45 Replies Latest reply: Feb 16, 2012 9:07 PM by yfreiberger Branched to a new discussion. RSS

    Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...

    yfreiberger Newbie

      Hi,

       

      I have a slingbox at friends in NY where the internet was just  upgraded from 5mbps upload to 35mbps, I am in Israel with 12mbps  download but my viewing (using mac browser or windows) streaming speed  has not changed and is still 2-3 (mostly 2.5 mbps). Latency speeds show  15-300ms (usually around 200).

       

      Effectively when checking the speed between these two points using speediest.net – US to israel the upload is 8mbps and the download  from NY to Tel Aviv (where I am viewing) is 11.5mbps. Incidentally, the  effective upload from NY to here was 1.5 when measured on speediest  before the upgrade upload from 5 to 35mbps and is now 8mbps so I  expected a drastic increase in streaming speed – that didn't happen.

       

      The slingbox is set with port forwarding on the US side and from  another issue I had to call (and pay..) sling support they said that  they were seeing 12mbps streams in Cost Rica from this sling box (I  though it only went up to 8…) so they would not be able to help me with  streaming as the box is streaming just fine and 'suggested' I check the  forums (I realized their support on this was very limited).

       

      I am really quite a novice but I watch streaming video from sites in  the US and the sling box exclusively so this is really important to me.  From what I could gather there is the issue of MTU on the 'receiving  side' effected by latency because of TCP returned packets (I may be  getting this wrong) and I ran a test I found here for that pinging the  US slingbox IP with 1492 -f -l and getting a result that the packet  needs to be fragmented but DF set. I am not sure what that means or how I  change the size of packets – I guess with my router?

      I also read about getting the sling box to use UDP that way not  waiting for TCP approvals? I read about deleting port forwarding in the  router on the sending side or changing the port number on the sling box  setting so that it does not match the forwarded port. Not sure if this  is something I am supposed to do and if so, would it be the same  changing the port number on the sling box without trying to mess with  the sending router settings and deleting port forwarding?

       

      Bottom line I really hope that this 2.5 mbps upload can be brought  closer to the 8mbps that is the 'slowest part' of the path between the  two points (the upload). I don't know what to do I would more than  appreciate guidance. If to change the MTU please explain to what and how  if to change the port on the slingbox if I need to cancel forwarding or  not and if anything else can be done.

       

      Short update: I was able to test the optimal MTU came up with 1402 based  on the ping and +28 updated my router from 1500 to 1430. It didn't seem  to change the streaming speed significantly – I read something about  MSS and RWIN but that was already true 'chinese' to me, anyway the MTU  does't seem to change anything (assuming I did it correctly). Looking  forward for advice on the next step…
      Also I noticed that in my stats it is showing my connection type as SNATT (not exactly sure what that means)
      Hope I can get some help on this... thanks in advance
        • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
          alanrichey42 Master

          I don't know the full technical details, and I cannot prove it, but I think that when operating remotely the Sling stream tends to max out at 2.5Mb as the system decides that any increase above that does not give an appreciably better picture so it would be a waste of bandwidth.

            • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
              yfreiberger Newbie

              Thanks. Actually the guy from their tech support said he was getting the stream at 12mbps and he was located in Costa Rica so if that's true then it must be going over 2.5mbps. I have to say that for HD 2.5 appears 'smooth', it's not choppy or anything but it's far from being true high definition quality. I've actually read one post the other day of a guy who is getting 8mbps streamed. I believe he was within about 100 miles from his sling box (while in my case it's over 5000) but still was remotely viewing and I do have such high bandwidth available that I am sure or at least hope this can be improved...

                • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                  alanrichey42 Master

                  Fair enough.  Although do remember Sling have never said they can stream 'real' HD over a remote link, only over the local link.   They stream something they call HD-quality

                    • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                      yfreiberger Newbie

                      For sure I know they stream up to 540X1920 which is the equivalent of 1080i (1080i is actually 540 rows - one frame scanning and streaming the odd numbered rows, the next frame scanning the 'evened' numbered rows), together together 'creating' the 1080X1920 'illusion'. This is different from 1080P where each frame has the entire 1080 rows or a 'true' 1080X1920 frame in each single frame).

                       

                      Incidentally, I asked my friend to check at his office and he is getting 8mbps so obviously my 2.5 is far from the optimal - hopefully someone will have some answers on that...

                        • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                          braap

                          I have the same problem. From Portugal to Denmark. 6Mbps upload in Portugal (measured 5 with speedtest) and 20 Mbps download here in DK (20 measured in the test).

                           

                          Until recently I would watch my Pro HDs at a 4-5 Mbps, so I can confirm the 2.5 limit does not exist, but recently has dropped to 500kbps. I have checked the connection speeds and they remain the same. I suspect there's some kind of botleneck either outgoing from Portugal or Incoming here in DK. Maybe trafic shaping and controls from the ISPs?

                           

                          Regards,

                           

                          Bruno

                            • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                              yfreiberger Newbie

                              I think I found the my own solution that can really help you. I actually worked tirelessly to figure out how come and why I was not able to leverage the 'theoretical' upload and download capacity. There are several issues involved but one which I realized is that slingbox is more effected by network latency ('ping') than by the theoretical speed. Slingbox sends out TCP packets and it 'waits' until a reciept confirmation of the packets is recieved before sending out more. This means that geographical distance KILLS the potential speed and often routing that changes and includes additional 'hops' causes further deterioration as happenned in my case.

