12 Replies Latest reply: Jun 29, 2014 7:15 PM by jeffersonkalil3@gmail.com RSS

    Slingbox500 and HD stream

    rosshsb

      I recently upgraded from a ProHD to a new 500.  Its all rather disappointing on this new 500 combined with the WD Live box.  In fact it worked better on the older ProHD.

       

      1/  The network test reports only a 3.1 Mbps for the slingplayer-slingbox, even when both are plugged into the same router on a 100Mbps network.  The test should report something like 50 or 75 Mbps in this conditions.   It would see to be some config / programming issue in the WD Live.  Thia slingbox-player network test never goes higher than this artificiallly low 3.1.  But when in use, I have seen bit rates as high as 18Mbps reported by the Slingplayer program.  The player wants to use a lowly "Better" level connection only, based on the test.

       

      2/  When manually setting "Best" (1280x540), the WDLive almost keeps up.  It has a few initial stuttering moments.  The stream seems to peek at about 8Mbps.  But it survives.  This is about the same as the old Pro HD maximum setting.

       

      3/  When manually setting "HD" (1920x1080), the WDLive is hopelessy overwhelmed.  Any time the stream burst above 10mbps, the WDLive will stutter.  If we see a period of high network bursts, the WDLive is lost, and will get all out of sync and die.   The network can easily handle this speed - why can't the WD live program?

       

      All of this is done over a home network - no slow internet interference here.  When using the PC for the endpoint, it runs comfortably at BestHD, with a stream at continous 5 - 12 Mbps.

       

      Is the WDLive limited at the low 3.5Mbps??  Or is there an issue with the installed program?

       

      Thanks.  rossH

        • Re: Slingbox500 and HD stream
          test350 Novice

          The WDTV has a propensity to fail to make the local TCP connection and ends up streaming via an Internet relay.  Try pressing the Red button on the remote and report what is shown for Connection.  If it's not tcpLan, See if rebooting both Slingbox and WDTV helps.  Otherwise, perhaps a manual IP-based Slingbox Directory entry will work.

           

          If the connection is tcpLan, confirm that the WDTV can play high-rate content from other sources, e.g. an HD video stored on your local PC.

            • Re: Slingbox500 and HD stream
              rosshsb

              Hi,

               

              Thanks for the answer. The onscreen data (red button) tells what address its connected too - the LAN address.  I can also watch the lights on the links at the router - all the traffic is direct betweem WDTV and the Slingbox.   I have also set up a LAN test where the two devices are all connected right in front of me (on a 100Mbps router), and the internet disconnected.  The WDTV net test still only reports the same slow max 3.1 reported.

               

              Mine never fails to locate the LAN IP.  I have a pretty expensive LAN set up here.

               

              When you get the WDTV running on a HD signal level, it will burst to 15 or 18 Mbsp, as observed with network monitoring tools, and reported by the the Red Button data.  But the WDTV can't process it.  It will get into a stuttering mess and eventually fail.   The WDTV can handle about a peak of about 8 Mbps and survive ( which is what a HDPro outputs at its highest setting).

               

              So my conclusion at this point, is that the WDTV can only process a "Best" level (8Mbps) stream.  This artificial 3.1 network test is a deliberate effort to force the WDTV to only connect at the lower signal speeds that it can handle.

               

              Thank rossh

                • Re: Slingbox500 and HD stream
                  test350 Novice

                  The theory that the WD lacks sufficient horsepower to decode and render Best HD video makes good sense.  Given that you have the networking tools,  IMO you can confirm that pretty easily.  In such a case, I would expect to see the Slingbox running up against the WD's TCP window.  OTOH, if you see a lot of retransmissions, there may be a compatibility problem with the WD's NIC, e.g. losing packets because of CRC errors, or it may simply be ACKing the packets too slowly.  With Wireshark, you can easily distinguish all these possibilities.

                   

                  Assuming that your theory proves correct, try setting your video source to output 720p (if it has that capability).  Then, I believe that "Best" is 1280x720p30 and "Best HD" is 1280x720p60.  If the WD can keep up with at least the 30 FPS variant, you should get quality as good or better than what the PRO-HD was putting out.

                   

                  Also, see whether the WD's speed limitation applies to non-Slingbox content.  If not, there may be a quirk in the Slingbox app that can be worked around.

