33 Replies Latest reply: Jan 1, 2013 6:13 AM by OvCollyer RSS

    WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing

    OvCollyer Apprentice

      I'm reposting this here as it's most relevant to the WDTV. I posted it yesterday in a thread about Boxee but I fear the Boxee is being ignored now that the Boxee Box has been discontinued, whereas the WDTV has had recent updates and perhaps is more of a focus of Sling.

       

      Anyway, the bottom line is that a number of people (not just posters here but over at WDTV community, and placeshifting enthusiasts) are a bit fed up having spent money on these streaming boxes but not getting a satisfactory performance out of them, especially at the higher quality settings, with the main issue being the video freezing periodically.

       

      Rather than just moan though, I thought I'd do some testing to try and hopefully show why I believe it's not related to any of our network setup, or TCP forwarding issues or other standard replies, but something wrong with either the Slingplayer application or the device it runs on.

       

      Test Conditions

      -


       

      Viewing location : Istanbul, 8mb download ADSL connection, WDTV connected directly to router

      Slingbox location : London, 8mb upload Fibre connection, Sky+ HD box outputting 1080i25 via component to Slingbox 350 and Slingbox Pro-HD (via pass-through on 350)

       

      The principle of the test was to connect to a remote Slingbox, observe the bitrate and the video stream and then run the popular Speed Test iOS application at the viewing location to make it consume the bandwidth and thus simulate, from the point of view of the Slingplayer, a drop in the bandwidth.

       

      Test 1 - WDTV Slingplayer connected to Slingbox 350

      -


       

      1. Connected and set quality to Best HD

      2. Pressed red button to display stats

      3. Observed Stream resolution 1920 x 1080

      4. Observed Buffer duration (secs) always 3s

      5. Observed Currently buffered (secs) is zero

      6. Observed Current bitrate (kbps) oscillates between about 2-3mbps

      7. Launched Speed Test application on iPhone

      8. Observed Current bitrate (kbps) falling to well below 1mbps

      9. Observe stream freezing

      10. Waited for Speed Test application on iPhone to finish (it runs for about 15s)

      11 Observed Current bitrate (kbps) recover to between 2-3mbps

      12. Observed that Currently buffered (secs) stayed at zero

      13. Observed that the video never came back despite the stream now being fine

       

      Test 2 - WDTV SlingPlayer connected to Slingbox Pro-HD

      -


       

      1. Connected and set quality to Best HD

      2. Pressed red button to display stats

      3. Observed Stream resolution 1920 x 544

      4. Observed Buffer duration (secs) always 3s

      5. Observed Currently buffered (secs) is zero

      6. Observed Current bitrate (kbps) oscillates between about 2-5mbps

      7. Launched Speed Test application on iPhone

      8. Observed Current bitrate (kbps) falling to well below 1mbps

      9. Observe stream freezing

      10. Waited for Speed Test application on iPhone to finish (it runs for about 15s)

      11 Observed Current bitrate (kbps) recover to between 2-5mbps

      12. Observed that Currently buffered (secs) started to rise to about 15s

      13. Observed that Slingplayer automatically disconnected and reconnected

       

      Test 3 - Mac Flash SlingPlayer connected to Slingbox Pro-HD

      -


       

      This test was done by loading the following URL into Safari on Mac:

       

      download.slingmedia.com/spcd/wdtv/

       

      This appears to be the May 2012 version of the flash SlingPlayer application intended for the WDTV.

       

      1. Connected and set quality to Best HD

      2. Pressed Q key to display stats

      3. Observed Stream resolution 1920 x 544

      4. Observed Buffer duration (secs) always 3s

      5. Observed Currently buffered (secs) is around 3-5s

      6. Observed Current bitrate (kbps) oscillates between about 2-5mbps

      7. Launched Speed Test application on iPhone

      8. Observed Current bitrate (kbps) falling to well below 1mbps

      9. Observe stream freezing

      10. Waited for Speed Test application on iPhone to finish (it runs for about 15s)

      11 Observed Current bitrate (kbps) recover to between 2-5mbps

      12. Observed that Currently buffered (secs) recovers to around 5s

      13. Observe that video recovers and continues as expected

       

      Conclusions

      -


       

      What this appears to show is that there are some fundamental issues with the recovery mechanism of the flash player on the WDTV. I will make something of a leap here and assume that this also explains the Boxee issues.

