26 Replies Latest reply: May 3, 2013 8:31 AM by tcaradonna RSS

    How to achieve Best HD quality stream

    sebpipe

      Hello,

       

      I have my Slingbox 350 set up in Japan and am watching in the U.K. I am watching in the U.K. via Mac in Safari and Chrome webbrowsers. M

       

      My upload speed in Japan is around 30MB and my download speed in the U.K. speed is also 30MB. My best speeds for the stream have been around 1900kbps.

       

      My problem is that even though I easily have sufficent upload and download bandwidth to meet the recommend requirements I cannot watch the video stream when I select the Best HD quality setting.

       

      I have selected Auto and the video it plays well, but I was expecting 1080p Best HD quality as advertised.

       

      Please advise:

       

      1. How to acheive the best speed for Best HD quality?

      2. What is theoretically the best acheivable bandwidth speed for remote viewing?

       

      Thanks for your advice.

        • Re: How to achieve Best HD quality stream
          Tyler.Sling Novice

          Hello sebpipe,

           

          Thank you for posting in our online answers forum! I'm sorry you are unable to stream in best HD. I understand you are getting 30Mbps of download speed at both locations. However, it is actually the upload speed that matters. Below is an article that can help you with troubleshooting this issue and also a link to the technical specs for the Slingbox 350. The tech specs will tell you what you need for network speed in order to stream in HD with the Slingbox 350. Feel free to reply!

           

           

          Hope this helps!

           

          Best regards,

          The Sling Moderation Team

            • Re: How to achieve Best HD quality stream
              sebpipe

              I think you misread my question, I did say my upload speed in Japan where the Slingbox 350 is located is 30MB UPLOAD, largely sufficient for Best HD streaming I thought. Do you mean I also need at least 2MB upload speed at the receiving end in the U.K? I thought for viewing at the receiving end in thge U.K. I would only use download speed?

               

              Regards

                • Re: How to achieve Best HD quality stream
                  tcaradonna Novice

                  I also stream from Japan.  You should remember that the up/down speed given do not imply that you should be getting anything near that in point to point communications.  30 up to the internet as measured by something like speedtest only measures to the nearest server.  If you have to take several hops, or go transatlantic/transpacific or whatever, your point-to-point travel could be limited by any number of bottlenecks along the path.  I, for one, have noticed certain times of day that I get poorer slinging speeds (which I attribute to the transpacific route my signal takes).

                   

                  That being said, I think for roughly 2000 kps (or whatever unit Slingbox uses), I am able to stream my japanese signal in HD ( which I think is broadcast in 1080i).  I use a pro-hd, and D3 to component cable from a Toshiba D-TR1 digital tuner.  I have about 12 up from japan and about 15 down in the U.S.  I've also  noticed that I get much better performace in California than in  Chicago, again probably because of the lesser number of hops.  Most of the time in Chicago I get about 2500 which seems more than sufficient.

              • Re: How to achieve Best HD quality stream
                tcaradonna Novice

                Out of curiosity, I noticed that they only recently started selling the 350 in Japan (along side the Pro-HD) in just the past few months.  Did you buy your 350 there?  Or did you "import" one?

                 

                It seems very odd that they have both the Pro-HD and 350 selling together (and no 500).  They are such similar products (even the price is only 20 dollars difference in Japan).  Personally I would opt for the Pro-HD between the two.  It still works with SlingCatcher and 350 doesn't.

                  • Re: How to achieve Best HD quality stream
                    OvCollyer Apprentice

                    I wouldn't.

                     

                    Being able to watch sport in 50/60fps with the 350 makes a huge difference for me.

                      • Re: How to achieve Best HD quality stream
                        tcaradonna Novice

                        Is that something the prohd can't handle?  The fps is something I haven't paid any attention to so I don't know anything about it.  I will say again, I couldn't tell the difference btw prohd and 500 at 1080i. 

                          • Re: How to achieve Best HD quality stream
                            OvCollyer Apprentice

                            Yep the Pro-HD is 25/30 fps max.

                             

                            It's most/only noticeable when watching sports. Films tend to be a lower frame rate.

