Review: Amazon's Fire TV Cube isn't that much better than older models

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited June 26
Amazon has started shipping the Fire TV Cube, a media player aiming at the Apple TV 4K. But, can it bring as much to the table as Apple's device does, for just a little bit less money?





Quite literally, the device is Amazon's 2017 Fire TV with more storage and a built-in Echo Dot. At regular price, those two items come out to $120, exactly what the Cube costs. Amazon is currently offering the combo for only $95.

Last year's Fire TV and the Cube share the same exact hardware specs, other than a bump to 16GB of storage. The regular 2017 Fire TV has the same exact processor, the same 2GB of RAM, the same MIMO WiFi, and can support the same 4K Ultra HD resolution, HDR10, and Dolby Atmos surround sound.

Amazon Fire TV Cube


Where wired Ethernet is an add-on for the Fire TV, the Cube does include an Amazon Ethernet Adapter in the box.

Most of the Fire TV Cube Reviews out there focus on the basics surrounding the device, how it works, and what it can do, but unfortunately, a lot of them fail to mention some of its biggest problems.

For those of us who already have an Echo device in our homes, buying the Cube makes little sense.

The previous Fire TV models can also do pretty much everything the Cube can do if you've got an Echo in the same room as your TV, with one addition -- the Cube is able to control many third-party devices with just your voice, including your TV.

Google Home and Chromecast allow users to turn supported TV's on and off, but the Cube shines because you can control other devices like an Xbox, Playstation, cable boxes, and more through Alexa integration, HDMI CEC, or an IR Blaster repeater.
With half-second lock-ups of the interface while scrolling through a list, you wonder if Amazon should have charged $10 more and used a beefier processor.
This leads us to our first problem, if you've already got an Echo in your living room, is being able to control some of your other devices worth the extra money? Plus, if you do have an Echo, it might cause problems with Cube. Amazon recommends you relocate your Echo to another room or change its wake word.

One of our testers had no problem with the same wake word between devices. Another kept having a problem with the Fire TV Cube picking up commands intended for the Echo.

If you have the more expensive $100 Echo, or the Echo Plus, and prefer to play music on it instead of the tv, this could be a problem.

The Fire TV Cube's iron

Cube's second major issue is cheap and outdated hardware. It uses the same 1.5GHz quad-core processor from the 2017 Fire TV, as well as the Mali 450 MP3 graphics that's based on architecture from 2012! The reviews of the Fire TV are littered with people complaining about an overall slow and buggy experience. Some even decided to go back to an older generation Fire TV because of it.

In our experience, Cube's UI animations on the main screen seemed fairly smooth, although it took a bit for them to start at times. Loading certain apps took longer than we expected them too, like Netflix for example. More on this in practice, in a bit.

The Apple TV 4K is $40 more expensive than the Cube, but at least it's using one the most powerful mobile chips available, the A10X. That's the same chip powering last year's iPad Pro.

With performance like that, you know the Apple TV 4K will remain current for years, but you can't say the same for Amazon's Fire TV Cube.

Video Playback, and app shopping

The Amazon Fire TV Cube does what it says it will do. After it buffers, it will play back your Amazon Prime Video either through a wired Ethernet connection with the dongle, or on Wi-Fi.

On Ethernet, speeds hit around 11 megabytes per second from the router. While we'd prefer Gigabit on the Fire TV Cube, both speeds are more than enough for 4K streaming with no buffering breaks in the middle of the event. The 802.11ac Wi-Fi speeds started better, at about 80 megabytes per second, but prone to big dips down to less than 5 megabytes per second for reasons we couldn't pin down.

Because of the strange speed excursions on Wi-Fi, we had a better streaming experience with the wired Ethernet connection than we did on the Wi-Fi. Looking at Amazon's customer reviews for the Fire TV, we don't seem to be alone in that regard.

Amazon Fire TV Ethernet adapter


But, again, our biggest issue is the janky interface. A dropped frame now and again isn't a giant problem with interfaces. But, with half-second lock-ups of the interface while scrolling through a list, you wonder if Amazon should have charged $10 more and used a beefier processor.

