Live TV starts buffering repeatedly after some time


#1

@tmm1

I switched to the DVR apps at 2.0.6 with some issues that I was in close communication with you about, most of which were fixed with 2.0.7, but now with whatever fixes were introduced in 2.0.8 I’m having issues yet again that are similar to this user. For me it’s live TV, though it’s possible that it would show up on the respective recordings as well, but I haven’t tested that. I’d be curious to know if the user finds the same issues now and again when watching live.

For some reason, without any obvious trigger, live TV will start stuttering (buffer - play - buffer - play, etc.) and mostly just continue on for a minute or two before it does a fast-motion-catch-up of sorts. Then it eventually happens again. Any number of things will temporarily fix it, including just changing the channel, but obvious that’s not a reasonable fix. I’m hoping you can find a quick and permanent fix, as the family is getting just a bit restless with how often these issues are popping up and then reintroduced yet again with later versions.


Choppy playback on some platforms (FireTV and Android TV)
#2

Thanks for the diagnostics @dcburnquist. I don’t think this is the same thing as what the OP is reporting… the player is pausing completely for you and buffering for several seconds. I would be surprised if you saw behavior like this with recorded playback.

From what I saw in your logs, it looks more like a network issue talking to the HDHomeRun. I’d recommend running a speedtest like I outlined above between your DVR machine and the FireTV. If the speedtest results are good, you could try enabling Tuner Sharing on the FireTV to proxy the live streams through the DVR to see if that helps.


#3

Interesting. I thought it was related but if it’s network that’s news to me. I tried a couple times and the primary Fire TV ranged from 23mbps to 41mbps.

(Tunee sharing has been on for us the whole time, though rarely seems to work.)


#4

I can no confirm that this is also happening on my Apple TV (4K). I barely use it but when I had it on today it started doing the same thing after about 3-5 minutes.


#5

Hmm, that’s interesting. What kind of latency numbers were you seeing when you ran the speedtest? Does a speedtest to the ATV4 produce similar results?

If you’ve been running with Tuner Sharing on already, then it might be worth trying it without instead.


#6

Latency was about 16ms. A speedtest to the ATV4 doesn’t work for some reason. It gives me that dreaded This site can’t be reached, xxx.xx.xx.xx refused to connect.


#7

The ATV4 will only respond while the Channels app is running and visible on screen. tvOS doesn’t allow apps to run in the background.


#8

Ahh, makes sense. 100mbps+ on ATV4, both ATV and Fire showing latency between 11ms and 16ms. In other words, speed and latency seem fine.


#9

Yea that seems fine. It could be an intermittent issue if its cropping up randomly.

Is your DVR machine on wifi or wired in? If wifi, then tuner sharing could cause problems.

Grab the ATV4 log via http://x.x.x.x:57000/log as well and email to [email protected]. I can check to see if the symptoms match the FireTV diagnostics you sent the other day.

Next time the stuttering starts, you could check my.hdhomerun.com Tuner Status to see what the streaming rate is. If it’s dropping very low that will indicate network packet loss.

What kind of router are you running?


#10

I disagree. For a LAN/WLAN, those numbers are pretty poor, IMO.

For comparison: One of our MiBox 3’s gets 40mb/s with an 8.5ms latency to my iPad. That same box gets 64mb/s and 5ms to my network server. (N.B.: The MiBox 3 is known to have WiFi performance issues since Oreo was released.)

Our FTV v2 gets 110mb/s with 7ms latency to my iPad and 248mb/s with 5.3ms to our LAN server.

(I don’t have the ability to run a speed test to my NAS, unless the mad geniuses at Fancy Bits put something cool in the DVR support :slight_smile:, as I don’t have a graphical login there.)

I’m guessing your streaming devices are on WiFi? 5GHz or 2.4GHz? Do you know what the signal strengths are like in the vicinity of your streaming WiFi clients? Do you have something with which you can do an “AP survey” to see what other wireless signals are nearby in the band you’re using?

I’m assuming your HDHR network tuner and DVR are on wired Ethernet connections.

(Whoops! I crossed with tmm1.)


#11

Everything is wifi.

Tuner sharing on has seemed to cause some issues so I will turn that off everywhere (not that it’s ideal) and monitor. I’ll have to wait for an ATV4 log that includes the stuttering since I had already closed out after the episode I was referring to had happened.

