TAlk To Me About Using Blu-Ray to Stream Netflix

chisueFebruary 11, 2012

We bought a 32" Samsung TV for $300 (720, not 1080, because cable here only feeds 720). We bought a Sony Blu-Ray for $90 (BDP-BX58 w/wireless LAN).

We have a leased router from our telephone company -- thinking of buying one instead, but that's another story.

I want to understand about using the Blu-Ray to stream movies from Netflix. I see that I'd pay Netflix a monthly fee. Should I expect additional fees from the phone company if I don't lease their router? Would I need a higher level of service from them to stream movies?

When you stream a movie, can you stop it and return to it much later? (We often split a long DVD movie over two days.) If we had HD-DVR here, could we record a streamed movie?

The cable company is returning Monday with the HD cable box we ordered last month. They were out of stock and gave us a temporary Digital box. Once we have the HD box I'd go ahead with trying out the Netflix.

This is all in our vacation rental condo. As I understand it, a guest with a Netflix account could use his account to stream movies here -- if I can get everything ready for that.

It's sort of a practice run. When we return home we'll replace our ol DVD player w/Blu-Ray and try the streaming. (Home TV is Sony Bravia w/1080). We also have Wii at home; would a streamed movie play better through Blu-ray?

Thanks for reading my long note. Any help or tips?

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mike_kaiser_gw

All you need to watch Netflix is the appropriate device and a broadband Internet connection. Now if you want to connect multiple devices (e.g., computer, game console, Blu-ray player, etc.) simultaneously then you'll need a router. It really doesn't matter which router, buy one or continue to lease one from the phone company (although the former will likely be cheaper in the long run).

The only real caveat is that your broadband needs to be sufficiently fast. Netflix says the minimum is 500 kbps but since the advertised speed is rarely the real world speed, you'll probably be much better off with at least 1.5 mpbs.

The phone company's digital set top box has nothing to do with Netflix.

If I recall correctly, Netflix lets you connect up to 5 devices to a single account. So you can use Netflix at home or on the road with computers, tablets, and even smartphones. You tenants would also be able to use Netflix through whatever enabled device you have in the condo or via their own device through the broadband connection.

I've come back a day or two later and picked up a Netflix movie where I left off.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 7:35AM
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azinoh

"(720, not 1080, because cable here only feeds 720)"

If you don't mind me asking, I'd like to know how you determined that, because I also have a 32 inch Samsung 720p. Which cable company is this? Do you subscribe to digital cable or do you have analog cable? Is it 720p on all channels?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 7:57AM
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dadoes

I've had a Samsung Blu-Ray DVD player with Netflix streaming for a couple+ years.

Streaming via Blue-Ray player has *nothing* to do with the cable company's HD tuner box or other tuner or DVR (DirecTV or Dishnet) ... and nothing to do with what kind of router is on the internet service, long as you have some sort of Internet service that can provide the necessary speed for a good streaming signal. My cable Internet is 3 mbps, I get 10 segments lit of 13 total on the player's quality scale.

There's no additional charge from the Internet provider ... well, unless maybe if you exceed the maximum monthly traffic allowance per the ISP's terms of service (my cable allows 30 GB download/upload per month but additional bandwidth can be purchased in package chunks).

The player setup for Netflix entails entering (once) your Netflix account username & password. Adding selections to the streaming queue is done by logging in to your Netflix account via computer (maybe some newer streaming players provide access to add new selections, mine doesn't). The player accesses the queue to run a movie from what's already there. Watching a movie can be stopped at any point and then resumed from there later (or started over).

BTW, Blu-Ray discs DO play at 1080 so your 720 is not garnering the full quality if/when you run Blu-Ray discs ... but you may not notice much difference on a 32" screen.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 10:05AM
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chisue

Thank you! What would I do without y'all?

Yes, we decided we are not astute enough to notice the difference between 720 and 1080 on a 32" screen! LOL

Thanks for explaining the Netflix to an old lady. I gather that the content is blasting away out there -- all of it -- all the time. I'm not ordering a fresh version of whatever movie be taken out of storage and sent to ME. It's already 'out there'. I'm just being permitted to 'grab it' -- I can start viewing any part I want of what I've ordered. This isn't like waiting for an AdobePub book to be available from my library, where the library has X numbers of the product to lend. Um...so what if every person in the USA asked to view "The Grapes of Wrath" right now? Could everyone get it immediately -- no limit to how many people access the same thing?

Both the TV salesperson at Sears and the Blu-Ray salesperson at Costco told us the cable here (Oceanic on Maui) provides only 720 at best.

We currently have a Digital cable box; it's a substiture for the HD cable box we ordered in January. The HD box was 'out of stock' -- as we learned only when the installer showed up. The HD is to be installed Monday afternoon. I hope I see a lot more difference with the HD; I saw very little improvement with the Digital over plain cable. (Diital and HD is the same price: $7/month. Makes me wonder.)