                               

                              Essentially, my streaming speed went down from 2-3mbps to 350kbps because of changes in international routing even though my speed remained the same.

                               

                              The solution I found was using a proxy server between the two locations. A proxy server that is close to the slingbox location 'sends back' TCP confirmations at a much faster rate and causes the slingbox therefore to increase speed and it also often cretes a more efficient 'route' than the one provided by your ISP, which also leads to the speed improving. The company I found that does the best job with this is Trusted Proxies - they have a huge network of proxy servers all over the world and their own routing. Using their service, I eventually was able to go from the 350kbps (down from 2-3mbps originally - also like in your case my speed was deteriorating over time...) up to 6mbps(!) and more recently I have found an even better server from them with which I get around 8.5 mbps 6000 miles away!! I actually was so impressed with their service that I made a demo, which they recently  even posted on their web site (just to clarify things - I get nothing from them other than the excellent service so swear I have no incentive of making you their customer other than having been in the exact same place several weeks ago as you can see with my original posts... ). They are really fair, they always offer to start out with a free trial, they never make promises but from what I've seen are some really impressive results with a few different people all in different places around the world.

                               

                              They won't promise it to you, but based on the data you are providing, in my opinion you should get close to the 6mbps with the right proxy server (and even if you get less, once you are over 3-4mbps it is barely noticeable..). Just go to their website (www.trustedproxies.com) and ask for a trial (you can tell them I referred you - I'm sure that if they know you are seriously looking for a solution, that they will really work with you to find the best proxy server to max out your upload and download speeds).

                               

                              The link to the demo is:

                               

                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNN00XloyIM

                               

                              Let me know what you think and if you try the service, how that works out for you...

                               

                              Yoav

                                • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                  OvCollyer Apprentice

                                  Interesting information regarding Slingbox and why it might be affected by latency - thanks for sharing.

                                   

                                  I'm thinking of upgrading my UK upload speed soon from Be (a steady 1.8mbps upload), to a Fibre provider (up to 10mbps) and considering I stream to 2500km here in Istanbul in guessing my latency is going to have an impact.

                                   

                                  My problem is going to be that since I rely on a Slingcatcher here there is no option on it for connecting to a proxy server. Is there a way of making a router direct all traffic on a given port to a proxy server instead? Like Proxifier but built into the router? I've seen people asking the same Q in various google searches but not seen a definitive answer. I wondered if you or anyone else had any ideas how to use Slingcatcher with a proxy server?

                                   

                                  Ideally I'd then set up a proxy on the same LAN as the Slingbox, though one step at a time I think

                                    • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                      candybars

                                      Hi,

                                       

                                      I don't think (although I can not be 100% sure) that you can set your router to effectively communicate with a proxy and by effectively I mean something that would impact your sling stream speed. You can connect to a VPN through a router and even thoguh I don't know for sure if you can or can not set proxy on a router level, I believe that even if you could, it would not impact the slingcatcher. Sorry to 'express' such a pessimistic opinion but this is why I believe that even if a proxy router would be possible (and I don't know that it is), it would not help you:

                                       

                                      The reason is that you have use the slingbox player's own (desktop or web) streaming proxy settings for proxy settings to be effective at all for your sling streaming. In my case, for example, I have an all Mac environment and the Mac slingbox player does not have the proxy settings option so I tried to use use proxy settings on the browser level in order to 'ride' the browser's entire communication through proxy for the sling player as well. However, this setting didn't have any impact on the slingplayer. I tried the same with the windows version (which I run in Parallels) on internet Explorer and with same result. In order for this proxy setup to work you actually have to set the proxy 'inside' the sling player software settings page (both the web and desktop versions) and anything else just does not work. I verified this with Sling tech support (3rd level) - proxy settings will not be used unless it is configured inside the slingplayer software. So, if changing the proxy settings for the entire browser's communication will not have an impact and only doing this 'inside' the software can work, I can't imagine that even if you were able to route all of your traffic through a proxy on the router level, that it would have an impact on the slingcatcher. I can't be certain of course but this my educated guess based on the above information. In my case this forces me to run sling on windows in Parallels mode on my Mac even though I am not very happy with that, simply because there is no solution for the mac version.

                                       

                                      However, you can consider some other options: first, it may work well for you with a direct connection and you may not even require a proxy server. In my case I am about 8000KM away from my slingbox and I can tell you that when I use a US based proxy (and yes setting one on the the slingbox LAN would be ideal) I get 8+mbps but when I use a UK based proxy I still get around 6mbps (which is effectively the same quality picutre...) and the distance UK-US is still longer than UK-Turkey.

                                       

                                      Of course, this is a very rough guess becasuse the 'effective distance' depends on the country routing and it is not always in direct corrolation to the geographical distance.

                                       

                                      So if you want to find out the 'efffective' distance, I suggest you run a trace route command from your turkey location to the slingbox IP address (start->cmd-> type the tracert followed by your slingbox ip address). From my experience if the hop with the highest latency is less than 100ms, you have a good chance of maintaining 4-6mbps even without a proxy server, assuming of course that your download speed in Istanbul is above that.

