Video Streaming Stuttering/Freezing

By Technochicken
Mar 13, 2010
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  1. I recently put together a HTPC out of some old parts, but when I try to stream videos from Hulu, Neftlix, and the likes, I get very poor performance. Netflix is watchable, with only occasional freezing, but the audio is slightly off sink from the video. Hulu on the other hand is extremely slow, and in full screen the video becomes a slideshow. Through the task manager, I can see that while streaming from Netflix I get around 60-70% CPU usage, while from Hulu I get a flat out 100%. I have installed available updates, including the most recent nVidia drivers, and flash 10.1, which is supposed to have GPU acceleration. Neither of those helped in the slightest bit.

    Here are the specs:

    Commell LV-670 ITX motherboard
    Celeron 2.6
    1 Gb DDR
    GeForce 8400gs
    Windows Server 2008

    I know this is not a very powerful system, but it handles DVDs relatively smoothly, though there is still high CPU usage with them. I have tried multiple browsers as well, and have noticed no difference between them.

    Any ideas on how to get GPU accelerated flash working, or how to improve streaming performance in general?

    Thanks,

    -TC
  2. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 2,278

    sounds more like a network issue than anything... check for conflicts and update network drivers if necessary. i don't understand why CPU usage is so high but perhaps a network protocol or service is hogging res? download process explorer to get a better picture of what's going on why the streaming is running.
  3. Technochicken

    Technochicken TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 900

    It is definitely the browser hogging the resources while streaming. Firefox uses about 70% of the cpu, but that drops to around 5-10 when the videos are not playing. I attached a screenshot with a graph of Firefox's resource use with process explorer. The lower bit in the center is from while the video was paused.

    Attached Files:

  4. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 2,278

    what version of firefox are you using? 3.6 was just released to so if you are using that you may want to try reverting or vice versa. i suppose the celeron may yield slower performance but you should still be able to stream at reasonable resolutions. you could try lowering the quality settings on flash videos (if available) to low and see if that helps. also make sure you have minimal background tasks and a big enough pagefile.
  5. Technochicken

    Technochicken TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 900

    Yes, I have been using firefox 3.6, but I have also used the latest versions of Google Chrome and IE and gotten the same results. Setting a lower quality on the flash videos does not really make much of a difference either. While streaming I get about 60% ram usage, so I do not think there is too much stress on the pagefile. Just to make sure, what would be the proper amount? It is supposed to be twice the size of your ram by default, right.
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