"Aps" vs. Computer? (1 Viewer)

Mister B

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Do "aps" on smart TVs or add on devices such as Roku which are used to view services such as Netflix or Amazon connect directly to the video service provider, or do they go through their own system first?
I have "googled" this question and most opinions are that they connect directly. If that is so, why are the options different through the ap as opposed to connecting on a computer? Also, a couple of years ago I was just using my Sony blu-ray player to watch Netflix or Amazon and one day there was a message on screen to the effect that "this service is not available". I went to my computer and they certainly were available and a bit of further research indicated that it was Sony's system that was down worldwide.
I am not streaming anything at this time but have a new MacBook Air computer and see that an adapter cable can be purchased to mirror whatever is on the laptop's screen onto a TV using HDMI. If this would cut out the middleman and provide a more reliable and complete experience than using some third party TV accessory I would try it. What do our knowledgeable members think?
 

Bobby

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An app is an app is an app. But, each device has an app that is programmed to that individual device. Think of it like Android and iOS. Different operating systems and as such need to be programmed to talk to that system.
 

navychop

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Consider that Netflix is the database. Roku wrote a program to select from that database and present it, and allow or restrict things like FF.

Sony wrote a different program, and negotiated a different permission set.
 
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harshness

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IIRC, Netflix uses Amazon servers to serve up video so you're looking at this from the wrong angle. If there's any flaws in the system it is the device's fault (either in hardware or software).

navychop's assessment is more along the lines of reality.
 

comfortably_numb

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IIRC, Netflix uses Amazon servers to serve up video so you're looking at this from the wrong angle. If there's any flaws in the system it is the device's fault (either in hardware or software).

navychop's assessment is more along the lines of reality.

Almost every internet service with any substantial amount of traffic gets routed through Amazon's servers at some point. Amazon is a central trunk on the backbone of the internet


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Mister B

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So, it would seem that what I have learned from this thread is that none of the devices mentioned connect directly to video providers. They all take different routes and have different programs for displaying the programming. The main difference in relation to my question may be that a computer is much more powerful than these add on devices and thus is more likely to present greater options.
 

comfortably_numb

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So, it would seem that what I have learned from this thread is that none of the devices mentioned connect directly to video providers. They all take different routes and have different programs for displaying the programming. The main difference in relation to my question may be that a computer is much more powerful than these add on devices and thus is more likely to present greater options.

It's not that they don't connect directly to the providers per se. Apps and computer show the same content. It's the "User interface" and the "engine" each use to access the providers that differ.
 

harshness

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It's the "User interface" and the "engine" each use to access the providers that differ.
More to the point, if there's something unsatisfactory about your experience with a particular device (be it a set-top, a Smart TV, disc player or some other form of streamer), the finger shouldn't typically be pointed at the programming provider.

App-based access (something you are forced to do when the operating system doesn't facilitate a proper web browser for your device) is 100% under the control of the app provider. Most app design peculiarities are a result of user interface guidelines for the particular device. Others precipitate from templates established by app development frameworks.
 
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comfortably_numb

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More to the point, if there's something unsatisfactory about your experience with a particular device (be it a set-top, a Smart TV, disc player or some other form of streamer), the finger shouldn't typically be pointed at the programming provider.

App-based access (something you are forced to do when the operating system doesn't facilitate a proper web browser for your device) is 100% under the control of the app provider. Most app design peculiarities are a result of user interface guidelines for the particular device. Others precipitate from templates established by app development frameworks.

Yes exactly. The designers of all these apps (sometimes the manufacturer of the Roku, Fire Stick, Sony Blu Ray Player, Samsung Smart TV, etc) are all linking to the same content (such as Netflix) but handle delivery of that content through their apps in slightly different ways.
 

harshness

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The designers of all these apps (sometimes the manufacturer of the Roku, Fire Stick, Sony Blu Ray Player, Samsung Smart TV, etc) are all linking to the same content (such as Netflix) but handle delivery of that content through their apps in slightly different ways.
Once authenticated, the content is coming directly from the content servers and it comes the same way to all platforms. The app determines how the content is selected for play and any authentication that must happen before the stream is turned on. The app also mediates fairly high level control over starting, stopping, fast forwarding and "rewinding" the content server but it doesn't actually "look" at the content.

There may be differences between apps in how the stream rate is impacted by buffering event. Some apps may be more or less optimistic about how quickly they can return to a higher stream rate after the event.
 
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Mister B

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So, if one has had bad "luck" with a particular combination of streaming device and video provider the logical next step would be to try a different combination. If it is a "must have" video provider, try a different device or keep the device and try a different provider.
 

comfortably_numb

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So, if one has had bad "luck" with a particular combination of streaming device and video provider the logical next step would be to try a different combination. If it is a "must have" video provider, try a different device or keep the device and try a different provider.

Yep. Let's say you like Netflix, but the only device in your house that you can watch Netflix on is a Sony blu-ray player. If you don't like the "Netflix experience" on that blu-ray player, you could buy a Roku. Or connect a Dish receiver to the internet and watch Netflix on that. Or connect a PC to your TV via an HDMI cable and stream Netflix from the PC to your computer.
 

harshness

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So, if one has had bad "luck" with a particular combination of streaming device and video provider the logical next step would be to try a different combination. If it is a "must have" video provider, try a different device or keep the device and try a different provider.
I'd say that is a reasonable summary. I also think that drawing any conclusions may be very premature without knowing more about the problem.

Since you've been oddly silent on the symptoms of the issue, we can't really offer much in the way of thoughtful guidance. Thus far it has been mostly about picking away at what it couldn't be rather than addressing your issue directly. We don't need a lot of background (no life stories, please), just the details of your observations that lead you to believe there is a problem. If you don't want to share who the service provider is, just use a made-up name.
 

