« Previous | Main | Next »

HD streaming for the Hungarian Grand Prix

Post categories:

Andy Armstrong Andy Armstrong | 11:41 UK time, Friday, 29 July 2011

As promised here's a follow-up to the trial of HD HTTP adaptive streaming we ran during Wimbledon.

The trial produced a lot of useful feedback and data for us. So much, in fact, that it's taken us longer than expected to digest it all and make plans for our next trial; more about that later.

The BBC's HD HTTP adaptive bitrate streaming experiment on three screens

The HD adaptive bitrate trail on three screens.

Our objectives for the trial covered two broad areas: we wanted to see how the HTTP Adaptive bit rate player performed in real-world conditions and we also wanted to gain a better understanding of how our infrastructure - the systems behind the scenes that supply video to the player - would handle the traffic generated by ABR streaming.

Many of you took the time to give us feedback about how the player was working. As we expected there were a few issues: some of you were not getting full quality HD; occasionally a fragment of old video would show up in the stream; sometimes the bit rate switching was not as stable as we would have liked. We read each of the 212 comments and categorised the problems into eight distinct areas so we could start work on fixing them:

  • iPlayer user interface
  • Variations in video quality
  • Delays / buffering
  • Old video fragments
  • Latency relative to live event
  • Switching performance
  • Jerky playback
  • Other

In general though the adaptive bit rate streaming seems to have been a success. Here's what A Poskitt wrote in a comment on the blog post:

Andy, I am at the end of the line here in Wales with max. speed 0.5MB. However your streaming is like I have never seen it before, continuous and clear as a bell even on the maximum 4 that I receive. I have seen real TV on my computer for the first time!

The feedback you gave us has already been put to good use; it's told us things we couldn't have found out in the lab. We literally couldn't have done it without you.

It's also given the programmers who are working on this a great incentive to make it work even better; I think a remark I overheard sums that up: "Isn't it amazing that people are taking so much time to write detailed, accurate feedback - makes it all seem worthwhile". It does indeed. Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts and comments with us.

So, what next? One of the things that disappointed quite a few people was that we were only able to run the trial during office hours. That was disappointing for us too - we want to know more about how well HTTP adaptive bit rate streaming works on domestic broadband connections. When the trial is run during office hours, unsurprisingly, most of the traffic comes from office networks. So this weekend we're going to run a trial for the Hungarian Grand Prix. We'll cover the qualifying session from 12:10 to 14:20 on Saturday and the race from 12:05 to 15:25 on Sunday. See you there.

Andy Armstrong is the Technical Architect for Programmes and On Demand

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    And comments about wanting to use HTTP streaming, in say, a browser and not a plugin? :)

    Adobe recently stopped releasing AIR for Linux, citing it as a niche market. What happens when they do the same to Flash? Have the BBC considered this at all in their remit for being widely available?

  • Comment number 3.

    Cor blimey! Interesting infomation on new development. Nice one Andy. Better watch out or you'll be off to sky and only working for the beeb every other weekend :-)

  • Comment number 4.

    John: I touched on this in the discussion that flowed from the Wimbledon trial post. Yes, we're well aware of the danger of being reliant on a single technology and fully committed to supporting the widest possible range of devices.

    While this trial is Flash based, one of the things we're really interested in is to investigate how we can support multiple HTTP streaming approaches using common infrastructure. One of the things that places a limit on the range of devices we can support currently is that each delivery method tends to require a certain amount of dedicated infrastructure. That costs money and also makes us less operationally flexible.

    If we can use the same tools and servers to support many types of client we'll have taken the first step to being able to support a wider range of devices.

    So yes - not only have we considered it - it's at the very centre of our thinking :)

    Thanks!

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    So are there any plans to have 50fps material on this service? Sport can't ever look right without it.

  • Comment number 7.

    Andy, yes, I appreciated the replies there though I did not ask for WebM out of ignorance - I know full well of the burden of migrating from your current solution to another.