                                       

                                      Now for your download speed in Istanbul -  by that I don't mean your local 'official' download (the speed you 'buy' from your ISP) but your download from Istanbul to the UK. To measure this you run speedtest - say on speedtest.net - between your location and the UK (so on the 'map' you select a UK server to measure speed from) and see what download speed you get on that 'line'.

                                       

                                      Of course, if you go ahead and upgrade your upload speed in the UK you will to get the answe without the need to 'speculate' but if you are not sure yet and want to get a sense of your networks' 'potential' then you can run the above two tests and get a pretty good sense of that.

                                       

                                      The other thing you can do in case a direct connection does not provide you the speed you want of course is connect your computer to your TV and give up the slingcatcher alltogether. Although if I was already used to using a slingcatcher, I would probably only give it up if there was a massive improvement with a proxy (it must be nice to use a 'real' remote vs. a virtual one...). 

                                       

                                      Now if you find that the speed you are getting eventually is not enough - in such a way that 'justifies' not using slingcatcher -  I would advise you to first get a free trial account with a proxy compay and use one of their UK proxies to test the impact of a proxy server. Of course a local proxy which you are planning can be perfect (assuming your ISP routing turkey-UK is good) but before going through the trouble of  setting it up , I would still try that out with an existing service. BTW - if a UK proxy does not give you much better results than direct connect, you can still probably find another proxy server on the way that would improve this by combining 'closer TCP "conversation" (my explanation about getting slingbox to stream faster which you were referring to..) with better routing that an intermidary proxy server located somewhere on the way, may create...

                                       

                                      Finally one last thing I would do to maximize picture quality when using a slingcatcher in general is make sure your set top box resolution is set to 720P and not 1080i since slingcatcher works on 720P and a 1080i output actually gives you 540X1920 in each frame, which means you will not get your 720P under those settings. This may be obvious but I just though I would mention it any way.. 

                                       

                                      Sorry if I 'extended' my answer beyond your original question - hopefully some of this will be of some use for you...

                                        • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                          OvCollyer Apprentice

                                          Many thanks for your detailed response, you've obviously looked into this

                                           

                                          By the way, did you ever try something like "Proxifier" to see if you can channel your Mac Desktop Slingplayer or Mac Web plugin through a proxy even without the option? I read some anecdotal evidence to suggest this works, which was why I was wondering if a similar approach might be possible for the Slingcatcher somehow.

                                           

                                          Anyway, perhaps as you say I will indeed be able to get a good enough speed without needing a proxy. To be honest, the 1.8mbps upload I currently get is pretty good for a standard definition picture. It's just that with Fibre now available both here and at my UK location I've just got a greedy eye on being able to switch to the highest Slingcatcher resolution of 1280 x 540 (I'm unsure where you get the 720p option for Slingcatcher by the way, the only resolutions it lets me choose are 320 x 240, 640 x 240, 640 x 480, or 1280 x 540?). I currently get away with the 640 x 480 but occasionally when watching live football the picture judders for a few seconds.

                                           

                                          So my traceroute from here in Istanbul to my router in London shows a RTT of a maximum of about 80-90ms.

                                           

                                          Speedtest - if I choose a UK server I am getting a ping of 65-70ms and a little under 5mbps download (my local connection is capable of about 6 or 7).

                                            • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                              candybars

                                              Hi,

                                               

                                              I tried Proxifier but was never able to get sling to work with sling - slingbx either 'ignores' it (like the browser does when I try to turn on proxy settings) or I sometimes get an error message. I read of another application called 'Proxycap' which I was actually going to test and see if I can get it to work - I will let you know in case it does. For some reason it is very difficult to get slingbox streaming to work when the proxy settings are not done in the actual application but it may be possible...

                                               

                                              In any case I ran another quick search on DD-WRT adapted routers (I know people use this to 'make' VPN routers) and found a thread about someone trying to do exactly what you have in mind using a DD-WRT router configuration. There were no responses but perhaps you can contact this person directly and check with him to see if he was able to make it work somehow. Here is a link to that thread:

                                               

                                              http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=542035

                                               

                                              Regarding slingcatcher resolution - my apologies - I ran into a couple of threads discussing this a while ago, where a couple of people 'complained that it was limited to 720P and did not support 1080i/540 so disregard what I said about that - it's based on 'hearsay' and therefore inadmissable  ;)...

                                               

                                              Anyway you mentioned you were watching SD - does that mean you are not using a slingbox HD? because with the other boxes that top out at 640x480 you really don't need more than 3mbps (I have a slingbox solo as well as a slingbox HD and with the solo even with fast action content I can't see any quality increase above 3mbps...).

                                               

                                              in any case with your tracert of 70 and actual download speed of 5mbps, I would be very surprised if you get less than 4mbps when you have that upload capacity, and with a steady 4, whether it is SD or HD, it's not worth bothering with proxies and increasing speed even further - you will barely notice any difference in quality, if at all (if you open the stats window with HD you will see i-Frame go down from 2.5 secs to a minimum of 2 when you move from 4 to 8mbps on an slingbox HD and that only has marginal implications in extremely fast moving action scenes if at all...).

                                                • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                  OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                  I'm using a Slingbox Pro-HD but have set my Slingcatcher to request 640 x 480 because the frame rate drops unacceptably if I set it to 1280 x 540. Likewise when viewing on my Mac I can get away with the 'Best' but not 'Best (HD)' setting for the same reason.

