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Netflix Throttling Instant Video Streaming

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the bandwidth-available-but-not-to-you dept.

Movies 207

rsk writes "For the last few weeks I've been experiencing terrible streaming video performance from Netflix on both my Xbox 360 and PC. While my Xbox 360 would at least stream at a lower resolution, my PC cannot seem to avoid 2-hr. buffering times before playback even started. I smelled shenanigans and started digging. With some help finding the debug menu for the streaming video player, I set out to figure out why playback was so slow. It seems that Netflix is significantly throttling Watch Instantly users (on the PC) down to an unusable cap — in my case, 48 kbps — on a per-connection basis."

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Sue them (0)

kentrel (526003) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198237)

See what happens

My current experience (1, Informative)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198697)

Is that streaming has been working particularly well for me in the last few weeks. I use a Mac. Maybe it's a zero sum game?

Re:My current experience (2, Informative)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199553)

Define "particularly well". I can't watch Netflix streaming on the Mac because of the constant stutters. Every 5-10 seconds or so, the video will stall for about a second, then catch up. It's not a connection issue as it's buffered out fine. It's not a speed issue as I'm on a 2.8ghz Core 2 Duo with 4GB RAM. It's just shitty software.

Re:Sue them (1)

AngryNick (891056) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199407)

Sue them and you will lose. It's probably your ISP's fault. Cart your ass over to your local Starbucks (I'd suggest a friend's house, but this /.), connect to Netflix using their non-Qwest ISP (which I assume you use at home based on your tracert log), and run your "test" again. Then think, "Why would Qwest want to interrupt my Netflix viewing?" [cellmania.com] THEN submit your results as worthy of review.

Hrm. (4, Informative)

pregister (443318) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198239)

I dunno. I used it tonight and the speeds were fine even when fast fowarding through slow parts of my selected movie.

I'll try later tonight. The streaming is the only reason I use netflix. I haven't actually returned the one DVD I have in the last few months.

Re:Hrm. (4, Funny)

danwesnor (896499) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199615)

So you're the one hogging "Delta Farce"!!

Time to cancel Netflix if true. (1, Interesting)

Daswolfen (1277224) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198241)

Oh well.. I tried to go legit, but time to fire up bittorrent again, I guess. They are just shooting themselves in the foot.

Re:Time to cancel Netflix if true. (4, Insightful)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198581)

Throttling streaming video is so nonsensical that my personal suspicion is PEBCAK or an ID10T error.

Re:Time to cancel Netflix if true. (3, Interesting)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198757)

This. I stream Netflix vids on both XP and Vista boxes at different times of day, and I almost never see buffering. Maybe once a week if that. Either this guy cheesed off somebody at Netflix and they're picking on him, or there's something wrong with his connection or system config.

Re:Time to cancel Netflix if true. (3, Insightful)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199375)

might just be his ISP throttling him if he streams a lot or is a heavy user or if theyre generally craptastic.

Re:Time to cancel Netflix if true. (5, Interesting)

joeler (45203) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198687)

Oh well.. I tried to go legit, but time to fire up bittorrent again, I guess. They are just shooting themselves in the foot.

Any time we have trouble it usually is associated with our provider Comcast, not Netflix. However, with some of the streams from Netfilx the audio is out of sync or the picture quality isn't as good as it should be.

We use the HD Tivo and at times I feel almost guilty for all I get from Netflix, with the 2 at a time unlimited, my actual dvd cost has been about $.95 per dvd (4 dvds a week) and I watch more instant shows than I do from Comcast. I cut back to 1 at a time starting next month, we just can not keep watching 4 rentals a week with the weather getting nicer. Netflix makes it easy to switch between the various plans.

Netflix cured me of downloading movies, I don't get the latest screeners these days but do get anything Netflix has, and they do carry a large selection of classics that you can't find with bittorrent - the best part is there are no upload ratios and I don't have to worry about getting to 90% and having all the seeders bail out. Some rentals you need to wait in line, but if you keep plenty in your queue, the rentals will arrive on a regular basis.

I do keep seeding Ubuntu & Kubuntu, bittorent is still great for linux . There will always be people that will want everything for free, but so far Netflix has done more to curb illegal downloading than any other effort. More companies should follow the Netflix lead, rather than play the silly lawsuit game. On the other hand, Rhapsody was not a worthwhile cost for us, in theory it sounded great but, for us the reliability just was not there, after several months we dropped that subscription - they might have improved it since that time.

Re:Time to cancel Netflix if true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198951)

I wonder how long before Comcast throttles Netflix to unusable. My last few days with them it seemed like they were throttling my SSH (just typing into a term would freeze up every few seconds, but other apps worked fine), but at that point I didn't care enough to do tests.