       

      Test 1 - When connected to a Slingbox 350, once the stream is broken it never recovers and the user is forced to disconnect and reconnect themselves.

       

      Test 2 - When connected to a Slingbox Pro-HD, once the stream is broken it struggles to recover and eventually disconnects and reconnects itself. Although this happens without user intervention it's still messy and takes a considerable amount of time - in the period until the automatic reconnect it stutters as if trying to catch-up but eventually seems to give up and disconnect/reconnect again.

       

      Test 3 - An example of how the recovery should work is shown by what happens here when the flash application is run on a Mac. Here, the stream is broken but quickly recovers once the data resumes at a fast enough rate to fill the buffer. I suspect this is how it is intended to work.

       

      What is notable in all of this is that the "Currently buffered (sec)" entry in the stats is seems pretty much broken on the WDTV (always zero prior to the stream breaking, for example), only behaving logically on the Mac test.

       

      Over to you Sling

        • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
          colvilleb

          I recently purchased a WD Live Media player to connect to my Slingbox solo at my home in Michigan while staying in our Florida condo. We have solid Internet connections at both locations and can connect to the Slingbox through the WD media player at the Florida condo but the stream frequenfly freezes requireing the disconnection of the WD media player from power and then plugging it back in. The media player also frequently freezes when connected to other services like Pandora. This indicates that the problem is with the media player not the Slingbox application. Has anyone got a fix for the media player freezing issue? Without a fix the WD media player is pretty useless with my Slingbox.

          • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
            andrew69pc

            I have the same problem, when I switch to "BEST-HD" the app goes freeze and I must to restart the WD and relunch the Slingplayer App;

            in the other quality settings it work fine, but I never watched someting at "BEST-HD" resolution.

            My internet test speed made with the Slingplayer App shows that I have 9 Mbit/sec available, so I don't think the internet speed is the source of this issue...

            Waiting for a Slingbox answer, please

            • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
              andrew69pc

              Not yet, but I will do it this evening...

              I have bandwith to see images at better quality, so now the TV Live must work as its specification says!

                • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                  andrermf Newbie

                  Guys

                   

                  just added a case in the WD COmmunity reporting the same error . Everytime I watch on best HD with my SB500 on remote it freezes after 4 /5 minutes. When I'm watching in better it freezes after 15 minutes. If they solve this let me tell you that is almost like watching HD Cable TV. The picture quality is amazing .

                   

                  Cheers

                    • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                      OvCollyer Apprentice

                      Great, let's hope this helps, even if it's a case of WD giving Sling media a nudge to fix their player.

                       

                      My fear is that it turns out to be due the WDTV hardware not being powerful enough. In my test above, it was notable that (an albeit older version of) the WDTV Slingplayer application ran ok on a Mac Mini without freezing. Is anyone able to repeat my third test above with a PC or Mac?

                       

                      I believe the Logitech Revue version of the Slingplayer suffered due to lack of hardware power and that was simply given up on, so.....

                        • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                          andrermf Newbie

                          Ovcoyller

                           

                          let me tell you my experience

                           

                           

                          Slingbox 500-Portugal (8MB upload)

                          Watching remotely in Spain with WD TV Live - Freezes after 3/5 minutes in BEST HD and after 15minutes with Better

                           

                          Slingbox Pro-HD in Spain

                          Watching locally with WD TV - no problems at 1920x544

                           

                          Watching SB500 or SBPRO-HD with iphone, ipad and MAC... no problems

                           

                          I'm going to watch now the slingboxproHD remotely (i'm out of my place) with the flashplayer (thelink you told us) through my MAC. Will let you know

                            • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                              andrermf Newbie

                              been testing the slingbox pro hd with the flash app on the macbook and there's no problem. more than 20 minutes now.