                   

                  I believe that it should be possible to rig a "smart relay" between the WD and the Slingbox that throttles the peak data rate to 7 or 8 Mbps, which should still give excellent quality.  To see whether this would be workable, try recording a clip with the script here: http://placeshiftingenthusiasts.com/forum/general-sling-box-discussions/how-to-record-slingbox-pro-hd-stream-in-high-definition-720-or-1080/page-2/#p7620 setting $vbw to 7000 or so.  (See the first page of that thread if the setup is not clear.) Confirm that the recording can be viewed on your PC with e.g. VLC, then try to play it on the WD (via a DLNA server).  I don't know whether the WD can play the .asf file.  If not, use e.g. ffmpeg or VLC to convert it to a .mp4 or a .ts, being careful to not transcode the video.  If the result plays without stuttering and you are satisfied with the quality, I'll try to come up with a suitable relay.

                   

                  However, I'm curious about your overall goal.  If you will be streaming over the Internet, are you confident that you will be able to achieve these data rates?  For example, if you can't get faster than 4 Mbps upload at the Slingbox location, getting 1080 streaming to work locally is irrelevant.  OTOH, if you are merely trying to view on another TV in the same house, IMO you should consider a wired or wireless HDMI and IR extension solution.  Quality will equal the original (while Slingbox and similar all involve a generation loss), the remote will respond immediately, you'll never have to reboot it or have trouble with 'upgrades' gone awry, etc.

                    • Re: Slingbox500 and HD stream
                      rosshsb

                      I think the network chip in the WDTV can do 100Mbps, but the Slingplayer program and WDTV cannot.  The processer and memory will need to be pretty capable to do whats needed to convert data at 10 to 18Mbps.   I don't think its that good.  This WDTV box was built for netflix and others online things, which are what -  3 Mbps average at best?  The WDTV offers these real HD settings, but can't actually do them.

                       

                      My goal?  I live in a Condo up high and on the wrong side for satellite dishes.  So I have a private 5Ghz radio link (http://www.ubnt.com/airmax), to a friends place where the dish is installed.  I use a sling player setup on the LAN across the radio link.  It can do 40Mbps easy, and been in place for a year now with the old ProHD.

                       

                      Rossh

                        • Re: Slingbox500 and HD stream
                          test350 Novice

                          rosshsb wrote:

                           

                          I live in a Condo up high and on the wrong side for satellite dishes.  So I have a private 5Ghz radio link (http://www.ubnt.com/airmax), to a friends place where the dish is installed. ...

                           

                          Interesting application.  What country are you in and to what service do you subscribe?  If the broadcasts are in DVB-S format, then with the proper tuner at your friend's house and e.g. Raspbmc at your end, you could view programs in their full original quality.

                           

                          Unfortunately, in the US and a few other countries, the satellite providers use a proprietary conditional access system and that won't be possible.

                           

                          I'm sure that you have already considered this, but can you get your content at reasonable cost by non-satellite means (cable, fiber, IPTV), delivered directly to your home?

                           

                          If you'd like, I'll record and post a clip of demanding content from my 350, limited to e.g. 7 Mbps, which you could try on your WD.

                            • Re: Slingbox500 and HD stream
                              rosshsb

                              I have now tried a NeoTV device.   It has the same Slingplayer program installed as the WDTV does.

                               

                              1/  The network test is equally useless.   It fails to do a real LAN test, and gives silly low numbers (1.5Mbps in this case).   I think now it obvious that this network test is defective in the embedded slingplayer programs.

                               

                              2/  On HD signal, the Neo TV is able to handle the 10-15Mbps bursts of data.  It does not get into a stuttering mess yet.  Occassionaly it will pause and wait, but it buffers OK.   On the HD signal, it is reliable.

                               

                              3/  The audio and video get out of sync. There is often a 1 to 3 second alignment error on a HD signal.  I have been watching the tennis to get this detail.  There is a randomness too it - sometimes by luck its aligned, and other times its 3 seconds out, or something inbetween.  Clearly a big fault here.

                               

                              3/  The NeoTV remote controller is terrible for this Slingplayer.  The channel number controls are on the back and part of a qwerty keyboard.  i.e. no channel change numbers.  You need to press / hold an Alt key and then type numbers.

                               

                              4/  If you stop the slingplayer, and then restart it later, the screen is sometimes black.  The signal is there (red button), but no tv on screen. To resolve this, you need to retstart the NeoTV from scratch.

                               

                               

                              In summary the NeoTV will handle the HD signal, but due to various errors in the embedded program (audio issue) , its not desirable or tollerable to use.  Changing channels is a horrible experience.  Until this embedded slingplayer on the NeoTV gets fixed, the WDTV is still the best of a bad choice so far.

                               

                              I hope the NeoTV sling player gets better next time around.

                               

                               

                              Ross H

                    • Re: Slingbox500 and HD stream
                      OvCollyer Apprentice

                      My experience may possibly back up your theory that the WDTV is underpowered for the highest resolution streaming.