The Fire TV Cube has a robust app selection, rivaling the Apple TV in many ways. This isn't really a credit to Amazon, but a ding on Apple. We've said it before, and we'll say it again -- Apple had an opportunity to lock-down the TV-based apps market when it launched the fourth generation Apple TV, and it blew it because of an assortment of choices about limitations on developers.

Alexa Voice Remote isn't any better on the new hardware

Moving on to our third problem, you get basically the same old Alexa Voice Remote that comes with the old Fire TV.




The Cube has Alexa built-in, so Amazon says you don't really need the remote, but in our experience, it takes so much longer to navigate. It also can be kind of awkward when you have guests over, so for those reasons, we would much rather use a standard remote control.

Looking at the remote's reviews on Amazon, however, reveals yet another snag. The device has almost as many 1 star ratings as it does 5 star. Users complain of corroded batteries or extreme battery drain. There's also more than a fair share of users who had their remotes completely stop working, forcing them to get a replacement.

The fourth issue is related to remote issues. Let's say your Alexa Voice Remote stops working or you lose it, you can just use the Cube's built-in voice controls. At least in theory.

When AppleInsider tried in two different locations, we had Alexa misunderstand our commands in both environments multiple times, and when searching for certain categories of movies, it gave us different results than it did when we used the remote. We would try to search for Prime movies, for example, but the UI would mix in shows that are only available for purchase or rent.

The worst is when you're using your voice to manually navigate the UI. You have to constantly repeat, "Alexa, scroll right," over and over again. It just takes forever!

The situation only got worse when we had the volume cranked up on the TV. I had to yell "Alexa" multiple times at the Cube after she didn't hear my first couple of attempts, and that happened quite a few times.

Amazon says they added an extra microphone into the Cube to help hear your commands, but in my experience, it doesn't seem any better than the other Echo devices.




With those problems aside, Cube works fairly well for its core purpose, playing video. We'll do a long-term review and talk about any problems we run into as we use it in a few months.

Alexa home automation status

Having Alexa built-in definitely has its perks, but if you have any smart home accessories, you probably already own an Echo device.

Visually seeing the weather and other information that Alexa gives you on the big screen is definitely a plus, and probably one of the best things about it, right next to the ability to turn on your TV and control all of your devices with just your voice.

Amazon is currently offering the Fire TV Cube in a bundle with their Cloud Cam, and upon installation, it syncs up instantly with the Cube. So, you can just ask Alexa to show the cloud cam, and it's up after that same delay that seems to infect every other action on the device.




However, when your TV is off, it takes even longer to appear as the device wakes. We were seeing almost half a minute for the cam to show up.

But, once it gets going, the lag between what's going on in front of the camera and what you see on the TV isn't too bad -- and you have audio as well.

Amazon Fire TV Cube and the Apple TV

We'll be doing a more direct comparison to the Apple TV 4K on AppleInsider soon to help you decide which streaming box is right for you, but in short, if you're just looking at Amazon Prime Video or Netflix, either device will do. But, if you need iTunes streaming, the Apple TV 4K is the only way to go.

Otherwise, the Amazon Fire TV Cube is a decent device, but not a great one. If you've got a home server set up at home, you can point something like Plex or Infuse at your iTunes library to get them to stream to your Cube -- but it isn't a native solution and will require a little fiddling on your end.

What would have made it great? Charging $10 more and opting for a faster processor.

Overall, if you're embedded in the Apple ecosystem, we give the Amazon Fire TV a:

Score: 3 out of 5

Amazon has continued its trend of "good enough" devices at a relatively low cost, with little panache or flair again in the Amazon Fire TV Cube. If that's okay, and you have no need for iTunes streaming at all, and don't care about the UI jank, it's a bit better at 4 out of 5.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    Such a disappointment. The Fire TV was exciting in 2016 when they came out with that super-fast model. This is just depressing.
    Muntz
  • Reply 2 of 19
    supadav03supadav03 Posts: 393member
    Meh. Never liked the Fire Stick/TV and this does little to change my mind. Can’t stand the UI and it’s always been too slow for my taste. The only reason I bought one (and anecdotally why most people I know bought one) was to jailbreak it and add Kodi as a why go watch free TV. 
    Muntzargonautwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    Amazon just wants to be a monopoly and spy on you. Stay away!
    racerhomie3Muntzwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 19
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,531member
    Sucks that the reviewer had such a problem with the device, but I got mine in last Thursday and have generally been impressed with it (got it for $89.99 during the early promo). I previously had an Echo Dot in the living room and a Roku Stick attached to my 60-inch "non smart" LG TV. I instead moved the Echo Dot to the garage (where I spend quite a bit of time) and haven't found a new place for the Roku Stick yet.

