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  1. #1

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    Default Streaming Video: Netflix vs. Hulu Plus vs. Amazon Instant ect.

    I just got a new HDTV, so now I'm getting more into video including streaming video. My priority is HD and real 5.1 audio, which seems hard to find. Here's what I've found, but I'm new at this:

    - Netflix: good amount of HD, limited 5.1 (Dolby Digital Plus, which I think is just a lower quality DD)

    - Hulu Plus: Lots of HD, no 5.1 (dumb)

    - Amazon instant: HD, some 5.1 (not sure of the format)

    Are there video/audio quality differences between these? Are there other good streaming video sources I'm missing here?

    In my HT setup, I have a HTPC with a good video card that supports 1080p and the lossless surround formats via HDMI, so I can access these services either through the PC or through the TV's own interface. I like going through the PC because it's easier to scroll through the service's options with a mouse and keyboard than with a remote. One annoyance is that Netflix doesn't offer as much HD content for access by PC's as they do for access by TV's. I don't understand why.

    All help is appreciated! Super newb here!
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  2. #2

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    I recently reactivated my Netflix account to compare it to Amazon Prime. I am not using them in my main HT system so I can't comment about sound Qaulity but as far as Picture quality goes I have not seen a difference. From my observation to date the biggest difference is in the UI. I prefer the Netflix over Amazon. However, for some reason I seem to have streaming issues with Netflix. The last movie I tried watching had constant loading issues and would pause sometimes for several minutes. It got so bad that I just stopped watching the movie. This has been a regular issue I have with Netflix sometime worse than others. I have never had this issue with Amazon. I am using the same sony BDP and Panasonic Plasma tv so I am not sure what is causing the issue. Also I have not found a big difference in content between Netflix and Amazon. Based on my current experience I will be dropping Netflix again and wait to see what Redbox/Verizon have to offer with their streaming.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by drselect View Post
    I recently reactivated my Netflix account to compare it to Amazon Prime. I am not using them in my main HT system so I can't comment about sound Qaulity but as far as Picture quality goes I have not seen a difference. From my observation to date the biggest difference is in the UI. I prefer the Netflix over Amazon. However, for some reason I seem to have streaming issues with Netflix. The last movie I tried watching had constant loading issues and would pause sometimes for several minutes. It got so bad that I just stopped watching the movie. This has been a regular issue I have with Netflix sometime worse than others. I have never had this issue with Amazon. I am using the same sony BDP and Panasonic Plasma tv so I am not sure what is causing the issue. Also I have not found a big difference in content between Netflix and Amazon. Based on my current experience I will be dropping Netflix again and wait to see what Redbox/Verizon have to offer with their streaming.
    cool, good info. Thanks, Doc!

    I signed up for netflix and hulu trials, I'll do amazon too and just see for myself.

    The no 5.1 for hulu is probably a dealbreaker for me. I'm an audiophile first and foremost; video is just an affair.
    Last edited by falconcry72; 02-22-2013 at 01:41 PM.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  4. #4

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    I've found that Netflix on the PS3 yields the best PQ of them all. Netflix on my oppo 103 isn't as good. If I want the best PQ I'll just toss in a Bluray. Can't wait to the 4k stuff to hit the market.
    Last edited by leroyjr1; 02-22-2013 at 01:57 PM.

  5. #5

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    Do you VT50 a favor and get a oppo. Running one on my Panny VT and the picture is stunning.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by leroyjr1 View Post
    Do you VT50 a favor and get a oppo. Running one on my Panny VT and the picture is stunning.
    I think that will be the next upgrade!

    I was able to sign up for the rebox/verizon streaming trial for a month. I will report back.

    https://www.redboxinstant.com/
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  7. #7

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    Tried Hulu Plus (free 30 day trial with a Geico code) and cancelled after 1 week. One word: COMMERCIALS.

    We've never had any "loading" problems with streaming Netflix. Had just a very few with Hulu Plus, no significant difference there. But .... did I mention the amount of COMMERCIALS on Hulu Plus ? Wouldn't matter to me if everything was HD, 5.1 and free, I still couldn't tolerate Hulu Plus.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    I think that will be the next upgrade!

    I was able to sign up for the rebox/verizon streaming trial for a month. I will report back.

    https://www.redboxinstant.com/
    The 4 free monthly redbox rentals are a plus but the movies suck. Hopefully they'll add more down the road. I'll be canceling mine when the30 day free trial is over.

  9. #9

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    I use Netflix streaming through an HTPC. I mostly watch older TV shows that I've missed (24, Breaking Bad, etc.), and I've run across very few that were Dolby Digital encoded. This may not be the case for movies, but what I watch is mostly Prologic encoded. I prefer to rent Blu-Rays from Netflix for movie watching.
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  10. #10

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    Hello, falconcry72. With regards to Netflix streaming issues, it may just boil down to your gear and the compatibility with Netflix itself. Let it be first understood that I am in no way saying that you have inferior gear. I'm just relaying my experience with regards to Netflix and the streaming issues you speak of.