Re:Time to cancel Netflix if true. (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198755)

Oh well.. I tried to go legit, but time to fire up bittorrent again, I guess. They are just shooting themselves in the foot.

And that justifies downloading the movies? If you're going to do that, then do it, don't act as if netflix committing one sin is justification. I don't like the MPAA or the RIAA, but that's not why we download music or movies without paying for them. We do that because we can and it's cheaper than paying for it. Pointing to things netflix is doing wrong and saying "that's why I'm doing this" is just rationalization.

And RIAA Stealing from Public Domain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198853)

Means they can't use copyright infringement on behalf of users as justification for illegal acts either.

Doesn't seem to stop them.

Re:Time to cancel Netflix if true. (4, Interesting)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198855)

> We do that because we can and it's cheaper than paying for it.

The fact that there is a nonzero number of users for Netflix's streaming service proves that's not true. Yeah, I could get everything off Bittorrent, but instead I'm an outspoken enthusiast for Netflix's instant streaming. Why would I, when it's cheaper and easier to just grab the torrent?

Because not everyone who downloads is the {MP,RI}AA caricature you seem to have bought into. We very much _want_ to "go legit", and we're waiting on the much-vaunted free market to deliver a solution that isn't 3 orders of magnitude more stressful to deal with than the Bittorrent method.

As a further example; since Amazon started selling non-DRM'd MP3 files that could be accessed from a Linux browser, I haven't gotten a single song that was available from them through any other channel, and every song that I've listened to from my pre-existing collection, I've gone back and purchased from them.

(Some) people want, very much, to support a legitimate online content delivery mechanism. We're still waiting on the free market to come up with one that isn't awful.

Re:Time to cancel Netflix if true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27199043)

Why I pirate (in order):

* Easier
* Will always work on my computer no matter if I upgrade/change OS/breathe too loud
* Cheaper

Not gonna lie, the cheaper is a big part of it, but if I could download high-quality, DRM free things using a command-line interface for $5 a movie I'd be tempted.

Re:Time to cancel Netflix if true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27199115)

I pay seventy euros per month for internet. How does that fit with your theory?

Clearwire (2, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198249)

It seems that Netflix is significantly throttling Watch Instantly users down to an unusable cap â" in my case, 48 kbps

That's about the cumulative bandwidth Clearwire gives me on some days.

(on the PC)

They must have partnered with Apple.

Makes sense to me. (5, Funny)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198251)

Netflix. Silverlight. And a series of tubes.

Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got...an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday. I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially.

They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.

Like water pressure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198477)

It is like water pressure when taking a shower. When too many people try to watch a movie at the same time the pressure drops. Then there isn't enough force to get it to your TV or computer, and whatever does make it through is so weak that it has trouble pushing photons out the screen. They sort of dribble out and the quality sucks.

Re:Like water pressure (0, Troll)

Isotopian (942850) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198493)

Whoosh!

Re:Like water pressure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198551)

Whoosh!

UR DOIN IT RONG

Re:Like water pressure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27199025)

Whoosh!

No no, I think you're the one deserving of a Whoosh!

Re:Like water pressure (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199257)

It is like water pressure when taking a shower. When too many people try to watch a movie at the same time the pressure drops. Then there isn't enough force to get it to your TV or computer, and whatever does make it through is so weak that it has trouble pushing photons out the screen. They sort of dribble out and the quality sucks.

It's like water pressure when everyone watching the hockey finals goes to the bathroom during a commercial and they all flush and the pressure drops. But there's so many hockey teams that make it into the playoffs that the season sort of dribbles on and on and the quality sucks. And they've got such big beer guts that later on at night, when it comes time to "perform", they also just sort of dribble out and the quality sucks. Just like we elect more and more people to government, and the average quality drops, and reforms just sort of dribble out and the quality sucks.

I for one welcome our new dribbling-out-and-the-quality-sucks meme.

Re:Makes sense to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198671)

what the f are you talking about?!?

Re:Makes sense to me. (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198677)

It is the carrier's job to provide more tubes, larger tubes, better tubes etc.. If they don't do a good job they need to get out of the industry.

Happened to me as well. (2, Funny)

Filbertish (1086451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198253)

I had streaming issues through Xbox Live tonight. I thought it was just me.

maybe they only have so much bandwidth? (2, Insightful)

yincrash (854885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198255)

demand might be spiking more than they are used to and cannot keep up
were you watching during a high peak time? maybe they need to invest in more bandwidth.

