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Old 11-10-2013, 05:34 PM   #1
moyekj
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Encoding issues?

I've had at least a couple of completed downloads freeze up on me and refuse to play beyond a certain time. To be clear, these are not network errors happening during streaming or downloading - these were fully complete downloads that I was watching on my iPad. The last one reached 18 minute mark of a 1 hour episode and play just freezes at 18 min point. When I attempt to 30 sec skip it jumps to the end. If I slide the location bar beyond 18 min point it just sits where I dragged it to but it won't play. If click on "Done" button and then play show again it plays for a second and freezes again at same point. Playing the show on TiVo itself at that point I didn't notice any glitches at that point and it wasn't at a transition time say between the show and commercials.

My guess is these are encoding problems and sounds like classic behavior for programs with timestamp issues which you need to clean up with something like VideoRedo QS Fix before encoding them to avoid problems in the encoding.

Anyone else run into problems such as the above? I don't recall seeing posts here about this but perhaps I missed them.

Between this problem and the general problem of slow download speeds I'm not too thrilled with my Roamio Stream, and looks like sticking to the traditional TTG techniques for creating videos for iOS is more robust.
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:35 AM   #2
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TiVo uses HLS even for downloading. HLS works by breaking a recording into hundreds of short TS files and then using a playlist file that's an extension of the old .m3u format to navigate the chunks. So this could be a signal that the playlist file is being corrupted some how.

If you download the same show again does it always screw up in the same place?
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:21 AM   #3
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TiVo uses HLS even for downloading. HLS works by breaking a recording into hundreds of short TS files and then using a playlist file that's an extension of the old .m3u format to navigate the chunks. So this could be a signal that the playlist file is being corrupted some how.

If you download the same show again does it always screw up in the same place?
Just re-downloaded again this morning at same quality level as before (basic) and same problem right around the same point. Play worked fine until the 17-18 min mark and beyond that freezes. Pressing 30 sec skip jumps all the way to the end, frozen picture beyond the bad point.
What's worse is that once it freezes there's no way to do anything with it anymore. Trying to get back to good segments before the bad portion does not work either, just a frozen picture no matter what I try. Only thing you can do is delete it.
I'm going to try a different quality level just to see if that makes a difference...
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:44 AM   #4
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Re-downloaded same show as above using "medium" quality this time and all the problems went away, so thanks for that idea Dan. The other show that had problems was also originally "basic" quality as well. Since "basic" looks pretty terrible and seems to have playback issues I won't be using it anymore. Hopefully I won't run into trouble using "medium" or "high" quality downloads.

(If it matters, both shows that had playback problems as basic quality downloads were originally 1080i recordings from TNT HD channel).
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:42 PM   #5
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When I was running my tests Basic seemed to have the biggest fluctuation in the size of the final file. So I think it might use a bigger variation for the avg/max bitrate values. Perhaps the VBR encoding is somehow screwing up the downloads.
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:56 PM   #6
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I have never seen a 'basic' option. I only have medium and best. Does it depend on the channel source ?


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Old 11-11-2013, 08:10 PM   #7
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I have never seen a 'basic' option. I only have medium and best. Does it depend on the channel source ?
Probably the standalone Stream with the older software may have only 2 options. But the updated Stream software (which not everyone has received yet) has the 3 download options. They probably had to add it for OOH poor bandwidth conditions.
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Old 11-12-2013, 02:47 AM   #8
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Yeah you don't get the Basic option until you get the out of home update.
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Old 11-14-2013, 08:52 PM   #9
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Another major problem with downloads related to encoding...

I've been downloading in home at medium quality to my iPad and at least 3 programs I've watched get a few seconds (2-3) out of Audio/Video sync in places. I guess because of the nature of HLS the sync resets with some segments and will be OK for a while, but gradually goes out of sync again.

I may have missed others posting about this. Anyone else notice this too?

