Author Topic: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?  (Read 7167 times)

Tami1982

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 515
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Washington State
Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« on: January 03, 2013, 10:12:07 PM »
I would very much like to watch netflix while I walk on my treadmill only my netbook bogs down every time I try and the screen goes into super slow motion and sometimes the machine freezes.  Anyone know why this is happening?  doesn't feel like lag, and my internet speed and connection is great.  I am computer stupid:/

Emachines netbook, windows 7, n270 intel atom processor, 1gb memory, 250gb hard drive.

arebelspy

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 11749
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Las Vegas
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2013, 10:18:59 PM »
Graphics card may not be very good.  Have you checked for updated drivers for it?
A silent voice is as powerless as a silenced one.

-------------------------------------------------------

  The Cheat is a millionaire!

Will

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 601
  • Location: Vancouver, WA
  • What the deuce?!?!?
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2013, 10:28:21 PM »
I'd like to know why the free version of Hulu can't be watched on Roku.
"Money often costs too much."  -Ralph Waldo Emerson
"My other vehicle is an IRA."

Want YNAB for $6 off? Use this:  http://ynab.refr.cc/89THXPM

Tami1982

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 515
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Washington State
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2013, 10:52:27 PM »
I had not, but will try to figure out how to do that.  LOL  Get back to you momentarily.  Okay, I've made sure all hardware updated, and now I'm going to make sure software updated!

Tami1982

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 515
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Washington State
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2013, 10:52:54 PM »
Agree, Will!  That cheeses me off too. 

Tami1982

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 515
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Washington State
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2013, 11:01:16 PM »
Okay, all software - internet explorer and silverlight - are updated, plus I changed the quality of netflix to lowest setting.  Is better, but still breaks up here and there.  Sad netbook, sad. 

Ozstache

  • Magnum
  • ****
  • Posts: 429
  • Location: Oztralia
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2013, 04:04:11 AM »
Make sure your system is running in high performance power mode.

Consider adding another 1GB of RAM. Netbooks are barely functional with only 1GB RAM.

Jack

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 1141
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2013, 05:29:03 AM »
I'd like to know why the free version of Hulu can't be watched on Roku.

Licensing (i.e., because the media cartel says it can't).

matt_g

  • Bristles
  • **
  • Posts: 67
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2013, 06:07:29 AM »
It's possible that the video card/cpu combo cannot handle netflix.  This is why netbooks are so cheap.

"Previous Atom chips -- like the Atom N270 with the 945GSE chipset -- do not include hardware-based HD video decoders."
Source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/159060/intel_ships_n280.html

That being said:

1. Make sure it's not overheating, are the vents clogged with dust?  Can you point a fan at it?
2. Update BIOS, Video Card & Chipset drivers.
3. Try it without going to full screen, does it handle that?
4. Try it in the Google Chrome browser
5. Try it with the Antivirus software turned off...
6. Try Youtube... is it all videos, or just hulu.


I.P. Daley

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 2214
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2013, 07:07:20 AM »
Make sure your system is running in high performance power mode.

Consider adding another 1GB of RAM. Netbooks are barely functional with only 1GB RAM.

It's not that netbooks are barely functional with only 1GB of RAM, it's that Windows 7 is barely functional with only 1GB of RAM... especially with an Atom N270/GMA950 setup, then you're throwing Silverlight and streaming video at it...

You load Xubuntu on this thing, it'd mostly purr like a kitten... but you'd lose Silverlight and Netflix support.

But agreed, extra RAM, full power. Good advice.

I'd like to know why the free version of Hulu can't be watched on Roku.

Now you know one of the reasons why I keep recommending people get their hands dirty and build their own cheap sub-$100 HTPCs instead of buying Roku boxes and the like. Two words: Hulu Desktop

Ignore their system specs, I've got it running smoothly on a 1.6GHz P4 with 512MB of RAM and a 12 year old RADEON VE card doing 640x480. Granted, it's running Linux...
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

Jack

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 1141
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2013, 07:28:28 AM »
Now you know one of the reasons why I keep recommending people get their hands dirty and build their own cheap sub-$100 HTPCs instead of buying Roku boxes and the like. Two words: Hulu Desktop

Do you have a parts list to accomplish building a compact and power-efficient sub-$100 HTPC from scratch (including case, power supply and across-the-room input device)? I don't think it can be done; I think sub-$100 is only possible with a big obsolete 200W+ tower PC (that will eventually eat up your savings via increased power bills). Please prove me wrong, because I really want to build one!

