Alan cut the cable and is watching TV with an antenna. But what about streaming? Leo says that's called "over the top," and he will need to still pay for internet service at least 100MB down to enjoy streaming in 1080p. Then he'll pay for Netflix and perhaps a second like Amazon Prime. But he can also get live streaming using a service like YouTube TV. Locast.org is a free streaming service, but they bug everyone for a donation of $5 a month. Even with using an antenna though, streaming can make it add up to the point where it starts to make cable look like a pretty good deal again.
Sundip wants to know how much bandwidth he should have. Leo says that it's obviously the most you can afford, but the thing is that the more you get, the more you tend to use. Download speeds tend to be faster than upload speeds with streaming video and other uses. But we're now seeing uploads on the rise as people work and do school from home via video conferencing. So an asymmetrical download speed is becoming the norm.
Jamie can't stand that Netflix streams previews while you're looking for something to watch. Leo says the good news is that you can turn that off on the website.
A VPN is a way to mask an online user's physical location, which is a great way to maintain privacy and security....while also allowing one to watch TV & Netflix in another country (Japan)! VPNs do what "incognito modes" in browsers don't. However, you don't want to sign up for a super low-cost or free VPN service, as those can be quite suspicious. They have to be making money somehow, and it is likely by selling user information (sort of the antithesis of what VPN users want).
Steve Martin also uses a Windows computer and an iPad, and often they don't talk well together. He's also been getting a lot of his emails being routed into SPAM. He's had to physically move them back to the Inbox, and he's worried that he'll miss an important email from business or friends. Leo says that the SPAM filters have gotten so good, that they're now starting to get false positives as ISPs get really aggressive with the spam filters.
In these tough times, everyone is using the internet to watch videos online since there is often nothing better to do. However, if you do not need to watch a video in the highest resolution available, try to tolerate a slightly lower clarity in order to save some bandwidth for others. Videos like podcast discussions, news shows, and vlogs can arguably be viewed just fine in 480p or 720p.
During this period of social distancing, everyone is streaming. As such, Netflix has had to lower the resolution quality of streaming down to SD in Europe in order to handle the load. That's a significant degradation if you have a 4K TV. Will it happen here? Scott wouldn't be surprised if it does. As more people shelter in place, they'll be watching more, and streaming more. Coupled with working at home, kids having virtual classes online, internet traffic is going way up. Leo says one way around this is to cache content.
Mike watches Netflix with a VPN. Why is it slower? Leo says that a good VPN shouldn't slow him down all that much. So if the VPN is slow, and making it harder to stream Netflix, then try a different VPN or ISP. Also, if you're using a VPN to watch Netflix from the home computer, the upload speed may be the issue. Leo also recommends using PLEX. It uses a dedicated port and will enable him to media serve that Netflix stream, as well as movies. But again, it depends on the home upload speeds.
Marty got a message from Netflix that his Blu-ray player won't support Netflix anymore. Leo says that can happen when an upgrade can break connectivity. And it sounds like Netflix isn't going to support that anymore. The good news is, smart TVs have Netflix, as do players like the Roku and AppleTV. He can even get a $35 Chromecast and do it. Go with Roku!
David is having trouble with constant buffering with Netflix on his PS3. But it doesn't do it with subtitles. What gives? Rich says the first thing to look at is what has changed before the buffering began. Often, a change can cause those things. Rich also recommends going to FAST.com and test your internet speed. Rich also recommends uninstalling the Netflix app from David's PS3 and then reinstall it. Also, make sure that the PS3 is updated. Rich suspects that an update may not have been completely installed and uninstalling and reinstalling usually clears things up.