                             

                            There is no way I'd go back to a Pro-HD after having got used to Sky Sports via my 350.

                             

                            1080i is a bit temperamental with 50 fps though; you have to use the Microsoft decoder (not Sling's) and on some machines I've found I have to install Chrome before I get 50fps in Internet Explorer!  Weird but I've experimented several times with a clean Windows 7 install to confirm this.

                              • Re: How to achieve Best HD quality stream
                                andrermf Newbie

                                There's a important difference between the 500 and ProHD in terms of HD picture. With the 500 or 350 ( I have both) the image is sharper and with more quality. I would go for a new box if you care about picture quality. If you try to connect to a big screen it doesn't have a quality like satellite or cabloe box but it's very very near to that.

                                • Re: How to achieve Best HD quality stream
                                  tcaradonna Novice

                                  That is some strange behavior you had!  Especially since you were able to reproduce it.

                                   

                                  Which decoder are you referring to?  h.264

                                  I started a thread a couple of weeks ago about some problems of flickering(looks like a camera flash going off) I was experiencing on my HTPC (running Windows 7 32-bit on an intel i3-3225 chip that has the HD4000 iGPU, no other graphics card).  The only guy that responded said that there were problems with windows h.264 decoder and that I should use slingbox's instead.  I didn't try it, but instead I turned off HW accelleration in the SlingPlayer advanced settings which seemed to cure the problem.  Here's the original thread:

                                  https://community.sling.com/message/88054#88054

                                   

                                  If it's the same decoder you're talking about, it's interesting that one person recommeds windows one, and someone else recommends sling's.

                                   

                                  Also, how do you tell what fps you are watching at?  Is there a stat screen for the video feed that I haven't found?

                                  Thanks!

                                    • Re: How to achieve Best HD quality stream
                                      OvCollyer Apprentice

                                      I saw your thread yesterday actually as this was also an Intel HD 4000 and I was getting the flicker mentioned in that thread.

                                       

                                      The thing is that after reading that I disabled the Windows decoder and it went back to 25fps when using the Sling H.264 decoder. I re-enabled the MS one again, and straightaway I got 50fps again.

                                       

                                      I would also guess that turning off hardware acceleration might prevent the higher framerate, though I've not tested it.

                                       

                                      Anyway, I solved the flicker via the settings (dynamic contrast adjustment or something). I've not had it since.

                                       

                                      As far as knowing the FPS, well, the stats window shows FPS (control + click or something on the Windows web player) but what is confusing is that with a 1080i source it never displays more than 25/30fps even though it can actually be drawing at 50/60fps. Maybe that is a quirk of it being 1080i and although it is refreshing the image 50 times per second, since it's interlaced maybe the stats still treat it as only 25 full frame data per second. Check the Placeshifting Enthusiasts website for a thread about it if you are interested. With a 720p source, the stats always show the correct FPS which backs this up I think.

                                       

                                      In any case, I can immediately tell if it's 25 or 50fps by switching to Sky Sports News or Sky News and watching the smoothness of the scrolling ticker at the bottom. Or just watching a few seconds of football on Sky Sports.

                                       

                                      Note that the 50fps only occurs with a 1080i source if you use Best (HD). Anything below, and it's not 50fps anymore. Whereas with a 720p source, you can get the higher frame rate at 640 x 480 too.

                                       

                                      It's all rather confusing if you ask me - I wonder if the higher framerate is kind of 'unofficial' because I've never seen it mentioned by Sling whereas IMO it's a massive reason to get one of the new boxes. Maybe it's not guaranteed to work on all setups or something, and they don't want to official support it yet.

                                        • Re: How to achieve Best HD quality stream
                                          tcaradonna Novice

                                          Thank you for the tip on the stat window.

                                           

                                          >OvCollyer Wrote:

                                          >The thing is that after reading that I disabled the Windows decoder  and it went back to 25fps when using the Sling H.264 decoder.

                                          >I  re-enabled the MS one again, and straightaway I got 50fps again.

                                          >

                                          >I would also guess that turning off hardware acceleration might prevent the higher framerate, though I've not tested it.

