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Explain To Me The Buffering (Amazon Fire TV Question) (Read 126 times)

mab411


Proboscis Colossus

    So, back before we got Apple TV, I figured streaming at home on our less-than-desirable radio internet could be accomplished by pausing it at the beginning, getting our food and stuff ready while it buffered ahead several minutes, then starting at the beginning for a smooth viewing experience.  This is how I generally view YouTube content.

     

    ...and of course, we learned better after we started using it.  Some nights, it's watchable, but many nights, I guess when there is a lot of demand for bandwidth, it will stop to buffer every few seconds, and it doesn't go ahead any farther if we pause it.  Bummer.

     

    So, Amazon just came out with their Fire TV, and one of the specs listed is 2GB of memory instead of 512MB like Apple TV has.  Can anyone educate me as to what that extra memory is for?  Perchance, would that allow it to buffer ahead a little bit, unlike Apple TV?  We do have Amazon Prime, so that box is looking pretty tempting.

     

    It also talks about a feature called "ASAP..." the byline for that feature says it allows you to watch videos RIGHT AWAY! after selecting them, by pre-buffering the videos it predicts you'll want to watch, which sounds promising, but I worry it just uses Amazon's engine for predicting my interests and buffers a few seconds of each show and after we get through those few seconds we're back to stop-motion Psych.

     

    Either way, the voice search feature, if functional, would make it worth the Benjamin for me.  I hate, hate, HATE entering search terms with that little cursor.

    "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people


    Interval Junkie --Nobby

      I can't help but think a running forum isn't exactly the most profitable place to ask this question.

       

      Most likely the only benefit you'll see is when you watch episodes of the same show back to back.  The typical strategy of a buffering device is to download content and see how fast it comes down.  Then estimate how slow the DL is compared to the running time.  It then tries to DL enough to keep ahead of the difference and won't usually start until it overcomes that difference.  There's usually a limit to this, where it will not keep the whole show in memory to prevent easy pirating.

       

      Sometimes it is bad at predicting.  Sometimes your network speed is too variable for it to predict well.  Sometimes their buffering strategy is just crappy.

       

      More memory is better -- but there's no telling what Amazon is using it for.

      2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

      Current Status 08/28: Slowly working back up from a pelvic stress fracture.  4mil distance PR w00t!

      mab411


      Proboscis Colossus

        I can't help but think a running forum isn't exactly the most profitable place to ask this question.

         

        Most likely the only benefit you'll see is when you watch episodes of the same show back to back.  The typical strategy of a buffering device is to download content and see how fast it comes down.  Then estimate how slow the DL is compared to the running time.  It then tries to DL enough to keep ahead of the difference and won't usually start until it overcomes that difference.  There's usually a limit to this, where it will not keep the whole show in memory to prevent easy pirating.

         

        Sometimes it is bad at predicting.  Sometimes your network speed is too variable for it to predict well.  Sometimes their buffering strategy is just crappy.

         

        More memory is better -- but there's no telling what Amazon is using it for.

         

        Eh, you're probably right, but I know there are a few IT people around here; it was worth a shot!

         

        Thanks for your reply.  That's always been my understanding of how buffering devices meter out the content; however, our Apple TV clearly doesn't wait until there's enough content downloaded to keep ahead of the difference...but then again, our internet is kind of shaky, so that may be throwing it off.  I've been doing some reading up on it, and one comment somewhere mentioned buffering devices need >2mbps to be "happy," and although our internet package claims to give us exactly that, we all know (and speedtest.net verifies) that it's not quite that, especially during peak hours.  Seems to be at around 1.5-1.6mbps most nights.  Though that is over WiFi to my laptop, and the box will be connected via ethernet.

         

        At any rate, the reviews for Fire TV are pretty glowing, just in terms of interface and speed ("speed" in reference to navigating the menus and such), so even if the actual viewing experience is the same, at least we'll be able to navigate to our stuttery re-watching of The X-Files that much quicker!

        "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

           

           

          Either way, the voice search feature, if functional, would make it worth the Benjamin for me.  I hate, hate, HATE entering search terms with that little cursor.

          You can use the free Remote app on your phone to control Apple TV.  Use your phone keyboard to search.

          See how they run...

          mab411


          Proboscis Colossus

            You can use the free Remote app on your phone to control Apple TV.  Use your phone keyboard to search.

             

            Thanks for the tip.  DW bought me the Fire TV for my birthday, and I love it!  Seems to stream more reliably than AppleTV did (for whatever reason), and the faster navigation/startup really is startling.

            "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people