    Have you or Beeb talked to browser vendors like Google and Mozilla to support HTTP adaptive streaming or RTSP based approaches in their browsers natively?

  • Comment number 8.

    We're looking at the case for 50fps on a case by case basis Kieran. Some sports benefit more than others.

    We're running 25fps this weekend. I'll be very interested to hear your feedback on how it looks.

  • Comment number 9.

    I really hope you make a HTML5 iplayer using WebM for video as flash can be jerky even on new computers. Those that could rip the streams are technically competant people and would obviously be able to download shows from torrents so using html5 isn't a legitimate piracy concern. Linux users would really appreciate html5 too, so would osx users are flash performs even worse on those operating systems.

  • Comment number 10.

    Oh yes, another +1 for HTML5 video. Surely this is exactly the sort of thing that would help your stated goal of being available on as many devices as possible without having to set up multiple different things at your end. At the moment you're going to extra trouble to specifically lock people out of things like the existing HTML5/h264 streams and disable their devices. If you would just stop doing that, you'd have more device support, happier users, and less things to support.

    As hajj_3 points out, all the DRM arguments are a massive red herring because in the end, none of them actually work.

  • Comment number 11.

    Thought I would complain about the stream being in flash, come to this blog and would you believe it, lots of people already doing the same thing!

    Get with the times HTML5 is the way forward with streaming video, move away from proprietary formats please!!!!

  • Comment number 12.

    Fantastic! Unfortunately I'm a Brit living in the US and would have loved to participate. 8-( Btw, I'm a Roku http://bit.ly/9dGrRI user in the US and would love to pay for a BBC F1 subscription (if available in the future.) Good luck with the trial.

  • Comment number 13.

    On the subject of both DRM and the use of Flash please let me direct you to the original post about HTTP adaptive streaming. We discussed the reason why we're using Flash for this trial, the limitations of DRM and the reasons for it's use in the comments:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2011/06/wimbledon_hd_http_streaming_tr.html?postId=109479785

    To summarise: yes, we're using Flash for this trial but our overall objective is to support Flash and other player technologies with the same infrastructure.

    DRM is pain for us too; it complicates our infrastructure and makes it more specific to particular player technologies.

    Please keep your comments coming but be aware that in the areas of platform diversity and content protection you're essentially pushing at an open door - we agree.

  • Comment number 14.

    On Linux/Flash.

    Yes, its a bit niche for adobe, but the BBC content has always played well on my Linux setup.
    Yes Flash is hugely CPU intensive, but a decent video card and drivers (Nvidia for choice) really makes a difference.

    Great to hear that the Beeb is looking at other delivery protocols beyond flash, though. To put it bluntly. Adobe are not noted for reliable bug fee efficient code in anything they have ever done. Moving to an open standard can only be a step forwards. Flash was the first, and arguably the worst, embedded video technology.

    Looking forward to seeing how F1 qualifying looks in HD..

  • Comment number 15.

    What is the point in announcing this when you've just sold us all out to Sky?

  • Comment number 16.

    well this is EXCELLENT. Best online video ever.

    However I cant run F1 qualifying in full screen AND a live Test scoreboard simultaneously without maxing out the CPU. :-(

    Never mind. Can listen to the TMS on the digital terrestrial television card instead..

  • Comment number 17.

    not even close to HD quality on my PC I'm afraid - it's so blocky you can barely read the graphics.

    Don't worry about it anyway cos I'm going to have to watch it on Sky next year anyway, shouldn't you be saving some more money?

  • Comment number 18.

    can you explain the top left diamonds please? It is bouncing between "HD" and numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

    Thanks

  • Comment number 19.

    The quirk i've found is that if i start the stream and make it full screen within 15 seconds, it looks horrifically blocky and jagged edged in full screen, and does not increase quality at all.

    If I wait after 15 seconds, or close full screen and re-open, it seems to 'enable' the full resolution on full screen.

    I'm using Chrome, which might give different results with flash as it integrates it itself from adobe, rather than having an external plugin that you install manually for IE etc.