                               

                              Ovcoyller

                               

                              I've tried to connect my macbook through HD cable to my TV but the image quality is not so good as the WD TV.

                               

                              do you have a mac mini? Have you connected through hdmi and saw the image quality? What alternative should I consider to get the best possible image?


                              Regards

                                • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                  OvCollyer Apprentice

                                  From what I can tell the best pictures are under Windows and the WDTV, especially when connecting to one of the new Slingboxes 350 or 500.

                                   

                                  I have a Mac Mini and connected it via HDMI, as I have with a MacBook, and I've never been truly satisfied with the image quality when connected to a TV.

                                   

                                  The other options seem to be the newest Google TV boxes, which are the Sony NSZ-GS7 or the Visio Co-Star. Search for the user 'callanish' on these forums, he seems to have tried quite a few of these connected devices.

                                   

                                  I've only experienced the WDTV, but I would expect the Google TV boxes to have comparable picture quality and if they have the stability too, as some have indicated they do, then they might be a decent option.

                                   

                                  Unfortunately neither of the two GTV boxes are available where I am (Istanbul) so I don't have the option of trying one of them out, at least not right away anyway.

                        • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                          andrew69pc

                          Hi guys,

                          I want share with you my experience:

                           

                          1- Slingbox350 in New York City, WD in north Italy: +- 9 Mbit/sec internet speed, +- 3 Mbit/sec slingplayer speed (this is the speed test on board WD in Slingplayer App).

                           

                          2- Under these conditions, the maximum quality (HD) setting dosn't work, one step above (I think is called "Better") it's work fine but often the WD stop the stream and ask me to reduce quality: note, it's not a "freeze", is a request to reduce quality because Slingplayer probably feels some internet "up and down" speed...

                          When the"Better" setting works, the image is fine, even on my 52" LCD Samsung TV.

                           

                          3- Same internet speed condition, 27" iMac connected via wifi: in HD it works fine and the image is smooth.

                           

                          I don't know if the WDTV hardware is not  powerful enough or is the Slingplayer App that has some problem...

                          But others video app on WD seems work fine, only Splingplayer seems affected with this issue.

                           

                          Do you know some alternative that give a smooth quality on large TV?

                           

                          WD is not so bad but if the HD setting dosn't work...

                           

                          Thanks,

                          Andrea

                            • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                              OvCollyer Apprentice

                              Thanks for sharing.

                               

                              What happens if you disable the network quality messages, does it then freeze?

                               

                              I turned these off because it was annoying to be interrupted as the Internet speed fluctuated temporarily.

                               

                              It should work like the other devices and players - let the user choose the quality and if the bandwidth drops then it should skip/glitch until the bandwidth recovers.

                               

                              I can run in best HD on the web player and it copes just fine, just the occasional glitch from which it always recovers.

                               

                              Kind of bored of this thread now anyway, I've tried to be constructive and provide as much info as possible but since nobody from Sling can be bothered to help then really what's the point, in wasting my time.

                                • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                  andrew69pc

                                  When I came back to home I can try to disable the network quality messages and I can write something about that..

                                   

                                  OvCollyer ha scritto:

                                  Kind of bored of this thread now anyway, I've tried to be constructive and provide as much info as possible but since nobody from Sling can be bothered to help then really what's the point, in wasting my time.

                                   

                                  I agree with you, I hope in some Sling answer...

                                   

                                  Nobody of us can solve this issue!

                                • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                  OvCollyer Apprentice

                                  Thanks, yeah I saw that a while ago.

                                   

                                  It seems the problems back then related to disconnecting rather than/as much as freezing.