Re:maybe they only have so much bandwidth? (2, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198331)

I went through all of the motions in TFA (downloading this [mozilla.org] plugin and then using its option to save the target of this [llnwd.net] link and got a very high speed download (it read 1.3M/sec), but what surprised me more is that I was actually able to download the .wmv file at all! (note, I don't use NetFlix) Of course it wouldn't play because of the DRM and the fact that my lazy-man's searches for cracking have led to dead-ends.

Oh well, back to TPB!

Re:maybe they only have so much bandwidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198465)

tunebite will get rid of that nasty drm

Re:maybe they only have so much bandwidth? (1, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198507)

No luck. Just tried and it was unable to disentangle the Netflix DRM (prompt for username and pass) from the wmv.

Note: Tunebite looks a little too, ahem, legit for that anyway ;)

Re:maybe they only have so much bandwidth? (1)

isnoop (239143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198483)

Agreed. Downtime perhaps?
1.6MBps here. That's better than most other Comcast downloads these days (even though I'm paying for 16MBit).

Re:maybe they only have so much bandwidth? (3, Insightful)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198513)

1.6 megabytes per second is 12.8 megabits per second, which is 80% of the speed of your pipe. Sounds pretty respectable to me.

Not Netflix fault. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198261)

Slashdot should actually do a little fact checking before posting stories such as this. I have the Netflix service and it works perfectly, the problem here is the user's internet connection or internal network. The testing he utilized tripped of a DDOS on the Limelight network content delivery service.

Netflix doesn't even deliver the streams to individual users, so if this were an actual problem Limelight would be the one to go after, not netflix. Again, there is nothing wrong with netflix, the problem is behind the keyboard.

Re:Not Netflix fault. (5, Insightful)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198389)

Where are my mod points when I need them? I streamed 3 movies tonight using my POS local cable provider and it was perfectly fine. I think I ought to quit bitching about my cable provider now. This guy showed me things could be worse.

Re:Not Netflix fault. (3, Informative)

frapas (855202) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198425)

Hi agree. I used netflix whith a domestic ADSL from Italy. Netflix block instant watch outside USA, so I used a simple virtual server whith squid http proxy located in USA. Netflix worked fine nevertless the longest path !

Re:Not Netflix fault. (1)

delvsional (745684) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198965)

I did quite a bit of netflix streaming last night too. It was mostly fine, but at one point, it did stop and the "quality bar" dropped off a bit and it re-buffered. The quality sucked and when the movie ended 20 min later, I got up and did something else for awhile. There was a problem, but it wasn't with my provider, or my setup.

Re:Not Netflix fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27199133)

Posted by kdawson on Sunday March 15, @02:53AM

Faulty reasoning? (5, Insightful)

the_enigma_1983 (742079) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198265)

From tfa

Now we have confirmed that Netflix is throttling instant streaming PC-users to a rediculous 50 or 60 KB/sec cap

That's an interesting argument. He showed that each thread was throttled to 50 or 60 KB/sec, but he never had any evidence to support his argument atht it's netflix at fault, not his ISP or some other internet issue.

Re:Faulty reasoning? (5, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198363)

    I saw this, and was curious. According to the article, he found another user on the same ISP as him, who complained about the same problem.

    My guess would be, the users provider (not Netflix or their streaming provider) has noted substantial traffic on a particular port, from particular IP's, and since that was a substantial load on their network, they've throttled the per-connection rate down.

    Since other users have noted that they are not having the same problem, I would conclude that it is the users provider that is the problem.

    It's still something to complain about, they just need to direct the complaint to the correct party.

    Years ago, when I was a RoadRunner (now BrightHouse) customer, I had speeds in excess of 3Mb/s. At the time, they were using the same Tier1 provider as my office AND had a peering very very close by (same city). They started throttling various things, including port 80. I complained, and they said they could only provide 768Kb/s (again, this is years ago).

    One day, I set up a PPP over SSH tunnel between my home computer, and my desktop at work. Transferring large binary files from my office network to my home computer was much closer to the original 3Mb/s speeds. Shutting down the link and acting like a normal user, my speeds were at 768Kb/s. They wouldn't admit to the throtting of port 80 from my office network, but I had conclusively proved it.

    I set up my home firewall (Linux PC, my own rules) to route all of my traffic over the PPP over SSH tunnel, so I was happy. It theoretically incurred a little extra network traffic on my office line, but we were billed on 95th percentile (as most Tier 1 providers do), and when I was at home was our slow time, and a T3, so my 3Mb/s peak was nothing in the grand scheme of things. More importantly, most of my large transfers were from home to work and back.

    Providers can set up for just about anything they'd like. They shouldn't. They get a lot of people screaming when they do too much, but for the most part it's just something you live with. Maybe they're throttling everything going to/from the Netflix servers. Maybe they're only throttling port 80 traffic. Maybe, maybe, maybe. There are lots of things they could be doing.