I.P. Daley

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 2214
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2013, 08:12:24 AM »
Do you have a parts list to accomplish building a compact and power-efficient sub-$100 HTPC from scratch (including case, power supply and across-the-room input device)? I don't think it can be done; I think sub-$100 is only possible with a big obsolete 200W+ tower PC (that will eventually eat up your savings via increased power bills). Please prove me wrong, because I really want to build one!

I haven't gotten around to doing an official parts list quite yet, but the cheapest and easiest solution is to locate a decent laptop with a busted LCD screen and the video out ports you want. You can usually pick them up for well under $75 off Ebay or Craigslist if you know what you're looking for. Graphics might not be able to handle HD video streams depending on graphics chipset, but HD is overrated and if you're streaming on a 3Mbps connection (like I recommend as a cost saving measure), won't happen anyway. After that, all you need is a sub $20 HTPC remote off Amazon and the rest is downhill when you use distros like XBMCbuntu. Alternately, if you plan on using XBMC exclusively as the front end (avoiding Hulu Desktop, etc), you could potentially use a pre-existing Android or iOS device as a remote and save that $20.

You could definitely build new using ARM components and pull it off, especially with the plethora of Android systems on a stick for under $50 these days, but then you'd need to ensure you had a Flash binary and you'd have to use XBMC directly to watch Hulu through their web browser.

Personally, I built one out of an old busted desktop that I fixed with junk parts as you can tell from the specs, and don't care about the power usage as it's only on and running for less than four hours a week at most. Cost more to specifically go out of my way for new hardware just to reduce energy costs.
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

Sparafusile

  • Global Moderator
  • Handlebar
  • *****
  • Posts: 221
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Indiana, USA
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2013, 08:19:03 AM »
Or get yourself a Raspberry Pi: http://www.raspberrypi.org/.
Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and stupid remarks are intentional.

Jack

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 1141
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2013, 08:26:46 AM »
Or get yourself a Raspberry Pi: http://www.raspberrypi.org/.

The Raspberry Pi won't run Hulu.

It'd be nice if somebody made an Intel Atom or AMD Fusion based single-board computer for this sort of thing, but I don't know of one.

I.P. Daley

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 2214
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2013, 08:38:12 AM »
It'd be nice if somebody made an Intel Atom or AMD Fusion based single-board computer for this sort of thing, but I don't know of one.

Such beasts exist, but expect to pay about $250 for setup brand new. Plus side, you'd likely get OpenELEC support out of the deal. Still save you money in the long run on subscription costs. ROI with just ditching the Hulu+ subscription would only be about 19 months over a $100 setup.

Speaking of OpenELEC, apparently they fully support 1st gen Apple TVs now. Those can be had off Ebay for under $150.

Edit: Linked the wrong page from the wiki.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 08:51:23 AM by I.P. Daley »
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

Jack

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 1141
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2013, 08:44:15 AM »

Speaking of OpenELEC, apparently they fully support 1st gen Apple TVs now. Those can be had off Ebay for under $150.

O RLY? Score!

I actually already have one of those (I bought it when they went on clearance for $99)... I had planned to run it as a full OS X desktop but never got around to it.

That is truly awesome news; thanks for telling me!

parkersharon32

  • Guest
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2013, 05:38:57 AM »
Check whether your Netbook can handle silverlight or not, as this is the apps which is required for Netfix.

chucklesmcgee

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 555
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2013, 04:19:32 PM »
I think what the other posters have said is likely most relevant, but you could also try defragmenting the drive. Your unit is probably relying on a bunch of virtual memory, which could be a bottleneck if your hard drive isn't reading the fastest.

Tami1982

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 515
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Washington State
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2013, 12:59:36 AM »
I think I have done everything everyone suggested.  Updated all the software that I could, checked all the drivers for new ones (there were none) and defragged the drive.  It seems to have improved, but still won't work right.:/  Thank you for all the help guys, I really appreciate it.  I don't know if I can upgrade it or not, but will look into it.  Don't know exactly how to describe what is happening, other than it appears to me that the video information is just too much for the machine and it bogs down/slows down, the sounds slows or freezes and it might just hang for a minute making horrible noises and then possibly start again.  Sometimes it does that and then after two three minutes I give up and turn it off. 

I've ran it in high performance power mode, it isn't overheating, it does it in regular screen or full screen mode, I've tried it in both chrome and internet explorer, and yes, it even does it with some youtube videos:(
« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 01:02:05 AM by Tami1982 »

I.P. Daley

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 2214
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2013, 07:19:44 AM »
Tami, I don't do streaming Netflix, but there is one idea that still hasn't been mentioned yet. You noted that it does it with some Youtube videos as well, but not all, which I think keyed me in. Netflix defaults to Best Quality with their player according to their support website. The problem with their "best" quality is that it's basically their HD video stream, and the player only throttles the quality setting based on your network connection, not the playback hardware. Your laptop can clearly stream video and handle playback, just not HD quality video. Re-configure the video quality settings on your Netflix player on that laptop to "Good", that may get it for you. If not, you might be able to throttle your data connection to the laptop down to around 1mbps off your network's router to get the video quality the rest of the way down to make it work.

