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General Discussions => Tech Talk => Topic started by: Billzbub on January 10, 2017, 03:29:42 PM

Title: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: Billzbub on January 10, 2017, 03:29:42 PM
I just got a TV that has Google Chromecast built in.  When I cast Netflix from my PC, no problem.  But, when I cast Amazon Prime videos, they are unbearably choppy.

I read online to click on my Chromecast button in Chrome, go to settings, and change the resolution.  I also read to go to Amazon Prime, Settings, Web Player Options, and change my player to Adobe.  I also found articles that said to disable Microsoft Silverlight.

None of these things work.  My Chromecast button does not give me any options.  I found the options on the video itself by clicking the gear icon and switched from HD to SD, but the video did not change to SD and was still choppy.  Amazon Prime does not have Web Player Options in settings anymore, and my Chrome doesn't have Silverlight installed at all.

Have any of you recently gone through this and figured out how to get Amazon Prime to cast from a PC?  Funny enough, it worked much better from my phone, only getting choppy for 2 seconds every 5 minutes or so, whereas on my PC it is always choppy.
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: The Latinist on January 10, 2017, 10:37:54 PM
I don't have a PC and therefore don't have an answer to your question, but I've generally found Amazon Prime streaming to be of inferior quality to Netflix's. Which is strange, because Amazon has incredible backhaul which they use to run half the web.*

* This figure is hyperbole.
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: Simon Jester on January 10, 2017, 11:22:14 PM
 Amazon Prime does have crappy video, I have a smart tv that has the app built in but I use a chromecast for other things (like HBO) I ended up dropping my amazon prime after a year of service. I generally just think it sucks. I also get much better chromecast service using my android phone or my Ipad2 rather than a PC, I'm not sure why that is.  Im getting ready to purchase the more expensive one with the cat5 port for streaming higher quality stuff.  My TV has a jack and it does Netflix at a much higher quality wired than the wireless chromecast can. Amazon prime still looked crappy on the Tv while wired in.

Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: daniel1948 on January 11, 2017, 09:11:31 AM
I quit NetFlix's streaming service (still get discs from them) a year or more ago (don't remember when) because their throughput got so slow that I couldn't watch anything. Literally, it would stop every 30 seconds and re-buffer for at least that long.

I have two ways to watch Amazon Prime streaming:

Through the BluRay player & TV in front of the treadmill. It takes a minute or so to load and start, but the quality is excellent. Excellent resolution and never choppy.

On the iPad through the Amazon Video app. Videos start immediately but the resolution is crappy for the first minute or three, then clears up and is excellent. As above, never choppy.
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: The Latinist on January 11, 2017, 09:15:34 AM
I quit NetFlix's streaming service (still get discs from them) a year or more ago (don't remember when) because their throughput got so slow that I couldn't watch anything. Literally, it would stop every 30 seconds and re-buffer for at least that long.

That is strange to me.  I literally don't think I've ever had Netflix buffer mid-stream.  Maybe if I was in a marginal area on a cellular device.  But on broadband?  Never.  Did you perhaps have one of the carriers who was trying to extort money out of Netflix by degrading service quality to force them to pay for priority routing? 
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: Mr. Beagle on January 11, 2017, 09:49:43 AM
I have a regular Chromecast, and I found that for one channel, HGTV, I get a more consistent display running it as a mirror from the Chrome browser than directly from their app. I have no idea why their app is so crappy.

Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: daniel1948 on January 11, 2017, 11:05:27 AM
I quit NetFlix's streaming service (still get discs from them) a year or more ago (don't remember when) because their throughput got so slow that I couldn't watch anything. Literally, it would stop every 30 seconds and re-buffer for at least that long.

That is strange to me.  I literally don't think I've ever had Netflix buffer mid-stream.  Maybe if I was in a marginal area on a cellular device.  But on broadband?  Never.  Did you perhaps have one of the carriers who was trying to extort money out of Netflix by degrading service quality to force them to pay for priority routing? 

That was my suspicion. But I don't know. My ISP is Comcast. I typically have blazingly fast internet. And at the times when NetFlix was effectively non-functional, Amazon operated just fine, and a speed test showed high numbers. I never reinstated NetFlix because I just didn't see the need for two streaming services. Aside from 3 or 4 movies a week (on disc, because even the best streaming falls short of DVD, and cannot compare with BluRay) I might watch a nature video while doing my cardio and the occasional Doctor Who on the iPad.

