5 per month. The speed is supposedly increasing too, but we'll see about that.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby Hockeynut! on Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:38 pm

columbia wrote:According the Comcast portal, I'm allowed 300 GB a month.


I used 217 GB last month and that's basically from watching Netflix on the weekends. Aside from that's it's just regular internet browsing. I can't imagine how much bandwidth people who stream everything use.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby Digitalgypsy66 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 11:03 am

Hockeynut! wrote:
columbia wrote:According the Comcast portal, I'm allowed 300 GB a month.


I used 217 GB last month and that's basically from watching Netflix on the weekends. Aside from that's it's just regular internet browsing. I can't imagine how much bandwidth people who stream everything use.

We use 185 GBs a month or so, except for February where we used 288. We were off an entire week because of snow and ice (Yay, South Carolina!), so lots of gaming and streaming videos, including 40GBs on Valentine's Day (last day we had off). Very interesting.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby columbia on Fri Mar 21, 2014 11:07 am

I stream the Pens games through Game Center and watch the you tubz. Those add up to very little. On some level, I wouldn't mind a pure metered system.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby pittsoccer33 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 11:11 am

In Pittsburgh Comcast had a 250GB cap for a while. I believe it was a "soft cap" in that if you went over it once you were warned, twice they changed your service to business class.

Right now on my account page it says something like "monitoring and enforcement of bandwidth has been suspended"
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby Digitalgypsy66 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 11:13 am

I do a fair amount of downloading, via torrent and legit sources like Steam and Origin. For instance, my March numbers are high because of the 40 GB Titanfall download last week. I forgot that I built a new PC in mid-February and had to reload 60GBs of crap, so that adds up as well.

Going to a digital distribution model may not work for those on a metered bandwidth system.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby PensFanInDC on Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:54 pm

Bump for easy find tomorrow morning. So sue me...

Thinking of going roku and knew this thread might help...
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby Hockeynut! on Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:57 pm

I'm looking at the Chromecast to access HBO Go since Comcast is the devil and won't allow it to work on a PS3.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby Digitalgypsy66 on Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:43 am

The Amazon Fire TV looks interesting. All of the Roku/Chromecast goodness, but with Android (I think?) games...and an optional game controller.

http://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-fire-tv ... ving-room/

It also has voice search through the remote, which is much nicer than hunting and pecking the on-screen keyboard with the remote.
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