    Right now, I love the fact that I can simply say Alexa, turn on TV and it turns on my TV and my LG soundbar. So when I come downstairs in the morning, I get to the bottom step and say say "Alexa, turn on the TV" and it powers up and to the last channel I was on and I get breakfast ready without missing a beat. I say "Alexa, turn up the volume" and it does it in 3 step increments (although you can adjust this in Device Settings -- it was 4 steps by default). Even when I whisper her name, Alexa responds, and it can hear me with the volume up moderately. I say "Alexa, Switch input to antenna" and it bring up my OTA channels. What sucks is that it can't change my OTA channels by voice, so I have to use the TV remote. I say "Alexa, Switch input to HDMI 1" and it brings me to the Fire TV interface. Doing the same for HDMI 2 brings up our Nintendo Switch.

    I mainly use just three apps (Sling TV, Plex, PBS Kids), and they work well enough. I say, "Alexa, open Sling Television" and it opens. For some reason, saying "Open Sling TV" just brings up a search of similar streaming apps. WTF? But once I get into the Sling TV interface, I can't use voice navigation to call up a channel. For example, I can't say "Open CNN". Again, I have to go to the remote. Kind of annoying, but it is what it is.

    As for performance, it's been very good. It seems as fast if not faster than my old Roku Stick, and I haven't had any performance stutters/crashes. Everything seems pretty fluid except for when it first boots and the channel "tiles" are first populating. After that, it's smooth as butter. 

    Overall, I really like the device. It does everything that my old Echo Dot does, but gives me smart TV integration and voice control of my TV/soundbar in a single device which is appreciated (you don't want to know how many time I used to ask the kids or the wife where the remote is to turn up the volume). I also have 4K support and 802.11ac, which I didn't have with my Roku Stick. 
  • Reply 5 of 19
    I think it's pretty disingenuous to talk about the Alexa remote having some bad reviews when it is still rated 3.5 stars on Amazon.com, and the Siri remote, which costs TWICE as much, has 1.5 stars on Apple.com. OUCH! I have 2 Apple TV 4th Generation, and I plan on getting an Apple TV 4K, but Apple TV is total rubbish for smart home. It's getting harder and harder to find HomeKit enabled smart home devices because Apple charges for it, and it's not even close to practical to buy multiple HomePods (especially since Apple STILL hasn't figured out how to stream to more than one device! O.o?) I have 3 Echo Dots and 2 Echo Show. Three are near each other, and the other two are also near each other. I've never really had any issues, but then I'm not a "blogger" living in a studio apartment... I also have a Fire TV Stick 2nd Gen and a Fire TV Stick 4k. I think navigating menus with clicks is both more familiar and easier than that damn swipey Siri remote that has basically no precision. I also don't much see a difference in interface speed. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Lastly, my Vizio 4K TV has an Alexa skill, so I can control it directly with Alexa. There's absolutely no way to use my TV at all with the Apple ecosystem other than connecting an Apple TV device. SAD
    edited June 26 [Deleted User]
  • Reply 6 of 19
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 896member
    Wait... so more expensive than the two devices it is together, no better than either of them, has all of their shortcomings. Plus lots of dongles to be useful. Large power brick that takes the physical space of more than one outlet.

    Are you grading on a curve to get 3 out 5 stars?
    Muntzwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 19
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,531member
    mattinoz said:
    Wait... so more expensive than the two devices it is together, no better than either of them, has all of their shortcomings. Plus lots of dongles to be useful. Large power brick that takes the physical space of more than one outlet.

