Streaming video quality issues and proxies

Our investigative journalists received reports that certain Netflix capable delivery systems were affected by streaming quality issues due to traffic shaping. The allegation was that ISP's were throttling streaming video.

The team interviewed three entities which are directly involved in the streaming video systems being the ISP, the provider in this case being Netflix, and the test device provider which was a sony blueray player.

Our investigative reporter fist placed a fact-finding call to Netflix. The representative CSR claimed that internet traffic for various proprietary devices might first be routed to the device manufacturer before making it to the Netflix servers, but could not confirm which ones or with what configuration. Devices for example might need to connect to Netflix in order to retrieve a user's account info, and display available videos.

Next we called the local ISP to ask if they were throttling streaming video, they said no. Finally, we called the device manufacturer, but due to security reasons they could not divulge the inner workings of their device. This is understandable, as the design and engineering teams are not necessarily connected to the CSR department.

Resolutions

What to try if the video becomes Choppy?

1) Proxy Connection - Lease a VPN or create your own, and connect to Netflix through that. This will prevent pesky ISP's from knowing that you are pipping their competitors' streaming video through their networks, and remove their option to throttle it.

2) Direct Connection - In the user interface of your device or browser, erase any proxy or secondary route.

3) Try Different Medium - Normally use a streaming capable device? Try a browser instead. Using a browser? Try a device.

Followup article: Netflix streaming device connection

2013-11-28

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