    All other things being equal, if you scp a file, or request it by HTTP, it should get very close to the same speeds.

    As I've found, it's usually the residential/small business providers who do this kind of throttling. I've never seen this kind of thing with Tier 1 providers. Unfortunately, none of us can afford a fast link with a Tier 1 provider at home, so we have to bend to the will of our residential providers. I was lucky once a long time ago, in another city, at another office. I was close enough (1/2 mile) and had a clear line of sight to work. I set up a wireless bridge between the office and my house. I had 11Mb/s (years ago also, and standard for the time) link from the office to my house. They had just a T1 loop to our datacenter. After hours, when no one was working (like, after 5pm) I had my own T1 to use. I could do great transfers to the office, and was pleased with my anonymity. I was rather removed from where the line seemed to terminate (the datacenter). It wasn't completely anonymous though. We had documented internally what IP's were assigned to my house (1 for my NAT), so if there ever was any funny business, it would have landed with me. But, what if a subpoena was served on the provider to find the user of the IP? It could have been at the datacenter. It could have been at the office. It could have been off of that funny little antenna sitting in the window of a coworker (with the best line of sight to my house).

    Oh, the good ol' days. I wish I had my own private T1 still. It was so much nicer than any of the residential lines I've had, even though they advertise faster speeds.

Re:Faulty reasoning? (2, Interesting)

geekgirlandrea (1148779) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198569)

Yeah, it is nice. I've had a T1 line at home ever since I got fed up with a previous ISP blocking outgoing port 22 (!), and decided I'd rather pay for business-class service than put up with stuff like that any longer. I'll take my 1.5Mbps that I actually get consistently and with a 99.99% availability SLA and my own /27 over some cable company offering 8Mbps oversubscribed by a factor of fifty with weird blocks and caps and throttling any day.

Re:Faulty reasoning? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27199027)

lol, I love reading about USians and their Internet connections like they were stuck in the '90s.

Re:Faulty reasoning? (1)

boaworm (180781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198603)

Huh? :-)

A "T1" connection is quite slow by todays standards, capping out at around 1.5Mbps.

So first of all you never had any 11 Mbps through it, and secondly you never would want one today.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Signal_1 [wikipedia.org]

Re:Faulty reasoning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198863)

sorry - you are confused and reading comprehension isn't very good- you've obviously never had more than your dsl line or cable modem have you....

i've had everything in business class service upto a ds3.

THERE IS NO COMPARISON.

Oh and his 11 Mbps - was in reference to his wireless connection between his office.

Re:Faulty reasoning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198961)

> I had 11Mb/s (years ago also, and standard for
> the time) link from the office to my house. They
> had just a T1 loop to our datacenter.

GP makes it quite clear it was only 11Mbps from office to house and "just" T1 after that.

Thanks for trying though - we, er, value your input.

Re:Faulty reasoning? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198983)

Huh? :-)

A "T1" connection is quite slow by todays standards, capping out at around 1.5Mbps.

So first of all you never had any 11 Mbps through it, and secondly you never would want one today.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Signal_1 [wikipedia.org]

He said the 11Mbps was over a wireless link to his office. The T1 was a link from his office to the data center. He did not claim to have had a 11Mbps connection to the Internet across a T1.

If true ... (1)

genmax (990012) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198267)

... this doesn't make any sense. Its not like Netflix has a number of online offerings, and wants to prevent abuse from streaming movies - streaming movies IS the only (online) service they provide, and at 48kbps, their watch instantly feature is, as the poster said, completely unusable.

I suspect that this is a bug - they're probably detecting your internet connection incorrectly and streaming at a much lower speed than can actually be supported.

If this is deliberate - what did that expect - that nobody'd notice ?

What happened: (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198269)

FYI there was a misconfiguration in the Netflix service (I'm a Netflix admin). The throttling was SUPPOSED to be 480 kpbs, which we think should be sufficient. It's already fixed.

Re:What happened: (5, Funny)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198281)

Why not 640kbps? After all, 640K ought to be enough for anybody.

Re:What happened: (1)

Anenome (1250374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198455)

Don't throttle me, bruh!

Re:What happened: (1)

zonky (1153039) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198289)

Do you always test in production?

Re:What happened: (3, Funny)

powerspike (729889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198313)

Of course, it saves a heap of time and money on all of that testing and revision crap

So.... Cancel? (1)

zonky (1153039) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198275)

Tell them why.

BitTorrent (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198277)

Piracy this. Piracy that. What about the consumers that actually you know.. DON'T PIRATE? They get treated like this.