If it wasn't Comcast throttling NetFlix, I thought it might have been that NetFlix didn't have enough bandwidth to meet the demand at the server serving my particular area. I even wondered if NetFlix might have been using Amazon services, and Amazon was screwing with them. But it's all wild speculation. The only hard fact was that NetFlix crapped out and I dropped them.
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: The Latinist on January 11, 2017, 02:23:52 PM
Yeah, Comcast was the biggest offender at throttling Netflix. Netflix has plenty of bandwidth to serve its end of the streaming.  Comcast, though, saw Netflix as a competitor, and wanted Netflix to pay for its end of the streaming, too.  And in the end Netflix had to pay to keep its customers happy, despite the fact that those customers had already paid Comcast for unlimited broadband data.  I really detest Comcast.

I'm very lucky to have an ISP (Cablevision/Optimum) that took a different tact.  They realized that providing the best service to their customers was in their own interest, so they made collocation agreements with Netflix that put Netflix' own servers in Optimum facilities and gave them a direct connection to the network.  The result is perfect streaming every time.
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: moj on January 11, 2017, 03:43:35 PM
I've never had any problems with comcast throttling netflix, they seem to have a partnership and now you can get Netflix from the comcast box by going into apps. It might be an X1 thing but so far has worked great and like the comcast/netflix interface better than the netflix interface on my blue ray player.
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: Jeremy's Sea on January 11, 2017, 05:18:33 PM
I never got Amazon to work satisfactorily on my chromecast either so I got a firestick instead. That plays Amazon no problem and everything else as well. The only thing I miss is being able to drag a desktop video file into Chrome and cast it, but i just plug in the laptop for that since it didn't cast all file types either.

I know that doesn't help you OP, but I'm not sure there's a good solution. If you have a smart TV can't you just add an amazon app?
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: Billzbub on January 11, 2017, 05:34:34 PM
The funny thing is that it is not a smart TV.  It has built-in wireless and chromecast, but as far as I can tell, chromecast is the only thing I can do with the wireless.

Here it is: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/toshiba-49-class-48-5-diag--led-2160p-with-chromecast-built-in-4k-ultra-hd-tv-black/4882800.p?skuId=4882800

I got it for $250 on Black Friday so I can't really complain.  Maybe I will get a firestick.
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: Jeremy's Sea on January 11, 2017, 05:56:24 PM
Not to contradict you because you know your tv better than I do, but that link says smart enabled and shows a Netflix and YouTube icon.
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: superdave on January 11, 2017, 06:18:36 PM
when you use the chromecast to mirror amazon video, it sends the video from your pc back to your tv.  The quality depends on your internet speed, your internal network speed, and the specs of the pc you are using.

one thing you can try is to use the chromecast extension and reduce the casting quality

http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/129736-google-chromecast-tips-17-ways-to-enhance-your-streaming-experience
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: Gerbig on January 11, 2017, 06:19:55 PM
Im still not exactly sure what chrome cast is.
Can someone explain it? Is it a replacement for an HDMI chord?
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: daniel1948 on January 11, 2017, 07:12:22 PM
Yeah, Comcast was the biggest offender at throttling Netflix. Netflix has plenty of bandwidth to serve its end of the streaming.  Comcast, though, saw Netflix as a competitor, and wanted Netflix to pay for its end of the streaming, too.  And in the end Netflix had to pay to keep its customers happy, despite the fact that those customers had already paid Comcast for unlimited broadband data.  I really detest Comcast.

I'm very lucky to have an ISP (Cablevision/Optimum) that took a different tact.  They realized that providing the best service to their customers was in their own interest, so they made collocation agreements with Netflix that put Netflix' own servers in Optimum facilities and gave them a direct connection to the network.  The result is perfect streaming every time.

Okay. That explains it. I don't really have a choice of ISP. No other option comes anywhere near the bandwidth.

I've never had any problems with comcast throttling netflix, they seem to have a partnership and now you can get Netflix from the comcast box by going into apps. It might be an X1 thing but so far has worked great and like the comcast/netflix interface better than the netflix interface on my blue ray player.

I don't have cable TV through Comcast, or any other. Comcast is my ISP, via their cable lines, but I just get internet, not TV. So I got Netflix through the BluRay player, or before that, through a Roku player.

I know that Netflix has a lot of original content, but I don't watch enough TV to be interested in it. There's one cable channel I'd really like to get: In Mexico there's a cable channel called Cine Mexicano por Cable (CMC, old Mexican movies from the 1950's and 1960's). I'd pay for that, but as far as I know, there's no way to get it here in the U.S.
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: The Latinist on January 11, 2017, 07:19:27 PM
I've never had any problems with comcast throttling netflix, they seem to have a partnership and now you can get Netflix from the comcast box by going into apps. It might be an X1 thing but so far has worked great and like the comcast/netflix interface better than the netflix interface on my blue ray player.