                                                   

                                                  Right now I only actually need a Slingbox SOLO, given my upload speed, but I had an upgrade to Fibre in mind when I bought the Pro-HD.

                                                   

                                                  Anyway, it sounds like I should be able to make use of a decent chunk of the extra upload bandwidth if I upgrade so thanks for your help

                                                    • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                      candybars

                                                      Good luck! Let me know what actual speed you get after you upgrade your uplad to to fiber - curious to see if my 'redictions' come true

                                                        • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                          OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                          I'll post back here after I upgrade. I know I've found it useful reading other people's experiences of slinging various distances with various set ups etc.

                                                           

                                                          Gonna be a couple of months though, when I'm next in the UK.

                                                            • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                              yfreiberger Newbie

                                                              HI,

                                                               

                                                              I know it hasn't been a couple of months yes but I did want to update you - I was finally able to make 'Proxifier' work for me - it really works with my proxy service and I can watch native mac - no need for this paralleles **** underperforming... The one think they are helping me do right now is narrow down the specific plugin in the form of a sytstem process so that it can automatically be defined so that only when this type of streaming occurs proxy will come 'on' and then it will really be perfect for myself and many others.

                                                               

                                                              What this means for you ( or so I believe) is the following - you can try direct connection and you will probably get a really nice result. If you get 4mbps or above don't eve boehter because it's great.

                                                               

                                                              However, if you get less, you can turn on proxifier and not set any exception rules, plug your slingcatcher to your computer instead of to the router, and get all traffic for your slingbox rerouted through the proxy location. It's a bit of a hassle having a computer  sit next by and turning on the Proxifier software (aothough you can probably identify the process running and set an automatica rule for it).

                                                                • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                  yfreiberger Newbie

                                                                  sorry it was cut off... Anyway if you don't get the speed you want the answer is YES with a computer. The only thing I found for a router waswhat I sent you - but I don't think that routers have 'Proxifier' tpye software - at least you have time to ckek )

                                                                  • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                    OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                                    Many thanks for your response, that's interesting to know.

                                                                     

                                                                    Out of interest, how did you get the Proxifier software to work on your Mac then - did it require a custom build or something or you just worked out some settings? I've not tried the software but I've yet to read about anyone successfully making it work by taking an incoming connection rather than a connection created by an application on the same machine.

                                                                     

                                                                    I actually have more than one Slingcatcher in my home so the Proxifier machine really needs to be placed near the router ideally - but then this got me thinking...I wonder if it would be possible to do the following?

                                                                     

                                                                    - at Slingcatcher/Slingplayer location, everything remains unchanged, i.e. you just connect to an IP/port for your Slingbox

                                                                    - at Slingbox location, there is a computer running between the router and the Slingbox that serves two purposes:

                                                                     

                                                                    1) runs Proxifier software, which takes incoming connections on the Slingbox port (5001, or whatever) and does what is necessary to make these Proxy connections instead

                                                                    2) also runs the Proxy server

                                                                     

                                                                    So this magic box (call it the Magical Slingbox Proxy Accelerator Box For People With Fast Connections hehe) would effectively fool the Slingbox into thinking that it's communicating with a Slingplayer on a near-zero latency LAN and then the full bandwidth would be utilised.

                                                                     

                                                                    Of course, I have no idea how one would go about setting up something like that, but if it is possible to make the Proxifier software take an incoming connection and make a new connection to a user-defined address then why not just connect to the same machine and do the Proxy serving at the same time....

                                                                     

                                                                    As you say, I might not even need to do all this stuff if I can get a decent speed without, but I'm curious as to whether something like this could work.

                                                                     

                                                                    As a side point - I am guessing that things would go pear-shaped if such a proxy setup was used without a fast connection? i.e. the proxy server would presumably be giving the impression to the Slingbox that the Slingplayer is nearby and can play at high resolution etc but in reality it wouldn't be able to. Presumably this would then introduce all sorts of stutter and buffering issues or something. So with a setup like the above it might be prudent to have two static IP addresses at the Slingbox location where one routes directly to the Slingbox if you need/want to bypass the proxy system.

                                                                     

                                                                    Hmm, I've almost convinced myself I know what I'm talking about now I'm sure there is a gaping hole in there somewhere!

                                                                      • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                        yfreiberger Newbie

                                                                        I like your thinking but fear you may be attributing to this software capabilities it does not have... Re how I set it up - right now I have the simplest setup - it's either on and everything goes throguh the proxy or off (I just click off the specific proxy that is highlited or quit out of the software). I asked for their help in identifying the exact process that is making that connection with the slingbox and which I need to specify in a 'rule' as what should be 'proxified' and then I would not have to worry about it being on or not. The usual suspects such as the browser and the sling plug in do not 'work' in the sense that just 'proxifying' them is not enough. In terns of connecting another machine - it seems to me that it would work because it really does take all forms of communication instead of locally, from the proxy.

                                                                         

                                                                        Now re your plan for the wonder magic machine.. I'm more skeptic there. I think you still need a client (in your case sling catcher) that would communicate with a slingbox and 'faking' a slingbox through the proxy... well it's probably possible but seems to me something a lot more of a cusom software developement effort than proxifier... Re the theory of zero latency on the same LAN - this is in line with what I told you i found so that part would work great I am sure (I was thinking of setting up a proxy in the same location myself but my current setup is easy enough..)

