Best SA ISP for streaming internet TV eg. Netflix?

JdK

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Aug 5, 2014
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Is there an ISP in SA offering a consumer level internet package which will run streaming TV smoothly?

I'm currently with Afrihost 4Mb uncapped on a 4Mb line (speedtest.net tells me my line can get about 2.5Mb/s), which I was led to believe would be ample for streaming TV such as Netflix, Hula, etc. I've got all that set up and running, full of excitement tried watching a few shows last night on Netflix and Hula and they constantly froze up to buffer. Netflix actually dropped the quality automatically to try and cope but the shows eventually crashed out completely with an error message. On Hula I changed quality down to 720p and still it kept freezing up buffering. My heart sank as my wife mumbled something about "this not happening with dstv" and waddled off to bed.

I'm using an RK3188 based TV box wirelessly from my router (full signal), no other internet based devices or downloads were running at the time using bandwidth.

So what are my options on a 4Mb line (speedtest.net tells me my line can get about 2.5Mb/s), are there any ISP's which don't throttle the life out of everything, because I think that's what's happening with my Afrihost account, it gets heavily throttled.

Any advice? I'm no tech pro, just an average Joe looking for a reasonable alternative to the rip-off DSTV monopoly.
 

Compton_effect

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Its funny, but I found that Netflix streams better off my Chromecast and Roku than the other devices.
 

@udiS3

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4 mbps should be enough to watch Netflix and Hulu. Have a look at this internet streaming FAQ:
Internet video streaming FAQ

However you need consistent speed/latency. There are two factors that come into play here:
1) How congested your local adsl/vdsl exchange is
2) How/If your ADSL provider shapes/throttles your connection.

Try repeated speedtest.net tests and check that you are consistently getting the same speed/latency.
 

Chevron

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Is there an ISP in SA offering a consumer level internet package which will run streaming TV smoothly?

I'm currently with Afrihost 4Mb uncapped on a 4Mb line (speedtest.net tells me my line can get about 2.5Mb/s), which I was led to believe would be ample for streaming TV such as Netflix, Hula, etc. I've got all that set up and running, full of excitement tried watching a few shows last night on Netflix and Hula and they constantly froze up to buffer. Netflix actually dropped the quality automatically to try and cope but the shows eventually crashed out completely with an error message. On Hula I changed quality down to 720p and still it kept freezing up buffering. My heart sank as my wife mumbled something about "this not happening with dstv" and waddled off to bed.

I'm using an RK3188 based TV box wirelessly from my router (full signal), no other internet based devices or downloads were running at the time using bandwidth.

So what are my options on a 4Mb line (speedtest.net tells me my line can get about 2.5Mb/s), are there any ISP's which don't throttle the life out of everything, because I think that's what's happening with my Afrihost account, it gets heavily throttled.

Any advice? I'm no tech pro, just an average Joe looking for a reasonable alternative to the rip-off DSTV monopoly.

4Meg is fine for streaming. Even 2meg is fine for good Netflix. the problem is Afrihost is the worst possible ISP to go to for streaming.

Just grab a Web Africa account and you'll see a huge difference. They have a free capped account if you wanna test first.
 

JdK

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Its funny, but I found that Netflix streams better off my Chromecast and Roku than the other devices.

Do you think that different devices will affect streaming quality? This little RK3188 Mini PC gadget (got from www.timingpower.com) is pretty powerful. I often watch 1080p HD movies over my wireless network, the movies are on an external hard drive plugged into my PC in another room. Perfect quality picture, never had a problem with lagging or buffering!

I'm sure the buffering problem is bandwidth restrictions from my ISP.
 

JdK

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4Meg is fine for streaming. Even 2meg is fine for good Netflix. the problem is Afrihost is the worst possible ISP to go to for streaming.

Just grab a Web Africa account and you'll see a huge difference. They have a free capped account if you wanna test first.

Yes I have read that somewhere that Afrihost is not good for streaming, but that was a while back. I was hopeful they'd come to the party by now. I've been with Afrihost for years (ADSL, mobile data and web hosting) and have been very happy with them, it will be a shame to end the relationship over this!
 

@udiS3

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Do you think that different devices will affect streaming quality? This little RK3188 Mini PC gadget (got from www.timingpower.com) is pretty powerful. I often watch 1080p HD movies over my wireless network, the movies are on an external hard drive plugged into my PC in another room. Perfect quality picture, never had a problem with lagging or buffering!

I'm sure the buffering problem is bandwidth restrictions from my ISP.

Different devices do perform differently! I always found Netflix on the Xbox having a slight edge over the PS3. Xbox/PC runs MS Silverlight as the video player for Netflix. I dont think Silverlight would be licensed on the playstation and it probably uses a silverlight emulator.

Also differences in GPU/Memory come into play between different devices.
 
Last edited:

JdK

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Aug 5, 2014
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4 mbps should be enough to watch Netflix and Hulu. Have a look at this internet streaming FAQ:
Internet video streaming FAQ

However you need consistent speed/latency. There are two factors that come into play here:
1) How congested your local adsl/vdsl exchange is
2) How/If your ADSL provider shapes/throttles your connection.

Try repeated speedtest.net tests and check that you are consistently getting the same speed/latency.

Thanks the info in that link is very useful. I'll do the speedtest thing this evening like every half an hour for a few hours. Question though, does speedtest take bandwidth throttling into account? Ie it may say my line can get 2.5Mb/s but my ISP is only allowing 0.5Mb/s through because of throttling.
 

