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Would you please introduce buffering!!!

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  • Message 1. Posted by jronnquist (U14685596) on Sunday, 14th November 2010 permalink

    PS3 or laptop, there seems to be little or no buffering going on in streaming through iplayer.

    To make my point. I can watch a 90 minute concert in 720p HD on you tube without a single second of that annoying pause and dotted circle. In contrast I can't get through five minutes of heavily pixelated BBC anything without it. My 8 meg broadband connection is almost flawless in all other respects so this must be an iplayer issue. It ruins the experience!

    There must be a reason for this. I hope it's not content protection because everything the BBC does is available to anyone on earth with a PC and internet connection through countless P2P programs. It seems ironic that those choosing to go down the legal road are teh ones getting the raw deal.

    So can anyhting be done about it?

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  • Message 2. Posted by drhowells (U8852041) on Sunday, 14th November 2010 permalink

    It is for copy protection. Streams can be captured in the buffer and the copy protection can be circumnavigated, so there is no buffering to avoid this.

    It sounds like the actual problem you are having is due to your ISP throttling your access to iPlayer. They have the ability to slow down your connection, usually at peak times, when you access iPlayer, causing the problems you mentioned, but meaning other sites like YouTube are normally fine.

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  • Message 3. Posted by JoChristian (U14689388) on Tuesday, 16th November 2010 permalink

    There is also a problem if you have to pause a programme, while listening or watching. When you restart, there are two streams running, one behind the other, for some time, before one stops and the other hangs then you have to find the place you were listening from the start. This is very irritating!

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  • Message 4. Posted by David (U14520891) on Tuesday, 16th November 2010 permalink

    I have 10meg connection, checked by diagnostic page, and cannot stream hd without constant pauses then to be told I have insufficient band width??!!
    David

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  • Message 5. Posted by Guv-nor (U7476305) on Tuesday, 16th November 2010 permalink

    Sounds like your ISP is throttling you, quite a few ISPs use traffic shaping rather than improve their infrastructure and then let their customers blame the BBC.

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  • Message 6. Posted by Karin (U3621145) on Tuesday, 16th November 2010 permalink

    Actually, Simon Frost, technical architect for iPlayer, claims that they do use buffering ( www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/... ).

    I do not believe the ineffective buffer allocations they use have anything to do with copy protection. Copy protected material streamed on YouTube and other sites is buffered effectively, frankly because those sites are concerned that the user experience is a satisfactory one. With all that we have been forced to endure, I no longer believe that has ever been a priority for the BBC iPlayer Development Team or its Management.

    The BBC iPlayer developers could improve the buffering they employ. Yesterday evening, after experiencing (the usual 6-11pm) unbelievably interrupted playback (streaming), I switched over to YouTube and enjoyed several hours of comfortable listening and viewing. So, it certainly has nothing to do with my ISP or even time of day excuses, just poor BBC iPlayer design... again! smiley - cross

    "The poor workman blames his tools."

    Cheers, Karin smiley - scientist

    P.S. I am currently stuck in the now familiar you must "Install iPlayer" loop, even though I went through that agony hours ago, and now the "busy" spinny graphic just keeps spinning every time I try to re-install! This iPlayer software is complete and UTTER TOSH executed by an increasingly incompetent development team, I am afraid!! www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb... smiley - steam

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  • Message 7. Posted by drhowells (U8852041) on Tuesday, 16th November 2010 permalink

    As Guv-nor and I said above, ISPs can and do have the ability to restrict only iPlayer streams. So YouTube may well be fine, but it will be your ISP that is throttling iPlayer and making it difficult to watch.

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  • Message 8. Posted by Don Foley (U14691749) on Thursday, 18th November 2010 permalink

    Of course they can packet shape and throttle what they want BUT why on earth would an ISP provider throttle iPlayer traffic and not throttle YouTube.

    If they had load issues on their routing and switch gear due to peak loads You Tube is utilised by far greater volumes of people, in terms of user hits and streaming , on a daily basis, it is utter tosh.

    I agree with Karin - sounds like complacency of the lowest order, "can't do buffering to protect copyright ", when You Tube are doing exactly that - please you must think your audience are all fools

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  • Message 9. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Thursday, 18th November 2010 permalink

    Hi Don

    BUT why on earth would an ISP provider throttle iPlayer traffic and not throttle YouTube.


    Three plausable questions, you may even have collated data on this yourself
    1) who puts most strain on UK bandwidth You Tube or iPlayer ?
    2) does iPlayer conflict / compete with services an ISP itself may provide ?
    3) not being an avid user of YouTube I do not know but do they use adaptive bitrate streamming ? and does that often include long length high resolution films for instance ?

    So maybe some of it is ISP traffic shaping, certainly potential ammunition for the BBC spin doctors, defending iPlayers problems, as the unmissable yet again becomes missable.

    At one time I would have believed BBC assurances that problems were down to users connectivity. Take for instance the link Karin provided and BBC saying
    When you see the buffering symbol it means that your buffer has been depleted (by the rate of frames played exceed the rate at which the connection can replenish them).

    Our media playback team work hard to tune this to give the best possible experience, but at the end of the day this is limited by the performance of your connection.


    I am not knowledgeable on such matters but surely that statement is quite simply SELF CONTRADICTORY, especially with regard to current iPlayer output rather than BBC webpages with only short video clips on them .

    If the the "team work hard to tune this to give the best possible experience, " are their efforts always successful ?
    if not then
    does it hold true that "but at the end of the day this is limited by the performance of your connection."

    If the problems on iPlayer Radio are anything to go by then since about December last year BBC has had re-occurring problems monitoring its edgeserver output. In that case some radio users in say Italy may find a problem when connecting with one ISP but not with another alternative ISP.
    The BBC's Alan O. has often admitted BBC problems, and very clearly the BBC monitoring of customer feedback (by their own admission) leaves a lot to be desired.

    Is it not possible or even likely that for many cases it is a BBC server problem that, ludicrously the BBC are unaware of, and the agents receiving reports are dismissing these incorrectly as user connectivity problems, thus delaying investigation.

    As an aside possibly some of the ISPs using Deep Packet Inspection could have considered reducing bandwidth so that a iPlayer stream would run reliably at the low resolution but not the higher resolution, the improved almost second by second adaptive technology, that I understand iPlayer now uses must surely tend to increase bandwidth requirements on iPlayer. That means more bandwidth needed for the ISP and the BBC.

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