Google Chromecast HD - regular output frame dropping

H, I've recently purchased a Google Chromecast HD (the Google TV one with the remote) to use on the bedroom TV as it's not 4K. I use a 4K one on the living room tv and barely see any playback issues when watching live tv. When I watch any live tv on the HD Chromecast I see regular frame drops, basically all the time. I've tried with all three decoder types (Hardware: Seems stable but plays at half the frame rate so things like live sport look wrong, seems to be playing at 25 fps rather than 50 fps - Hybrid: constant stuttering completely unwatchable - Software: closest to watchable as in it seems to attempt to play at 50fps but there are regular frame drops as described above)
I turned on show stats whilst watching on Software and all the frame drops were on output frames, so I don't believe the server is a problem and the connection speed to the DVR server is over 100Mbits.

Is this possibly that the Chromecast HD just doesn't have good enough hardware to play these high def streams or maybe as it's a reasonably new device there's something not supported in the android tv app yet? Any help would be really appreciated!

I've just rechecked this on my 4k Chromecast and I'm seeing dropped frames here too. It mainly stands out watching world cup games, far more frame drops. I've submitted diagnostics on both sticks

I've also double checked live playback in the Silicon Dust HD Homerun app and it plays fine at the right frame rate on the 4K stick but not on the HD stick. So either the HD stick is just too weak/slow or it's due some updates

I've seen this same issue with ATSC 3.0 (HEVC) channels in the Channels DVR app on my 4K Chromecast w GTV since I purchased it . This issue existed on Google TV 10, and continues with the upgrade to GTV 12. Standard ATSC 1.0 (MPEG-2) and TVE (AVC) channels are not (usually) an issue on this device in the app. But there are major frame drops and audio skips during decoding of the HEVC channels.

I had always just assumed that the issue was a lack of real capabilities/horsepower with the device, but I've been experimenting with other tuning apps on the GTV recently for the World Cup, and can 100% confirm that this is purely a Channels DVR app issue. If I tune to the same ATSC 3.0 channels in any of the following apps, playback of these ATSC 3.0 channels are smooth and without dropped frames: Live Channels, HDHomeRun, Tivimate, IPTV Extreme.

I have tried both the Hardware and Hybrid decoders in the Channels DVR app, and recently submitted logs

@inevitablespoon, I think I now have this same problem and more, too, and have locked down on the core issue.

Last night my CCwGTV original 4K updated to Android 12 and starting today it is having the following issues with HDHR recordings and live channels:

  • No audio
  • Choppy / Frame Drops

All TVE and Custom stations and recordings seem fine, but I didn't test them for long.

In the original files, on the web, on my Android 12 Phone with Channels Beta 11.15.1842, and on my Android TV 10 TS4K+ with Channels Beta 11.19.2219 there is no issue; it is only a combination of Android TV 12 and at least Channels Beta 11.19.2219.

During my testing, I also cycled through Software/Hardware/Hybrid, HLS On/Off, and Legacy HDHR On/Off and every combination of those to the same result.

As such, I'm quite confident that the CCwGTVHD that you bought has more than enough power to do the job, but it came installed with Android TV 12, and that is the culprit right there.

I have submitted an email to the guys through the support address and sent diagnostics, as well.

1 Like

Personally, I've never experienced good ATSC 3.0 decoding in the Channels DVR app with my CCwGTV, even previously when the OS was based on Android 10. I've had my CCwGTV for almost a year now, so this is not a recent issue with 12 (for me at least).

1 Like

Well, here's something interesting to add to this. I did some additional testing and found the problem seemed to be related to a specific audio codec. I could even take an original file and convert it, then the audio would play. When I turned off the Surround Sound option, I could then get the audio on the original files/stations.

Then, I changed my decoder from Hybrid to either Hardware or Software and almost all of the choppiness went away. As such, I appear to be back to baseline working, but I have no idea why.

My setting have been the same for almost two years and worked fine, so the culprit appears to be Android 12 related. I did test a bunch of other scenarios to make sure I didn't break anything, and I appear to be okay, but we'll see (left it at Hardware decoding, might need to switch back to Software, not sure). I am just so confused what has happened that has caused me the need to change my settings in such a way, especially ones I am not happy about changing like turning off surround sound.

I'm glad it's not just me seeing this then, I'm in the UK where HD channels use DVB-T2 rather than ATSC, so it might not be strictly the file format and something to do with the more recent Android versions? I also tried all the different variants of HLS and Legacy HDHR on and off, to no avail.

I've always had this issue in my 4k CWGTV. It would normally happen after a commercial skip. I would either have to skip forward or pause the video briefly to get it to play without dropping frames.

However. After the recent Android TV update it seems to have gotten worse. The only setting that works for me now is setting playback to Software mode. Before this it was always in Hardware mode.

You can also notice frame drops when you lower or raise the volume.

Edit: I'm in the US (ATSC)

All of the streaming sticks have a bad design. You plug it into the HDMI port of the TV and then the TV shields the antenna which is in the tick (puck on a Chromecast with Google TV). Simple fix, purchase an HDMI extension cable, plug it into the TV's HDMI port and the Chromecast into the extension. Now you can place the Chromecast in a location where it can "see" your access point/router. I'm using a 3 foot HDMI extension.

I see this all the time on my shield, hard connected, running as the DVR. Not so much the CCwGTV4k. I thought it had something to do with the physical location of the HDHR, but now I don't know. Same issues. Dropped frames, out of sync audio. I typically pause a station for 20 to 30 seconds now when switching channels. Massive pita, but it seems to alleviate the problem. It is only during live viewing I have the issues.

You might want to experiment with tuner sharing. Use the opposite of the setting you have now

1 Like

Is it related to the new match content feature in Android 12? Maybe try turning that off?

1 Like

I've not used the match content setting, it's a few years old non HDR TV, and as I'm in the UK I've just set the display settings to 1080p 50hz, which has always worked nicely with channels before. It's just been much more noticeable lately, as I've switched from Sky TV back to using Channels again. So it may have been something that started happening a while ago with a particular OS version or app release? I also tried switching off surround sound as I don't use it anyway, and it seemed like there were far fewer frame drops when looking at Show Stats.
I've tried using the Channels Kodi add-on too, just to rule out the processing power of the stick, and it plays smoothly and flawlessly on there, so that leads me to think it's something in the Channels Player

1 Like

This did fix it however it created another problem. If there is any type of hiccup, where the banner comes up and says "tuner network issues" (not the poor signal message), it immediately goes to playback failed. So. I disabled tuner sharing again and am trying out software decoding. It may have fixed the dropped frames, audio sync, but I still get a tuner network popups.

1 Like

Match Frame Rate setting is disabled. Have tried with both tuner sharing enabled and disabled. Have tried Hardware, Software, and Hybrid decoding modes... Nothing provides acceptable HEVC playback in the primary Channels app. The previously mentioned apps (Live Channels/HDHomeRun/Tivimate/IPTV Extreme) have no issue with the same channels however. Apple TV and Shield Channels DVR apps don't have an issue with this content either. This is only 720p HEVC as well, so I'd expect there to not be many issues with performance on this model of Chromecast (though I know its performance capabilities is far less than the Apple TV and Shield).

1 Like