As for other video sites, keep the video quality around 360p or set to a lower bandwidth like 750-500kbps or lower or the "low" video quality setting... ideal video quality playback for your video chipset's going to be somewhere around those numbers. You won't get razor sharp detail, but as I've said before, seeing the hair growing out of Bob DeNiro's mole doesn't make Heat a more enjoyable film.
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

Bakari

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 1343
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • The BioDiesel Hauler
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2013, 10:37:19 AM »
It's not that netbooks are barely functional with only 1GB of RAM, it's that Windows 7 is barely functional with only 1GB of RAM... especially with an Atom N270/GMA950 setup, then you're throwing Silverlight and streaming video at it...

You load Xubuntu on this thing, it'd mostly purr like a kitten... but you'd lose Silverlight and Netflix support.

Agreed, 100%.
But if you don't want to go that far, you can make windows less slow by turning off all the totally unnecessary junk that they have running by default.  There is a lot.  A LOT.  If you hit Cntrl+Alt+Del, and go to task manager, Processes tab, with no programs open there shouldn't be more then maybe a dozen or two things listed.  Most computers, fresh from the store, will have a good 3 or 4 dozen, none of it serving any real purpose, and all of it using up RAM.
Of course, you have to know which ones to turn off, and how, and fortunately a magnificent saint of a person who goes by the name Black Viper goes through every single default process on every single release of Windows, and figures out what they are, whether they need to be running, and then posts all this information on his website for free.  Google Black Viper, enjoy your faster computer.


I'd like to know why the free version of Hulu can't be watched on Roku.

Because they need to have something to entice you to pay them money.  It is a business, afterall.

Tami, I don't do streaming Netflix, but there is one idea that still hasn't been mentioned yet. You noted that it does it with some Youtube videos as well, but not all, which I think keyed me in. Netflix defaults to Best Quality with their player according to their support website. The problem with their "best" quality is that it's basically their HD video stream, and the player only throttles the quality setting based on your network connection, not the playback hardware. Your laptop can clearly stream video and handle playback, just not HD quality video. Re-configure the video quality settings on your Netflix player on that laptop to "Good", that may get it for you. If not, you might be able to throttle your data connection to the laptop down to around 1mbps off your network's router to get the video quality the rest of the way down to make it work.

As for other video sites, keep the video quality around 360p or set to a lower bandwidth like 750-500kbps or lower or the "low" video quality setting... ideal video quality playback for your video chipset's going to be somewhere around those numbers. You won't get razor sharp detail, but as I've said before, seeing the hair growing out of Bob DeNiro's mole doesn't make Heat a more enjoyable film.

Actually, with a netbook, there will be no quality difference anyway - the numbers refer to how many distinct pixels worth of data are sent.  If you don't have a screen with 2 million pixels, the screen won't show Hi Def, even if the quality setting are set for it and the computers graphics can handle it. 
The Emachine netbook only has about half a million pixels, so at best you can see about 1/4 the resolution of true HD, even under the best possible conditions.
Its hard to say what bit rate corresponds to what screen size, because of complications with compression, but you are likely to see no difference between highest quality and medium quality settings (besides for which, they don't list the bitrate, just "low medium high"). 
Try it out, maybe low quality will be as good a picture as medium as well.

And finally, make sure your connection speed is high enough - not everyone gets the speed they pay for, and if other people (or background programs) are using bandwidth it may be lower still.  If you are using a wireless router, that could make your connection slower than using a cable.  Go to speedtest.net, try it once wireless, once connected directly to the router with a cable, make sure whatever configuration you are using has a good amount higher speed than whatever bit rate you are trying to stream video at
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/

I.P. Daley

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 2214
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2013, 11:03:40 AM »
Of course, you have to know which ones to turn off, and how, and fortunately a magnificent saint of a person who goes by the name Black Viper goes through every single default process on every single release of Windows, and figures out what they are, whether they need to be running, and then posts all this information on his website for free.  Google Black Viper, enjoy your faster computer.