                       

                      I have a Slingbox 350 and originally this would stream at about 3mbps remotely at Best (HD) in 1080i. It was incredibly unstable though, within a few minutes it would freeze irrecoverably and require a disconnect and reconnect. I had no problems with streaming at 3mbps+ via the web player however.

                       

                      Then either the WDTV player or 350 got an update which reduces the Best (HD) stream to about 2.3mbps which was a lot better although still IMO not really usable as once the stream hit a temporary snag it would recover but all subsequent remote commands could take up to 10-20s to work. This was reported probably a year ago or so and I even opened a support case with WD about it who concluded that it was because the WD Slingplayer app didn't have as much control of the streaming parameters as the web player. They were pretty good and offered my a refund since I'd bought the WDTV purely for Slingplayer.

                       

                      Sling on the other hand have mostly ducked the issues with the WDTV Slingplayer (and others) - I guess it falls into a slight grey area where the app for these devices is free so they don't feel obliged to fix issues with it and it can't be blamed on the Slingbox hardware since that works fine. You'll see occasional random promises to fix things but frankly these date back months, even a year now so I have my doubts as to whether they're really serious about supporting these apps.

                       

                      It's all a bit of a shame. The idea of getting the Slingplayer on more devices is sound, but ultimately futile if the execution is poor and the support non existent.

                       

                      They hit the heights with SlingCatcher and although I don't doubt they had valid commercial reasons for discontinuing it its a real disappointment that the supposed official replacement is as half-baked as it is. I can't believe the original Sling founders are/would be happy with that.

                       

                      I would live to see Monsoon or someone upgrade their boxes to HD and provide proper competition, get the whole STB-to-TV end to end hardware placeshifting solution nailed.

                        • Re: Slingbox500 and HD stream
                          rosshsb

                          OvCollyer wrote:


                          ... a support case with WD about it who concluded that it was because the WD Slingplayer app didn't have as much control of the streaming parameters as the web player.

                           

                          Yes, that appears to be very true.  Thanks for your post.   The PC/Mac web player, or the older stand alone SlingPlayer, seem to be able to smooth off the incomming stream and cut off the high peaks being sent.   While the new Slingbox500 will hammer the WDTV with bursts to 15+ Mbps, and then its fails in a stuttering mess.

                           

                          I have a NeoTV box on the way, so lets see if its any better.

                           

                          Thanks rossh.

                        • Re: Slingbox500 and HD stream
                          rosshsb

                          Update:   A solution found.

                           

                          The basic problem with the setup - SlingBox 500 - LAN - WDTV, on a HD signal (1920x1080) strength, is that the slingbox will put out too much data for the WDTV.   On the LAN - around your home, it can handle 100Mbps.  The SlingBox will push out pure full HD data at rates up to 15 or even 20Mbps in bursts - it all depends on the picture on the screen.  But the WDTV can't handle it that fast.  The max rate that the WDTV will handle comfortably without errors, is about 10Mbps.

                           

                          So, I put in an extra router at the sling box, and I set the LAN speed in that router to max 10Mbps.  Now the slingbox will buffer anything above 10mbps and send out data at a max rate of 10mbps.   Now the WDTV seems to happy and no more stuttering errors or loss.

                           

                          Note - make sure the limiting LAN speed segment is connected to the sling box end, and not the player end.  this forces the slingbox to go no faster than 10.   If the LAN limit was at the player end, and the 100 to10 conversion is not bufferring, then it will drop packets, and you get a lot of errors.

                           

                          Hope this helps. rossh

                          • Re: Slingbox500 and HD stream
                            tf5005

                            I have a slingbox 500 and WD TV Live for a HD TV in another state.  Sling upload speed is 12-13 Mbps and download 1.8 Mbps.  WD TV receives picture with limited flutter or pause, but picture quality is "good" at best.  Why is picture quality so low if WD TV is receiving 1-13 Mpbs transmission?

                             

                            My two biggest issues with WDTV are:  (1) picture aspect and (2) very poor remote.  I have picture resolution at 70% for widescreen TV and picture is still larger than TV screen eliminating sports scores and bottom banners.  "Aspect" control under WD TV on screen remote does not function.

                             

                            WDTV on screen or remote control is very poor.  Takes 30 seconds to scan up/down or implement other features.  Programmed Logitech Harmony remote but still only implements WDTV remote.  Anyone found a way to use Sling remote with HDTV?

                            • Re: Slingbox500 and HD stream
                              jeffersonkalil3@gmail.com

                              I have the same problem, but the stuttering is very severe now and im not sure how to resolve it.

                              any help will be greatly appreciated

                              jeff