Video Streaming Reality Check

netflix_questionEarlier this month, Netflix announced that it would stream some of its video content, with more to come, in 4k (Ultra HD).

(See the Christian Science Monitor’s take on this, as an example of recent press coverage.)

Higher resolution picture delivery, of course, means that more bandwidth will be required for smooth streaming of video. Netflix is saying that in order for customers to smoothly watch the 4k videos, they will need a service with an average speed of 20 Mbps. Keep in mind that this will be for a single device.  More bandwidth would be required for running multiple devices at the same time.

Currently, Netflix lists the required (average) download speeds for their services as:

  • 3.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for SD quality 
  • 5.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for HD quality (720p quality or better)
  • 12 Megabits per second – Recommended for 3D quality 
  • 20 Megabits per second – Recommended for Ultra HD 4K quality

These requirements will be similar for other services like Hulu and Amazon Prime.

However, each will have its own method of management. By default many services are set to an “auto” leveling setting that allows the service to push down the highest quality video it thinks your connection can support.

Netflix (go to https://help.netflix.com/en/node/306/) allows you to make this change on their website by going to “Your Account” under your profile avatar in the upper right hand corner of the page and then clicking Playback Settings. Here you will have the options of low (basic), medium (standard), high (HD) and auto. This change will need to be made for each user on your Netflix account separately.  View or download PDF: How to Adjust Netflix Video Streaming Bandwidth

Hulu, on the other hand, requires you to make this change in the individual video that you are watching; the problem here is some devices and apps lack the ability to make this change. Amazon Prime is fully automatic and does not allow you to adjust your video settings at all.

Customers that have existing hardware (such as Roku, PlayStation4, games consoles, Chromebox, PCs, Apple TV, smart TVs) that supports the current levels of streaming video may also see similar issues depending on the unique circumstances of their connection. Obviously, the speed of your actual internet connection that will have an effect on video playback. Other factors like service traffic volume, number of devices on your network using the connection, a wired vs. wireless connection in your home and the overall condition of the equipment that you are using can affect your experience.  On devices that use an app to access these services, be aware that different apps may perform differently, thus effecting playback and video quality (and at times access), regardless of your connection speed.  The same can be said for accessing these sites through web browsers, as  the condition of the browser and its integrated software components like Flash and Silverlight can cause problems with playback as well.

At this point you are more than likely asking yourself: is it even worth trying to use these streaming services if there are so many problems?  The answer can definitely be YES!, provided that you follow these tips and practices  to optimize your playback performance:

  • First of all, hard-wire the connection when possible. A connection made between your streaming device and modem/router via Ethernet will be much more stable than one made with a WIFI connection.
  • If you must use a WIFI connection remember distance matters. Trying to stream high quality video with your streaming device at one end of the house and the modem at the other end will end in frustration.
  • If you have a slower internet connection or must use WIFI see if the service you are using allows you to limit the video quality received.
  • Limit the use of other devices on your network when trying to stream. If you have multiple devices trying to stream, people trying to game or just a lot of users in general your available bandwidth will get used up quickly.
  • Having a consistent problem when streaming with a particular piece of hardware or app? It could quite simply be a hardware or software problem and nothing to do with the streaming service or your internet service.
  • If you are on a computer don’t run other programs while trying to stream. Watching high quality video on a computer can eat up its resources so don’t starve it by trying to do too much at one time. 
  • Sometimes you just need a faster connection. Trying to stream videos smoothly on EONI’s Bronze level service (up to 2Mbps) is just not going to work well.   We recommend a minimum of the Silver service (up to 5Mbps) to stream video.

By following these tips you will find that your video streaming experience should be greatly improved.

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What The Heartbleed Bug Means For You

heartbleedThis week researchers (security firm Codenomicon and Google Security) discovered a vulnerability, dubbed the Heartbleed Bug, in the OpenSSL software that is used by perhaps two-thirds of the Internet’s active sites.  This bug compromises the ability of encrypted data to be truly secure and could expose passwords and other critical information to eavesdropping hackers.  