  • Comment number 20.

    Well done. Why oh why are you using flash still. If you can make an iPhone/iPad version of iPlayer etc you already have the technology to stop using flash.

    Surely the money being saved from dropping half the GPs next year could be used to make streaming truly available to all!!!!

  • Comment number 21.

    nhawthorn & others: apologies, we should have repeated the information about the numbers in this blog.
    The overlays in the top left corner let you know which bitrate you are currently watching.

    1 = 512kbps 512x288
    2 = 800kbps 640x360
    3 = 1,400kbps 640x360
    4 = 2,100kbps 1024x576
    HD = 3,200kbps 1280x720

    Profile 4 & HD are only available when you go full-screen
    Hope this helps.

    more details about the technology used are available in Andy's original blog:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2011/06/wimbledon_hd_http_streaming_tr.html

  • Comment number 22.

    Hi Andy, firstly thanks for the trial. Like kierank said I'd also like to see 50fps (although I'm still happy that you're not blending fields!). What are the reasons for limiting the hd stream to 3mbits? Is it too costly to deliver a 6mbit version?

  • Comment number 23.

    Lovely pictures, but my TV doesn't like the adaptive streaming one bit.

    I'm using a PC connected via HDMI to a Sony Bravia TV, and every time the stream changes bitrate, the screen flicks to black for a moment. Even once it gets up to HD, is still seems to do this up and down every minute or two. Hugely frustrating, because when it settles down, it looks fantastic.

    I watch MLB.TV in HD on the same setup without a problem, so it clearly is possible.

  • Comment number 24.

    Aha, found it. It was the TV. I had it set to scene selection: Auto and the adaptive streaming was making it change its scene mode all the time. When I set it to a fixed scene - the preset sports scene - it stops flickering like mad. Looks fantastic.

  • Comment number 25.

    Simon Horlick & kierank1: I ran some tests, both 50 & 25fps, at around 5Mbps and I must say it looked *very* nice.
    I'd say the stream we're running today is right at the limit of what's acceptable, especially for something like F1, & running at 50fps just didn't look right.
    We have a continuning conversation with our distribution team about what bitrates we use - obviously the cost of delivery comes up quite a bit ;)

  • Comment number 26.

    Richard Gadsden: Glad to hear you've sorted that. Could you pop round to White City & sort out my telly?
    ;)

  • Comment number 27.

    Excellent service today for the qualifying. Watched in on my Macbook pro with no problems.

  • Comment number 28.

    Richard C - depends, can I claim the train ticket from Manchester back from the BBC? :-)

    Seriously, you should work out what it is that's upsetting the automated scene selection on the Bravia, because that was unwatchable at times.

    Mine is a KDL-40EX403 if it turns out to be a specific model issue.

  • Comment number 29.

    Very impressed with the quality of the stream, and I seemed to have fewer buffering problems than I do when the normal stream, presumably that is down to the adaptive bit rate.

    Only negatives I have are the noticeable jump when switching between the bit rates, in particular after going full screen when you get 2 'jumps' from 3 to 4 and then 4 to HD, and that when you leave full screen I had about 2-3 seconds of black in my player.

    Overall looking forward to the race tomorrow in HD, and I hope that this streaming can be rolled out as much as financially possible!

  • Comment number 30.

    Watched on my laptop over a 54Mbps (802.11g) wireless link. HD was good when I got it but most of the time I only got level 3. Laptop spec is Toshiba Satellite running Vista SP2 with 2GB RAM and a Mobile Intel(R) 965 Express Chipset display adaptor. Will have another go for the race tomorrow.

  • Comment number 31.

    Pretty good quality during the qualifying session. Dropped out completely and stopped entirely once (immediately after the job queue joke), requiring a manual refresh and restart. It also did a fair bit of bouncing from HD > 1, and then working straight back up (I'd guess an average of once per 10 mins). It did feel a bit juddery at points, as if there were just a couple too few frames... not as good as BBCOneHD via Freesat.

  • Comment number 32.

