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iPlayer on netbooks - jerky playback

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  • Message 1. Posted by Fred (U14543309) on Thursday, 18th September 1997 permalink

    just a query. I have a Samsung netbook N220. Its has a broadcom HD crystal decoder. It can play Youtube 720p and even 1080p OK, it can play H264 HD videos 'locally' OK.

    However, iPlayer is not very smooth in standard def, its best as a maximised window, and worse full screen. But HD is just a slide show, 1 or 2 fps at best.

    If I download an iPlayer program, its the same, jerky. But if I download the windows media version from the BBC it plays fine.

    I use Opera, but have tried Firefox (both latest and previous versions) and Flash 10.1 is installed and apparently working.

    Is there a problem/mismatch with flash and iPlayer as this suggests? - forums.adobe.com/thr... which goes from 10.1 RC to the final 10.1 release. It implies (unless Ive misread it) that the flash 10.1 Beta will play iPlayer stuff OK (I think). Why?

    Anyway, basic question, why can I play BBC windows media player versions of programs fine, youtube 720p and 1080p fine, but iPlayer is all jerky and for HD unwatchable?

    Thanks

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  • Message 2. Posted by Onslow The Cat (U13672446) on Thursday, 18th September 1997 permalink

    Anyway, basic question, why can I play BBC windows media player versions of programs fine, youtube 720p and 1080p fine, but iPlayer is all jerky and for HD unwatchable?


    Because on a lot of machines high-def SD and HD iPlayer video streams and Desktop downloads are de-coded via the CPU not so much the GPU. What spec is the CPU?

    Personally if you can play WMP downloads I would stick with those.

    <blackcat>

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  • Message 3. Posted by Fred (U14543309) on Friday, 19th September 1997 permalink

    Onslow_The_Cat:,

    thanks for the repy. Yer WMP plays fine on this as does just about everything else Ive tried including Youtube 720 and 1080 stuff. The only thing that doesn't seem to play smooth is the BBCs iPlayer? (well of the things Ive tried).

    Its not a power-house PC, its one of those single core Atom(HT) 1.66G CPUs, but it has a broadcom HD decoder built in which is supposed to decode HD from H264 and Flash files etc - and seems to for everything else.

    That Adobe link I posted seems to be suggesting that its the format the BBC have chosen to use, and this seems backed up by the fact (for me anyway) that the cat/Lion trailer before any HD program seems to play reasonably OK, its just when the HD prog actually starts it becomes a slide show. They claim its something to do with a choice between Progressive Scan (which Flash support for hardware decoding) and interlaced scan (which Flash seem to be saying they cannot support) - *I THINK*?

    Was just wondering if anyone at the BBC itself would like to comment?

    As I say everything seems to play OK, including the BBCs WMPs, just not their native iPlayer stuff? Or is there a vital setting Ive missed?

    Broadcom - www.broadcom.com/pro... - "With support integrated within Adobe Flash Media Player, the vast library of online content from sites like Hulu, BBC iPlayer .....etc...."

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  • Message 4. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Friday, 19th September 1997 permalink

    Hi Fred,

    Was just wondering if anyone at the BBC itself would like to comment?
    The BBC did at one stage comment I was hoping they might respond with a further update see:
    "BBC ERROR ? HD is showing as interlaced, say ADOBE FlashPlayer Engineering" - www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb... msg#3, #30 & 31
    There will be several threads on related subjects over the last few months.

    Remenber to check that you meet any Adobe specs and that you have all drivers updated.

    And have you seen a tip:
    "iPlayer &amp; Flash 10.1 Beta " - msg#6 -www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb...
    about switching bandwidth after the first few seconds it could be worth trying, but of course relates to streaming.

    John

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  • Message 5. Posted by Fred (U14543309) on Friday, 19th September 1997 permalink

    John,

    thanks for your reply.

    As far as I'm aware the PC meets Adobe spec requirements, and it plays other HD and youtube HD fine.

    The browsers/flash player/broadcom HD decoder/GPU drivers/W7 are all up to date.

    The 'switching bandwidth' trick didn't help, but thanks for pointing it out, was worth a shot.


    I guess this is one of those situations when company 'a' (lets call them Adobe :-) ) and company 'b' (lets call it BBC ;-) ) will continue to point the finger at the other, whilst both stick two fingers up to Joe Public.


    Oh well, we can but hope one of them will admit an error and fix it. Clearly something is in wrong.


    If I contributed to the cost of the BBC, I'd be really annoyed. Oh, hold on I do!!!!! :-(

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  • Message 6. Posted by Onslow The Cat (U13672446) on Friday, 19th September 1997 permalink

    Empirically I would say that my own testing via W7 and XP seems to find that the compression rate of the video is the killer. It seems that iPlayer MPEG-4 files under Flash 10/RC simply kill the CPU unless there is spare grunt to cope. WMV files play perfectly and low bandwith streams are OK, but on my laptop anything under 1 GB of memory can't cope with iPlayer HD, whereas If I add another 3 GB to the CPU the video decodes with the same GPU on the same system with no other hardware added.

    Of course other factors may be at work here but the CPU seems to be the key. Whether high compression video requires large amounts of CPU work in Windows or not I'm not qualified to say, but I suspect it does....