                                                                         

                                                                        Let me ask you a totally unrelated question - is that Slingcatcher that brilliant that you decided to get more than one? Does it really 'feel' like you are in front of your set top box despite the delays between "zapping" and getting a response?

                                                                         

                                                                        Thx

                                                                          • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                            OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                                            Well the Slingcatcher is by far the best method I have tried for getting a Slingbox stream onto a TV.

                                                                             

                                                                            I've tried setting up an HTPC (a Mac Mini) and tried using both the Slingplayer software and the Slingplayer Web plugin but in each case it's too fiddly messing about setting it up on a living room TV. Ok, you can put things away neatly in your cabinet and cable it up to your TV, that's not an issue, but the control mechanism, i.e. using the on-screen remote just isn't living room friendly. I just want to grab a remote and switch things on....not get out the computer keyboard/mouse and fiddle about. I have a Harmony remote which turns on the TV, chooses the correct input, switches on the Slingcatcher and then all I need to do is select my Slingbox on the on-screen menu and connect (so two button presses).

                                                                             

                                                                            However, I know that Sling have been putting their energies towards the "Slingplayer for connected devices" which is now out on Boxee and will be on Google TV soon too, but I've not tried this yet. I think to get something as user-friendly as the Slingcatcher you'd need to set up the Boxee with a remote control like one of the Harmonies and make sure the Harmony buttons correctly control the remote Slingbox in the same way the Slingcatcher hardware remote does.

                                                                             

                                                                            If that is possible and if the quality of the Boxee Slingplayer app is good enough then I think it becomes a viable alternative to a Slingcatcher.

                                                                             

                                                                            The delay in controlling a remote slingbox is of course offputting, but in answer to your question, yes with my current setup it does feel like I am in front of my satellite box and since I set things up this way I have found I've watched much more UK TV - simply because beforehand, I just couldn't be bothered.

                                                                              • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                yfreiberger Newbie

                                                                                Interesting - I have the Mac Mini setup and to be honest I watch a lot more streaming content than my slingbox - I've always had an issue with that that virtual remote... The Boxee box is great but it is missing access to a few sites I need (such as comcast and HBOGO) so I still need a HTPC and also the boxee remote looks more like the apple remote (with a keyboard on the back) - it is nothing like a Harmony or a Sling remote. I'm curious why they stopped making this product - it's not like they suddenly 'turned up' on 10 boxee like platforms all at once...

                                                                                 

                                                                                You are making me seriuosly consider buying one myself - except that they are not that easy to get these days...

                                                                                  • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                    OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                                                    Yeah, it puzzles me too.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    I can only assume that either it just didn't sell or there is/was some kind of political reason....

                                                                                     

                                                                                    If it was still being continued then there would be scope for nagging Sling to add proxy support etc but I can't see the firmware getting any more upgrades.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    My big fear is that Sling do something at some point to update the firmware on my Slingbox (which now appears to be an automatic process) which means it no longer works with the Slingcatcher or something - there'll be **** to pay if that happens!!!

                                                                                     

                                                                                    With regards to Boxee, personally I'm not convinced about this whole "one box can do everything" approach. I like the fact that Apple TV does what it does very well (i.e. extend the iTunes ecosystem to your TV) and for me Slingcatcher was similar in that respect. Concentrate on one thing but do it very well.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    That's probably just me being old fashioned though

                                                                                      • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                        yfreiberger Newbie

                                                                                        OK I thought I posted another message but it somehow got lost... anyway here goes again in brief:

                                                                                         

                                                                                        - Proxifier got back to me - it is extemely easy to set a rule that only slingbox streaming will go through the proxy so it is now working automatically on both my Mac book Air and Mac Mini. Finally there is no need to run windows in Parallels just to watch my slingbox

                                                                                         

                                                                                        - I think that these applications could 'reside' in the same box if someone had done a better job integrating them together and 'maintaining' the unique features such as the remote in this case. I don't think anyone has actually done a seriuos job in creating a true HTPC that provides a 'lean back' experience. WIth the current stuff you are alwyas forced to 'lean forward' all of the time!!

                                                                                         

                                                                                        - With evey post I seem to become increasingly charmed by this slingcatcher (thinking about getting a second hand one althoguh I would have the proxy issue all over again to deal with..) and I wanted to ask you - how solid is that 'sling projector' feature is, which I guess allows you to present part of your desktop on you TV screen? I know it doesn't work with Mac, however if the quality is good enough perhaps instead of getting a second Mac Mini I could use this to stream content from desktop windos computer I have (would allow me to use web streaming of sites that even Boxee can not do today, because of which my only current viable alternative is a PC for every TV...). BTW I was looking at the specs for SlingProjector and finally remembered that this was what misled me to think that Slingcatcher is 720P - this features maxes out at around 760x1280 and I believe this was where I recalled these numbers from. I read some mixed reviews about this feature but some were very early and I wonder if you've had a chance to test it in the current state.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        Thanks

                                                                                          • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                            OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                                                            Actually I'd never tried using the Slingprojector software (I mostly use a Mac) - but I downloaded the latest software this morning and have just given it a go. This is on a Macbook Pro installed with Windows 7.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Early impressions are that it works well - I tried both flashsportstreams.com and BBC iPlayer and they worked nicely. Obviously this is just a quick look so I've not been able to test any reliability/long-term issues or a larger variety of websites.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            You basically get a little widget on your desktop and if you click on the 'Project Window' option you can then highlight different sections of the screen, such as the video player section of a website. In the case of more than one Slingcatcher you get to choose which one to connect to.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Are there any particular websites you would like me to try? I suppose there is a danger that with it (presumably) no longer being developed that changes in video streaming tech might lead to certain sites not working, although I guess that depends on how the projector software works.