    Qualifying: For me, it took about 10 seconds to get up to a 4. For less complex and high-motion shots I got up to an HD. Every scene-change and camera shot change dropped it back to 4 (rarely a 3).

    HD was not too blocky and motion artifacts were not bad. 4 was quite jerky and blocky in comparison.

    At its best I'd give it about a 7 compared to my Sony 1080P-capable 32" TV and the HDMI feed from my Humax Freesat+ box

  • Comment number 33.

    The HD coverage seemed to work really well. I sometimes experience cut-outs in the F1 feed when viewed through iPlayer or the BBC F1 page but the HD feed was smooth throughout, with the audio continuing to play for the very brief period of video blackout when switching out of fullscreen.

    The video adapted quickly when going from small window to fullscreen, quickly stepping back up to 720p. I did notice that it seemed not to step back up to HD in the last couple of minutes of the broadcast, staying at the 4 level, though I'm not sure if that was my connection or the feed. I didn't notice any jerky performance even on my 5-year-old laptop. Nice work!

  • Comment number 34.

    Thanks for the bitrate updates. I can just hold HD, and when it does hold it, its excellent, but any other person (namely a wife) downloading a web page knocks it back..but then it recovers.Eventually.

    My BRAS is only about 3500-4000kbps anyway, so no surprises that its right on the edge.

    I think the beeb for me has the balance pretty much spot on. Just a momentary hesitation when switching modes.

    PC 64 bit linux, and 64 bit flash and 64bit firefox.

    Almost one the edge of my CPU but for me, raw ADSL rate is the limiting factor.

    I shudder to think how much raw bandwidth the beeb must have to deliver simultaneous 3.2Mbps streams to everyone.

    But anyway, first class effort.





  • Comment number 35.

    Looked great for me - no issues whatsoever. A 50MB connection may have helped mind. ;-)

    The only slight annoyance was the dropping of the bitrate when out of full screen. I quite often needed to flick away to tend to something else, and then had to sit through the lower quality states as it went back up through the gears.

  • Comment number 36.

    I watch this on my Samsung Galaxy S 2(Eddie Jordan's shirt was very bright on Super AMOLED Plus Screen) using a wifi connection unfortunately due to the android tool bar when the video was maximised I couldn't tell what was being shown in the Diamond. Clear picture though

    On one attempt to maximise it went fully black but the picture remained small bordered by black

    I also used my laptop a Samsung RV510 cabled into a Orange Netgear N150 router.

    I extended the desktop onto a Samsung UE32C4000 LED TV by VGA (1360*768). Where I had the HD stream for roughly 95% of the time dropping to Stream 4 occasionally when I was on twitter. It coped running both the PC and Phone at the same time.

    The Phone was roughly 30seconds behind the PC.

    The PC was about 10seconds behind the Standard Definition Digital Terrestrial Transmission

    Performance wise very clear image some of the pictures of the leaves blowing in the wind looked a bit blocky at the beginning. Also had a feeling occasionally that frames were dropping occasionally but nothing as bad as general artefacts you get on SD Digital Terrestrial Transmissions. Very Impressed Well Done.

  • Comment number 37.

    Seeing the same problem as post #19 - when going full-screen at a lower bitrate, Flash switches to a lower resolution than it does when at HD rate (the "Press ESC to exit" message text is smaller). This means when it does go to HD later on, it's still blocky and you have to exit full-screen and go back in again to fix it.

    It didn't seem to resize the video very well for full-screen (you could see jagged bits on diagonal lines as if it was using nearest pixel rather than interpolation). Probably Flash issues.

    Occasionally the video framerate would drop low for a few seconds and recover. Audio didn't break up when this happened.

    Motion wasn't as smooth as normal TV (especially noticeable during slow camera pans etc).

    This is on Windows 7 / Toshiba R630 / 3.5Mbit ADSL.

    While rebooted into Linux, there was a vsync / tearing issue.

  • Comment number 38.

