Mini and Tivo Roamio OTA over Ethernet, stutter

Discussion in 'TiVo Mini' started by JBinSD, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. JBinSD

    JBinSD Member

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    Oct 4, 2015
    I've had my mini in my front room for about two weeks, and for some reason I'm just noticing it tonight, but HD playback on the mini is virtually impossible, it skips and stutters repeatedly. I'm running a gigabit ethernet with a couple switches, but everything is hard-wired.

    Programming played on the Roamio is fine, both recorded and live. Standard Def (SD) playback on the mini, live, is fine, but HD playback, either live or recorded, now stutters.

    I've seen the other posts re Moca, but I'm hardwired on ethernet. Is it a problem with my switches, or Mini? The Mini doesn't seem capable of HD playback. . .

    Any suggestions appreciated,

    Joel
     
  2. JBinSD

    JBinSD Member

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    Oct 4, 2015
    After reading more posts, it seems this issue is endemic, or at least common tonight. I'm forcing a connection and will try again in the morning, hoping its just a momentary glitch in the system. . .

    cheers,
    Joel
     
  3. fcfc2

    fcfc2 Well-Known Member

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    Feb 19, 2015
    Hi,
    My best guess on reading your post is that this sounds like a possible switch or more likely, a single questionable Ethernet cable. A cable can test OK but then under high stress, i.e., streaming a prolonged HD stream, it can start to stumble and fail. You will often not recognize this kind of problem when transferring data.
    I would try swapping first the Ethernet cable feeding the mini and then look to the main cable(s) feeding the series of switches going to the mini. Also check for any sharp bends in the cabling.
     
  4. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Could you check and report back with the software versions for your DVR and Mini?
     
  5. JBinSD

    JBinSD Member

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    Oct 4, 2015
    Thanks guys, Mini software is 20.5.4a, Roamio OTA is 20.5.6 RC14. The Roamio works fine, its only the Mini, and only HD.
     
  6. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Urgh. The Minis are supposed to be updated to 20.5.6, as well, according to this TiVo document:
    TiVo Software Version Information.

    TiVo Mini
    • Model number: TCD A92 000 OR TCD A93 000
    • Current software: 20.5.6

    I don't have a Mini available on which to check, at the moment. I *really* wish there were some central database that tracked TiVo software versions in the wild.

    Regardless, Mini updates are likely on pause, along with the rest of the 20.5.6 rollout, until late on the 18th (last I heard).
     
  7. cpgar11

    cpgar11 New Member

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    Oct 19, 2007
  8. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Excellent suggestions. One other thing you could try, if you have the equipment available, is run iPerf on a couple laptops to test out your various network segments, to see what performance they can deliver. The nice thing about this approach is it won't be a matter of a single HD stream loading the lines; iPerf will load as much traffic onto the line as it can take, and you'll see its maximum throughput, or breaking point.

    As fcfc2 suggested, we had a single bad cable (the most important patch cable in the house, as luck would have it) that was just bad enough to provide connectivity, but we'd see buffering when more than one person was watching HD content. Replaced the patch cable and all was well.
     
  9. JBinSD

    JBinSD Member

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    Oct 4, 2015
    Interesting, I just played some 4k content through Netflix on my Vizio smart TV, AND on my Tivo, and both played back flawlessly, indicating its not the ethernet. Tuner for HD content still stutters on live TV.
     
  10. JBinSD

    JBinSD Member

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    Oct 4, 2015
    Shouldn't the fact that I can play 4k content from Netflix through both the TV and the mini indicate its not my ethernet? Why can I download stutter-free content, but cannot either tune or playback HD content from my Roamio?
     
  11. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    I'm loathe to recommend too much troubleshooting until your devices can get onto the same software version, but I'll bite...

    Hard to say without knowing exactly what the relative bitrates are for the 4K test streams and the problematic HD streams. It's possible that the 4K stream is under whatever the breaking point is. Everything will work great, until it doesn't.

    It's also hard to say without knowing your network topology, how the devices are specifically interconnected, especially the TiVo devices and the router and modem. It's possible that the bad cable or switch port is on the leg from the Roamio OTA. (When the Mini is stuttering, it's getting that HD stream from the Roamio, right? So even if the 4K test stream was above the breaking-point bandwidth, at best it would only mean the Mini's Ethernet leg may be OK.)

    You'd probably also want to list your network devices by model, so others could provide feedback on known good/bad experiences.

    That said and done, a couple different things to try:
    • Do a factory reset of the Mini (and only the Mini), using the 'Clear & Delete Everything' option under the "Restart & Reset" Help menu. Run through Guided Setup and see if the Mini performs any better afterwards. (And be sure to check whether the Mini's software updates during the process.)