Chevron

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Yes I have read that somewhere that Afrihost is not good for streaming, but that was a while back. I was hopeful they'd come to the party by now. I've been with Afrihost for years (ADSL, mobile data and web hosting) and have been very happy with them, it will be a shame to end the relationship over this!

Just follow the Afrihost feedback threads. Everyday for the last 6months people complain to Afrihost about streaming, but they don't do anything about it. They asks for tests, blame your line, blame your "congested" exchange, yet changing to another ISP makes everything work 100%.

They have an issue with international throughput that they don't want to admit.
 

Chevron

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Thanks the info in that link is very useful. I'll do the speedtest thing this evening like every half an hour for a few hours. Question though, does speedtest take bandwidth throttling into account? Ie it may say my line can get 2.5Mb/s but my ISP is only allowing 0.5Mb/s through because of throttling.

Easiest way to check were the problem is is to grab an account from a different ISP. Web Africa have a 2GB that you can grab for free.
 

Acid0

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I am on do broadband from helkom with a 2mb line

Have no problem streaming netflix or Hulu.
There is a bit of buffer on the start of the episode or movie, but once it starts there is no issue.

As far as I know, normally on 2mb line you will only be able to stream one device at a time and its normally on SD and not HD.
 

deweyzeph

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The problem is that you are using an uncapped account. I had massive problems with using an Afrihost uncapped account for streaming Netflix until I switched over to a capped account (also with Afrihost). Now it works perfectly and I've only got a 2MB line.
 

deweyzeph

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As far as I know, normally on 2mb line you will only be able to stream one device at a time and its normally on SD and not HD.

Myself and the wife often watch Netflix streams simultaneously on our 2Mbps line, me on the WDTV device and her on her laptop. Never had a problem.
 

JdK

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Just follow the Afrihost feedback threads. Everyday for the last 6months people complain to Afrihost about streaming, but they don't do anything about it. They asks for tests, blame your line, blame your "congested" exchange, yet changing to another ISP makes everything work 100%.

They have an issue with international throughput that they don't want to admit.

Thanks mate. I'm not even going to hassle with Afrihost over this if it's going to be a tedious back and forth! I checked out the Web Africa site and the same 4Mb Home Uncapped package is about R130 a month cheaper than Afrihost with the line rental (and the first month only costs R1), that and the positive advice about WebAfrica has me convinced, I'll make the change when I get home today!
 

@udiS3

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Thanks the info in that link is very useful. I'll do the speedtest thing this evening like every half an hour for a few hours. Question though, does speedtest take bandwidth throttling into account? Ie it may say my line can get 2.5Mb/s but my ISP is only allowing 0.5Mb/s through because of throttling.

It is possible to get a different result from speedtest.net compared to what you obtain when using a certain application. You would certainly get lower throughput when downloading from torrent at peak times. ISPs shape/throttle and prioritize different types of traffic. However I would expect them to prioritize internet streaming and other interactive types of traffic.

As Chevron said... Try test capped accounts from different ISPs. Personally I find the capped product(s) work better than uncapped for gaming/streaming etc.
 

Chevron

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The problem is that you are using an Afrihost uncapped account. I had massive problems with using an Afrihost uncapped account for streaming Netflix until I switched over to a capped account (also with Afrihost). Now it works perfectly and I've only got a 2MB line.

FTFY.

Web Africa Uncapped works great.
 

Bizkit87

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I know they are not forum favourites, but i recently just got the 4mb unacapped from Telkom, and barring 2 days where shows were buffering, most of the time i can watch movies/series without any issues. I use unotelly a well
 

JdK

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It is possible to get a different result from speedtest.net compared to what you obtain when using a certain application. You would certainly get lower throughput when downloading from torrent at peak times. ISPs shape/throttle and prioritize different types of traffic. However I would expect them to prioritize internet streaming and other interactive types of traffic.

As Chevron said... Try test capped accounts from different ISPs. Personally I find the capped product(s) work better than uncapped for gaming/streaming etc.

I've been downloading about 300Gb a month for the last few months. A capped account will just be stressful to have to monitor keep within the limits. Torrents is like an addiction for me which I'm not yet strong enough to give up, at least not until I can watch the same quality over streaming without having to fork out too much more cash, since there's already the added Netflix, Hula and Unotelly subscriptions on top of my ADSL and line rental. This stuff isn't cheap!
 

@udiS3

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I've been downloading about 300Gb a month for the last few months. A capped account will just be stressful to have to monitor keep within the limits. Torrents is like an addiction for me which I'm not yet strong enough to give up, at least not until I can watch the same quality over streaming without having to fork out too much more cash, since there's already the added Netflix, Hula and Unotelly subscriptions on top of my ADSL and line rental. This stuff isn't cheap!

Uncapped is probably a better option for you. I find Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Instant a better option vs torrents:
1) I don't have the headache of storage
2) Can access my Netflix/Hulu account from anywhere and on most devices
3) Use less data.
 

innovator

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You know what I still find most frustrating no matter which ISP you join they along with Telkom as a co conspirator still lie to you about what they are selling you.
I have a 10Mbps line and at best I get 3Mbps but on average I am somewhere around 0.3Mbps. This is just plain and simple fraud. They are delivering less thatn 5% of what II am paying for on average. Imagine going to the petrol station and asking for R200 unleaded and instead they only put R10 worth in your tank and took your R200 as payment or if you went to Mac Donalds and asked for a Quarter pounder with Cheese and they gave you a single cheese flavoured Nicknack. This is what they are all doing and because some governing body says it is OK they get away with it. It is just wrong and we should all stand up against it as Users and complain on every forum and social media platform we can find!
 
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