Mister B

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OK, I suppose I have been noncommittal on the issue as I became so frustrated with streaming that I am not sure I want to try it again. But then obviously I am curious about it and willing to learn new things.
After 8 years of receiving Netflix DVDs in the mail, I took the plunge last Christmas and tried Netflix streaming. I purchased the Roku 4 as it seemed to be highly recommended and readily available. At first it went rather well. Over time an issue developed with buffering to a low percentage point (20-30%) and it would hang and never start the show. Sometimes I could completely sign out of Netflix and then back in, which is a lot of trouble, and it would start. Other times even that did not work. It got to the point that I could not watch Netflix at least one third of the time.
I connected the Roku with an ethernet cable rather than wifi. I paid for a faster internet plan (60 mb/s) which even called for a new modem/router from Spectrum. I even switched my Netflix plan down to SD only thinking there was no way that would be too much for the system to handle. None of these changes made any lasting difference.
Finally, I called Netflix to complain. The customer representative became immediately defensive stating that it could not be a Netflix problem and that I should call my internet service provider. I said "you want me to call Spectrum and tell them that I am having a problem with Netflix, but I can use the Roku to stream CBS News, The Weather Channel, Sky News and France 24 with no problems. Furthermore I have absolutely no problems with the internet on my computer"? In my "old school" way of thinking, if one has eliminated all of the variables in an equation except one, that must be the problem. I just had Netflix switch me back to DVDs, the selection is still actually much wider. I just put the Roku away as streaming Netflix was the primarily goal.
In spite of my frustration, I suspect the days of getting DVDs in the mailbox are numbered and this issue may have to be addressed again. To any of our members who are no doubt more enlightened on this newer technology than I, please offer your comments although I am not sure I am ready to go out and spend a lot of money or time trying to address this issue.
 

harshness

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The Roku 4 is a fine streamer and shouldn't be giving you buffering problems if everything else is up to snuff. If it worked once and doesn't anymore, it may have failed. That it never gets beyond 20% suggests failure. Make sure your Roku has a firmware version of at least 7.7 (it is under Settings->System in the main menu).

Roku offers many free services that you could try to see if it is something peculiar to Netflix. PBS and YouTube are easy targets.

You can use a Windows or Mac computer (or even a Wi-fi connected smart phone I suppose) to confirm or deny that the problem is local. If that method doesn't work, I'd be looking at your network for gremlins. Power-cycling the router is a good first step and doesn't cost anything. Swapping cables around is free too. If you have any pre-historic Ethernet hubs (as opposed to switches) in your network, replace them immediately as they are poison in a modern Ethernet network.

Are you using a Spectrum-provided router or gateway?
 

Bobby

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And, on your Roku, have you looked at Updates? You can check that anytime, just go to Settings, System, System Update. I did that just yesterday on my Ultra and it updated, of all things, Netflix....
 

Mister B

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In response to these prompt suggestions, I pulled the Roku 4 out of the closet and connected it using wifi as the ethernet cable was unsightly and I had damaged it pulling it out of the wall. The Roku shows software version 7.6.0 and I choose to "update the connection" and it remained at 7.6.0. CBS News and Sky News both start within seconds and the picture remains stable. I do not want to pay for a month of Netflix streaming just to see if it works better.
The Spectrum cable comes directly from the pole through an outer wall to their Technicolor modem/router. There is nothing else connected to it. The wifi signal is only used by this MacBook computer and the Roku for this test.
The suggestion may be correct that there is a problem specific to Netflix or the fact that the Roku will not update beyond the current version.
 

navychop

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The Roku 4 is a fine streamer and shouldn't be giving you buffering problems if everything else is up to snuff. If it worked once and doesn't anymore, it may have failed. That it never gets beyond 20% suggests failure. Make sure your Roku has a firmware version of at least 7.7 (it is under Settings->System in the main menu).

Roku offers many free services that you could try to see if it is something peculiar to Netflix. PBS and YouTube are easy targets.

You can use a Windows or Mac computer (or even a Wi-fi connected smart phone I suppose) to confirm or deny that the problem is local. If that method doesn't work, I'd be looking at your network for gremlins. Power-cycling the router is a good first step and doesn't cost anything. Swapping cables around is free too. If you have any pre-historic Ethernet hubs (as opposed to switches) in your network, replace them immediately as they are poison in a modern Ethernet network.

Are you using a Spectrum-provided router or gateway?

You mean I shouldn't ship you that hub I have laying around? Gee, whatever will I do with it?
 

Bruce

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I purchased the Roku 4 as it seemed to be highly recommended and readily available. At first it went rather well. Over time an issue developed with buffering to a low percentage point (20-30%) and it would hang and never start the show. Sometimes I could completely sign out of Netflix and then back in, which is a lot of trouble, and it would start. Other times even that did not work. It got to the point that I could not watch Netflix at least one third of the time.

The Roku 4 is a fine streamer and shouldn't be giving you buffering problems if everything else is up to snuff. If it worked once and doesn't anymore, it may have failed. That it never gets beyond 20% suggests failure. Make sure your Roku has a firmware version of at least 7.7 (it is under Settings->System in the main menu).

Certain Roku 4 had a over heating issue that affected apps like Netflix, this was reported also at AVS, I had the same problem and when it did happen I had to restart the Roku.

My Roku 4 finally died from the problem and Roku replaced it with a Ultra, no problem since but I only had the problem with the 4, each of my kids rooms have a Roku ( stick and a 2), basement has a 3, we never had a issue with them, only the 4.




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