02-11-2009 08:42 PM
I have an Asus eeePC model 901 with the Intel Atom chip and the XP operating system. I am generally happy with it BUT when I try to view Netflix or Hulu movies it stops and stutters. A friend said that I should probably upgrade the RAM to 2GB.
1). Does this seem like a probable solution to the problem?
2). If so, what part number do I purchase at BestBuy to do that and what does it cost?
3). Is this something I can probably do myself, or should I use the Geek Squad to help?
02-12-2009 12:28 AM
May wanna hit up a forum for these little things (ie not here).
I think 512mb or 1gb stick is soldered in and the other slot can only take 1GB. Dont hold me on that though.
As for doing it yourself, how handy are you with a screwdriver and following directions? I think you can download an asus manual from their site for the eee.
02-12-2009 09:23 AM
A memory upgrade won't help. The CPU and graphics are just not fast enough for Hulu. In theory they are, but in reality, Adobe Flash Player is horrifically CPU inefficient and requires 2-3 times the CPU of other players for the same video content. Unfortunately there is no legal way to use another player for Hulu, and no technical or legal way to use another player for Netflix.
It is possible to use Replay Media Catcher or similar software (rtmpdump on Linux boxes works, but it's difficult to use and moreso under Windows) to download Hulu videos and view them later with a more efficient player (I use SMPlayer), but this violates Hulu's terms of service.
02-12-2009 09:46 AM
Thank you very much for the advice -- I would have spent a lot of time and money chasing an impossible solution. Three further questions if I may:
1). I also had trouble when traveling internationally recently using my Vonage GOIP phone with the eeePC. Same problem? Haven't tried Skype -- Likely to be any better? The movies are a luxury, but the phone service is essential and if I can't get the eeePC to work with either Vonage or Skype then I've got to look for an alternative machine.
2). Am I correct that by "CPU" you are referring to the Intel Atom processor? Does that then mean that the Acer with that chip also is insufficient to the task? Or can the Acer be configured to be capable of the job?
3). I guess I'm really asking: Is there a netbook out there that is capable of the VOIP, Netflix and Hulu technologies?
Thanks, I really appreciate the help.
02-12-2009 12:50 PM
VoIP is typically not that CPU intensive, the eee should have no problem with VoIP. What sort of problems were you having? VoIP is typically very sensitive to network issues (latency, packet loss and reordering), so even if your network seems fine for most applications VoIP might be problematic. What were you doing for network access when you had these problems? I haven't used Skype myself, nor have I used Vonage services. There is also a slight possibility that the audio chipset in the eee might not get along with your sofphone (Skype or Vonage), in which case you might want to look into a USB headset.
By CPU I do refer to the Atom, although for video playback the video chipset (in the case of both the EEE and Aspire One lines, an Intel GMA950) also factors in. The GMA950 is pretty lowend but it's decent for video playback.
The problem is that the Atom + GMA950 combo is more than capable of playing back standard definition H.264 video (what Hulu uses and maybe Netflix's new system too), but Adobe Flash Player (Hulu's built-in player) is a horrific piece of junk that needs 2-3 times as much CPU as other H.264 players. Right now it's technically against Hulu's TOS to use these other players, although I do it on my living room PC since it has the same issue you have - a good player takes 20-30% CPU, but the official one takes 100% CPU and stutters. (CBS is even worse - their videos slideshow when played with CBS's official player despite playing back perfectly if ripped with Replay Media Catcher and played back with SMPlayer). Some people suspect that the Adobe player does not take advantage of the hardware video scaling features nearly all graphics chipsets (even the GMA950) offer. I'm inclined to lean this way since on some machines, I have no problem with video unless I choose to play it back fullscreen. Players that support hardware scaling shouldn't change CPU usage at all when going fullscreen, but Adobe's does.
I can't comment on Netflix. Their old Windows Media based system should have worked fine with the Atom platform, but I have zero experience with the new Silverlight-based streaming system now used by Netflix.
02-12-2009 01:42 PM
Thanks again - You obviously have substantial experience with this issue.
1). The VoIP problem I have seemed similar to the video problem in that it seemed to "stutter" and break up, but I hear you saying that the two issues are probably unrelated and that the Atom should be able to handle VoIP? The Vonage softphone ("V-Phone") is basically a keychain-type flashdrive that has a headphone plugin right on it. The flashdrive plugs into the USB port, and the headphone into the flashdrive. If getting a headphone set to plug into a second USB port would solve the problem I can certainly do that.
2). Any advice about a netbook brand/configuration that CAN handle the streaming video?
02-12-2009 03:34 PM
What Internet service were you using when you had the problems? Has it ever worked, or is it always having problems?
Unfortunately due to the limitations I mentioned before (the fact that there's a lot of evidence that Adobe Flash Player doesn't even support hardware video scaling) you won't see any current netbooks that perform better than your Eee, since the 1.6 GHz Atom is the fastest CPU I know of in most if not all netbooks. (I'm fairly certain the Via Nano is only in "nettop" mini-desktop systems and not netbooks. It's also a power hog compared to the Atom.). There are some high-end Asus netbooks not marketed as Eees that have a much higher end video chipset than the GMA950 (NVidia 8200 or 8300), but if Adobe Flash Player doesn't support the acceleration features of that chipset it won't help you.
I PMed you the workaround for Hulu, unfortunately I have no experience with Netflix's current Silverlight-based system. I'm surprised Silverlight has the same performance problems as Adobe Flash Player. (BTW, internet connection problems could also cause streaming video issues, which might be why you have VoIP issues also.)
02-12-2009 04:00 PM
1). The problem has always been there for my eeepc. But none of the issues exist for my Dell laptop using the same wireless Internet service/system. Hmmm - any possibility tht the eeePC's wireless modem is too slow relative to the laptop's and that that is causing the VoIP problem? I should try plugging it directly into the ethernet connection and seeing what happens.
2). Ummm - Here I demonstrate my lack of experience on forums of this sort. What does it mean to "PM" something to me, and how do I get it?
3). From what I am gathering from you (very helpful) observations, if I can't get VoIP to work on the eeePC (and that's the essential capacity that I need when traveling), then I should consider brand/model of netbook as it should work. As for the streaming video -- I can try the workaround you are sending me for Hulu, but basically the hardware isn't yet ready for prime time.
02-12-2009 05:18 PM
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