The people who pirate are better off. They get higher quality content and don't have to put up with the antics of corporations.

Re:BitTorrent (3, Funny)

pieisgood (841871) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198319)

Arrrrrrrr Life's grand ain't it?

Why do you think it's Netflix? Maybe it's you ISP (1)

navtal (943711) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198283)

Why do you think it's Netflix? Maybe it's you ISP? This problem started for me when Comcast took over my local ISP. At the same time as the switch over there was a rush of people who brought in their computer for repair or upgrade because their internet connection was acting funny. When i finally complained enough they sent out a technition who told me they had installed allot of new software. Is /. trolling?

bad conclusions (5, Insightful)

Helix150 (177049) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198287)

I read this article, and it seems to me this guy came to a conclusion before he came to an experiment.

What he DID prove is that a Netflix server in LA was only handing out 50KB/sec per http socket. Most web type servers will do this when under heavy load- better to give everybody a little bit than a few people a lot and the others nothing. I think this is correct behavior for a heavy-load situation.

However, when he accuses them of throttling, along with the way this article is titled, STRONGLY implies that they are throttling specific users who use too much. If he wanted to prove this the test is simple- log out of netflix and log in with a friend's account, preferably a friend who doesn't stream much.

Throttling also implies that Netflix is intentionally reducing the connection quality. I see no logical reason for them to do this to EVERYbody, as that would make the Instant Watch service useless for everybody. Far more likely, as stated above, is that he's on an overloaded server.

So my take on it is this article is incompletely researched, draws a bad conclusion (which doesn't make much sense) from too little evidence, and doesn't perform the one test needed to actually verify it's claim.

Re:bad conclusions (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198301)

He also fails to appreciate that if a CDN has bandwidth for thousands of simultaneous downloads, his per-stream speed is not going to drop appreciably if he's gone from being 1/4000 connections to 10/4000 as the impact from the additional load is divided amongst them all.

Re:bad conclusions (4, Interesting)

wdr1 (31310) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198303)

Agreed, I thought the same. The most telling was using low-latency as an indication that he should be seeing high bandwidth. Not necessarily the case.

-Bill

Re:bad conclusions (-1, Troll)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198399)

Slashdot is nothing more than a rumor mill. Why so surprised? This is the home of anti-corporate conspiracy theories. It makes people feel good to believe that the man is out to get them and only 'non-sheeple' like themselves can see the truth.

Re:bad conclusions (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199501)

And don't forget the fact that they went to unlimited views because only a small number of people were using the feature at all. It would be somewhat understandable if the feature was more widely used and they had a much larger selection available via instant view.

But that being said, I just started playing a movie and there's no slow down compared to usual. Definitely better than last time, but only by the amount of bandwidth added to my own connection. Definitely not anything to support the idea of a cap.

Been working great for me (1)

belgarath84 (1185213) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198293)

I've been using the Watch Instantly feature on a pc, mac, and xbox 360 with an 8 mbps cable connection and I consistently get the top quality on all of them.

Works fine for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198305)

I just pulled it up, and it works great. Not sure what to tell you on that except I wouldn't think that Netflix is throttling all customers, or mine would have been throttled. Maybe you need to look at your broadband connection for errors or your wireless for issues.

well what I wanna know is (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198311)

Why do I have trouble sometimes streaming hulu videos. I have 8mbps cable with cox, but yet sometimes I get stuttering. But I click stop, the show continues to download but speeds up to 5-6mb a second?

OP needs to get his speed convertion right... (5, Interesting)

Swift Kick (240510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198333)

In his blog lambasting Neftlix, he says:

"Bringing up the Status window I noticed my download performance was a far cry from my 7 mbps speed, but rather a measly 0.48 mbps, about 1/14th the speed of my line"

In the article summary above, he's now saying 48 kbps.

0.48mbps is actually 480kbps, so he's off by a factor of 10, which (while still pretty crappy) makes it sound much worse than it actually is. So which one is it, OP?

48 kbps? (2, Informative)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198337)

In the blog post, Riyad Kalla says it was going at "0.48 mbps" (should be Mbps BTW), which is 480 kbps, not 48 kbps. Still slow for high quality streaming video, but much faster than dialup.

Your ISP is the more likely culprit... (4, Insightful)

nokiator (781573) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198359)

There is simply not enough data to support this conclusion. Reduced amount of streaming bandwidth could be due a sustained congestion at any point in the network between the Netflix server and your client. A lot of ISPs oversubscribe their access network very heavily based on statistical multiplexing assumptions that simply do not work when even a small percentage of customers on a subnet are streaming video.

If there is any throttling going on, it is more likely that your ISP is responsible for it. Cable companies and DSL providers who are getting into the video on demand business may not like Netflix beating them to market with a more cost effective product...