                                   

                                  I wonder if the WDTV freezing issue is now more prevalent with the 350 and 500 due to the extra bandwidth/processing it requires or due to some difference in the way the new streams are encoded/decoded. I've been told that the new streams compress more of the frames, so maybe this pushes the hardware more or something and it can't cope after a bandwidth drop.

                                   

                                  They were obviously in a rush to update the player/WDTV to make it work with the new boxes, maybe they didn't have time to properly test it.

                                   

                                  I don't know, just guessing really...!

                                • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                  colvilleb

                                  At least in my case I was using the Slingbox application on the WD Live media player to receive a standard defintion signal from my Slingbox Solo over the Internet and had major freezing problems.

                                    • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                      OvCollyer Apprentice

                                      So just in the interests of keeping people informed.

                                       

                                      I may have mentioned I had a ticket open about this with Western Digital.

                                       

                                      Firstly, unlike Sling, they were prepared to actually have a conversation about this. At least I wasn't ignored in the manner we have been here. Kudos for that.

                                       

                                      The support representative mentioned that the web player has more options for controlling the quality and buffer size than the app running on the Slingplayer, which seems plausible.

                                       

                                      Unfortunately his conclusion was there is nothing they can do - it's a limitation of the unit/player and the Internet connection. He said he could understand I'd want to return the unit, which of course I will be doing.

                                       

                                      So not a positive outcome and one that I think reflects very poorly on both Sling and WD for releasing a player that is fundamentally below the level of network tolerance we've come to expect from the web and other players.

                                       

                                      I suppose there is a slim chance Sling might be able to improve the player so it's more resilient, but I'm not holding my breath on that!

                                       

                                      Shame actually, as the WD is a nice unit.

                                        • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                          andrermf Newbie

                                          so if SLing doesn't do nothing we are doom. what a pitty. THey have to do something otherwise no FULL HD in any connected device right now , correct?

                                            • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                              OvCollyer Apprentice

                                              I guess it depends on how prevalent the issue is.

                                               

                                              I only have an 8mbps download connection at the remote location (I'll upgrade to fibre when the local ISPs here give me some reasonable monthly download options!) so maybe that means fluctuations are more keenly felt by the player app, I don't know.

                                               

                                              Or maybe it's more about the route it takes from the Slingbox to the remote location.

                                               

                                              People using the WD on the same LAN maybe don't get this issue, so perhaps it's still a viable option for them. I was only able to test the WD for about an hour on the same LAN as the Slingbox but it worked flawlessly. Remotely it's maybe lasted 15 mins at the highest quality.

                                               

                                              It's impossible to say whether we are a minority with this issue or whether it's a more fundamental flaw.

                                               

                                              I will try one of the new Sony or Vizio Google TVs and see if that performs any better, and report back (will be a few weeks).

                                                • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                                  andrermf Newbie

                                                  Thanks !

                                                   

                                                  Will wait to here from you.

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                                    andrermf Newbie

                                                    After some research on the Internet looking for sling player for google tv I think the problem is the slingplayer Flash app and not the wdtv or boxee etc

                                                     

                                                    Cheers

                                                     

                                                    Sent from my iPhone

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    El 27/11/2012, a las 20:42, OvCollyer <answers@slingmedia.com> escribió:

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    Slingbox Answers Forum

                                                    WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing

                                                    reply from OvCollyer in SlingPlayer for WD TV Media Players - View the full discussion

                                                    I guess it depends on how prevalent the issue is.

                                                     

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    I only have an 8mbps download connection at the remote location (I'll upgrade to fibre when the local ISPs here give me some reasonable monthly download options!) so maybe that means fluctuations are more keenly felt by the player app, I don't know.

                                                     

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    Or maybe it's more about the route it takes from the Slingbox to the remote location.

                                                     

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    People using the WD on the same LAN maybe don't get this issue, so perhaps it's still a viable option for them. I was only able to test the WD for about an hour on the same LAN as the Slingbox but it worked flawlessly. Remotely it's maybe lasted 15 mins at the highest quality.