    Everyone...
    Thanks for the feedback - it really is appreciated and, most importantly, extremely useful.
    We've been looking into problems reported during the Wimbledon trial & how to fix/improve them - the same will happen with you're telling us here.
    Actually when I say 'we' I mean 'Andy' - he's rather more intelligent than me ;)

    We'll be back tomorrow at 12:05 for the race proper
    Spread the word if you can - the more people we get using the service, the more info we get to try & improve it for everyone .

    Apologies for the poor grammar/punctuation & thanks again

  • Comment number 39.

    Yes..if quibbling over details:

    1/. Compression algorithm does NOT handle leaves blowing in the wind very well..but what can you do? Its not lossless compression!

    2/. Response to temporary loss of bandwith is as described, loss of frame rate followed by short freeze and drop back to lower resolution. And then rather a long time to get back up to HD. Is this optimal? Some room to discuss here I think.

    3/. Any other streaming protocol beyond Flash eagerly anticipated. Does flash introduce an overhead beyond the actual compressed audio.video stream? Flash player is always CPU intensive...

  • Comment number 40.

    Notes for Linux users:

    If your hardware supports it, go 64 bit. Flash |Player is very CPU intensive, and 64 bit speeds up the thing a bit.

    Make sure the browser is also 64 bit native. Even if it means e.g. compiling Firefox from source (I do!)

    Make sure the Flash plugin is 64 bit. I am running 11.0 beta. Its good. The only downside is that no 64 bit Linux flash has ever played daily Telegraph video clips. (Ooyala content). Just uncompress the downloaded file and drop libflashplayer.so in the plugins directory and restart the browser.

    The only video chipset that really flies on Linux is Nvidia. You have almost no hope of integrated INTEL chipsets keeping up. ATI is better, but a cheap Geoforce adapter here made a huge difference. Use latest Nvidia drivers.

    I am not sure what the current Ubuntu supplies..I use Debian and need to compile Firefox to get the latest all the time.

    I have a bottom of the range dual core machine here, and all this gets me into the sort of territory where the limiting factor is ADSL bandwidth.

  • Comment number 41.

    Just a bit of feedback:

    - Great that you're doing the trial. I'm in an area with a rubbish reception, so wanted HD streaming for ages.
    - At the start of the stream it struggled to find a balance on the bit-rate which was a bit irritating, but eventually it settled on the full HD stream.
    - The "HD" stream looks fairly good, though there still seems to be a surprising number of artefacts for 3.2Mbps...maybe not set high enough?

  • Comment number 42.

    Hi Andy, I've got two apple machines in my house.

    The first is a MacBook Pro 15", connected directly to our Virgin Media "superhub". Running OSX 10.X and Firefox 5.01.

    The second is an older PPC G5 Mac Pro desktop, in a different room, connected directly to a D-link router, which is connected via a long ethernet cable to the main Virgin Media router/modem. OSX 10.5.8, Firefox 3.6.19.

    Both machines made it up to HD on full screen, but playback was very noticeably nicer on the newer laptop. HD on the G5 was jerky and stuttered.

    As an experiment, I moved the laptop into the room with the second router and plugged it in directly. Performance was identical, smooth on the laptop, jerky on the G5. So, not the additional ethernet cables and router that is causing the playback issues. Could be that the graphics card is better on the MacBook? Or maybe Flash performs better on Intel than PPC?

    Turning Flash h/w acceleration off on the G5 made it worse. In full screen, although it was reporting HD in the top corner, the video quality was blocky and horrible. Upscaling issue?

    Turning Flash h/w acceleration off on the MacBook didn't seem to have much effect, good or bad.

    As a further experiment, I wanted to updated Firefox on the G5 to 5.01 to see if that affected it, but Firefox 5 is Intel only, so no dice :(

    As a side note. When I unplugged the network cable from the MacBook, the Embedded Media Player reported "These seems to be a problem with this content" (fine), but when I plugged the network back in, and refreshed the page, it still reported a problem. Both times I moved the machine, I had to quit and restart Firefox, and visit the page anew. Then it worked.

