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Customer Discussions > Tablet forum

Best tablet to stream movies?


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Showing 1-25 of 27 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 15, 2013 2:09:16 PM PDT
Courtney says:
Looking to do away with my laptop when I travel. really the only thing I use it for is Microsoft Excel & watching movies on the DVD drive. I know there are apps that will allow me to do Excel work & I can stream movies using Amazon Prime & Netflix. I am a little leary about it though, because I have streamed movies on my laptop & they were constantly stopping & buffering. Are the tablets or is there a specific tablet (or service) that is better than the others for this?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2013 2:44:22 PM PDT
B. Marks says:
Almost any tablet will stream Netflix. For Amazon Prime videos you can use a Windows tablet or an Ipad or a Kindle Fire. It's also possible to stream them in the browser on an Android tablet if you install Flash but this takes a bit of doing to set up.

I stream videos on a laptop and a Kindle Fire and an Ipad all the time. I stream Netflix on several Android tablets as well. I find that the streaming is solid if my internet provider's service is good and it's unreliable if the provider is slow.

My provider, Windstream, about 2 years ago began to slow down and in the past year and a half it's been impossible to stream videos after about 5PM. It's often even difficult and sometimes impossible to check email. In the morning streaming was fine. After about noon it became unreliable but still usable. It paused to buffer a lot; more and more as the day went on.

They've just improved their service in the past week and now I get very good streaming any time.

The reason I'm going into this is to illustrate what might be the problem you're having. If you're traveling you have to rely on the bandwidth others provide you and that might not always be good.

I do find that my tablets stream a little more reliably than my laptop does. I'm not quite sure why that is and the difference is small enough I can't really be sure I'm not imagining it. But I think I have this right.

I'm not sure if I've really answered your question but maybe there's a bit of help for you.

Barry

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2013 3:51:33 PM PDT
Sunshine7 says:
I vote for a nexus 10. You want fast Wi-Fi and the best resolution. It has both. I recommend you read a few reviews first. I love my nexus, but having one is almost like signing up to be a long term beta tester for google.

If you must have Amazon streaming, you may have to go with a Kindle or windows 8 tablet. Android will not do it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2013 6:26:52 PM PDT
Courtney says:
Thanks, have been strongly considering Samsung tablet, whom I believe makes one of the Nexus tablets.
Probably not streaming Amazon, mostly Netflix.

Posted on Jul 20, 2013 8:49:50 PM PDT
B. Marks says:
Having a full HD screen can be really great when you're reading text but for watching videos you can't always tell the difference. I have tablets with normal resolution and full HD resolution and I use both for videos and the only time the HD really matters is when watching a cartoon, as long as it's a full HD video. Even then, you have to look for the difference. It doesn't jump right out at you.

It's different with text. The HD screen really increases the sharpness of the letters to improve the reading experience.

Barry

Posted on Jul 31, 2013 7:44:05 AM PDT
Carol says:
FYI, I wanted to have the movie experience without the weight of my big Dell laptop. I first tried an Acer netbook but its tendency to overheat after a half hour of watching video (so much so that it stops and I have to shut it down to cool off - Acer told me to just take the battery out and cool it for about an hour, works fine later tho). I bought a Kindle Fire and watch Amazon movies easily but do wish I had the Adobe Flash so I could watch regular Hulu, Hulu Plus, a pay-for option, is available. I think the slow-down streaming is natural with all systems especially those that are in more isolated areas- the same thing happens regularly with Comcast. Naturally, this occurs when you might expect the systems to be busier - after school, Sat nites, etc.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2013 8:10:46 AM PDT
B. Marks says:
My ISP was bad for a couple of years and streaming during busy times wasn't possible. I downloaded my videos during off-hours then, which meant paying for them individually. That's a lot more expensive than using Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. Fortunately my ISP is better now.

I use a Kindle Fire as well as other tablets for watching videos and they work fine. I also have a couple of netbooks which work well. There's no reason for it to overheat watching videos. It sounds like you have a defective one, or maybe a defective battery.

I tried Hulu Plus but I really hate the way commercials break the flow of a movie or TV show. I got rid of my TV years ago because I don't like commercials. You might look into Netflix and Amazon Prime videos, which are commercial free.

Barry

Posted on Aug 9, 2013 2:48:10 PM PDT
Why can't I watch Netflix on my kindle fire hd

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 9, 2013 4:32:25 PM PDT
B. Marks says:
You can watch Netflix on your Kindle Fire if you have a Netflix account and Wifi. I do it all the time.