Streaming rates are coming in mostly between 3.5mbps and 4.5mbps, but I’m unsure of the rates during a stuttering episode. I’ll keep an eye on that.

We’re running a Google WiFi system with a second mesh unit on the opposite side of the house. It’s hooked up to a really common Arris modem.


#12

Thanks for all the details. Tuner Sharing with DVR over wifi is usually a recipe for problems; especially if you’re on any kind of mesh network. When you proxy live tv via the DVR, it stresses the WiFi twice as much because the DVR machine has to both receive and then retransmit the video stream over WiFi. The HDHR is very latency sensitive, so even a slight disruption on the wireless network can cause it to start dropping packets.

If you can find a way to wire your DVR machine to the same switch as the HDHR, that would be ideal.


#13

We use Google Wifi which operates on a mesh network that I believe jumps in and out between 2.4GHz and 5GHz on the fly depending on signal quality and congestion. Strengths vary from room to room, but the issues have shown to crop up throughout the house with no obvious explanation.

The main TV room gets 20mbps-40mbps depending on device on average, whereas the room with the ATV4 gets consistent speeds over 100mbps. I may toss a third Google Wifi mesh unit in the slower room and see what happens with speeds. However, the ATV4 exhibited the stuttering issue just today, so it’s not isolated to the main room, nor just the Fire TV. Also, while you indicate the network seems slow compared to what you were experiencing, it still seems to me that it’s well beyond sufficient enough for flawless playback in this scenario, no?

There are some variables I’m trying to test, such as seeing if it’s happening primarily on our Prime with cable channels or if it occurs just as often, or at all, on OTA channels coming through the Quatro devices.


#14

Thanks. I’m going to turn off tuner sharing and give it a day (or at least until I see issues crop up). If it solves the problem then great, at least I’ll know what the issue seems to be. If that turns out to be the case, I’ll look in to moving the server to a machine that can be located in close proximity to the router for a wired connection.

I’ll follow up if there’s a need for it. Thanks as always.


#15

Hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but to somebody who knows wireless networking you just provided the explanation: WiFi mesh networks are not optimal for things like high-bandwidth streaming. Low-demand stuff that’s not terribly sensitive to dropped frames is fine: Web browsing, VoIP phones, music streaming, even video surveillance–which is comparatively low bandwidth–stuff like that. But video streaming? Not a good fit.

There are a number of reasons.

Hate to refer to an article from what is essentially a competitor to SD and FB, but it does a pretty good job of explaining why mesh WiFi networks and video streaming aren’t a good match: Mesh WiFi Networks: What Cord Cutters Need to Know About the Latest Tech Toy

IMO you need to get at least your tuner and DVR onto a wired network. That might be as easy as running a cable from the closest mesh node to a small GigE switch and plugging those two into that.

If you can shut off band steering, which can force clients onto the 2.4GHz band, that might help, too.


#16

We have no issues with any type of video streaming. We’ve been streaming 4K content for a few years without so much as a blip. We are a very streaming-heavy household with retirees and disabled individuals who are constantly watching streamed content. The mesh network has not proved to be a hindrance in any way. Could it suddenly matter in this one specific instance? Sure, I suppose, but for everything else so far it hasn’t made a difference.

NOTE: We actually had Tablo for over 6 months, and it was perfectly fine. Ultimately we weren’t fans of the overall experience and the lack of versatility, so here we are.

The tuners are wired, as I don’t even think wireless is an option for HDHomerun tuners. We only have one computer that’s on 24/7 and that’s in a bedroom, so wired isn’t an option unless we decide to run another computer 24/7 in a new location in proximity to the router.

All that said, so far, turning off tuner sharing on all client devices per @tmm1 has eliminated the issue. It looks promising, so that was most likely the culprit.


#17

Well, colour me surprised, because, knowing what I know of wireless networks and how mesh networks work, I would expect things to fall over regularly. But if it works for you: Great.

Wireless bridge. I had ours hooked up to one for eval, because I have no Ethernet where the antenna came in. It worked well enough for the eval. (802.11n on 5GHz.)


#18

Don’t know your exact setup, but connecting both your HDHR and DVR server to the same Google WiFi could do the trick. If I’m not mistaken, any Google Wifi that is used as an extender has both ethernet ports available for LAN connections.