They have a "partnership" because they extorted one out of them by causing their service to deteriorate to unusable levels.  Netflix has been paying they since Feb 2014.
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: moj on January 11, 2017, 07:39:11 PM
I've never had any problems with comcast throttling netflix, they seem to have a partnership and now you can get Netflix from the comcast box by going into apps. It might be an X1 thing but so far has worked great and like the comcast/netflix interface better than the netflix interface on my blue ray player.

They have a "partnership" because they extorted one out of them by causing their service to deteriorate to unusable levels.  Netflix has been paying they since Feb 2014.

Not sure about that, do you have a link? I googled and it looks like they just started in 11/16 being available on the Comcast box. I've used comcast at multiple address for a very long time and netflix since 07 and never had a problem streaming. They might have some shady deals that bully netflix, but have never had degraded service from either. We just started using netflix on the comcast box a few weeks ago. I know a lot of people hate comcast but have never had a problem. We've compared fios in our are and get more channels, better bandwith for less. This seems to vary by location.
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: Simon Jester on January 11, 2017, 08:45:00 PM
I quit NetFlix's streaming service (still get discs from them) a year or more ago (don't remember when) because their throughput got so slow that I couldn't watch anything. Literally, it would stop every 30 seconds and re-buffer for at least that long.

I have two ways to watch Amazon Prime streaming:

Through the BluRay player & TV in front of the treadmill. It takes a minute or so to load and start, but the quality is excellent. Excellent resolution and never choppy.

On the iPad through the Amazon Video app. Videos start immediately but the resolution is crappy for the first minute or three, then clears up and is excellent. As above, never choppy.

Comcast has the absolute worst customer service but they tend to have the fastest speeds (at least around here until fiber takes over) Im surprised about the poor netflix quality and have to wonder if you have some other issues with your streaming.  Have you ever run a speed test?

http://www.speedtest.net/

Im getting 89.52 down and 11.95 up.  I only pay for 50 down and 10 up

using poor wifi could cost you speed as will poor wiring

Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: The Latinist on January 11, 2017, 08:45:57 PM
Google it if you're interested.  It was widely reported, and I managed to find details pretty easily earlier.  But I don't feel any need to prove anything to you.
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: daniel1948 on January 12, 2017, 09:14:18 AM
I quit NetFlix's streaming service (still get discs from them) a year or more ago (don't remember when) because their throughput got so slow that I couldn't watch anything. Literally, it would stop every 30 seconds and re-buffer for at least that long.

I have two ways to watch Amazon Prime streaming:

Through the BluRay player & TV in front of the treadmill. It takes a minute or so to load and start, but the quality is excellent. Excellent resolution and never choppy.

On the iPad through the Amazon Video app. Videos start immediately but the resolution is crappy for the first minute or three, then clears up and is excellent. As above, never choppy.

Comcast has the absolute worst customer service but they tend to have the fastest speeds (at least around here until fiber takes over) Im surprised about the poor netflix quality and have to wonder if you have some other issues with your streaming.  Have you ever run a speed test?

http://www.speedtest.net/

Im getting 89.52 down and 11.95 up.  I only pay for 50 down and 10 up

using poor wifi could cost you speed as will poor wiring



I did numerous speed tests. I always had blazingly fast download speeds and very good upload speeds. I was not using WiFi: I was connected to my cable box by Ethernet. At the same time that NetFlix was unwatchable, Amazon Video was perfect. I cannot imagine any problem at my end that would affect NetFlix but not Amazon Video. Both were coming in on the same cable internet line, through the same cable internet box, the same Ethernet cable to my BluRay player.

As for Comcast customer service, where I live (maybe it varies by location) Comcast has the best customer service of any business I've dealt with. Whenever I've had an issue, I get prompt attention from a tech who speaks unaccented English and clearly understands the system. When the issue is at my end they talk me through the steps, are patient while my computer reboots if that's needed. When the issue is at their end they give me an estimated repair time and they're always well ahead of it. They never tell me to do irrelevant things like clearing all my cookies or running questionable programs to "fix" my computer. They're never reading from a rote list of crap as happens with some companies where you're talking to someone in India or China who knows less than you do and does more damage than good. And with Comcast I never have to spend 15 minutes talking to someone who clearly knows nothing before they'll transfer me to someone who actually does know about the subject, as I did with Amazon yesterday when my Kindle Paperwhite died.

Except for the issue of throttling NetFlix (which may be a possibility, but I do not know if that's what was happening, since it might have been an issue with NetFlix failing to keep up with sufficient bandwidth for the customer load at the server center serving in my area) my experience with Comcast has been nothing but excellent. Even on the measure of reliability, outages are rare and usually don't last long.