                                                                                              • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                yfreiberger Newbie

                                                                                                Thanks a lot for installing it and running it for a trial.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                What I would be interested to know is the following: you see if I were to get a slingcatcher I would probably have the copmputer in one room and the catcher in the other (I could control my computer with an iphone remote or something else from the other room...). So under there conditions when you can't resize the selected part of the screen that would be presented because you are not next to the PC, how well does it function - if for example you click 'full screen' for full screen viewing do you have to resize the portion that you select to view on the screen or does it 'know' to adjust it automatically? I'm curious about some US websites that would be blocked to you (except perhaps xfinitytv that is not geographically blocked) but mainly about how it deals with the scenario of computer being remote and then moving to full screen and back. Also changing from one bookmark to another (I don't think that should be a problem though)

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                Thanks a lot

                                                                                                  • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                    OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                                                                    Hmm I couldn't get xfinitytv to play on my laptop - everything I tried it just said "Sorry, this video is unavailable. It's probably a network issue, so try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work you may have to come back a little later."

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    You basically have two options with Slingprojector:

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    1) project full screen; this just sends your whole desktop to the Slingcatcher. It does say this isn't the optimum method though.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    2) project window; after you press this, different regions of the website are highlighted with a blue border as you move the mouse over them. You then click again to select the region you want to project. When you do this, this section is automatically expanded by the Slingcatcher to fill your TV screen. Note that your laptop does not have to be in full screen mode at this point.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    The second option is the one you'd generally use.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    Since it doesn't involve any resize/full-screen options - just clicking, then I imagine you could control this easily enough using your remote device.

                                                                                                      • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                        yfreiberger Newbie

                                                                                                        I got it so for each website you change to you essentially have to 'rechoose' that region? And what if the region you choose is the browser window then start a video (say on iplayer or youtube) and click 'full screen' - does it respond by filling up the screen with your video also on the TV or does it get 'confused' from that? I understand the other way or choosing the entire desktop would always work and I could always fill the entire desktop with a browser but I'm still wondering abuot the 'optimal way' with changeover to full screen video mode.

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        Thanks a lot!!

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        Yoav

                                                                                                          • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                            OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                                                                            Yes, I managed to confuse it by doing the following:

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            - went to BBC iPlayer website

                                                                                                            - selected the whole browser window as the region (at this point, Slingcatcher correctly filled my TV screen with the browser window, i.e. including search bar etc)

                                                                                                            - chose full screen mode in the iPlayer

                                                                                                            - Slingcatcher then gave me a message saying "The projected region is hidden under another Window, or is scrolled out of view"

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            Switching out of full screen restored it.

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            Interestingly, it still gets confused (at least on iPlayer) if you just highlight the player section (instead of the whole browser window) and choose full screen mode in the player - you get the same message.

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            So my conclusion is that using the player's full screen mode isn't such a good idea with Slingprojector - but I can't see why you would need to anyway as it already expands the section you choose to full screen on your TV anyway.

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            The final thing I just tried was to use the 'Select Full Screen' option in Slingprojector - this works, and choosing 'full screen' in the iPlayer no longer gives this message. However, the frame rate drops unacceptably when using the 'Select Full Screen' option. I think this might be because it won't be able to use the computer's hardware acceleration for intercepting the video playback and instead will be relying on software to grab whole desktop frames which is much slower.

                                                                                                              • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                                yfreiberger Newbie

                                                                                                                hmmm that's kind of an issue because the option of filling the whole screen with the window and not choosing 'full screen' would not always work- if you choose a specific window and then get a video player that has 'margins'  when not in full screen (such as on youtube, netffilx, other sites...) then you will be left with that stuff on your tv as well unless you change over to full screen. In that case I would choose the entire desktop but this is when you say frame rate drops... Also re choosing the window - even if the video does fill the entire screen you never actually get the full resolution until you switch to full screen so you would be enlarging fewer pixels thus not getting the best video image... say you are watching a 720P movide you would have to have a window that is at least 720x1280 to get the full resolution on screen and then consequently on your TV. A smaller window and you lose some of the resolution.

                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                It's a shame about that full screen mode frame rate issue...

                                                                                                                  • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                                    OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                                                                                    Just a few more bits of information for you.

                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                    If I switch iPlayer into full screen, I have found that if I then use the SlingProjector "Project Window" option while in full-screen mode and just click anywhere on the screen it will work. In my case though, it limits the 'blue box' to a 1024 x 768 region (my laptop resolution is 1440 x 900) with a message saying that it's limiting the area because my laptop isn't powerful enough to project the whole 1280 x 720, although I can force it to in the settings if I want. Also, the frame rate isn't quite as good as when iPlayer is not running full screen (but better than using the SlingProject 'Project Screen' option). I'm not sure how much of that is due to lack of power of my laptop, it's hard to tell.