                                           

                                          So I was just playing with the HW Acceleration and watching the stat window.  It looks like HW Acceleration ON uses the Microsoft DTV-DVD Decoder.  When I turn it OFF it uses the Slingbox decoder.  That would support your guess about framerates and decoders.

                                           

                                          >OvCollyer Wrote:

                                          >Anyway, I solved the flicker via the settings (dynamic contrast adjustment or something). I've not had it since.

                                          Awesome.  I just looked that up and it fixed my problem.  Sounds like its related to the frame rates.  I'll report the solution back to the original thread.

                                           

                                          To OP:

                                          Sorry for hijacking this thread, I hope your question was answered though about streaming from afar and optimal speeds.

                                • Re: How to achieve Best HD quality stream
                                  sebpipe

                                  I bought the 350 slingbox in Japan when it just recently came out. I'm not sure why they don't sell the 500 there but I didn't need the extra wireless capability. I chose the 350 over the Pro HD because it was newer, smaller and was told it would give a better picture quality.

                                   

                                  Thanks your advice.

                                • Re: How to achieve Best HD quality stream
                                  OvCollyer Apprentice

                                  My thoughts to the original question.

                                   

                                  Poor streaming speeds over long distances are likely to be down to latency.

                                   

                                  First off, run a speedtest (Global speedtest website) but connecting to a server in Japan preferably in the same city and with the same ISP as your's in Japan. What 'ping' value do you get and what download speed? This will give you an idea as to what speed is theoretically achievable.

                                   

                                  You could try disabling port forwarding and UPnP on the router in Japan to force the Slingplayer to use something different than TCP for connecting. Typically the web player will use something called SNATT instead and some people have found this performs better over long distances. You can tell what mode you are using if you press the control key and click the video on the Windows web player. It should bring up a small window contains various bits of info including this.

                                   

                                  Aside from latency you might be suffering from sub optimal routing. You could try signing up to a VPN or proxy service and connecting to a server between UK and Japan to try and influence the route taken.

                                   

                                  You might be being throttled by your ISP in either UK or Japan. It's possible that using a VPN would help with this.

                                   

                                  I stream from UK to Turkey and I had a problem where during evenings the bitrate would drop or fluctuate horribly but I totally solved it by signing up to a good VPN service and connecting to a server in London. I'm not exactly sure why this solved it but it has. It's possible I circumnavigated my ISP's throttling because the VPN would use a different port and the traffic be encrypted (possibly slowing down VPN connections wouldn't be in an ISP's best interests as they are used by businesses?)

                                   

                                  Unfortunately though, you may find your problem is not solvable due to the distance involved being the main factor.

                                   

                                  PS bear in mind that VPNs and proxies can also make things worse. You would need to find one that isn't overloaded and has good connections to the Internet backbone and are known as 'tier-1' because they own and manage their own equipment rather than rent server space at a co-location facility.

                                    • Re: How to achieve Best HD quality stream
                                      OvCollyer Apprentice

                                      Just wanted to add a footnote to this, as it goes to show that a VPN can be of help in some circumstances.

                                       

                                      I discovered tonight that apparently all Internet connectivity out of my location in Turkey was slow - aside from my Slingplayer stuttering I could also tell this because my VPN client lists all the cities around the World that my provider supports and how fast or slow the connection is to them. For some reason, everything was half its usual speed tonight, presumably due to some fault or congestion in Turkey's link to the rest of Europe. A speed test inside Turkey, however, was the usual speed, showing that the problem was Turkey's connection to Europe, not my connection to my ISP here or general speeds inside Turkey.

                                       

                                      The 'ping' time to my router in London, where the Slingbox is located, was 180ms, about double what it normally is and this was having a bad impact on my streaming speeds to the extent that stable HD streaming was not possible. And just when Real Madrid where about to kick off versus Dortmund

                                       

                                      Anyway, one entry stuck out in my VPN client, and that was that connectivity to Bucharest in Romania was much faster than all the others.

