Netflix - could it be more useless on the WD TV Live?

Log of WDTV Live usage:

Saturday: turn on WDTV Live.  Go to Netflix.  Start watching SNL 1990s episode.  Decide to watch a different one about 10 minutes in.  Scroll to find another, start it, lock up.  Turn off.  Hangs the standard 10 minutes for the device to come back to reality after unplugging and plugging back in.  Go to Netflix, hangs at least 5 minutes.  Contemplate smashing WDTVLive.

Sunday: Turn on WDTV Live.  Go to Youtube.  Wait at least 10 minutes for search bar to appear.  Appears.  Type letter to start search, after haning for 5 minutes, one letter appears on the screen.  Brings up all results for the letter S.  Type in second letter, K,  hangs for 10 minutes. Repeat this until we are able to type in each letter of what we’re looking for.  Total time to get a youtube search, ~20 minutes.  Contemplate smashing WDTVLive.

Sunday night.  Turn on WDTV Live.  Go to netflix.  Wait at least 5 minutes for Netflix app to start.  Starts.  Select film.  Never loads.  Restart device, repeat.  Blazing fast works (after waiting for the now flashing light on the front of the device to stop flashing), then the movie starts, but there is no sound.

Monday night.  Turn on WDTV Live.  Go to Netflix, ~5 minutes.  Choose TV episode.  Episode displays fine, gets to end and shows screen which says next episode will start shortly, great!  Except it doesn’t.  It never starts, hangs at least 10 minutes.  Turn off the device.  Turn back on.  Another 10 minutes to get back to Netflix.  Start that second episode we were hoping to watch.  Status bar appears, remains on screen, with the title of the show…then, the title dissapears, and…wait for it, the AUDIO ONLY and no picture of the episode starts.

Can’t believe I paid for this…

Here’s a ‘Smashing’ Picture of a WDTV Live

Interesting timing of this message, because I just wrote the following in a message right before this one was posted and before I saw this msg:

I wrote today the following:

We do not use the WD for Netflix watching – the Roku does a much better job at that. (Did anyone at WD hear me say this?)

Someone replied and asked me:

javyn wrote:

How is Nflix better on Roku?

I think it has a better user interface, and unlike the WD player, it doesn’t have any problems with Netflix.  If it is unplugged it does not lose my Netflix and other login info like the WD.  It also shows the quality of the internet video signal being received, which if poor, often indicates internet congestion.  (At least you know why the show you were watching likely crashed.  It was most likely not the hardware’s fault.)  I have had 3 different generations and they all just work.  Firmware update issues?  Never.   (I still love my WD, though.)

Now, I am not here to slam WD for the poor performance of its Netflix, but for crying out loud, WD, buy a Roku or two and tear it open to see what makes it tick so much better than your media player does for this purpose.  Get inspired to do better!   Steal their ideas.  Whatever, just don’t torture your customers with poor performance over time.  Make it better or give it up.

And to my fellow WD customers, if you really want good Netflix performance, buy a Roku.  Just do it.  The top unit cost $100 and I recommend that one.   To WD:  Sorry, I had to help my friends out, and I still love my WD for what it does well with my other media.

Wow.   I probably use NetFlix 3-5 times a week on my TV, and the kids are using it constantly-- both are WDTVs.  Never had a single problem with it.

That “smashing post” describes exactly what I’ve experienced with the WDTV Live, with a little less persistence from me of course. I’m to the point where smashing it has more value to me than trying to watch something on it. I’m sure I’ll never get compensated like that guy, so my goal is to deter anyone I can from buying this. I’ve had the same thing happen that he described, where company is over and we try to watch something and just give up after 30 minutes.

Here’s our nice time watching Netflix tonight on the WDTV Live for the last 30 minutes:

Awesome, huh?


TonyPh12345 wrote:

Wow.   I probably use NetFlix 3-5 times a week on my TV, and the kids are using it constantly-- both are WDTVs.  Never had a single problem with it.


Well, Tony, neither do I, although I don’t use it as much as I do Netflix on the Roku.  But, plenty of people complain here about how bad Netflix is on the WD, so maybe there is something to the complaint – enough so that people have actually take hammers to their players!  Or, maybe they are just trying to stream Netflix wirelessly on a poor network and get awful results.  Who knows?  I have two WD’s; one is wireless and the main one is wired.  Our network works fine, so the WDs work fine, too.

I did notice tonight a feature of Netflix that the WD has beat over Roku:  It is the Netflix “Just for Kids” section.  Never has been on Roku, so when I get finished here I am sending a message to Roku asking when are THEY going to have this feature.  It seems to be everywhere but at Roku.

Netflix worked fine for me after a factory reset.

Very odd, as we have been watching Netflix for a few hours per day most days for the last several weeks with barely a hiccup.  In fact, I bought a second SMP in part because the first one worked so much better for Netflix than the other players we have (two different Samsung blu-ray players and a Logitech Revue).  Very fast and quite dependable: might have to reboot box due to Netflix hang perhaps once per week (i.e., every 20 hours of use).   The Samsung players frequently hung, often had no audio when a video began, and were tediously slow starting the Netflix app.

We have one SMP connected via Ethernet  and one connected via Wifi.  Don’t notice any particular differences between them.  Thus, our experience shows that there is nothing wrong with the SMP Netflix app on a properly functioning SMP with a reliable network connection, wired or wireless.

However, you should know that not all Wifi gear works equally well.  If you are having all these problems when connected wirelessly, then I would definitely recommend you try a wired connection.  Ethernet cables are quite cheap online.  Buy a 25 or 50 foot cable if you have to and connect your SMP temporarily that way.  If it works fine, then it is your Wifi router/AP that you should be smashing.  Also, if you have an “n” Wifi router, I would try disabling n mode and forcing it to use only “g” mode to see if that helps.  Many supposed 80211.n Wifi devices still do not play nicely together.  We are using a recent vintage Dlink DIR-655 Wifi router, and n-mode works just fine to the SMP.  However, I have used other  n-mode routers that have not worked correctly with other n-mode Wifi devices.  Frequently dropped connections seem to be common (e.g., laptop suddenly has no network connection).  Sounds a lot like what you are experiencing.

forcing it to G mode?  Boy I don’t know about that, streaming HD over G works for you?

 Netflix adapts its quality to the bandwidth it finds available.  The point of switching to g-mode only is to diagnose whether the problems being encountered are due to networking issues with 80211.n.  If switching to g-mode only on the Wifi router eliminates the Netflix hangs, then the problem is the router’s n-mode not working with the SMP.  Then one should investigate buying a different Wifi router, since use of n-mode is definitely required for true HD video.

It’s wired to a true 25mbps Ethernet connection. Everything else in the house works without a problem. I just can’t get why this thing refuses to let me enjoy Netflix.

That sounds very weird then.  You use Netflix via a PC or other device at your house and it works fine from them?  Perhaps your SMP is defective.  I am at a loss to understand how the exact same hardware and software can function virtually perfectly for me but not work at all for you, unless the problem is your ISP and/or how it connects with Netflix servers.

Yep, this thing is still a piece of garbage…

I’ve also had the problem where if I stop watching a movie or tv episode in the middle of it and move to a different video it hangs when starting the video. I think that is a app design problem and not a problem with the unit. Other than that Netflix works great for me, videos start fast for me, browsing library is seemless and I like the automatic swithch to the next episode when watching a series and the recommendations after watching a movie. If you don’t have any network issues then I think the unit may be defective.

The Netflix app is bad