Barry

Posted on Aug 10, 2013 2:38:56 PM PDT
Steve says:
Ipad has the best resolution of all tablets. It is still the best available.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2013 5:11:20 PM PDT
B. Marks says:
Actually a number of tablets have higher pixel density than Ipads. The Ipad 5 is 264 pixels per inch (ppi). The Nexus 10 is 300 ppi. The new Nexus 7 is 323 ppi. The Sony Experia Z has 440 ppi. Even the older Experia S had 342 ppi. The Kobo Aura has 265 ppi.

Several HTC phones have far higher ppi than any other devices including the Ipad. The HTC One is, I think, the highest with 468 ppi.

A number of other phones also have higher pixel density. In fact most better quality phones in the past year or two do.

There's certainly nothing wrong with Ipads. I have 2 of them and I like them. But I think they've lost the race to be the best. As good as they are, Android tablets have become more intuitive and easier to use, requiring fewer taps to do most of the common things we have to do a lot. Also, when you get away from the everyday stuff Android is far more flexible and capable.

I haven't seen the latest version of IOS and I understand they've adopted a number of Android's advantages in that so maybe they've caught up now. I don't know.

Barry

Posted on Aug 29, 2013 12:50:19 PM PDT
Carol says:
To add to the discussion, I was able to download Adobe Flash. Love taking full evening to watch the Storage War sagas with A&E ap with no overheating. Checking into other cable channel aps that aren't just snippets of advertising for shows (i.e.; FX only does these). Cut out cable a while ago - Comcast doesn't need my $$. Haven't found the need to wait a couple of months to pay for whole series of shows I want to watch, plain hulu and network.coms do it just as well so no Netflix either.

Posted on Nov 30, 2013 11:54:50 AM PST
I only want a tablet to watch movies cannot understand much about them as I am a 61 year old novice - could anybody out there recommended a good tablet to buy right now for truly good movies watching thank you

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2013 2:15:00 PM PST
Mikey says:
Hi Lisa:

What is your price range? I am partial to the iPads since I still use my 1st generation one for watching movies and it works great. It also has a large screen too. The other important considerations would be where you will be watching the movies... will it be mostly at home or at friends or relatives houses and are there existing wifi capabilities there?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2013 3:54:31 PM PST
B. Marks says:
A good choice right now is the new Kindle Fire HDX. It's not too expensive and it can stream Netflix movies and Amazon Prime movies and even download the Amazon Prime movies. It can also watch paid Amazon videos and Hulu Plus and most other movie streaming sites.

If you want something more general purpose than the Fire HDX there's the Ipad and there are very nice Android tablets. You can't easily watch Amazon videos with Android tablets, although you can watch them. You can watch most other movie and video sites with them.

Barry

Posted on Dec 2, 2013 9:02:19 AM PST
Mikey says:
Agree with the HDX comment. The 7" one is $50 off today on amazon

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 17, 2014 5:13:27 PM PST
Fran says:
Hello,
I just came across this discussion and as you seem very knowledgeable about tablets,streaming etc I want to check in with you and see if you can give current advice. It is now a year after your last post. I had been watching movies streamed from a variety of websites on my ipad and until recently this was fine. Now for the past few weeks I can hardly watch anything. Sometimes I can't even get you tube to load! As stated in an earlier post, I too find it does seem better in the a.m and gets continuously worse as the day goes on. Is this just Comcast's fault? I had actually been looking for advice on buying an android tablet as I thought it might be that I needed something with Flash. Now after reading your posts I'm not sure that would make much difference. Thanks for the info in your posts and if you have time I'd appreciate further comments.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2014 3:03:02 PM PST
B. Marks says:
I can't really tell what's going on without being there and trying a lot of stuff and trying to figure it out. However, based on what you've just said i would suspect Comcast. There's no way to know I'm right.

There are two possible issues with Comcast. Well, more than 2 but 2 obvious ones and one is Comcast specific. Some ISP's, and Comcast is foremost among these, have been slowing down video streaming from sources other than those they're affiliated with. Just how much they slow them down I don't know. I don't have a Comcast account so I haven't experienced this. Because of this the only way I'd have a Comcast account is if they were the only option. But where I live I only have one option, Windstream.