                                                     

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    It's impossible to say whether we are a minority with this issue or whether it's a more fundamental flaw.

                                                     

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    I will try one of the new Sony or Vizio Google TVs as see if that performs any better, and report back (will be a few weeks).

                                                     

                                                    Reply to this message by replying to this email -or- go to the message on Slingbox Answers Forum

                                                    Start a new discussion in SlingPlayer for WD TV Media Players at Slingbox Answers Forum

                                                     

                                                      • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                                        OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                        I thought the same until I read a couple of examples of people who've had all sorts of issues with the WDTV or Boxee Slingplayer, including the freezing at high settings, and then found these didn't happen with GTV. The user 'callanish' on these forums is one such example.

                                                         

                                                        So I'm keen to try, but will return the GTV box if it doesn't work satisfactorily.

                                                          • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                                            spevin

                                                            update. had my best success today with my 350 on the boxee.

                                                             

                                                            before i would get to around 45 mins max of no freezing on the highest setting (seemed like clockwork it would freeze right at 45mins)

                                                             

                                                            today it streamed for just under 5 hours without freezing. (it didnt freeze after that, i turned it off)

                                                             

                                                            not bad at all! not sure if there was some sort if fix or just good luck.

                                                              • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                                                OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                                They've updated the 350 firmware to fix the freezing.

                                                                  • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                                                    spevin

                                                                    great news! i can stream my free tv in peace now.

                                                                    • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                                                      andrermf Newbie

                                                                      Ovcoyller

                                                                       

                                                                      from the test you made now with the new firmware do is the Vizio TV better than WDTV to stream remotely? Freezing, picture, quality, commands etc

                                                                       

                                                                      Cheers

                                                                       

                                                                      Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2012 23:34:33 -0800

                                                                      From: answers@slingmedia.com

                                                                      To: andrermf@hotmail.com

                                                                      Subject: Re: - WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing

                                                                                                                                                      Slingbox Answers Forum

                                                                                                               

                                                                       

                                                                                                          

                                                                                                          

                                                                                                               

                                                                          WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing

                                                                       

                                                                       

                                                                          reply from OvCollyer in SlingPlayer for WD TV Media Players - View the full discussion

                                                                       

                                                                       

                                                                       

                                                                      They've updated the 350 firmware to fix the freezing.

                                                                       

                                                                       

                                                                           Reply to this message by replying to this email -or- go to the message on Slingbox Answers Forum

                                                                           Start a new discussion in SlingPlayer for WD TV Media Players at Slingbox Answers Forum

                                                                        • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                                                          OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                                          Freezing

                                                                          -------------

                                                                           

                                                                          Both the WDTV and Vizio are now the same for me - if the connection slows down sufficiently then both will stop, but the difference after the firmware update is that both will now recover. Before the firmware, the WDTV would never recover so you'd be forced to disconnect and reconnect. This is no longer the case with the WDTV.

                                                                           

                                                                          Picture quality

                                                                          ---------------------

                                                                           

                                                                          Same sharpness and overall quality, but I find that the WDTV gives a slightly smoother picture at the 1920 x 1080 resolution. For example, if I am watching a channel with scrolling text along the bottom, I find it scrolls smoothly and consistently on the WDTV, whereas the Vizio (and Sony actually) both have a little glitch in that the scrolling appears to stop for a fraction regularly every second. I also find this noticeable when watching live action sports. I assume this must be related to Google TV/Chrome.

                                                                           

                                                                          Commands

                                                                          ----------------

                                                                           

                                                                          Both WDTV and the Vizio have a similar response time, but if the stream gets stuck for a few seconds then subsequent commands can often take a long time. I can't see any difference between the WDTV and Vizio in this respect - they both suffer from this and once they have entered this state they don't appear to ever get out of it.

                                                                           

                                                                          Other

                                                                          --------

                                                                           

                                                                          I find the remote control mappings better on the WDTV. For example, they have mapped the WDTV "Back" button to the "Back" Slingbox command, and the yellow button to the "Guide" Slingbox command.

