January 30, 2009
Netflix Roku Player Video Quality (4 Stars)
The Roku Netflix player provides different levels of streaming video quality, depending on the speed of your internet connection. There are 4 levels quality, where 1 is about on par with the worst Youtube videos, and 4 is almost as good as DVD quality (maybe).
When a program is selected and starts streaming, the Roku box decides what is the best quality level you can get with the current internet connection. 1 star for the slowest connections, all the way up to 4 stars for the best speed connections, which is typically cable internet. (They're not actually stars, but I like to think of them as such)
I have a DSL connection (Qwest) with a 1.5 megabit download speed. When I first plugged in the Roku player about a year ago, my 1.5 megabit DSL connection, I would typically get the "2 star" level of quality. Occasionally, it would give me the horrid "1 star" level of quality. But I would never see anything above level 2.
Well in the past few weeks, I've been seeing "3 stars" of quality, over the same speed internet connection. Once I even got 4! I didn't change anything, and yet suddenly I'm getting better quality streaming video? And It looks great. It's on par with VHS quality, if not a touch above.
I can't be sure, but I *think* the audio quality has gotten worse. Could Netflix be sacrificing audio quality for better video?
January 7, 2009
Netgear FVS318 as a simple switch
I was given a "broken" Netgear Prosafe VPN Firewall Model FVS318 a while ago. Physically it seemed fine, but when you attempt to login and configure the device, it would never connect to the WLAN.
That seems like a firmware problem. Looking at Netgear's website, there have been a few hardware revisions of the FVS318, a version 1, version 2, and version 3. This one was a hardware version 2, which means it could only be updated to firmware 2.4, which is the version it already had. I tried to go back to older versions, but it wouldn't take them. Nothing really else I could do.
The router was headed for the trash, when I figured something out. The device has 9 RJ45 jacks... a single "Internet Port", and 8 LAN ports. If I connect the cable from my modem to one of the 8 LAN ports instead of the "Internet Port", the device functioned as a simple switch.
So the FVS318 has now been given a second life as a 10/100MB, 8 port switch. Kinda a waste of such full featured firewall/router, but better then winding up in the landfill.