Discovery channels stream limit

Now that Spectrum has fixed their TVE authentication issue, I have noticed that the Discovery channels in my Spectrum subscription don't work that well. It appears to be a problem on the Discovery side. The symptom is that you can only open 3 streams before you get an error that states that the stream limit has been exceeded. The issue is that the error implies that you have 3 simultaneous streams, and that you can proceed if you close one of them. However, this occurs after opening three stream sequentially, in the same browser, so there are no session to close. It's as if something is tracking session opening, but is not tracking sessions closing. After an hour, the session seems to expire, so at that point other streams can be opened, as long as your stream count over the last hour doesn't exceed 3.

I opened a ticket with Spectrum, and I was able to escalate it to the engineering department, but since it's not something that Spectrum can directly fix, I don't expect much action. The best they can do it to advocate for Spectrum's customers, and try to get Discovery to address it.

Another thing I noticed is that Discovery regards the initial authentication as a unique session. So after you initialize three channels, the fourth is rejected because of the stream limit, but more channels can be added at one hour intervals. Furthermore, after initializing three channels, you can't watch any of them because you don't have any free sessions left.

It eventually works, but you can't channel surf, nor can you casually open the live Discovery web sites, because they automatically start streaming!

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So, here's a request for the Channels developers. Consider adding an optional automatic retry in the TVE source that is invoked if the stream limit error is caught.

Actually all this is happening on Spectrum's side and not Discovery. No other provider implements stream limits, and Spectrum is doing so just by counting when various websites try to start streaming. Since there's no callback sent to Spectrum when you stop streaming, it has to rely on timing out after an hour.

OK, not sure what to believe then. Spectrum told be that they count devices, not sessions. They have a five device limit, and when that's exceeded, there is an error message message that is related to the number of devices, not sessions.

Also, this problem doesn't occur when accessing non-Discovery channels. It's only the total number of Discovery sessions that triggers the session limit error. Specifically, OWN, Discovery, Food, Animal Planet, HGTV, TLC, Travel, Investigation Discovery, DIY, Cooking, Science, AHC, and maybe a couple of others. The error only occurs when accessing more than three of those channels. Also, it doesn't matter what devices are used. I have tested it on two computers, a Fire TV stick, and my Android phone. Any combination of devices used to access Discovery channels counts towards the 3 stream limit. And during the following hour, any of the currently "open" sessions can be accessed by any device.

Now, I suppose it possible that Spectrum was forced to add that business logic to their own system as a condition for carrying Discovery channels. If so, their engineering department should recognize the issue (if they'll admit to it).

One thing that Spectrum tech support said was that if the error message appears in the video stream, then it's coming from Discovery. It does appear to be in the stream, but it could be an overlay...

Even in Channels? If it has a yellow warning sign then its not in-stream. You should see the same error in the DVR log or the channels listing via Edit menu.

This could be related to how the discovery websites work. Each one requires you auth separately instead of sharing an auth session across them all. So even if you're technically on the same device, each one signs in as a separate one.

In Channels, the error appears in the status area just under the video:

Error: TVE: 403 You've exceeded the maximum number of streaming sessions. To watch this program, sign out of one of your other sessions, and try again.: stream limit reached

The video area is displaying a circular progress animation. So, not actually in the video stream unless you are parsing it out.

Is it possible that Discovery is generating the error, and Spectrum is passing it along?

Here's an interesting excerpt from the log. You can see the last successfully opened stream, the next stream fails, then I successfully reopened a session that was closed just prior to the failed one.

2019/08/23 13:14:31 [TNR] Opened connection to TVE-Spectrum for ch6102 FOOD
2019/08/23 13:14:32 [HLS] Probed live stream in 337.6883ms: h264 1920x1080 progressive 5278248bps
2019/08/23 13:14:32 [HLS] Starting transcoder for channel 6102 from (encoder=remux, resolution=, deinterlacer=, bitrate=10000)
2019/08/23 13:14:38 [HLS] Stopping transcoder session ch6102-dANY-ip192.168.1.113 @ 0s
2019/08/23 13:14:38 [TNR] Closed connection to TVE-Spectrum for ch6102 FOOD
2019/08/23 13:14:53 [ERR] Failed to start stream for ch6103: TVE: 403 You've exceeded the maximum number of streaming sessions. To watch this program, sign out of one of your other sessions, and try again.: stream limit reached
2019/08/23 13:18:04 [TNR] Opened connection to TVE-Spectrum for ch6102 FOOD
2019/08/23 13:18:04 [HLS] Probed live stream in 331.7282ms: h264 1920x1080 progressive 4977417bps
2019/08/23 13:18:04 [HLS] Starting transcoder for channel 6102 from (encoder=remux, resolution=, deinterlacer=, bitrate=10000)
2019/08/23 13:18:16 [HLS] Stopping transcoder session ch6102-dANY-ip192.168.1.113 @ 0s
2019/08/23 13:18:16 [TNR] Closed connection to TVE-Spectrum for ch6102 FOOD

When you tune into a discovery channel, it pings the provider (i.e. Spectrum) to see if you have access. Instead of saying OK, spectrums' servers are returning that stream limit message which discovery relays back to you.

OK, I'll keep pressing Spectrum for a resolution. I also got through to Discovery. Maybe between the two of them we can get some improvement. It worked for CNN!

BTW - I've found some technical information related to TV Everywhere, but nothing that covers the details of the interactions between client, provider, and license provider in terms of standards, conventions, and protocols. Do you have any reference material?

I've come across this problem as well, my thought is to maybe add another spectrum account as a source for Channels. I don't know if this would even work but that might allow for more streams, not sure though, just an idea.

Good idea, but it is apparently not supported by the TVE source. I went into the Spectrum account settings, created another user, then tried to create a new TVE source using the new user ID and password. I got this error: MVPD already registered.

Doesn’t turner sharing work with TVE? So if you have multiple “streams” should the DVR only request one and share with the DVR clients?

Not sure as I don't have Spectrum, or DTVN or AT&T TV Now but I'm wondering if they aren't doing the same things the vMVPD's are where they limit your simultaneous TVE streams.

DTVN, now AT&T TV Now says this.
See toward the bottom

Meaning you already authenticated with Spectrum (MVPD). So Spectrum must be tying your multiple user names together under the same Spectrum account.

Either that or Channels DVR can't have two TVE-Spectrum devices with different auth...

Just tested with 5 live streams. I have Spectrum streaming only plan which is unlimited I believe

Edit: Are we just talking about Discovery and Spectrum or all channels with Spectrum?

This has to just be part of Spectrum's agreement with Discovery. I don't have this issue with channels from any other companies on Spectrum's service (you can go through every ESPN & Disney channel for example without any issues). I also have a DirecTV login and this issue doesn't occur with Discovery channels on DirecTV either so it must be part of their contract to cut down on password sharing.

Could be never tried multiple streams. I know with Fitzy, Discovery channels require a separate authorization. This is when I had PlayStation Vue.

Just the Discovery channels. And, this is not truly simultaneous streams. With Discovery channels only, something is counting total streams opened over the last hour, and limiting it to three.So, when I "channel surf" Discovery channels, the fourth channel fails until one hour after the first channel is opened. It doesn't matter if the Channels client is used for this, or the direct TVE sites themselves.

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I just set up a Channels DVR with my Spectrum account and it has this issue but it effected the "scan". After 2 channels were added the subsequent ones failed because of the 403 error. I had to manually go back into the list every hour or so and could rescan 2 at a time before getting the error again.