    Are you grading on a curve to get 3 out 5 stars?
    1) It was available to preorder for $89.99 right after it was announced (48 hour sale I think)
    2) It IS better than the two of them together. I don't believe that either the Fire TV or Echo by themselves offer you voice control of your TV/soundbars/cable boxes/etc. (which really isn't touched on in this review).
    3a) Dongles -- the only "dongle" is for the OPTIONAL Ethernet adapter. Personally, I haven't used a physical wired NIC in my home in years. YMMV
    3b) There is an IR blaster than you can plug in to reach the devices you have in your entertainment cabinet, but I didn't bother plugging it in because the Fire TV Cube sits beside my TV and can communicate with both my soundbar and TV with no issue.
    4) The power brick IS pretty big and disappointing. But considering that I went from two devices plugged in (Echo Dot + Roku Stick) to just one, it's not that big a deal. Again, YMMV.
  • Reply 8 of 19
    kkqd1337kkqd1337 Posts: 158member
    I love my Fire TV. If I were to compare it to anything I would compare it to a chromecast. But I hate the fact that Chromecast can only be controlled on a phone and has no UI.

    i personally don’t like Apple TV at all. 

    But I think this review is good. And it’s good to be critical of Amazon. Why they have made this box slower makes no sense.

    Also, I don’t understand their general direction. In my living room I now have an Echo, a 2nd gen fire tv, a sonos playbar and sonos play 3. In theory if I updated all these things I would now have four!!! Alexa devices. I’m not sure what sort of mess that would be.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    Releasing a device with so many faults at the outset seem to be the way of the world these days.

    However it will sell lots because it is Amazon and Amazon is the most valuable brand in the world isn't it.

    There was nothing about what data it 'phones home' in the review. We should know what it slurps from day 1 so that we can make informed decisions about it before buying.

    Muntzwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 19
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,902member
    mazda 3s said:
    Sucks that the reviewer had such a problem with the device, but I got mine in last Thursday and have generally been impressed with it (got it for $89.99 during the early promo). I previously had an Echo Dot in the living room and a Roku Stick attached to my 60-inch "non smart" LG TV. I instead moved the Echo Dot to the garage (where I spend quite a bit of time) and haven't found a new place for the Roku Stick yet.

    Right now, I love the fact that I can simply say Alexa, turn on TV and it turns on my TV and my LG soundbar. So when I come downstairs in the morning, I get to the bottom step and say say "Alexa, turn on the TV" and it powers up and to the last channel I was on and I get breakfast ready without missing a beat. I say "Alexa, turn up the volume" and it does it in 3 step increments (although you can adjust this in Device Settings -- it was 4 steps by default). Even when I whisper her name, Alexa responds, and it can hear me with the volume up moderately. I say "Alexa, Switch input to antenna" and it bring up my OTA channels. What sucks is that it can't change my OTA channels by voice, so I have to use the TV remote. I say "Alexa, Switch input to HDMI 1" and it brings me to the Fire TV interface. Doing the same for HDMI 2 brings up our Nintendo Switch.

    I mainly use just three apps (Sling TV, Plex, PBS Kids), and they work well enough. I say, "Alexa, open Sling Television" and it opens. For some reason, saying "Open Sling TV" just brings up a search of similar streaming apps. WTF? But once I get into the Sling TV interface, I can't use voice navigation to call up a channel. For example, I can't say "Open CNN". Again, I have to go to the remote. Kind of annoying, but it is what it is.

    As for performance, it's been very good. It seems as fast if not faster than my old Roku Stick, and I haven't had any performance stutters/crashes. Everything seems pretty fluid except for when it first boots and the channel "tiles" are first populating. After that, it's smooth as butter. 

    Overall, I really like the device. It does everything that my old Echo Dot does, but gives me smart TV integration and voice control of my TV/soundbar in a single device which is appreciated (you don't want to know how many time I used to ask the kids or the wife where the remote is to turn up the volume). I also have 4K support and 802.11ac, which I didn't have with my Roku Stick. 
    So, all what you did are pretty nuch gimmicks as long as a remote control is still needed. One touch on my ATV remote turns everything on too...shouting to a TV is dumb imo. Speaking to the remote is ok. 
    Muntzwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 19
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,531member
    fallenjt said:
    mazda 3s said:
    Sucks that the reviewer had such a problem with the device, but I got mine in last Thursday and have generally been impressed with it (got it for $89.99 during the early promo). I previously had an Echo Dot in the living room and a Roku Stick attached to my 60-inch "non smart" LG TV. I instead moved the Echo Dot to the garage (where I spend quite a bit of time) and haven't found a new place for the Roku Stick yet.

