Improve HD video streaming on Macbook

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by austroanglo, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. austroanglo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2016
    Location:
    Austria
    #1
    Hi guys,

    I hope someone is able to give me some advice.

    I have a Macbook 4.1 white early 2008 (2.4GHz Intel CPU with 10.7.5 Lion).
    - Recently upgraded my HD to a SSD, fresh Lion install (seems awesome)
    - Recently upgraded my RAM from 2GB to 4GB (not yet noticed any improvement)

    I made these upgrades in the hope that streaming HD video (netflix, Amazon prime etc.) will improve and not be so choppy.
    Not the case.
    Although it seems better now and apps start in lightning speed, the HD streaming still buffers constantly and is not watchable.

    I use safari with the silverlight plugin and newest flash installed for Prime, still HD is buffering.
    Tried switching to Chrome, was terribly worse and slow.

    I just want to watch HD streaming video on my macbook.
    Any ideas would be highly appreciated.

    Another browser? different/upgraded plugins? Focus CPU performance on the streaming somehow?
    I don't need the mac for anything else really, only streaming prime so I feel I should be able to optimise it for that somehow.

    Thanks alot guys :)

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  2. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #2
    Just wonderiang,. how fast is your internet connection? It could be the bottleneck.
     
  3. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #3
    I thought the same esp if using a VPN for USA Netflix from Austria
     
  4. austroanglo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2016
    Location:
    Austria
    #4
    Thanks guys.
    Well I'm sure now that it is not that. I switched to Amazon Prime Austria and removed DNS settings it it is still choppy.
    My internet connection is very fast, measuring up to 8MB/sec (over WiFi)...
    I saw some threads regarding Prime, that MS Silverlight was causing choppy HD video, so I tried several browsers with Silverlight and also switching to flash. Also switching from HD to standard Definition..
    Sometimes it was not so bad, but still always has a bit of chop, which can be distracting...

    Now I think that my 2.4GHz Intel CPU may be the bottleneck (although it shouldn't be right?!). When I look at the activity monitor, the CPU is maxed out when streaming (everything else seems OK).
    Is there a way to dedicate more processor power to streaming?

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  5. Unrealmac1988 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2015
    #5
    I am having the same problem since years.

    The problem ist not the processor speed or CPU. It is the graphic power (GPU) of the macbook. The internet and operating systems have just become more and more graphic intense.

    For me watching any kind of online streaming videos + external display is unviewable. When I plug my macbook off the second monitor its still pretty bad. Many dropped frames.

    Video streaming is one reason why I decided to wait and buy the next Macbook with Skylake.
     
  6. austroanglo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2016
    Location:
    Austria
    #6

    OK yeah, thanks. That sounds right. Damn.
    I ordered an adapter for the external screen for the wife's macbook 2011, hopefully that's better (maybe I will put the new SSD in there instead :) )
    Cheers
    Mark
     
  7. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #7
    I have an early 2013 rMBP and I still see stuttering now and then with utube or Amazon Prime or Roku. I have a 50 MB Verizon FIOS connection. It only happens during busy times apparently. I'm running latest El Capitan. System has 2.6 ghz Intel i5, 8 gb ram, Intel Iris graphics.
     
  8. tbirdparis macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 30, 2015
    #8
    As others have pointed out, it may well come down to the CPU/GPU performance.. but probably more likely because the software used by these streaming services is just super inefficient and therefore only runs well when there's plenty of CPU/GPU power to spare. I recall reading somewhere that silverlight was particularly bad in this regard but I could be wrong about that.

    One way to test this hypothesis is to trying watching an HD video that you have locally stored on your computer in a comparable res/file size to what you'd like to stream. If a more nimble playback app like VLC, movist or even QT player can handle it without glitches on your system, then the problem really can only be two things - either your connection isn't fast enough, or the streaming platform uses software that is basically rubbish. It's not the first time (and sadly probably not the last) where ironically, the legally available service to provide content offers a far inferior experience and accidentally encourages people to seek other means.
     
  9. tomjleeds macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #9
    You're right about Silverlight. Performance on OS X is absolutely shocking. I can't get a smooth HD stream on a 2012 Mac mini, never mind a 2008 MacBook.
     
  10. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #10
    I use Chrome, but Silverlight is not used.. I think what happens is Chrome switches Prime to HTML-5. Even then I still get pauses at some times in the evening.
     
  11. tbirdparis macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 30, 2015
    #11
    Yep that's pretty much what I had heard. Never ceases to amaze me how supposedly big releases from major players can sometimes be such abject trash, making people (incorrectly) think their hardware is slow and underperforming.. and meanwhile, little independent shareware or open source apps like VLC run circles around them. Hard to understand how this actually happens in this day and age!
     
  12. tomjleeds macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #12
    Indeed. It's particularly frustrating when certain Murdoch-controlled media outlets buy up exclusive rights to sports and then force you either to have a dish installed (not possible where I live) or use Silverlight to stream it. Have to take my work laptop home and use that instead - performance on Windows is fine. Ridiculous!
     

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