                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                    The other thing I have just found is that even after selecting the window you want to project you can subsequently use the mouse to fine-tune and resize/move this area manually, so I suppose you could 'crop' the bits you didn't want to project.

                                                                                                                      • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                                        yfreiberger Newbie

                                                                                                                        That part about clicking the screen and then having it fit the full screen mode is interesting. The cropping option - I don't know how helpful it would be for me because I won't actually be viewing it from the PC just the TV so anything I need to do on the PC and can not see on the TV is something I wont be able to do while viewing (remember my PC is in another room...). What are the specs of your macbook pro? if the Mini is powerful enough perhaps it will be able to handle the entire desktop (I also have 8GB Ram that can help..

                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                        Thanks again!!

                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                        Yoav

                                                                                                                          • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                                            OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                                                                                            It's a Macbook Pro from a year or two ago.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            The spec is Intel Core 2 Duo CPU @ 2.80 GHz / 8GB Ram / NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            It's far from top of the range now and for general use can feel a bit sluggish (if it's of any use, Windows 7 gives it a rating of 5.8 Windows Experience Index) - I have a recent Mac Mini myself but unfortunately it doesn't have Windows on it otherwise I'd see how that got on.

                                                                                                                              • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                                                yfreiberger Newbie

                                                                                                                                Thanks. May be not top of the line but I'm surprise you need more than that to stream a desktop... I do think, however, that it would probably be better with the Mini. The only thing now is that proxy issue - I would have to live with 2.5mbps direct streaming unless you come up with that 'magic machine' that will revolutionize the slingstreaming business for good

                                                                                                                                  • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                                                    OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                                                                                                    I guess the first stage in the 'magic box' would be to establish whether it's possible to run Proxifier on a machine and have an external device route through it.

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                    For example, maybe I could test the theory like this:

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                    - connect my Mac Mini to my home network using wifi instead of ethernet

                                                                                                                                    - share its Internet connection via the ethernet port

                                                                                                                                    - connect my Slingcatcher to the Mac Mini's ethernet port

                                                                                                                                    - verify Slingcatcher still works

                                                                                                                                    - install Proxifier on the Mac Mini, and attempt to route the Slingcatcher connection to somewhere arbitrary, and verify that the Slingcatcher no longer works (i.e. its connection has been intercepted)?

                                                                                                                                      • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                                                        yfreiberger Newbie

                                                                                                                                        Sounds like a very good concept the only question is if you don't need to do something else with your mac to turn its ethernet port from a 'consumer' of internet to a 'supplier' to another device, althoguh I may just be making it up and perhaps it's not an issue. If you don't want to use an arbitrary proxy setting and really make sure you could ask Trusted Proxies for a trial account and they would give you one. Who knows it may even speed up your exisitng connectino befor you get the fiber optic connection You can use my name as a referral (Yoav) and they would set you up right away.

                                                                                                                                          • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                                                            yfreiberger Newbie

                                                                                                                                            HI

                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                            You did not respond so I hope I said nothing offensive - if I did in any way then I apologize. Re offering the Trusted Proxies trial - I have a direct connection to them and they are looking for new ways to use their product. Since the slingcatcher segment is strong especially with 'place shifting' users, I know that they would be happy to help anyone wanting to expand their ability to improve this product.

                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                            In any case follow up if you can

                                                                                                                                              • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                                                                OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                                                                                                                Hehe no nothing offensive - I did have a little look yesterday at seeing whether I could route slingcatcher through proxifier but it didn't seem possible to me.

                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                It was easy enough to share the Mac's connection and get the Slingcatcher working through the Ethernet port of the Mac but Proxifier just operates at the application level I think.

                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                I think it would need a more powerful Internet sharing setup on the Mac - IPNetRouterX looked promising, but this is going some way beyond my very rudimentary networking knowledge!

                                                                                                                                                • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                                                                  OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the offer to use your name btw.

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                  I probably won't contact them at this stage - I know for a fact that I am getting the maximum out of my current uk upload and I may not need to do anything when I upgrade my Fibre, or it may not be worth paying for a proxy for a small improvement which may not be noticeable...

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                  EDIT : scrap that, I decided to drop them a mail and explain the situation. I'll post back here if I discover anything useful

                                                                                                                                                    • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                                                                      yfreiberger Newbie

                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the update. Very curious to see if under the current circumstances you can get any improvement with trusted proxies, although it will probably take the upgrade to fiber for it to make a difference (and again we both know that this will probably be redundant since you have a really great ping...). But it's an interesting exercise anyway

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                      Re Proxifier - when you hook up slingcatcher and turn it on does anything show up on the proxifier log? you should have a list of connections, traffic and stats that get updated when there is detectable traffic that is either going through a proxy or attempting it. See what happens when you surf the web as opposed to when you use slingcatcher...If nothing shows up in slingcatcher mode then you may be right that there needs to be an application component running locally for it to take effect.

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                      One thing I would do is send a question about this to proxifier support - they were very helpful the last few days in helping me optimize proxy rules so that only streaming my US slingbox would go through the proxy and everything else would not...

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                      Until the next chapter

                                                                                                                                                        • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                                                                          OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                                                                                                                          Ok, next chapter...

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          I've managed to work out a way of 'proxifying' a Slingcatcher connection and verified that it works via a trial account from trustedproxies.