    I tried Netflix streaming on two different devices and the wife and I got constantly frustrated with the buffering times and constant pausing of the movies/programming material. Sometimes to the point to where, as drselect mentioned, we would just stop watching the movie altogether. We figured that it was a bandwidth demand problem so we started watching late at night or at non-peak demand times. No freakin' difference. The same thing would happen on both devices at all times of the day or night with absolutely no rhyme or reason to it or real explanation as to why it was happening in the first place. We even upgraded our Wi-fi to help eliminate the issue which ended up proving futile. When Netflix ended up raising the rates, we just cancelled altogether and I wrote them off.

    Fast forward a couple of months and we get a new Samsung HDTV and associated DTV satellite gear. As I'm researching how to optimize the the TV, I run across an article about Netflix lowering their rates so I decided to give them one more chance. Since the Samsung is a "Smart TV" [whatever that means] and can access Netflix through the TV, I figured what the hell. We'll try it. To be honest, I was expecting the same exact issues and went into the whole thing with a preconceived notion and an extreme negative expectation bias.

    Well, it's probably been a year since that time and I can honestly say that the wife and I talked about this very topic a couple of weeks back. One of the things mentioned in our conversation was the amount of pauses we have had to take, how many times programming stopped with regards to Netflix and it turned out that she has only experienced it once and same with myself. I have only experienced it once as well during this time. That's a far cry from our initial experience with Netflix. So, with that said....I have no idea what to recommend or where one would even begin to address issues with streaming Netflix but I thought I'd at the very least share with you my own experience. It may just boil down to a compatibility issue as nothing else changed and I don't believe that it was just a coincidence that when we purchased the TV that Netflix's streaming issues all of a sudden stopped.

    DTV also has a streaming thing going and it's hooked up but ever since Netflix stared working with no issues, we haven't even tried it yet. Over time, I think we have tried Hulu once or twice. Obviously our experience wasn't preffered with that. The only other thing I'd like to comment on is that after Netflix's price increase and subsequent reduction, the selection has dropped considerably.

    I have no comment on the multi-channel thing as I am strictly a 2-channel guy.

    Tom
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    "The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction". - Kenneth Swauger

  11. #11
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    I have all three video services steamed through blu-ray player or smart TV, and I feel that Hulu Plus has the best video quality. When bandwidth is adequate, it is very high quality HD. All three services obviously are very dependent on internet speeds (+3kbps), and I don't suggest WIFI for streaming audio or video.

    I only use a two channel system, but NetFlix movies usually sound pretty decent on it.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by treitz3 View Post
    Hello, falconcry72. With regards to Netflix streaming issues, it may just boil down to your gear and the compatibility with Netflix itself. Let it be first understood that I am in no way saying that you have inferior gear. I'm just relaying my experience with regards to Netflix and the streaming issues you speak of.

    I tried Netflix streaming on two different devices and the wife and I got constantly frustrated with the buffering times and constant pausing of the movies/programming material. Sometimes to the point to where, as drselect mentioned, we would just stop watching the movie altogether. We figured that it was a bandwidth demand problem so we started watching late at night or at non-peak demand times. No freakin' difference. The same thing would happen on both devices at all times of the day or night with absolutely no rhyme or reason to it or real explanation as to why it was happening in the first place. We even upgraded our Wi-fi to help eliminate the issue which ended up proving futile. When Netflix ended up raising the rates, we just cancelled altogether and I wrote them off.

    Fast forward a couple of months and we get a new Samsung HDTV and associated DTV satellite gear. As I'm researching how to optimize the the TV, I run across an article about Netflix lowering their rates so I decided to give them one more chance. Since the Samsung is a "Smart TV" [whatever that means] and can access Netflix through the TV, I figured what the hell. We'll try it. To be honest, I was expecting the same exact issues and went into the whole thing with a preconceived notion and an extreme negative expectation bias.

    Well, it's probably been a year since that time and I can honestly say that the wife and I talked about this very topic a couple of weeks back. One of the things mentioned in our conversation was the amount of pauses we have had to take, how many times programming stopped with regards to Netflix and it turned out that she has only experienced it once and same with myself. I have only experienced it once as well during this time. That's a far cry from our initial experience with Netflix. So, with that said....I have no idea what to recommend or where one would even begin to address issues with streaming Netflix but I thought I'd at the very least share with you my own experience. It may just boil down to a compatibility issue as nothing else changed and I don't believe that it was just a coincidence that when we purchased the TV that Netflix's streaming issues all of a sudden stopped.