    Cheers!

  • Comment number 43.

    I've unfortunately encountered a bug with the HD player. I'm on Mac OS X Lion running Flash 10.3.181.34 in Safari 5.1. If I go full screen the video is bigger than my screen, until it updates to profile 4, at which point it resizes to fit the screen. The problem is, if I then exit full screen, I no longer have access to the video controls until I reload the page.

  • Comment number 44.

    It's great that the BBC are experimenting with this, but it seems that either my computer isn't quite up to it. The video is actually pretty smooth, but it just can't settle on which stream to use. It'll start on 3, then five seconds later change up to 4, then to HD for a while which plays absolutely fine (although it looks far from high definition - it must be very low bitrate with that number of artefacts!). However, after two or three minutes on HD, it will suddenly start to jerk, then drop down to 1, then it goes through the cycle again changing every five to ten seconds, up to 2, 3, 4, then HD for a while. This cycle repeats itself again and again, - 1, 2, 3, 4, HD, 1, 2, 3, 4, HD, 1... and doesn't settle, which is rather distracting.

    I'm running Windows 7 on an Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 with 2GB RAM and NVidia GeForce Go7300 128MB video, connected to a 1920x1200 screen.

    Incidentally, I have a similar problem with HD streams on iPlayer - they'll play absolutely beautifully for 5-10 minutes, but then start to judder uncontrollably - I guess because the processor gets too hot or otherwise can't take it any more. Unlike the F1 streaming, iPlayer HD does not recover, presumably because there aren't lower quality streams to fall back on.

    I'm convinced that it is Flash causing the processor overhead, as I'm able to play high quality HD videos in VLC with absolutely no issues - it's only when playing HD video with Flash player that the computer can't handle it :(

  • Comment number 45.

    No major problems here again with either the quality selection or the quality itself at top bitrate.

    Full specs are:

    CPU: Intel Core i7 920
    GPU: Radeon HD4600
    Net: Wired 50MB Cable
    OS: Windows 7 x64
    Browser: Firefox 5.0
    Flash: 10.3

    I think it helps having both a fast internet connection and and CPU, but that said, now the race is over, I just tried the stream on my laptop, which is lower spec, and am still seeing no issues:

    CPU: Intel Core2 Duo T9500
    GPU: On-board Intel 965 Express Chipset
    Net: Wireless 50MB Cable
    OS: Windows 7 32bit
    Browser: Firefox 5.0
    Flash: 10.1

    The only issue I did see today was a couple of times in going from full screen back to the web page. On both occasions the stream went all the way back to the start and began playing. I refreshed the page and all was well.

    Great job thanks.

  • Comment number 46.

    Having tried qualifying yesterday I gave the race a go today. Achieved a good HD picture for half the race then dropped down to 4 for the rest. Investigated my connection speed (Virgin Media) and found I was being "traffic managed"!

  • Comment number 47.

    The best quality live online content I've watched on my machine. More please - especially future F1 content.

    I only have a 2.4Mb connection so wasn't surprised to only be able to get to 3 on the quality states. It occasionally tried to go to quality 4 initially which seemed to jerk as it changed - something to look at I think but for the majority of the time it was stable which was great.

    Window 7 64 bit + Firefox 5 on AMD X4 620 + Nvidia GT 220

  • Comment number 48.

    "Actually when I say 'we' I mean 'Andy' - he's rather more intelligent than me ;)"

    You got the bribe then! :)

    Mike H: We've been looking into the variability of rendering quality; Adobe are going to supply us with documentation which should allow us to explain poorer-than-expected rendering quality and in some cases mitigate it. Thanks for the report - really useful.

    Ian Davies: your machine sounds fairly fast but that's a decent amount of pixels to be flinging around. It'd be interesting to hear whether it uses less CPU at a lower resolution. Does it use less CPU when it's playing in embedded mode?

    Thanks everyone for your feedback and I'm sure you'll join me in thanking Richard and Kiran who went into the the office both days this weekend to run the trial.

