Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix all support the use of recent versions of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. Hulu and Netflix also support Edge, Microsoft’s replacement for Internet Explorer. Although none of these sites recommends the use of one browser over another, it’s possible that the browser you use to go online may be affecting your enjoyment of streaming video. If poor streaming speed or quality is frustrating you, the following information may help. Go Big or Go Chrome If Google Chrome is your browser of choice, you may notice that Netflix video quality just doesn’t seem as good as it should be. As it turns out, this lack of quality has nothing to do with Netflix or your connection speed. As of this writing, Chrome only allows a maximum Netflix resolution of 720p, which is the lowest standard for high-definition video. Most screens can now support a higher resolution, as can Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari, all of which can stream at 1080p. It’s likely that future versions of Chrome will improve this performance but, for now, Chrome may not be the best choice for streaming. Even if it’s your favorite browser, you might consider using another for streaming video. Firefox Gets More User-Friendly One example of an update that can affect your streaming experience is the fact that older versions of Firefox required Microsoft’s Silverlight plugin to play Netflix video. Users attempting to view Amazon or Netflix on Firefox had to download and install the Silverlight plugin. While that process was relatively straightforward, it may have been a challenge for the less tech-savvy who simply wanted to stream their favorite TV shows. However, beginning with Firefox version 38, users should no longer have to do so, making it a better choice for streaming. This update illustrates the importance of making sure you install your browser updates. So the next time it asks, let it update. Check Your Settings Some browsers use a setting called “hardware acceleration” that can cause problems with online performance. This problem seems especially common in Firefox, and is often suggested as a common source of streaming video problems on a variety of different sites. You’ll also find hardware acceleration as a feature in Flash, a software used by many streaming video sites. According to Hulu, changing Flash’s hardware acceleration setting may also improve performance. Many users install a variety of plugins to provide additional browser functionality. Sometimes, though, these plugins can cause as many problems as they solve. One of Chrome’s solutions for troubleshooting streaming video problems is to try viewing the video in incognito mode. If doing so improves streaming video quality, one of your plugins is the likely culprit. Although other browsers don’t recommend this same troubleshooting technique, plugins can be a potential cause of problems in any browser, and disabling or removing them may help. Test a New Browser Two easy ways to see if your browser is the source of your streaming video problems are simply to make sure you have the latest version of your current browser, and trying streaming in a new browser. If you don’t have another one installed on your computer, your current browser should at least prove useful for downloading a new one. You can choose from the newest version of Apple Safari, Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox. Because Internet Explorer is now a legacy browser, and Edge is only meant for new Windows 10 machines that should already come with it, we don’t recommend installing one of these onto a computer equipped with the other. Speed Still Matters No browser can do a good job of streaming video unless it has a sufficiently fast connection. If your plan just doesn’t give you the speed you need, find a new one that does. Start by entering your zip code below. [zipfinder] With Amazon announcing its 3-D phone at a press conference yesterday, we decided to examine the best and worst possibilities of using 3-D technology on the Internet. The Best Possibilities of 3-D Internet Gaming Gaming is the obvious application of 3-D Internet. Some gaming companies have already started down the 3D road with mixed results. Three dimensional gameplay has been around since 1981, although the game still only had two dimensional graphics. With 25 years-worth of improved graphics and increasing realism, creating a complete, interactive, 3-D environment seems like the ultimate escape for gamers. Shopping Imagine taking a virtual walk through a car lot without leaving your seat. With the potential of 3-D technology you may soon be able to get an accurate view of a car, home, or anything else you’re looking to purchase, from every angle. It will be just like being in those autotrader.com commercials. Google Street View 3-D Tours Amazon demoed what they called “Dynamic Perspective” where a 3-D building was displayed. The same technology could take you on a virtual tour of almost any place in the world. The complete immersion into the 3-D environment would be like outsourcing your visual perception to the destination of your choice. Could it ever really take the place of traveling? True Online Marketplaces Turning a webpage into a 3-D space would create new challenges for web designers. One such challenge could be how users would navigate a three dimensional landscape and how that might affect the layout of navigation and menu bars. Perhaps in a world of 3-D Internet, navigation menus will be set up along the Z axis. Users could “walk” into the webpage like walking down the street at an outdoor bazaar.  Home, Blog, About Us, and any other navigation links could be the banners above the different booths at the “marketplace.” You could combine this idea with the 3-D shopping we mentioned earlier. Models and product images on shopping sites have the potential to explode into 3-D visuals, allowing you to see the product in scope, or look around a model to see how the fabric of the dress actually falls. Video Chat Video chat in 3-D would be the next best thing to teleportation. It’s the next natural progression for Skype, Facetime, or Google Hangouts. Combined with 3-D camera technology like Google’s Project Tango, you could virtually be in the same room with someone from anywhere in the world. Careful, although you see her face, it’s still just an image; don’t try to kiss it goodnight. The Worst Fears about 3-D Internet Physical Distortions from Photoshop You’ve seen the poorly photoshopped pictures people put online. They tuck in a little fat here, give themselves a little more curve there. By the time they’re done, the edge of the wall behind them looks like a silly straw. Now imagine adding a third dimension to that chaos. The results would be enough to give M.C. Escher a headache. Pop Outs You think you’re bombarded with pop-up ads now, wait until advertisers get a third dimension of real estate. They won’t hesitate to use it. Pop-ups will become pop-outs. They will literally be in your face. Plus, the new technology will probably be ahead of the software designed to block pop-ups. It will be like the great pop-up invasion of the late ‘90s, only in 3-D. Selfies Does anybody really want to see a 3-D selfie? The reflection of your cluttered countertop through your dirty bathroom mirror is horrifying enough in two dimensions. I don’t want to see how close you have to stand to the toilet to show your tattoo without showing your cellulite. And I definitely don’t want to see the moon-like topography of that cellulite. Let’s cap the selfie at two dimensions. Your arm isn’t long enough to get the camera far enough away to make you look good in 3-D. Extreme Sports Go-Pro Videos As most people who sat through The Blair Witch Project can attest, the shaky camera thing has run its course. As if it wasn’t nausea inducing enough watching the videos of extreme sports enthusiasts ride their apparatus of choice all over red rock country, then they got Go-Pro helmet cams and now you’re guaranteed to get sick watching them. Add in 3-D and we can get sick in three directions. On the bright side, no need for ipecac. The most noise you’ve ever heard. You know the sound, that annoying, “aww,” you hear from the people who constantly look at those sickeningly adorable cat pictures all day long. You know it’s only going to get worse if those pictures are in 3-D. Not only will the sound get louder, but the number of sources is likely to increase. The cats that run the Internet will render us all deaf through a thunderous chorus of adoration for them, yet we just can’t look away. The inevitable next step. Perhaps the most terrifying thing about 3-D Internet is the doors it will unlock. What will it lead to next? Smell-o-vision anyone? [zipfinder]
Photo: Amazon Find John on Google+
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