Oceanic offers a landline/broadband bundle I could use if I bought my own router. However, my dealings with Oceanic over this box have not been positive. (Hours on hold. Mixed up orders. Installer shows up with wrong box. HD boxes 'out of stock' for a MONTH just between Oahu and Maui?) We have no choice of cable provider in this condo; it's Oceanic.

So, I need to ask Hawiian Tel for 1.5 - 3.0 mpbs broadband? Will every router push that?

I was unable to register the Blu-Ray w/Sony/Netflix, but that may be because our leased router is failing -- or we have insufficient bandwidth from Hawaiian Tel? I'm probably ahead to continue leasing (a replacement router) so that Hawaiian Tel will be responsible for maintaining the router/service for guests.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 4:19PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

You're probably not going to notice the difference between 720p and 1080i. You wouldn't have noticed a difference between digital and analog cable, it's just the method the video is being sent. There should much more of a "wow" factor when you get the high definition box. Just remember in order to take full advantage of the HD box you need to connect to the TV with either an HDMI cable or component cables (three for video, two for audio). If you need to buy an HDMI cable, buy the cheapest one you can find. There's absolutely NO need to spend more than $10 on one (and they can be found for less - I spend $10 on 3 HDMI cables and they all work just fine).

A router is just a distribution point, much like your electrical panel. Any modern router will be able to handle whatever your phone company can provide.

Registering the device has nothing to do with bandwidth. Probably just a funky router. BTW, those Blu-ray players need updates just like your computer. If you can't get it to update online, most manufacturers have a method for downloading the update via your computer and transferring it to the player via a thumb drive.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 7:01AM
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yosemitebill

If still possible, you wish to consider returning the Sony BD player - what you have described about it so far is a commonly known issue with Sony Bravia internet service video products.

First you need to find out what the download speed is of your internet service. Sony requires you to setup and use their Bravia internet gateway/servers through which you access 3rd party services such as Netflix. This approach puts a much higher demand on your connection speed requirements. Sony requires AT LEAST 2.5 Mbps for standard definition and 10 Mbps for high definition.

If your speed is high enough (I'd recommend at least 50% higher), you can use the Sony support page (I've included a link for it) to see if you can resolve your Netflix problem. First, do a firmware upgrade. Next, follow the steps outlined for "Netflix video service" under the "Top Solutions" header.

You may still need to replace your router, or perform a firmware upgrade, for any streaming media player if it is more than 2-3 years old. Many manufacturers of media players maintain lists of routers that work, or do not work, with their products - though sometimes hard to find.

Fortunately, over the past 2-3 years, router manufacturers have become much more proactive in making sure their products work for media streaming. Some are even designed to optimize streaming by prioritizing media packets over say HTML information - they'll typically indicate it on the box.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sony support page for BDP-BX58.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 5:05PM
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chisue

Mike -- Thanks again! The Oceanic installer showed up today -- on time -- with the right cable box, and...finally!...a good HD picture. (I did have to call the company AGAIN to get the Pay Per View feature blocked. Wouldn't THAT have been a nice surprise when I got a huge cable bill the month after some guest was long gone.)

Hawaiian Tel is mailing me a new modem/router.

Azinoh -- The installer said that some of their feed is actually 1080 -- and some is 720. The HD cable box registers what's playing.

Bill -- I'm hoping the new router will be enough to let me keep the Sony Blu-Ray with internal WiFi. The guy at Hawaiian Tel said it should work with the bandwidth on my account. (Exactly what that is, I don't know...and it probably doesn't matter since what I have is all they offer here in South Kihei, Maui.) If there is still a problem with the Sony...it's from Costco, so I can return it. Thank you so much for the link. I need as much hand-holding as I can get!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 10:16PM
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mrblandings

The Netflix program on Sony BluRay players has one problem. It tests your bandwidth when it starts up and then decides how much data to stream (i.e. how much video quality to give you). This works fine as long as your bandwidth is relatively constant. However, if your bandwidth decreases while you are watching the film (which is not unusual), it does not make any adjustment. The result can be lots of long pauses in the video until your speed comes back up to what it was originally, or until you exit the video and then re-start it. Other Netflix devices (for example Roku) are much better behaved and will adjust on-the-fly to changing bandwidth. So if you find this happening to you, you might consider a Roku.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 5:31PM
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chas045

chisue, it isn't clear to me if you are still having trouble registering your Sony bluray machine, but if you are, perhaps my experience would be of some use.

I have a sony media player and initially couldn't get it registered although I appeared to be following its on screen directions and those on the sony help line too. It turned out (if I had looked closer) that when I was entering a password, while the screen said to select ENTER (or something, I have long forgotten the actual command), down at the bottom of the screen there was an arrow (or something) that was instead supposed to be selected.

Considering that these routines could be updated, I would have expected that this problem should have been fixed a year ago, but who knows.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 8:21AM
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