    Right now, I love the fact that I can simply say Alexa, turn on TV and it turns on my TV and my LG soundbar. So when I come downstairs in the morning, I get to the bottom step and say say "Alexa, turn on the TV" and it powers up and to the last channel I was on and I get breakfast ready without missing a beat. I say "Alexa, turn up the volume" and it does it in 3 step increments (although you can adjust this in Device Settings -- it was 4 steps by default). Even when I whisper her name, Alexa responds, and it can hear me with the volume up moderately. I say "Alexa, Switch input to antenna" and it bring up my OTA channels. What sucks is that it can't change my OTA channels by voice, so I have to use the TV remote. I say "Alexa, Switch input to HDMI 1" and it brings me to the Fire TV interface. Doing the same for HDMI 2 brings up our Nintendo Switch.

    I mainly use just three apps (Sling TV, Plex, PBS Kids), and they work well enough. I say, "Alexa, open Sling Television" and it opens. For some reason, saying "Open Sling TV" just brings up a search of similar streaming apps. WTF? But once I get into the Sling TV interface, I can't use voice navigation to call up a channel. For example, I can't say "Open CNN". Again, I have to go to the remote. Kind of annoying, but it is what it is.

    As for performance, it's been very good. It seems as fast if not faster than my old Roku Stick, and I haven't had any performance stutters/crashes. Everything seems pretty fluid except for when it first boots and the channel "tiles" are first populating. After that, it's smooth as butter. 

    Overall, I really like the device. It does everything that my old Echo Dot does, but gives me smart TV integration and voice control of my TV/soundbar in a single device which is appreciated (you don't want to know how many time I used to ask the kids or the wife where the remote is to turn up the volume). I also have 4K support and 802.11ac, which I didn't have with my Roku Stick. 
    So, all what you did are pretty nuch gimmicks as long as a remote control is still needed. One touch on my ATV remote turns everything on too...shouting to a TV is dumb imo. Speaking to the remote is ok. 
    I'd consider them slightly gimmicky, but that doesn't distract from the fact that it simply "works" for my needs at a reasonable price. It accomplishes its mission as an AI assistant and a media streamer. That's not much more to it than that.

    And secondly, you don't have to yell. I can just speak at a normal volume, and it recognizes my voice.
  • Reply 12 of 19
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,302administrator
    mattinoz said:
    Wait... so more expensive than the two devices it is together, no better than either of them, has all of their shortcomings. Plus lots of dongles to be useful. Large power brick that takes the physical space of more than one outlet.

    Are you grading on a curve to get 3 out 5 stars?
    It does what it says it will do. It is not best in class. It is an utterly average example of a streaming box. Midway between 1 and 5 is 3.

    We've used far, far worse streaming devices. Should those get a -2?
    mazda 3s
  • Reply 13 of 19
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,028member
    Interesting. This product got 4.5 stars on PCMag.
  • Reply 14 of 19
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 501member
    I think it's pretty disingenuous to talk about the Alexa remote having some bad reviews when it is still rated 3.5 stars on Amazon.com, and the Siri remote, which costs TWICE as much, has 1.5 stars on Apple.com. OUCH! I have 2 Apple TV 4th Generation, and I plan on getting an Apple TV 4K, but Apple TV is total rubbish for smart home. It's getting harder and harder to find HomeKit enabled smart home devices because Apple charges for it, and it's not even close to practical to buy multiple HomePods (especially since Apple STILL hasn't figured out how to stream to more than one device! O.o?) I have 3 Echo Dots and 2 Echo Show. Three are near each other, and the other two are also near each other. I've never really had any issues, but then I'm not a "blogger" living in a studio apartment... I also have a Fire TV Stick 2nd Gen and a Fire TV Stick 4k. I think navigating menus with clicks is both more familiar and easier than that damn swipey Siri remote that has basically no precision. I also don't much see a difference in interface speed. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Lastly, my Vizio 4K TV has an Alexa skill, so I can control it directly with Alexa. There's absolutely no way to use my TV at all with the Apple ecosystem other than connecting an Apple TV device. SAD


    I think there are reviews outside of Amazon.com... Maybe you should look around the web a bit before calling out AI for being dishonest.