    DTV also has a streaming thing going and it's hooked up but ever since Netflix stared working with no issues, we haven't even tried it yet. Over time, I think we have tried Hulu once or twice. Obviously our experience wasn't preffered with that. The only other thing I'd like to comment on is that after Netflix's price increase and subsequent reduction, the selection has dropped considerably.

    I have no comment on the multi-channel thing as I am strictly a 2-channel guy.

    Tom
    dude... I never said I was having buffering problems with netflix. lol.

    I'm just trying to figure out the best places to stream real 5.1 channel audio and HD video.

    Thanks for the input!
    Last edited by falconcry72; 02-22-2013 at 04:32 PM.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by zingo View Post
    I have all three video services steamed through blu-ray player or smart TV, and I feel that Hulu Plus has the best video quality. When bandwidth is adequate, it is very high quality HD. All three services obviously are very dependent on internet speeds (+3kbps), and I don't suggest WIFI for streaming audio or video.

    I only use a two channel system, but NetFlix movies usually sound pretty decent on it.
    Hulu's HD content does look pretty good... too bad they don't do 5.1.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    dude... I never said I was having buffering problems with netflix. lol.
    No need to laugh. It's Friday and I'm just sitting at home relaxing. Some folks had mentioned that they had streaming issues and you had mentioned that...

    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    All help is appreciated! Super newb here!
    With that said, I think I'll slide out now...

    Tom
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    "The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction". - Kenneth Swauger

  15. #15

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    I have both netflix and hulu. The commericals on hulu are annoying. As for picture quality it's hard to compare, netflix runs on a ps3 while hulu on a pc, the netflix is better but it's apples to oranges.

  16. #16

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    I use a ROKU device to stream Netflix and have almost zero streaming/buffering issues. It can happen, but it's rare for me.

    H9

    P.S. Hope I didn't just jinx myself
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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  17. #17

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    Out of curiosity, I was just looking through the titles on Amazon for movies and am not impressed. Really, how about putting something worth watching on there. I mean, there are a few I would watch, but overall now worth paying for in my case.
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  18. #18

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    I absolutely love the Amazon Instant Video app. We use it on our three PS3s, and although it has a lot of the stuff that we view on Netflix (mainly cartoons for our toddler), it has the entire series of NYPD Blue (which Netflix does not). For this, it is a no-brainer. I specifically purchased a Roku player (which was sold once we got the third PS3) due to the Amazon app. I feel that Amazon does not get the credit it deserves for their app. If you're a Prime member, it's an amazing deal.

  19. #19

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    I also think it's a great deal as a prime member, epecially with the free two day shipping and other perks.

    I just meant looking through the movies that are included in the prime membership, there are not a lot of big titles. I was searching around a little more and it looks like you can digitally "rent" or "buy" pretty much anything, but it would be nice to have some good titles included in the membership.

    I personally am a big fan of Amazon.
    2-channel
    Sources: Pro-ject 2.9 wood Grado Gold cartridge; Squeezebox Duet; Oppo BDP-83
    Amps: PS Audio GCPH; PS Audio DLIII(Cullen mods IV); Parasound Halo P3; B & K Reference 200.2
    Speakers: Polk - LSi15's(db sub mod)


    HT
    Amps: Sony - STR-DG1000; Outlaw 200 Mono; Speakers: Polk - CS2, Monitor 70's, RC80i's; Video: Optoma HD20; FAVI HD-100


    Man Cave (In Progress)
    Sources: Sony PS-LX410, Denon 3910; Amps: Dared sl2000a, HK 3490, Simaudio Moon LP3; Speakers: Polk - SDA 2A's

  20. #20

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    I have Amazon Prime and my son (who is temporarily back home) has NetFlix. We tried them both out using my iPad. Amazon (free with Prime membership) was smoother regarding buffering with the wireless antennae at a great distance. With antennae close the Netflix has a sharper image and the advantage in that many more devices (bd players, Apple TV, etc.) displays it on a flat screen tv. I'm hoping that Amazon will follow HBO's iPad app and update it to HDMI out so I can enjoy it via the wireless connection thru Apple TV.
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  21. #21

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    I use Amazon (prime) if i really wanna see the movie, i order the blu ray. I tried hulu, but liked vudu's pic and audio quality better. i still tend to gravitate back to directv for movies tho...many are 1080p and vg 5.1 audio.

    i just upgraded my dtv receiver to the Genie that they advertise the spit out of, and it is quite impressive.. record/watch up to 5 at once and whole house dvr. as a sports fan directv is a necessity, and they have great movie pkg... don't believe the stuff about dishes being inferior to cable,,, mine has been solid since 1997. no issues.
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