Help with choppy live stream issues?

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Networking' started by Chamenas, May 16, 2013.

  1. Chamenas

    Chamenas New Member

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    I like watching live streams on Twitch.tv

    Problem is, I'm getting a lot of choppy play watching them even at 480p which is definitely not as ideal as 720p where I get the clearest quality.

    I was almost certain the problem was my internet connection. I have to use Comcast, which sucks, but I tried upgrading my package to 50/10 dl/up and it really didn't make a difference. I've tried having less tabs open with only marginal success.

    I have two computers, a laptop and a desktop. The laptop is nearly 6 years old and is definitely limping along a bit now so I figured maybe system performance is an issue. However, while the problem occurs on the laptop more frequently (I watch more streams on my laptop) it still happens on my Desktop which, while not top-of-the-line, is more than capable of handling live streams.

    Desktop specs:
    Windows 7 64-bit
    AMD Athlon II x4 620 @ 2.6 GHz
    4.00 GB DDR2
    Radeon HD 5700 series with 1.00 GB built-in memory
    System network adapter
    Realtek RTL8168D.8111D Family PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet

    Laptop specs:
    Windows Vista 32-bit
    Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 @1.80 GHz
    4.00 GB DDR2
    System graphics
    Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family
    System network adapter
    Broadcom Netlink Gigabit Ethernet
    Broadcom 802.11 a/b/g WLAN

    My modem is a Motorola Surfboard SB6121

    My router is a Netgear WNDR3700 v4
    to my knowledge I haven't adjusted any settings on it.

    I just want to be able to consistently watch live streams consistently at 720p, but right now I can't do that consistently at all.

    Oh, I also use Firefox 20.0.1
     
  2. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    Tracking down where any bandwitdth bottleneck might be a little hard. But when I have trouble with Netflix, and I do on my smart TV, I like to watch the Task Manager and its network tab. I can see what speeds the data is being downloaded and check the waveform.

    Also, if the stream has a progress bar, does it show the buffer while downloading? When you say choppy, do you mean it stops to catch up or some other situation?
     
  3. Chamenas

    Chamenas New Member

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    Thanks for the tip. No progress bars on Twitch, which is what I usually use. However, sometimes I watch recorded stuff and it will also intermittently have problems and the buffer bars are generally stuck or going slowly.

    By choppy I mean it freezes for a brief moment and then continues. It catches back up so that the result is a very choppy mix of still frames which makes it difficult to follow anything. In its least intrusive form it's just the occasional "skip".
     
  4. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    What yours is doing seems to be a little different from mine, but different utilities might handle data flow problems differently.

    If the Network Utilization in Task Manager does not change during these periods, perhaps it is related to the codecs on your system. Maybe even something else in interfering, like some utility taking priority for short periods.

    Since it happens on your wired system, we can just look at it and not worry about the wireless situation.

    I am not familiar with AMD processors, so I can't judge its capabilities with respect to the video.

    And I suppose comparing it to other streams might help pin down a problem. Do you have problems with something that uses a special utility, like Netflix. Using just a browser might not be a good environment, or even the site is busy.

    I am no expert on these types of things, so maybe someone else will jump in.
     
  5. Chamenas

    Chamenas New Member

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    When I checked out the network thing in Taskmanager the line in it did go down quite a bit during one of the instances (the only one I have been able to check it for so far). It was at about maybe a third of the total space and then dropped to almost nothing.
     
  6. Chamenas

    Chamenas New Member

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    Here's a picture of a "normal" stream quality, no choppiness. I just want to make sure I'm looking at the right info and such, as well as have a baseline.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Chamenas

    Chamenas New Member

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    And this is a "bad" connection which is choppy. However, the laptop is being slow right now so this might be a separate issue instead.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    I notice the CPU usage on the bad download is showing 100% and on the good one it is only 54%. Your download speed appears to be OK. You are running about the same number of processes, but something is using the CPU time. Check the other tabs and see what might be doing that. I assume both of the attachments were on the same machine.

    Also I was wondering why you are showing a 100 Mbps connection if you have a 1 Gbps adapter. Mine will show that if I run the wired port through a WAP that is slower, but the normal wired connection shows 1 Gbps. I do not feel this is your problem, but you might check.

    And do you feel the message at the bottom of the first attachment about scripts is not relevant?
     
  9. Chamenas

    Chamenas New Member

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    With the laptop, because of its age, it is likely a combination of Hardware performance and Network issues. I use Noscript on Firefox and every site has scripts, many of which I have no need to allow so I often get that message and it doesn't bother me. On Twitch it's usually advertising sites. But, since I always see the ads that play I don't see the need to allow further sites to access me with scripts as I'm not stopping their revenue stream.

    I will try getting screens from my Desktop as it performs more reliably from a Hardware standpoint.
     
  10. Chamenas

    Chamenas New Member

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    Here's one on the desktop

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    I am not certain what you are trying to show in the last attachment. Is this where the system has hesitated?

    I will have to assume your problem is being caused by the processor being busy or something else taking priority during the "choppy" instances. If the network speed was causing the problem, it would probably be more of a temporary hesitation while the buffer reloaded.

    I was watching a video in 720+ and the CPU usage was 4% and the transfer rate was around 3 Mbps. The stream did jump around quite a bit, but stayed in the same range during the entire video, with no hesitation or choppy play. My system is fairly new, however.

    Edit: It may not be involved, but my system does have 16 GB of memory. I suppose there is a chance your system is being restricted because of the 4 GB. There are some performance troubleshooters in the Control Panel which you might try.
     
    #11 Saltgrass, May 25, 2013
    Last edited: May 25, 2013
  12. Chamenas

    Chamenas New Member

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    Yeah, it was stuttering. I'll try whatever I can to get it doing. What I will say is that while my computer is FAR from top-of-the-line it seems weird to me that it should have performance issues streaming at 720p consistently. So, while I believe you, that seems like it shouldn't be the case, no?
     

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