                                       

                                      So I connected over VPN to that server, and low and behold I got my normal speeds back to London and am able to stream in HD again from my Slingbox.

                                       

                                      So what must have been happening was that by connecting to Bucharest I was taking a different route out of Turkey and avoiding whatever was causing the problems connecting to the rest of Europe.

                                       

                                      This is of course highly specific to my situation, tonight, but the point of my post is that the Internet is a very complicated beast but with a bit of perserverance it is sometimes possible to work around some issues to improve streaming speed.

                                        • Re: How to achieve Best HD quality stream
                                          sebpipe

                                          Thank you all for your detailed thoughts.

                                           

                                          I did try today to watch my 350 slingbox at an alternative location, my parents house. They have a 10Mb connection ADSL connection and the streaming speed on their PC was around 1000kbps slower than my home 30Mb connection which is currently around 1500kbps.

                                           

                                          Later this evening back at my house I tried pinging a server in Tokyo (my 350 is located in Tokyo) from London U.K with speedtest. Here are the results [URL=[http://www.speedtest.net | http://www.speedtest.net]][IMG][http://www.speedtest.net/result/2682097718.png | http://www.speedtest.net/result/2682097718.png][/IMG][/URL] I have a Mac hardwired Gbit ethernet connected to the router.

                                           

                                          I'll have to check the UPnP settings on the router in Japan. I couldn't find any info on the webplayer about SNATT or TCP  (maybe as I'm using a Mac and Safari?). I may try the VPN option - any opinions on the best providers for slingbox who might offer a trial? I saw Overplay dot net, any experiences?

                                           

                                          On a side note another issue I have:

                                           

                                          I have both the iphone and ipad apps. The iphone one works fine over wifi and 3G in auto mode. But the ipad one never plays - it just stutters and buffers continuosly in auto mode. The bandwidth seems to start at 1500kbps then fall to 648kbps and stays there but it still doesn't play. I have an ipad mini. I have 5 green lights displayed at the bottom of the screen - which I believe means good connection. I switched to SD mode and the stream drops to between 100-200Kbps but still stutters continuously and is unwatchable. I also tried at my parents house and it worked OK in SD mode only: dropping from 1000Kbps to 280Kbps. At 280Kps it played OK without stuttering.

                                           

                                          I'm wondering if it is not a problem with my router - a Virgin Superhub (all in one cable modem and wireless router)? I may try to get a different router to see if it makes any difference.

                                           

                                          I also found this great page with detailed advice about setting up slingbox http://drhans.janreznicek.com/node/32

                                           

                                           

                                          Message was edited by: sebpipe

                                            • Re: How to achieve Best HD quality stream
                                              OvCollyer Apprentice

                                               

                                              I'd say it's unlikely to be your router if you get slow speeds from your parents' house too.



                                               

                                               

                                              I ran a speedtest from London to Tokyo and my results tally with yours - I had 275ms ping and about 5mbps download.



                                               

                                               

                                              Latency is likely to be the main and likely insurmountable problem, I think, however I've been researching various VPN providers lately and as a result have one month subscriptions to several so if you were to give me temporary guest access to your Slingbox I'd be happy to try a few different servers for you to see if influencing the route taken can have any positive effect on your streaming speed.



                                               

                                               

                                              Feel free to email me at ovcollyer at mac.com if you are interested!



                                               

                                               

                                              Otherwise to experiment yourself you'd probably want to try a VPN provider with lots of servers and unlimited switching so Overplay would be good in that respect. I'm currently getting good results out of IP Vanish as they appear to be using more of their own infrastructure rather than renting other people's which should give them more control over speeds at peak times; I've had a few negative experiences with Overplay in that respect, but in all honesty it's going to be highly dependent on which server location, if any, helps your situation so Overplay would be fine at least to experiment with.



                                               

                                              Alternatively you could try using a proxy server - trustedproxies.com are reputable but last time I checked their website I couldn't find any reference to their consumer/Slingbox options so I am wondering if they have stopped doing that now. They're a friendly company though, in my experience, and I would expect them to reply if you asked them.

                                               

                                              Gut feeling though is that latency might be the killer here.