    • Connect a computer to the Ethernet jack currently connected to the Roamio, and connect a computer to the Ethernet jack currently connected to the Mini, and run iPerf to see what it reports for the bandwidth between these two points. The computers shouldn't even need Gigabit ports, since the Mini is having trouble with a single HD stream; Fast Ethernet should suffice.

      And if iPerf shows the link as reliably delivering 90+ Mbps, it begins to point to a hardware issue or the infamous difficulty TiVo has with switches.

    • Minis are easy enough to shuffle around, so could you temporarily move the Mini next to the Roamio OTA, so that they could both be connected to the same Ethernet switch. If initial tests don't show an improved HD streaming experience, replace the cables, try another switch, etc. to see if you can find a combination that works.
     
  12. JBinSD

    JBinSD Member

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    Oct 4, 2015
    Wasted an hour on chat with a CSR that blamed everything on my signal strength, but playback on the Roamio is perfect. . . pretty frustrating.
     
  13. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    It just hit me what was bugging me about your "4K" test on the Mini, and the same would apply for testing a 4K video on the Roamio... neither of these devices support 4K, so it is likely that they're not actually receiving a high-bitrate 4K stream, even if you've selected a 4K video for playback within Netflix.

    As for the Roamio, the recordings are *on* the Roamio, so playback on the Roamio will be unaffected by network connectivity issues.
     
  14. JBinSD

    JBinSD Member

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    Oct 4, 2015
    Agreed re 4k, I merely stated that to rule out a problem with the ethernet carrying sufficient bandwith. CSR said the problem is the recordings do not have enough data, and the replay of the data over ethernet exposed their shortcomings. I tend to disagree with this theory, since it DID work fine, and I can play other high def material. I will move the mini next to the Roamio tonight and see if playback is better. . .
     
  15. ClearToLand

    ClearToLand Old !*#$% Tinkerer!

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    Central Jersey
    Just finished adding a Refurb Mini v1 to a Refurb Roamio Basic on a semi-ancient LAN:
    No problems here. :D

    I agree with 'Check your Hardware'. IMO, @fcfc2's post (and @cpgar11's LINK) is your probable answer. Your thread had me worried though... :eek: ;)
     
  16. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    I don't have a clue what that CSR was trying to say. Netflix/Amazon/Hulu (non-4K) streaming "don't have enough data" to necessarily expose a network bandwidth issue; 4K/UHD and HD recordings on a TiVo (assuming they're not ridiculously compressed) can.

    As an example, take a look at Netflix's recommended download rates for streaming of various quality levels (found here)...
    0.5 Megabits per second - Required broadband connection speed
    1.5 Megabits per second - Recommended broadband connection speed
    3.0 Megabits per second - Recommended for SD quality
    5.0 Megabits per second - Recommended for HD quality
    25 Megabits per second - Recommended for Ultra HD quality

    Note: HD recordings on a TiVo can require 15+Mbps.​

    2 videos being "HD" doesn't mean you're pulling the same amount of data. Streaming services have the "luxury" of using more efficient encoding schemes (e.g. H.264), but TiVo is stuck having to write to disk whatever the cable companies are sending, which is usually still big, bloaty MPEG2.

    p.s. If you're using KMTTG, it lists the bitrates for each recording in the far-right column. The recordings currently on my OTA Roamio range from 2.33-17.44 Mbps.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015
  17. JBinSD

    JBinSD Member

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    Oct 4, 2015
    OK, got home tonight and brought the Mini into the room with the Roamio, and when connected to the same switch, no stutter both live and recorded HD content on the Roamio. I checked the connection speed in the Mini room switch, and its 7.59 Mbps on ping-test.

    Weird, 'cuz playback was working fine last week. The run from one switch to the other is about a 70' cat5, would upgrading that line help? or switching to Moca?

    Thanx for any help,
    Joel
     
  18. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Could be a patch cable, might be a port on the switch, might just be an RJ45 jack on the patch cable, ... but if you're seeing sub-optimal speeds using computer gear, it begins to rule-out the "TiVo doesn't work with switches" angle.

    What do you see if you run a test using speedtest.net?

    Ping-test.net results for my wireless laptop:
    Down: 9.98 Mbps
    Up: 5.66 Mbps​
    Speedtest.net results:
    Down: 28.27 Mbps
    Up: 6.20 Mbps​

    So I re-ran ping-test.... and got:
    Down: 26.42 Mbps
    Up: 5.59 Mbps​
    For reference, I'm paying for 25/5.

    First, I'd use iPerf between two computers if you want to see the maximum that your Ethernet connection can handle, but I didn't like ping-test's inconsistency.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015
  19. JBinSD

    JBinSD Member

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    Oct 4, 2015
    Speedtest shows 8.28 in the mini room, and 13.3 on the Roamio room (same switch).
     
  20. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    What's your ISP download rate supposed to be?
     

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