Hard to say, but I have had the same thing... (1)

KingRobot (703860) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198361)

I'm on a ~10Mbps downlink, and 2 or 3 months ago my wife and I had no problems at all; watch instantly was literally just about that. I'm not sure if it's the new Silverlight player or if they are throttling bandwidth, but there definitely was a noticeable and sudden degradation in download / wait time performance 3-5 weeks ago.

FFS (5, Insightful)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198413)

KDawson, you're pissed at Blockbuster and now Netflix. Can no one please you?

Perhaps you should go back to reading books and not use /. as your personal pulpit.

Yes I do feel 2 posts in 8 hrs is excessive. And yes I fully expect your "friends" to mod me down.

Re:FFS (1)

kklein (900361) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198557)

Could be worse. Could be Cory Doctorow.

Re:FFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27199229)

Could be much worse. Could be a Randroid.

Re:FFS (1)

wampus (1932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199635)

I turned off kdawson stories for awhile, then I realized how boring slashdot was without the tinfoil hat bullshit and turned them back on. I'm expecting Bat Boy to become an editor soon.

The lunatics are running the (Slashdot) asylum (5, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198429)

Netflix streaming seems to work just fine to my PC - I just tried it. It works fine to my Tivo as well. On occasion, there are problems - but as a reasonably intelligent adult, my first assumption isn't that Netflix is causing these problems intentionally. And you know what? If I go back and try again later, things usually have sorted themselves out!

I have to wonder about the average age and/or maturity level of some Slashdot submitters, as well as the editors approving these "stories"...

Re:The lunatics are running the (Slashdot) asylum (5, Interesting)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198555)

I had to scroll up to test a hypothesis. Yep. kdawson again.

Weird. You may have to retract those words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198861)

Because a Netflix admin posted that they had typed in the limit incorrectly as 48kbps instead of 480kpbs.

If that's right then YOU have to apologise since the article is correct and kdawson is right. And YOU are wrong. Twice.

Re:Weird. You may have to retract those words (1)

eharvill (991859) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199241)

Yeah, right. Because we all know ACs *always* tell the truth and have nothing to hide. Er, wait...

Re:Weird. You may have to retract those words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27199357)

You are correct, we've nothing to hide and are full of truthiness.

Curl from that URL posted maxes out my download! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198529)

So, I figured it would be best to check out if his story is true, since he was getting just 48 Kb/sec that is what I expected to get when I spawned curl, but instead I got: 1817k Uh, what happened there? How come it worked perfectly fine? It is even maxing out the 20 Mbit connection I pay Cox for monthly!

Is this related to the Blockbuster policy change? (1)

forgottenusername (1495209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198533)

They're both about as ill-informed, uninteresting, and/or blatantly untrue. Actually reading the reasoning behind the theory is like listening to my cousin babble about how he had to reinstall Vista so it would be on the "inner discs" of his hd platter thereby running faster.

Slow news night?

Sometimes a static queue isn't such a horrible thing. :P

Look carefully at the web site. (1)

XB-70 (812342) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198549)

It's obvious that what Netflix is advertising something that they are being dishonest about. This is called false advertising.

A class-action law suit is in order. The key argument here is that they say: "Streamed instantly to your TV... etc."

Instant streaming implies that you are able to watch. This is NOT the case with throttling. The throttling is deliberate and prejudicial based on the unit used to connect to their service.

Re:Look carefully at the web site. (1)

sparky555 (986576) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198597)

It's obvious that what Netflix is advertising something that they are being dishonest about. This is called false advertising.

A class-action law suit is in order. The key argument here is that they say: "Streamed instantly to your TV... etc."

Instant streaming implies that you are able to watch. This is NOT the case with throttling. The throttling is deliberate and prejudicial based on the unit used to connect to their service.

It's obvious that what Netflix is advertising something that they are being dishonest about. This is called false advertising.

A class-action law suit is in order. The key argument here is that they say: "Streamed instantly to your TV... etc."

Instant streaming implies that you are able to watch. This is NOT the case with throttling. The throttling is deliberate and prejudicial based on the unit used to connect to their service.

Or Netflix isn't actually throttling and kdawson is a moron who just greenlit another "article" with faulty reasoning, bad accusations, and the general stupidity that I've come to expect from him. Seriously, I don't post here much and don't know a ton about how slashdot is set up, but doesn't anyone (cmdrtaco?) care about how much crap he generates? I've pretty much had it with slashdot at this point. It's no longer "News for Nerds," but "false gossip about tech stuff." Blah.