The other, and more likely cause that occurs to me is that Comcast is overselling. In any given area an ISP has equipment to provide connection at full speed to a certain number of connections and when too many get online and start using their connections everyone slows down. That will happen with most ISP's during the hours that people use the internet most but if they're selling more connections than they have the hardware to support it gets worse.

Windstream, who is my only choice of ISP and has been for years, went through about 2 years where they were all but unusable from about 4:30 or 5:00 PM to about 11:00 PM in the best case and often from as early as 2:00 PM and often as late as 1:00 AM. Sometime in the afternoon it would begin to slow down. Occasionally it would even be slow in the morning. When it got bad even checking email was sometimes a problem.

Then about 6 or 8 months ago they shut down for a day, probably to upgrade their equipment, and have been fine ever since. Now they occasionally will slow down for an hour maybe 2 or 3 times a week but most of the time they're just fine.

Comcast may need to upgrade. That's a fairly expensive project and companies tend to put it off. If that's the case your only options are to wait it out or get a different ISP. If you do decide to get a different ISP make sure you get one that doesn't run through Comcast's switches because they'll be no better. It's just something you have to ask them.

Contacting Comcast might help convince them to rush the upgrade if enough people do it but you'll never really know if it did or not. They'll deny there's a problem and send out people to check things out and maybe make a few adjustments and say everything is fine even though it's obviously not. You're dealing with a tech or a help desk person who's paid to make the company look good and that's just life in the modern world.

One thing you can do is use your internet browser and go to speedtest.net and check your internet speed regularly. When you do that avoid pressing any buttons to do anything but check internet speed. The site is trustworthy but it's full of ads that don't seem trustworthy to me. They'll give you an honest report of your upload, download and ping speed. The download speed is the most critical for streaming but the ping speed can be important, too. To get ping speed a server in another location sends your computer a ping message. Your computer returns an answer and the ping speed is how much time elapsed before it got the answer. A good ping speed is up to about 80ms or so. Actually 80ms is a little slow and can be irritating at times but it isn't really a problem. If the ping speed gets up around 200ms then streaming becomes more difficult and it can cause buffering sometimes. About about 400ms and you can expect a few problems and maybe a lot of problems, depending on other factors.

Your download speed should be at least 4 mbps to stream HD video. For normal video streaming even 1 mbps should be okay. Both of these assume a good ping speed. If your download speed is higher ping speed should matter a little less.

If you run the speed test a few times a day for a week or two you'll begin to get a sense of what's going on. It won't help you any but it can give you information to help you decide what you want to do. For example, if streaming is bad right now and you stop and test your speed and it's good and the ping is quick it's more likely that Comcast is slowing down the streaming. If your speeds are slow when you're streaming is bad it's probably just too much traffic. You can't really decide that based on one or even a few tests. Test for a week or two before you try to reach any conclusion. Learn the patterns.

If you find that either of these problems exist look into other ISP's. Keep in mind that they'll all promise you high speeds and those promises mean nothing. Talk to people who use various ISP's and see what kind of results they're having. Mostly do this with people near you. Someone across town may get entirely different results. The switches that your connection goes through have to be within a very few miles of your home. I don't really remember the distance but I think it's only a mile or two or thee. The next switch over might have very different equipment.

You can also google for reviews on ISP's in your zip code and get information.

Barry

Posted on Nov 18, 2014 3:08:58 PM PST
B. Marks says:
I should have mentioned that you should never run the speed test while you're streaming. That will make things look much worse than they are. Stop doing anything that might use a significant amount of bandwidth so the speed test can have the internet connection pretty much to itself. It takes less than a minute.

Barry

Posted on Dec 13, 2014 7:02:36 PM PST
SB says:
Hello,

I am also looking for a tablet to primarily stream movies (Netflix). My price limit would be up to $250. The bigger the screen the better. Any suggestions?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2014 7:23:00 PM PST
B. Marks says:
Netflix works on any Android tablet. There are a few 10" tablets within your price range. A couple are the Asus Memo Pad FHD and the Asus Transformer TF103. Here are links to those:

ASUS Transformer Pad TF103CX-A1-BK 10.1-Inch 16 GB Tablet (Black)

ASUS MeMO Pad FHD 10 ME302C-A1-WH 10.1-Inch 16GB Tablet (White)

The Memo Pad FHD has the advantage of a full HD screen. That won't matter a lot when watching Netflix but it's better if you plan to read or browse the web with it.