You should change all of your passwords, but that may not do much good YET if the sites and service providers  you continue to use have not implemented heartbleed security fixes.  

An online server test (to test “google.com”, for example) is available at http://filippo.io/Heartbleed/  (but may not provide conclusive results if the server whose URL you test are not susceptible to the bug).

EONI has reviewed our servers and patched any servers that needed updates.

At this point in time EONI is not forcing all eoni.com email account password to be changed.
However if any eoni.com user wants to request a password change at any time for any reason we always are happy to handle such requests.

For a fast simple description look here.

Or this video gives a good, detailed technical explanation of how the Heartbleed bug works:

OpenSSL Heartbeat (Heartbleed) Vulnerability (CVE-2014-0160) and its High-Level Mechanics from Elastica Inc on Vimeo.

And here is just one of the many articles that have appeared in the past hours on this subject, this Q & A from the New York Times.

For even more detailed technical discussion, see http://heartbleed.com.

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Windows XP Support Ends Today

winxp_NO_350x299
 See our previous post for details. 

Also see today’s CNET article, “Microsoft to Windows XP users: The jig is up”.


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EONI Job Opening: Customer Service Representative

EONI now has an opening for a Customer Service Representative.  Click here to visit our Jobs page and learn more.


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Windows XP Support Ends in April 2014

Quite some time ago, Microsoft announced that it will be ending  support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014.  What does that mean for those who still use that venerable operating system, first released in August 2001?

More details and risk factors you should be considering are presented in articles like this one from technibble.com.  (Windows 7 was extant at the time of that article, and Windows 8 has since been released, of course.)  Read and become an informed user. 

In a nutshell … Windows XP won’t just stop working.  People can still use it.  However, it will be difficult, if not nearly impossible, to find good, reliable, solid security programs – anti-virus, anti-spyware, etc. – programs to use with Windows XP.  Most of the major software manufacturers will not produce new programs that can be run in Windows XP.  Those are the BIG REASONS to not use Windows XP any further, not to mention that people with bad intentions, as pointed out in the article, will continue to seek out vulnerabilities in Windows XP and exploit those weaknesses.  That means that if you use your Windows XP computer for any financial transactions or other confidential transactions, you are basically putting your credit cards, bank accounts, etc. out there at risk.

see Microsoft’s official XP Support page








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Shamrock Shuffle Was a Hit

Thanks to the 90 people who came out last Saturday March 15 to walk or run for the Grande Ronde Roadrunners Shamrock Shuffle.

With over $800 raised for United Way you really made a difference and had a lot of fun too!

Pictures from United Way were posted to Facebook here.

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Fiber Cut Last Monday

We apologize for the outage last Monday from 12 noon until 6PM.
We had to manually reroute traffic as a squirrel decided to sharpen its teeth on our fiber optic cable.  We are building automatic redundancy into this route to avoid a situation like this being repeated.  Thanks for your patience.
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EONI has Free Granada Movie Tickets

EONI is proud to continue to sponsor the annual holiday merchant’s show at The Granada Theater this month.  Stop by The EONI Store at 808 Adams to get free tickets for movie shows:

Movies will be:
Despicable Me 2
Epic
The Croods

Movie show times are:
Monday December 23 9AM, 11AM and 1PM
Tuesday December 24 9AM, 11AM and 1PM

Enjoy the show!
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Running of the Turkeys

Click this image to show the poster:
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Bogus Email Expiration Warning

ProhibitionSign2.svgA nasty “phishing” email message is currently making the rounds to some EONI email subscribers, telling them that their email accounts are about to expire, and that they should click a link to correct this “problem” and upgrade their email account.  That link goes to a NON-EONI domain and SHOULD NEVER BE CLICKED OR FOLLOWED.  Here’s what the message looks like:

phishing_email_expire
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