    <blackcat>

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  • Message 7. Posted by Fred (U14543309) on Saturday, 20th September 1997 permalink

    Onslow_The_Cat,

    " It seems that iPlayer MPEG-4 files under Flash 10/RC simply kill the CPU"

    I think thats the problem that Adobe are claiming. This PC has an HD decoder that can and does work under flash, but if I've read it correctly the situation is basically this:

    1. Adobe say something in the BBCs file stops Flash from being able to use the hardware decoder, and so all decoding has to be done by the CPU. Something to do with progressive or interlaced scanning. And its not Adobe's fault, there is nothing they can do about it.

    2.Tte BBC seem to be saying that this isn't the case, and its not their fault either.

    Or have I misunderstood? (possibly, I'm no encoding expert).

    Leaving the situation I described above and "two fingers up to Joe Public" :-(


    I s'pose I could try adding extra ram, its not that expensive, but I think I may end up with extra ram and still jerky iPlayer. Still, may be worth a shot.

    Thanks.

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  • Message 8. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Saturday, 20th September 1997 permalink

    Fred
    There is an update on the Adobe forum, (Yesterday Monday 5th July) it could be worth taking a look. See my post msg#14 :"Announcement of support for Hardware Acceleration on BBC Blog " - www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb... it may be a workaround for the current problem, for some users.

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  • Message 9. Posted by Fred (U14543309) on Sunday, 21st September 1997 permalink

    John99,

    thanks for that. I may give it a try.

    I'm always a bit cautious of downloading stuff from effectively unknown origins though.

    I'll certainly keep an eye on it, and maybe try it if there are no known problems reported in the posts..

    Thanks.

    Makes you wonder though, if a 3rd party can fix it at home, why can't Adobe or the BBC get together and fix it for real?

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  • Message 10. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Sunday, 21st September 1997 permalink

    Wild conjecture as happens when Adobe & BBC do not offer joint explanations but it could be that some of BBC stream is none standard as a security measure to deter copying.
    If that is the case then we are unlikely to hear anything about it from the BBC

    It could just be something clumsy about the BBC implementation, that can not easily be changed, but again the BBC is not going to shout about that either. I suppose anyone with a strong enough interest could go down the foi route and find out some more, or more simply just make a formal complaint request for a comment to the BBC. This does impact on users wanting to use HD and other users seem to have been rather successful in getting the BBC to open up about HD, even to the extent of allowing them as a user group a series of BBC blogs.
    See : www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/...
    and the link from that blog www.zen97962.zen.co....

    As for the flags setting presumably if the FP ignored this,
    (as apparently it did in a FP 10.1 RC that worked with iPlayer )
    then although FP will then give with iPlayer hardware acceleration FP probably would not then work with some other sources; and because FP is not designed specifically for exclusive iPlayer use maybe such a change is unlikely.

    The question then remains why is the flag set in such a way and why is the BBC unable to quickly remedy this.
    But do not forget BBC comments earlier about settings being correct, are we talking about same flags still ?

    It would be useful if someone who understood this, [ or Adobe] would ask the BBC openly and request an open reply from the BBC.

    John

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  • Message 11. Posted by Fred (U14543309) on Friday, 3rd October 1997 permalink

    I cant get an answer from the BBC..

    I've been in touch by email (from the 'contact us' support link on the iPlayer page) twice, and you eventually get a meaningless reply to the email, to which I reply again repeating the specifics, and that is just ignored.

    All you get is things like "maybe your PC isn't up to the requirements", which from the info I can gather from the links they sent, it is. And my BB link passes their speed test as well.

    When you point out posts like this, and its equivalents on the Adobe forum, again no response from the BBC support team.

    Good old solid BBC support ;-)

    Oh well, I tried.

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  • Message 12. Posted by Fred (U14543309) on Sunday, 19th October 1997 permalink

    Bump - still a problem.

    Still cant get a real reply from the BBC support staff even via the 'contact us' email. Just pointers to links telling me to reinstall the downloaded player, or that the PC isn't up to it - Ignoring the facts that BBC HD doesn't play in the browsers either and ignoring the fact that the PC plays other HD video (via its broadcom HD decoder, even 1080p videos) just fine. Its just that it seems the BBC HD video does not use the Flash adobe hardware acceleration provided by the broadcom decoder.

    A minor query, why does the cat/lion BBC HD trailer play OK but the actual HD program plays like a slideshow? Are they different formats?



    To Any Passing BBC iPlayer member of staff, as you will not answer the question in my emails:

    >>> Is there a problem with iPlayer and Adobe Flash 10.1 and an issue stopping hardware decoders from being used for iPlayer? If so, are you working on a fix?

    If there isn't a problem, then why doesn't the broadcom decoder seem to be working for BBC HD videos, but does appear to be working for all other HD videos I've tried. Broadcom on their site claim BBC iPlayer compatibility, are they incorrect?


    Thanks.

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  • Message 13. Posted by Fred (U14543309) on Monday, 20th October 1997 permalink

    I think its finally resolved - just tested an HD program, it works but the Audio seems a little out of sync to me, but its much, much better

    Thanks

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