    There are nearly 1500 reviews on Amazon and if you actually look  44% are 5 STARS and 32% are 1 STAR. Compared to 112 comments on Apple.com for the Siri remote that mostly mention how easy it breaks because of the glass they use and how sensitive the swipe surface is.  None of them are really about how Siri works or the functionality of the remote. I have to agree with the sensitivity being WAY too much and sometimes maddening when you bump it and what you are playing pauses are begins to magically fast forward..

    I won't even comment on the silliness that you wrote about the Homepod

    "it's not even close to practical to buy multiple HomePods (especially since Apple STILL hasn't figured out how to stream to more than one device! O.o?)".

    Considering Airplay 2 came out at the end of May with the very functionality you claim it doesn't have is available, and indeed does work... I will say welcome and nice first troll post! 

    Good day...




    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 19
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,382member

    On Ethernet, speeds hit around 11 megabytes per second from the router. While we'd prefer Gigabit on the Fire TV Cube, both speeds are more than enough for 4K streaming with no buffering breaks in the middle of the event. The 802.11ac Wi-Fi speeds started better, at about 80 megabytes per second, but prone to big dips down to less than 5 megabytes per second for reasons we couldn't pin down.


    Can I ask what you are streaming that you think you would need Gb?
  • Reply 16 of 19
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,028member
    jfanning said:

    On Ethernet, speeds hit around 11 megabytes per second from the router. While we'd prefer Gigabit on the Fire TV Cube, both speeds are more than enough for 4K streaming with no buffering breaks in the middle of the event. The 802.11ac Wi-Fi speeds started better, at about 80 megabytes per second, but prone to big dips down to less than 5 megabytes per second for reasons we couldn't pin down.


    Can I ask what you are streaming that you think you would need Gb?
    You don’t need Gbit for streaming anything. I have it because I just like large downloads to come in almost instantly, and even Apple’s macOS upgrades just take about 3.5 minutes. But also, because there are three of us here, and we could be streaming or downloading anything. In addition, my daughter often has several friends over, all with their notebooks open, and doing what, I have no idea. But most of that is WiFi, and you don’t get Gbit speeds over WiFi. I have a very fast WiFi network, and get 400mbit up and down most everywhere, but you need Gbit to do that effectively.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,302administrator
    jfanning said:

    On Ethernet, speeds hit around 11 megabytes per second from the router. While we'd prefer Gigabit on the Fire TV Cube, both speeds are more than enough for 4K streaming with no buffering breaks in the middle of the event. The 802.11ac Wi-Fi speeds started better, at about 80 megabytes per second, but prone to big dips down to less than 5 megabytes per second for reasons we couldn't pin down.


    Can I ask what you are streaming that you think you would need Gb?
    At the very least, there is still an initial buffering. On a 4K video, with a FiOS gigabit internet connection, on 10/100 it takes a lot longer for both the Apple TV 4K and Amazon Fire TV Cube to start the video on Amazon Prime than it does the Apple TV on Gigabit.

    Plus, Plex performance in retrieving metadata and whatnot is WAY faster for locally stored video.
    edited June 29
  • Reply 18 of 19
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,382member
    melgross said:

    You don’t need Gbit for streaming anything. 
    Exactly
  • Reply 19 of 19
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,382member

    At the very least, there is still an initial buffering. On a 4K video, with a FiOS gigabit internet connection, on 10/100 it takes a lot longer for both the Apple TV 4K and Amazon Fire TV Cube to start the video on Amazon Prime than it does the Apple TV on Gigabit.

    Plus, Plex performance in retrieving metadata and whatnot is WAY faster for locally stored video.
    Have you done any analysis on your switch to see what bandwidth is being used on the port on each example, It seems strange for those examples to generate traffic of over 100Mb

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