    I'll be back later with a summary of what we've learnt.

    Thanks again!

  • Comment number 49.

    Really great job!

    I was following the race on my Macbook Pro (2010) with Chrome 12.0.742.122 and Flash Player 10,3,181,35.

    I encountered the same issues as @IanDavies : once I was in fullscreen mode with HD, the streams droped down and started to switch between 3-4-HD and even sometimes with 1 and 2.
    And there were always these black frames everytime the streams were switching.

    Congratulations to all the team working on that trial!

    Can you tell us more about the encoding infrastructure behind that ? I was impressed by the small delay between the TV live and that trial, something between 10 and 15 sec. We've got around 30 and 40 sec with our HLS services.
    Last but not least, any plans to use a DRM or a tokenization ?

  • Comment number 50.

    Mightily impressed with the trial; initially I too came across the variability (1, 2, 3, 4, HD, back to 1 again) and even had to refresh the webpage a couple of times but once the race started it never dropped below HD until the end of transmission.

    Whether it's because I'm running this on a beefy PC (connected to my TV) or because I live about 300m from my telephone exchange, I don't know but either way give me more!!!

  • Comment number 51.

    TwoSheds: it's an annoying that you were traffic managed but I'm pleased to hear that it adapted well to that specific change in network conditions - that's really good to know, thanks.

    Colin: yes, I saw some stuttering on switching bit rates - which it shouldn't do. Did anyone else notice that?

  • Comment number 52.

    The 720 HD streaming has been great today, can really see the difference from playing that to going back to the normal stream for the forum.

    When running the trial i spent about 95% of the time in HD, had a few instances of it having to buffer and it would then start at 1 and work its way back up, another couple times it would just drop to 1 or 2 with no change on my network usage and then take a min or so to return to HD. Another note which has been mentioned before which i also came across was the coming out of full screen where i lost vid but not sound for about 30secs, but on the whole i couldnt complain.

    Great work guys!

  • Comment number 53.

    @Twosheds

    "Investigated my connection speed (Virgin Media) and found I was being "traffic managed"!"

    Yeah, I was on a slower VM package and ran into problems with HD streaming and other high-bandwidth apps.

    Like many other ISPs, VM only really want to give what they promise in the headline advertising to customers who would never use the bandwidth. Those who do want to use it have to pay full whack for 50MB service, which is the only one that's not "traffic managed".

    http://shop.virginmedia.com/help/traffic-management/traffic-management-policy.html

    Small print. Bah.

  • Comment number 54.

    Watching on a 1950x1080 monitor, ussually quite low ping because I live near an exchange in London. 26Meg broadband. 6GB Ram, i7 920 4GHz. Ethernet. No other software running. nVidia 280GTX

    HD was pretty crisp, There seemed to be a bigger step between 3 & 4 than between 4 & HD. There seemed to be slightly low FPS mush when looking at the background when the camera panned quickly (in focus when it stopped moving), not quite 50i. Still or slow moving objects looked quite good, expecially the table at the opening with flowers in the background

    Also, what is with the 20-30 second delay!!! Practice for deferred broadcast for the races that arn't live next year? ;)
    This is in relation to live timing from FOM app and also from live TV....

    Lastly, about every 20-30 the connection would break up, and once the video restarted it would return to HD and then go all the way down to 1 and then works its way back up to HD over the coming seconds. I dont get this with iPlayer HD.
    I decided to turn on two virtual machines to see if this was bandwidth or processor ralated (1x XP x86, 1x Win7 x64) and it made no difference. I did notice also a black bar on the left on the screen as wide as half the HD diamond shape.

    The bitrate transitions were pretty smooth (utube has a terrible implementation)

    All this aside, I would not complain if this was RTM (or whatever equivelent) and not beta.

    Just updated flash b4 the race

    When the bitrate dropped there seemed to be a fraction less delay and when it moved up from 3 > HD - more delay (fractions of a second)

  • Comment number 55.

    Martin wrote:
    "The problem is, if I then exit full screen, I no longer have access to the video controls until I reload the page."