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          What I did was wrote a very small C application that is in effect a simple TCP relay server. You tell it which port to listen for connections on and where it should connect to and it passes the data between these two connections.

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          In my test I ran it on my laptop and told it to listen on port 5001 and set the forwarding IP address to my remote Slingbox in London. I then made my Slingcatcher connect to my laptop instead of the remote Slingbox and was able to get the stream routed through my laptop. The key thing here is that by routing it through the app running on my laptop it means I can use Proxifier to do its magic when the forwarding connection is opened by the app.

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          It's a little bit clumsy in a way though because in effect we are incorporating two proxies into the system, although the overhead on my app is minimal (it was using 0.3% of my laptop's CPU to forward my Slingcatcher stream). I guess you'd want to have this app permanently running on a machine somewhere on the LAN in a 'real' situation.

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          The intriguing thought I have though is would we instead be able to simply run my app, or the equivalent of it, on a machine sitting on the same LAN as the remote Slingbox and fool the Slingbox thinking it's on a zero latency connection and not need to use an 'official' proxy service at all? I guess this would prove whether the theory about latency is true or not - i.e. are these proxy servers speeding things up for some people because a) they are just routing the TCP packets over less hops or b) because of the reduced TCP latency between the proxy server and the Slingbox?

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          I am planning to be in London in January so I plan to set things up so that when I get back I can experiment!

                                                                                                                                                            • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                                                                              yfreiberger Newbie

                                                                                                                                                              Great job! However, I lost you somwhere in your description (sorry - I can attribute it to being as cognitively developed as a 5 y/o or perhaps lack of sufficient technical triaining + the hour + 5 other excuses that I have if these are not enough . Anyway, perhaps you can explain this again more in detail and going through the precise flow of actions? Also - re using this code on your local LAN in London as a local proxy to test my theory - since I didn't really get how you had it configured in the first place right now for the passthrough, I don't quite follow how you would be configuring this as a local proxy server but I hope your following explanation will shed more light on this 'upcoming' applicaiton of this stuff as well. Am I assuming correctly that the code you wrote funcionts as some kind of local proxy already? how is it working locally and how will the same code be working as a proxy server on your UK LAN? Well I just repeated my questions here (for no good reason .

                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                              Once I understand how it is exactly working, I could, if you'd like, give it a try myself - right now I don't have the slingcatcher yet (but I can probably get one in a few days...) so I can't use it for the 'client side' passthrough 'proxification' application, however I do have access to a separate laptop installed on my US slingbox LAN through LogMeIn so I can always install your local LAN proxy magic machine to try to replace my trusted prlxies with this guy, and then test my theory about the speed being significantly influenced by the local latency between the slingbox and the 'client' (in this case the proxy client representing far away places). Of course I know I am right with this theory, but it would give me a chance to prove this to you (as you are not 100% persuaded yet god only knows why that is the case

                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                              Thanks,

                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                              Yoav

                                                                                                                                                                • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                                                                                  OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                                                                                                                                  Ok when you run the app (it's a command line app you run from Terminal) you tell it what port number to listen for on the machine it was running and you also give it the ip address and port number of where you want to 'forward' the connection to.

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  In the case where I could use it here at my remote location:

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  - I run it and tell it to listen on port 5001 (although this could be anything) on my laptop (which has local IP address 192.168.0.14)  and the forwarding address is the IP address of my Slingbox in London (the external IP address). Now I can connect any Slingplayer or Slingcatcher to 192.168.0.14 and my app will then 'hear' this and open a connection to my SB in London. While both connections remain open it simply forwards any data sent by either connection to the other.

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  - I can use Proxifier to intercept the point at which my app tries to connect to my London SB and instead make it use the trusted proxy server instead. This is how I can get Slingcatcher to use trusted proxy.

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  In the case where the app runs on the same LAN as the SB in London:

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  - I run it on a machine connected to my London LAN and tell it to listen for connections to, say, port 5002. The forwarding address this time is the address of my SB on my London ie local LAN (which happens to be 198.168.0.254).

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  - I forward port 5002 on my London router so that anything connected to it is routed to the machine on the LAN that is running my app. Let's say I'd given the machine running the app an address of 192.168.0.100.

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  - now from here, I connect my Slingplayer or catcher to the external ip address of my London SB but on port 5002 instead of 5001. This means it goes to my app which then opens a connection to my SB.

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  The idea would be that because the SB just thinks it is connecting to a Slingplayer on the local LAN it opts for a high bit rate.....if the theory is correct.

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  I think it'd be great if you were able to try it out - the laptop accessible via LogMeIn, is that a Mac? My app is on Mac but it shouldn't be too hard to knock up a Windows one...

                                                                                                    • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                                      kenkoval

                                                                                                      Hello,

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                      I just wanted to thank you for the posting with the video showing the proxy server.  I am located in the Philippines with a Slingbox in Florida and have been experiencing slow streaming speeds also for a long time.  I was about to give up until I saw your video and am now excited about the possibility of getting a good picture using a proxy server.  I just contacted Trusted Proxies to arrange a trial and have my fingers crossed.  I'll let you know the results.

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                      Ken

                                                                                          • Re: Looking for help re slow stream despite very fast networks both ends...
                                                                                            kenkoval

                                                                                            Tried 14 proxy servers in the US and various parts of the world from Trusted Proxys but none made any significant difference.  Thanks anyway.