                                                                           

                                                                          On the Vizio, there is no apparent 'back' command without turning over the remote and using the keyboard, which is fiddly. Likewise for Guide. This makes it a PIA to enter the remote EPG and exit from it. You would have to bring up the control overlay and navigate to Guide and then later navigate to Back. If I recall, they are in two separate menus in my case!

                                                                           

                                                                          Also, the WTDV hass a fully IR remote whereas the Vizio is mainly a bluetooth remote although some commands can be issues in an IR mode. The reason I mention this is that since all the keys on the WDTV are IR commands this makes it easy for me to integrate control over the WDTV into my universal Harmony remote.

                                                                           

                                                                          Finally, the mouse pointer and Chrome URL bar both tend to appear on the Vizio and Sony players when I don't want them - because it's too easy to press the touchpad when trying to press another key. I find this mildly irritating - when I'm controlling the Slingplayer I don't want to feel that I am on a web page/controlling a computer.

                                                                           

                                                                          Conclusion

                                                                          ----------------

                                                                           

                                                                          I prefer the WDTV player over the Vizio and Sony players, but until they fix the delayed command issue it's not as good as using a SlingCatcher, for remote viewing.

                                                                           

                                                                          For local viewing, where the connection is stable enough for it not to enter the 'delayed command' state, then I imagine it's an almost comparable solution.

                                                                            • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                                                              andrermf Newbie

                                                                              Hi Ovcoyller

                                                                               

                                                                              Thanks for this. Ill keep using the WDTV then.

                                                                               

                                                                              Thanks

                                                                              Cheers

                                                                               

                                                                              Sent from my iPhone

                                                                               

                                                                               

                                                                              El 26/12/2012, a las 10:57, OvCollyer <answers@slingmedia.com> escribió:

                                                                               

                                                                               

                                                                              Slingbox Answers Forum

                                                                              WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing

                                                                              reply from OvCollyer in SlingPlayer for WD TV Media Players - View the full discussion

                                                                              Freezing

                                                                               

                                                                              • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                                                                andrermf Newbie

                                                                                Ovcoyller

                                                                                 

                                                                                I have an upload on Lisbon of 8MB and with my laptop I get around 6-7MB when watching remote. However with the WDTV it reaches an average of 3.5-4MB. This happens to you. With the Vizio you get more bandwidth than with the WDTV?

                                                                                Thanks

                                                                                 

                                                                                Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2012 01:57:32 -0800

                                                                                From: answers@slingmedia.com

                                                                                To: andrermf@hotmail.com

                                                                                Subject: Re: - WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing

                                                                                                                                                                Slingbox Answers Forum

                                                                                                                         

                                                                                 

                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                         

                                                                                    WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing

                                                                                 

                                                                                 

                                                                                    reply from OvCollyer in SlingPlayer for WD TV Media Players - View the full discussion

                                                                                 

                                                                                 

                                                                                 

                                                                                Freezing

                                                                                  • Re: WDTV Live video freezing issue - my testing
                                                                                    OvCollyer Apprentice

                                                                                    My stats:

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Upload (London) 8mbps, Slingbox 350

                                                                                    Download (Istanbul) 8mbps, 5-6 via speedtest

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Laptop - generally I get 3-4mbps in Istanbul. However I didn't get much more than 4-4.5mbps when I tested the laptop in London on the same LAN.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    WDTV - generally 2-3mbps in Istanbul

                                                                                    Vizio/Sony - maybe slightly more 2.5-3.5mbps in Istanbul, but hard to be sure. I can't see any picture improvement with the Vizio/Sony, in fact as I've stated elsewhere the WDTV at the highest resolution seems to have a smoother framerate.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    But in general I find I can get a bit more out of the laptop than with the connected device players.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    One other thing, I think I perceive a slightly faster control response via the Vizio/Sony compared to the WDTV. Not a big difference but I think there is one.