I really want to like the Stream but there are a bunch of issues working against it so far.
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Old 11-15-2013, 02:07 AM   #10
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I've never noticed any sync issues. Which iOS device are you using?
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Old 11-15-2013, 03:05 AM   #11
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I've never noticed any sync issues. Which iOS device are you using?
iPad Air.
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:30 PM   #12
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Anyone else run into problems such as the above? I don't recall seeing posts here about this but perhaps I missed them.
YES! I've experienced the exact same problem with the same symptoms from two different Premieres and a standalone Tivo Stream, during both in-home and out-of-home downloads on both an iPad 2 and and iPhone4S running iOS7.
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Old 11-15-2013, 01:20 PM   #13
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YES! I've experienced the exact same problem with the same symptoms from two different Premieres and a standalone Tivo Stream, during both in-home and out-of-home downloads on both an iPad 2 and and iPhone4S running iOS7.
OK, thanks for posting. It may be coincidence, but for the cases I noticed the problem the source TiVo recordings were 720p from ABCHD channel.

Using TiVo To Go I always have to run VideoRedo QS Fix as part of the flow to correct timestamp issues in original recordings on the TiVos, else when re-encoding I'll get bad A/V sync issues using ffmpeg or handbrake. So looks to me like the timestamp problems also affect Stream encoder.

Dan, maybe you guys need to license your QS Fix re-muxer to TiVo?
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Old 11-21-2013, 03:43 PM   #14
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I had the same issue on my iPad Air with a high quality show. Moving playing program to a new location on the timeline using a finger scrub fixed the problem for me. A skip forward or skip backwards did not.
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:46 PM   #15
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I had the same issue on my iPad Air with a high quality show. Moving playing program to a new location on the timeline using a finger scrub fixed the problem for me. A skip forward or skip backwards did not.
Yes, usually when I have the problem it seems to show up for a few segments and then clears up - i.e. There may be 2-3 minutes of video out of sync and then corrects itself. After years of video re-encoding I'm particularly tuned into A/V sync issues and notice them more than perhaps casual viewers.
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Old 11-21-2013, 10:05 PM   #16
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I was having some weird, similar problems with an OOH download of CSI on my iPhone. Sometimes the audio would be out-of-sync (although an instant replay seemed to correct that) but the worst problem was when it reached a certain point in the video, it would jump/skip ahead several minutes. It must have been a glitch in the encoding or something because I could 30-second skip past that portion and the playback would resume normally, but if I rewound back to that point it would skip again. Once or twice I also got the "Finished" message in the middle of playback and it would just stop there as if it was at the end. Really strange.
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Old 12-15-2013, 11:45 AM   #17
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Another major problem with downloads related to encoding...

I've been downloading in home at medium quality to my iPad and at least 3 programs I've watched get a few seconds (2-3) out of Audio/Video sync in places. I guess because of the nature of HLS the sync resets with some segments and will be OK for a while, but gradually goes out of sync again.
I'm still getting pretty bad A/V sync problems from time to time - 1 second or more off sync and using trick play doesn't fix the problem. I can't rely on downloads giving me proper sync which makes this unreliable solution and better off using TTG methods to generate in sync recordings for my iPad. Too bad since it's much more convenient to just use Stream to download.

This is another nod in favor of Slingbox which generates encodings from analog streams instead of digital and hence doesn't suffer from potential A/V sync issues.
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:07 AM   #18
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Are the sync issues specific to a certain channel or channels? Or random regardless of channel?
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Old 12-16-2013, 02:10 AM   #19
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Are the sync issues specific to a certain channel or channels? Or random regardless of channel?
It's not channels specific as I've had recordings from same channel be OK and some not. Note that I took the same show that had A/V sync issues when downloaded to iPad Air through TTG and VRD iPad profile encode, then iTunes transfer to iPad, and it came out fine that way. Problem is of course it takes at least 2-3x longer to get something on the iPad that way.

Note that in general A/V sync issues used to be very common for me and I've always needed VRD QS Fix to correct timestamp issues before encoding to something else. Way back when I 1st used TiVo Desktop years ago it was a major problem as well which is what prompted me to look for a better TTG flow.
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