Re:Look carefully at the web site. (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199345)

Or Netflix isn't actually throttling and kdawson is a moron who just greenlit another "article" with faulty reasoning, bad accusations, and the general stupidity that I've come to expect from him.

This must be the 20th comment slagging kdawson.

You know, there's two ways of looking at this ... one way being that the article is posted and the community then gets to either verify or debunk it. If Netflix WERE throttling, instead of individual IPSs, the only way to know would be to get people from all over to post their observations. So, aside from posting the article, can you come up with another mechanism that gets feedback from everyone?

Not every rumour is true - but this is as good a way as any to weed out the wheat from the chaff - put the problem to the community to either confirm it with multiple data points, or debunk it.

Pure FUD (5, Informative)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198587)

Wow, is Slashdot making a news article out of every morons malware induced performance issues? I watch Netflix Instant View DAILY (love the Kojak, baby) and have NEVER had issues with bandwidth limiting in the last few weeks or ever for that matter. After I read the headline, I fired up Stargate Continuum on my PC (highest quality stream, according to the service menu) and my Xbox 360 (IN HD NO LESS) and it popped up instantly with no quality issues and no delay. Next time, try contacting your crappy ISP before you waste our time with your sky-is-falling BS.

Re:Pure FUD (1)

bill0755 (692856) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198699)

Amen bro.

Re:Pure FUD (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198779)

heh, I watch Kojak too, almost every night at work between tech support calls.

But yeah, this BS 'article' needs to be updated with an apology for being so dumb.

A tale of an experiment (4, Interesting)

leereyno (32197) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198781)

One of my neighbors is a netflix subscriber. His work is such that he HAS to have access to the internet all the time. So he has both DSL and Cable through a router that allows him to use both. This router allows him to direct traffic through one ISP or the other. When he directs netflix through the cable connection, the video stream stutters and skips. When he directs it through the DSL connection, the problems disappear. This is despite the fact that the cable connection has a nominal bitrate that is much higher.

The conclusion that he came to is that his cable provider is messing with netflix because it is competition for their own on-demand service.

I think something similar may be happening here.

This makes a lot more sense than the notion that netflix would drive away customers by providing a broken service.

This normal congestion behavior (1)

George_Ou (849225) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198835)

Just because they perceive there to be extra capacity doesn't mean there is. Whenever you use additional TCP connections, you take bandwidth at the expense of everyone else because TCP (Jacobson's algorithm) rations on a per-flow basis and not a per-user basis.
http://formortals.com/Home/tabid/36/EntryID/170/Default.aspx [formortals.com]

That guy is incompetent (5, Interesting)

mrboyd (1211932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198869)

That guy doesn't what he's talking about. I stopped reading when he equated his latency with his bandwidth...

With an average of a 50ms response time, Iâ(TM)m going to go ahead and say my 7 mbps Qwest DSL service is working as advertised,

Most likely his provider blows.

TFA: throttled to 480Kbps(50K/s) NOT 48kbps(5K/s) (1)

kriegsman (55737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198889)

He WASN'T throttled to 48Kbps -- slower than a 56Kbps dialup modem.
He WAS throttled to 480Kbps, and was getting download speeds of about 50K (that's kiloBYTES) per second (per connection).

TFA:"Bringing up the Status window I noticed my download performance was a far cry from my 7 mbps speed, but rather a measly 0.48 mbps...:"

0.48Mbps = 480Kbps (kiloBITS/sec) = roughly about 48KBps (kiloBYTES/sec)

So the /. story summary makes things sound an order of magnitude worse than they are. But you know, what's just ONE order of magnitude of error between friends, right?

Change ISPs (1)

indytx (825419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198911)

This is ridiculous. I know plenty of people, myself included, who have no trouble streaming Netflix. I stream to a Mac connected to our home theater with almost no buffering.

It's obviously this guy's connection, and the obvious solution is to change ISPs. There doesn't have to be some conspiracy to throttle throughput. It could simply be congestion. Performance where I live is always better at off peak times.

iD 10T Error (1)

spymagician (1303515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198933)

or a Layer 8 issue- Your choice.

Troll (0, Troll)

pyster (670298) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199023)

This post was just a troll. Netflix is not throttling anything. Great job!

I would tend to agree. (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199091)

netflix has been throttling back lately. Especially on my 360, HD content always starts out as HD and then stops because the buffer runs out. My comcast cable is setup to burst the first x number of MB in any download or stream. So, I get 40-60Mbps for the first 20-30MB of the stream or download, and then it's down to 6Mbps. Netflix sees this as my internet connection slowing and turns down the bitrate dramatically. PC streaming was generally lower res than the 360 though.