    I had that too, the controls disappered from the bottom of the video, a double click on the video though will toggle between the window fullscreen.

  • Comment number 56.

    Had some problems, same problems watching qualification and the race.

    I am on Plusnet, reknowned for Ellacoya traffic management, and connected at about 2Mb and sometimes greater.

    The laptop is an HP 8440w, M620 i7@2.67GHz, OS in Win7 32 Enterprise. Processor load at all times was less than 20%. Video chipset is NVIDIA 3100M. I can watch 1080p MKV files on this machine without issues. Think I am using Flash 10.3, but dont know where to check this.

    When loading the HD trial page for the first time, the stream started off at 1 and then steps up to 2, then 3. This was fine. Image was great when played in the window, no problems at all, and would stay that way. If I clicked the controls to go to full screen, the image would be fine, and then after say 10s, the screen would jump a little, in a kind of sideways manner. This would repeat at irregular intervals.

    By trial an error, I found this problem happened every time I reloaded the HD trial page and went to full screen. Which was odd. I found though, that if I hit ESC to leave full screen, where I lost the video controls, but then double-clicked the video playing in the window, to get back to full screen, as if by magic the jumping stopped completely. I would somtimes see the image quality drop to 1 or 2 very infrequently. And then climb back to 3.

    If I releoaded the page, and quickly went to fullscreen, the jumping was present in 1 and 2 image quality modes too.

    NB. This jumping did not happen at anytime I left the video playing in the small window which it starts from.

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    Great job on this guys! Compared to watching F1 on the iPlayer, where the quality is bad enough for me not able to read the onscreen captions, this adaptive HD streaming looks very promising indeed.

    Only one little issue. On going full screen, the stream changed up to 4 and then onto HD, meaning there were two jolts in the video. Yet on returning to the smaller size, it went straight back to 3. I wonder if it's possible to adapt the stream only once when going full screen? I was able to notice some compression on the full-HD screen, but I guess at 720p, it's not going to be pixel perfect.

    Also, in case you're counting requests for HTML5 video, add my name to the list--although difficulties faced in making this a reality have been noted!

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    I watched the half an hour of the qualifying via the hd stream and the entire sunday show. Both times I had absolutely no issues, not sure if this is down to the fact I'm on 100Mb/s via virgin or not. I have the latest 2011 Apple MBP i7, latest version of Chrome and Flash. The stream was absolutely perfect all the way through. I too did notice the small jump in playback between 3, 4 and HD and I may never have seen the issues that people talk about with streams 1 + 2 as I don't think I ever saw those. Regarding the 50fps debate, I'd be completely happy with it being left at the current 25, most people wouldn't even see the difference - and this is an HTTP stream, I'm sure this wouldn't be a replacement of TV (the majority of the time) for most people. I was hoping to give more information, more problems etc, but I didnt come across any! Great Job, just a shame that I won't be watching F1 next year due to the fact I won't pay for Sky Sports for one sport thats on every other weekend for 9 months of the year.

  • Comment number 61.

    I'm a British citizen living in New Zealand. Is your project also looking at steaming content to IP addresses outside the UK? I would happily pay the licence fee or a higher annual subscription to watch BBC content in New Zealand through my PC. Happy to take part in any testing as well. I know it's probably not a technology issue that is preventing the roll out of BBC content via IP overseas, but surely for a majority of English speaking countries, they would be commonwealth members and have similar laws that should not inhibit airing of BBC content. If you're not the right person to petition about this, can you point me in the right direction? I sorely miss the BBC and resist financially supporting Sky. Thanks.

  • Comment number 62.

    @Piet

    Thank you for trying to direct comments on the F1 deal to a more appropriate place, but it would not have been on-topic for the blog post you linked to either. (That's the only reason your post was moderated.)

    Folk who wish to can comment on the deal that shares F1 coverage between Sky and the BBC at the blog post by Ben Gallop, BBC Head of F1.

 

More from this blog...

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.