Weird problem with video falling behind then catching up

I have an HDHR cable-card tuner that I use with my Xfinity subscription. We actually don't watch much cable, so I never noticed this phenomenon until this week. While watching CNN live, every now and then the video will freeze but the audio will keep going, and then the video will unfreeze and playback with a "fast forward" effect until it catches up to the audio, and then everything is back to normal.

Note that I have never observed this effect watching a broadcast station live, or when watching any DVR-recorded content (broadcast or cable).

I've noticed this frequently with streams from my Prime on Spectrum. Essentially there is a network hiccup or error in the source stream. The video pause and catchup is due to the video decoder trying to decode the frames and put them in order, but it doesn't have the next frame yet. Once the stream continues, the decoder catches up to resync the video and audio.

Usually, this is a "them" problem, not a "you" problem. Most likely the error is in the stream coming from your cable provider; occasionally it can be a network issue with your home network, but that is less often the case.

Interesting. I find I can mitigate the problem by pausing the broadcast for, say, 30 seconds. But, after a couple hours of continuous viewing, I think enough of these hiccups accumulate to have eaten up the buffer and I start seeing them again.

Good to know it's probably not an issue with my setup (I suspected as much since I have a pretty beefy server and high bandwidth LAN and I never see this issue with OTA or recorded content).

I’ve also noticed this on prime sources and wondered if it was just me. I noticed my signal levels are at minimum recomended levels. I thought that might be the issue, but perhaps not. I also confirmed it also happens using the HDHR app, so it’s not a Channels issue.

If it is a signal issue, two things you might be able to try to improve it:

  1. Use a filter. Double check which frequencies are in use for your cable feed, and get a filter that eliminates extra frequencies. (For the Prime, cable frequencies are usually something like 96MHz to (rarely) 1GHz, so make sure those frequencies are kept intact.)
  2. Move your tuner. Interference from other sources (like WiFi APs and other things) can affect your signal. Making sure your Prime is 1–3 feet away from other electronic devices may improve your signal as well.

If neither of those work, the problem may be the cable signal coming into your home. Calling tech support may have them roll out a truck to ensure your signal is clean from the drop to your home's ingress. (Just beware: some cable companies charge for a truck roll. They'll usually refund the truck roll fee if there is a problem that is their fault, but there is no guarantee of that.)

It’s been happening a lot lately for me as well. And I didn’t see anything odd in the logs.

Probably not a low signal problem...

Is your signal strength always 100%? If so, it may be a too strong signal causing issues. SiliconDust's tuners are quite susceptible to over-powered streams. If so, you may want to see about putting an attentuator or splitter between the line and your tuner to weaken to signal a little.

I have had the same issue on my AppleTV 4k. I also had an issue with audio dropping and not coming back. Switching back to the standard audio/video settings in the Advanced settings in Channels seems to have corrected it for me. Note that I am using a HDHomeRun Prime digital cable for this and not OTA. My older FireTV did not have these issues.