I also discovered that the bitrate on my PC was being locked at 500Kbps. They have two different bitrates: The video playing bitrate and the buffering bitrate.

Wow! Bursts of 20-30MBps?! Really?? (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199435)

Honestly that's crazy. I know in this area the burst went up to around 12mbps, though they do advertise 16mbps in some cases (not sure if that's not offered here yet or if we're a little too far out/on a semi-loaded up loop). Very rarely does mine last at that speed for 20-30MB, mostly that seems to be with Microsoft's website downloading an app for someone in need. Most of the time it tops at about 6mbps which is the reg rate (as you post). Either your numbers aren't quite right and are exaggerated, Comcast is giving you a nice deal, or you're on a different plan I haven't seen available in this area. I'm not saying either is right, but if it *is* the second option I'm jealous. Most of the files I download sit between 30MB to 50MB and having the 40-60mbps would be sweet!

Needs Legitimate citations (1)

ethicalBob (1023525) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199117)

I use my Netflix in NYC close to every night of the week; and watch HD content (sometimes via my Blu-ray, and sometimes my computer if I'm in a different part of the apartment) and it's impressive - no long load times, only once in a while does it reload at a lower speed (and this is usually from a temporary drop in my connection - if I stop and restart it goes right back to HD quality). In NYC we have a LOT of people sharing a finite amount of data transfer via cable. So this smells like BS (or perhaps the OP just has a bad connection, it happens).

I don't think they're necessarily throttling (1)

eggy78 (1227698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199173)

but my experience is pretty terrible. I usually stream Netflix videos with my XBox 360 and have a fast enough connection that it is possible to get "4 bars" from Netflix. However, most of the time I have to watch everything at the lowest quality, presumably due to congestion. I am not using anywhere near my maximum down bandwidth (according to the bandwidth graphs on my router), and my ISP is surprisingly good at being able to provide that full bandwidth. If I actually try to max out the connection, I can usually reach 85-90% before things become more-or-less unusable, but Netflix almost never works right. It worked great a few months ago, but lately I can't take it. So, while I don't agree with the article's methodology, there may be some substance to comments about the experience. I know I spend a lot of time angry with the whole thing.

Blockbuster plant (1)

ehicks727 (781110) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199175)

My guess is that this is a plant from Blockbuster to combat people leaving because of their Total Access policy change about swapping movies at the store. I read that story and immediately went to Netflicks to look at their packages... and I'm switching! So, nice try Blockbuster...

I see most poster above agree with my thoughts (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199419)

I *did* read the article (imagine that!). The writer is way too eager to blame it on Netflix with very little, if any, proof it's their fault. Here's my main arguements, which I posted on his blog: ---------- "âoeThe overall slow down combined with the huge discrepency between the two experiences (Netflix-enabled device and my PC) made me decide to start Googling and see if I could figure out what was going on â" I smelled shenanigansâ¦â What discrepancy? The service is sucking on both. Maybe the client software is written slightly different on each platform? âoeNow we have confirmed that Netflix is throttling instant streaming PC-users to a rediculous 50 or 60 KB/sec capâ¦â Uhh⦠yeah⦠no you didnâ(TM)t. All you proved is thereâ(TM)s an issue somewhere between your computer and the netflix service. Where did you, at any point, prove itâ(TM)s not Qwest putting in an artificial limit? Maybe itâ(TM)s a peering problem somewhere on the route. Traceroute isnâ(TM)t going to show you where the bad link is. Lets say Qwest is filtering the video service, well ping and traceroute wouldnâ(TM)t show a damn difference compared to normal. Personally I think this is a non-story as far as itâ(TM)s written until further, better proof can be obtained. For now, this is someone who knows just enough to do basic network diagnostics and who jumps to conclusions, rather than taking a more âoescientific approachâ to solving the problem. Go around asking other people with Netflix streaming over other ISPâ(TM)s who watch about as many movies a month as the writer if their service has crapped out, then maybe youâ(TM)ll have more of an âoeEducated Guessâ rather than your âoejust pointing a fingerâ answer." ----------- Call me crazy, but it seems more like jumping to conclusions rather than figuring out the common denominator between any other users who may be experiencing slowdowns/poor service themselves.

It's a vast idiot conspiracy. (1)

rindeee (530084) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199453)

The approach is simple: Any time you have a problem watching a Netflix Instant View movie, contrive a grand and complex reason as to how Netflix is secretly (insert devious deed here) your (insert desired activity here). Sprinkle it with important sounding numbers, straw men and kittens and your done.

How did this make it on to Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27199461)

It's BS it's his isp or his own network. I wouldn't be surprised if it's his own network considering he doesn't appear very smart. I watched 5 hours of netflix yesterday and it was fine.

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