FWIW, I ran a speed test from Ookla just now. I got 58.85 Mbps download and 6.42 Mbps upload. I may never get the 89 Mbps download you get, but I get more than enough for the best quality of any streaming service I'm aware of.

I'd probably give NetFlix another chance if I actually wanted to watch anything they have that Amazon doesn't. Frankly, I'd rather read a book. Yesterday I watched half an hour of a movie. It was a fun movie, and I'll finish it today or tomorrow, but after half an hour I got tired of watching and turned it off so I could read my book instead.
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: moj on January 12, 2017, 09:33:27 AM
Google it if you're interested.  It was widely reported, and I managed to find details pretty easily earlier.  But I don't feel any need to prove anything to you.

You made them claims, you should be able to back them up, I'm not going to do it for you.
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: Billzbub on January 12, 2017, 09:59:39 AM
Not to contradict you because you know your tv better than I do, but that link says smart enabled and shows a Netflix and YouTube icon.

I just saw those icons and had to look into it.  It turns out that it is not so simple.  People in the Q&A section on Best Buy's web site give contradictory answers.  The bottom line is that it is considered a "smart" TV because you can use your phone and the built-in chromecast to stream Netflix, YouTube, and whatever else chromecast does.  Without using the built-in chromecast, it has no capability to access the internet, view video, install apps, or anything else like that.
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: Billzbub on January 12, 2017, 10:04:16 AM
when you use the chromecast to mirror amazon video, it sends the video from your pc back to your tv.  The quality depends on your internet speed, your internal network speed, and the specs of the pc you are using.

one thing you can try is to use the chromecast extension and reduce the casting quality

http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/129736-google-chromecast-tips-17-ways-to-enhance-your-streaming-experience

Here's the money quote from that site:
Quote
Adjust streaming quality

Did you know there's a secret settings menu for Chromecast? You must first download the Google Cast extension for the Chrome browser. Once it's installed, click on the Cast icon in your browser bar and select Options. A page will open with a few settings you can adjust such as tab casting quality. Simply select from Standard (480p), High (720p), or Extreme (720p high bitrate). Extreme is for people with newer computers and speedy Wi-Fi.

Similarly, you can also adjust the streaming quality for anything you want to cast. While casting, go to the Cast icon in your browser bar and select the gear icon in the bottom left-hand corner. You will again see options for Standard (480p), High (720p), or Extreme (720p high bitrate).

The first paragraph doesn't work.  When I click on the Cast icon in my Chrome browser after having installed the Google Cast extension, Settings is not an options.  Many web sites recommend this, but it doesn't work for me.  I made sure I have the latest version of Chrome and of the Google Cast extension.

I can set the option to Standard per the instructions in the second paragraph, but the video quality doesn't seem to change when I'm watching Amazon, and the choppiness doesn't change either.  I will look in more detail when I get home tonight to make sure I'm not lying.
Title: Re: Chromecast and Amazon Video
Post by: superdave on January 12, 2017, 10:09:05 AM
when you use the chromecast to mirror amazon video, it sends the video from your pc back to your tv.  The quality depends on your internet speed, your internal network speed, and the specs of the pc you are using.

one thing you can try is to use the chromecast extension and reduce the casting quality

http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/129736-google-chromecast-tips-17-ways-to-enhance-your-streaming-experience

Here's the money quote from that site:
Quote
Adjust streaming quality

Did you know there's a secret settings menu for Chromecast? You must first download the Google Cast extension for the Chrome browser. Once it's installed, click on the Cast icon in your browser bar and select Options. A page will open with a few settings you can adjust such as tab casting quality. Simply select from Standard (480p), High (720p), or Extreme (720p high bitrate). Extreme is for people with newer computers and speedy Wi-Fi.

Similarly, you can also adjust the streaming quality for anything you want to cast. While casting, go to the Cast icon in your browser bar and select the gear icon in the bottom left-hand corner. You will again see options for Standard (480p), High (720p), or Extreme (720p high bitrate).

The first paragraph doesn't work.  When I click on the Cast icon in my Chrome browser after having installed the Google Cast extension, Settings is not an options.  Many web sites recommend this, but it doesn't work for me.  I made sure I have the latest version of Chrome and of the Google Cast extension.

I can set the option to Standard per the instructions in the second paragraph, but the video quality doesn't seem to change when I'm watching Amazon, and the choppiness doesn't change either.  I will look in more detail when I get home tonight to make sure I'm not lying.
Just double checked and it seems that Google removed the ability to change this setting in a recent update, which sucks.

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