You can also get a refurbished 8.9" Kindle Fire HD for $200 on Amazon. It comes with the same warranty as a new one so I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. It also has a full HD screen.

You're at the very bottom of the price range for quality 10" tablets and you'll find a lot of off-brand models for less but I'd stay away from those. They tend to be unreliable and have poor support and compatibility problems. I'd stick with a major brand.

If you wanted to get an 8" tablet there are quite a few in your price range.

All of these will be very good for streaming videos. Probably the best quality of the ones I've mentioned will be the Kindle Fire HD, even though it's refurbished. But all of the ones I've listed are good.

I have 7", 8", 9" and 10" tablets and I use them all for streaming video. Normally the bigger the better but when I'm moving around the house while watching the small ones are nice.

Barry

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2014 7:44:59 AM PST
SB says:
Hi Barry,

This is extremely helpful! I am not familiar with refurbished items from Amazon, so are they supposed to look brand new? Meaning no scratches, nothing left on the tablet from the previous owner, etc. (In regards to the Kindle Fire)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2014 7:19:10 PM PST
B. Marks says:
I helped a friend get a refurbished Fire from Amazon a couple of years ago. It came in a box just like a new one and it was indistinguishable from my new same model Fire. It had only those things on it a new tablet comes with.

Kindle Fires, like most tablets, come with a factory recovery feature that you can use any time. It wipes out the contents entirely, deregisters is, and installs a fresh version of the operating system, making it exactly like a new tablet. They seem to do that before shipping the refurbished one out.

When you get a new one it comes pre-registered to your account so when you turn it on and connect to Wifi it knows who you are and you're ready to download any content associated with your account on Amazon. I can't remember if the refurbished one came registered to my neighbor or not. In any case it's a simple matter to register it.

There were no scratches or blemishes of any kind. If we hadn't known it was refurbished I'm not sure we'd have been able to tell the difference.

Barry

Posted on Feb 18, 2015 7:21:30 AM PST
Nancela says:
I'd like to stream short videos from Lynda.com. They're generally about 6 minutes, maybe 10. I would like to do this where I am able to jump onto the Wifi connection. I've never owned a tablet. I don't know anything about choosing a tablet for this. I would be wearing earphones, but would like something that worked when not doing so. I never do computer games so don't care about that functionality. Around ho much do I need to spend?

Posted on Feb 18, 2015 7:55:10 AM PST
B. Marks says:
Lynda.com does have apps for Android and for IOS so you should be able to use it with most tablets. I haven't used them for a few years and I used them on Windows so I don't have experience with that but hopefully that won't be a factor.

I strongly suggest getting a tablet from a major manufacturer. Apple, Samsung, Asus, Acer, Toshiba, Lenovo, etc. These all make good quality tablets. Some also make very cheap tablets and I'd avoid those. I'd be sure to get a tablet with an IPS display at a minimum.

If you get a cheap no-name tablet you can run into all kinds of compatibility and other problems and that's especially true using a less commonly used site like lynda.com.

Then you have to consider size. You get a lot more portability with a 7" tablet and they're okay for videos but a 10" tablet can be a lot more comfortable for watching if portability isn't a major issue. There are also 8" and 9" tablets for compromise. I have tablets with all of these sizes and I watch videos on all of them but when I watch tutorials I usually prefer the larger ones. In my case portability isn't an issue at all.

Amazon has the Samsung Galaxy 4 10" on sale right now and that would be an excellent choice. It's a well made tablet that works well and even though it's 10" it has small bezels so it's slightly more portable. That also makes it a bit harder to hold without touching something so if you'll be watching while holding it it might not be the best choice. If it'll be sitting on a desk while you watch that isn't an issue.

I have a really nice 8" tablet, the Asus Memo Pad ME181 that's reasonably inexpensive and works remarkably well. It's speakers are louder than most and it has an excellent screen. They also have a similar tablet, the ME180 and I'd avoid that because it doesn't have an IPS screen.

There are a lot of other tablets in this class that will do about as well such as the Asus TF103 and cost less.

None of these tablets have very high density screens and if video is your only consideration that won't matter. It's hard to tell the difference with videos. But if you plan to be reading much on the tablet then you might want to consider something such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S with it's very dense screen. These cost more and they make a real difference with reading text.

Barry
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Discussion in:  Tablet forum
Participants:  11
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Initial post:  Jul 15, 2013
Latest post:  Feb 18, 2015

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