-snip-

Actually, with a netbook, there will be no quality difference anyway - the numbers refer to how many distinct pixels worth of data are sent.  If you don't have a screen with 2 million pixels, the screen won't show Hi Def, even if the quality setting are set for it and the computers graphics can handle it. 
The Emachine netbook only has about half a million pixels, so at best you can see about 1/4 the resolution of true HD, even under the best possible conditions.
Its hard to say what bit rate corresponds to what screen size, because of complications with compression, but you are likely to see no difference between highest quality and medium quality settings (besides for which, they don't list the bitrate, just "low medium high"). 
Try it out, maybe low quality will be as good a picture as medium as well.

And finally, make sure your connection speed is high enough - not everyone gets the speed they pay for, and if other people (or background programs) are using bandwidth it may be lower still.  If you are using a wireless router, that could make your connection slower than using a cable.  Go to speedtest.net, try it once wireless, once connected directly to the router with a cable, make sure whatever configuration you are using has a good amount higher speed than whatever bit rate you are trying to stream video at

Good call recommending Black Viper's settings. Was an indispensable resource back in my bench days. Glad to hear he's kept up with the Windows releases.

The picture does get a bit softer on smaller screens, even if they're lower resolution, but is hardly worth caring about. I could go into detail on why, but I do that quite more often than I should with technical discussions around here. I suggested the minimums I did as those are both serviceable and usable on even decade-old hardware running at 800x600 (or 640x480)... I know from experience getting things like Hulu Desktop to work on a crusty, ancient desktop with far worse specs than that netbook for a rarely used HTPC. And actually, given the hardware restrictions, symptoms sound like hardware choking, not network bandwidth limitations. Given this, more bandwidth would actually be counter-productive to getting Netflix to run successfully. The lower the quality video stream, the more likely streaming will succeed on the hardware in question. That's why some Youtube videos will play back nicely for her, but others won't.
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

burly

  • Handlebar
  • ***
  • Posts: 124
  • Location: East
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2013, 03:48:54 PM »
I had the Dell Mini 9 a while back, 1.6ghz atom proc... It would chug on netflix and I attributed it to heat. Most netbooks do not have physical fans. I ended up purchasing a little target netbook cooling station and that solved the problem!

Will

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 601
  • Location: Vancouver, WA
  • What the deuce?!?!?
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2013, 04:21:12 PM »

I'd like to know why the free version of Hulu can't be watched on Roku.

Because they need to have something to entice you to pay them money.  It is a business, afterall.



Well, it's not working.
"Money often costs too much."  -Ralph Waldo Emerson
"My other vehicle is an IRA."

Want YNAB for $6 off? Use this:  http://ynab.refr.cc/89THXPM

GoStumpy

  • Handlebar
  • ***
  • Posts: 240
    • YNAB = The ultimate budgeting software
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2013, 05:38:55 PM »
I had the Dell Mini 9 a while back, 1.6ghz atom proc... It would chug on netflix and I attributed it to heat. Most netbooks do not have physical fans. I ended up purchasing a little target netbook cooling station and that solved the problem!

I think running Win7 with a 1.6ghz processor is the problem!

Mine doesn't get that hot at all no matter what I do, but it definitely lags even after installing 2gb Ram & 80GB Intel SSD.
"Do the best you can until you know better, and once you know better, do better" - Maya Angelou
www.youneedynab.com - 10% off YNAB, the ultimate Budgeting Tool
www.alepinions.com - My Craft Beer blog!

zug

  • Stubble
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2013, 07:05:12 PM »
I have a similar netbook - for me, 2gb was key to having a functional laptop. Once I upgraded, it was great.

grantmeaname

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 3714
  • Age: 22
  • Location: Columbus, OH
  • This night has stars falling into my hands.
    • The MMM Blogger Community
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2013, 11:52:12 AM »
I think running Win7 with a 1.6ghz processor is the problem!
Think again! Unlike Vista, and defying the trend of the last twenty years, Windows 7 actually has lower overhead than Windows XP, oddly enough.

I couldn't tell you about Windows 8 though... all I know is it's a nightmare to use.

GoStumpy

  • Handlebar
  • ***
  • Posts: 240
    • YNAB = The ultimate budgeting software
Re: Why can't I watch Netflix on my netbook?
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2013, 01:02:05 PM »
I can't give up windows due to my online-poker hobby, otherwise I'd switch to a flavor of Linux.. apparently they're quite snappy when Linux is on them!  I agree XP is a hog, 7 is barely better, but really any windows machine should have more than a 1.6ghz single-core processor!
"Do the best you can until you know better, and once you know better, do better" - Maya Angelou
www.youneedynab.com - 10% off YNAB, the ultimate Budgeting Tool
www.alepinions.com - My Craft Beer blog!