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iPad playback stopping randomly

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  • Message 51. Posted by Jen (U14739889) on Friday, 14th January 2011permalink

    Hello! I am still having most disappointing results whilst trying to watch TV IPlayer, I simply cannot get through a programme without stoppages and, indeed, the problem is such that I have almost given up in despair. The BBC have a tremendous product which may work in the laboratory but certainly does not work for iPad and this user. Please may I ask the person tripping over the wire to move to another chair, then maybe we can get an uninterrupted evening's viewing. Thank you, though, for at least sorting out the radio section.. Fingers crossed, that is beginning to run smoothly. I am so very tired with being a guinea pig .. .. Jen

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  • Message 52. Posted by Tucker (U14729750) on Friday, 14th January 2011permalink

    I am going to run some more extensive tests over the weekend on several DSL connections and with two iPads one on 4.2 and one on 4.3 (I also want to see if the airplay function works!). I have several access points and will try each. Each DSl router is configured for full session logging so I can see every packet going through them and maybe see what is happening. I will run comparative tests with iPlayer in browser and on Sony TV.

    I will report back on Monday or over weekend as I complete the tests.

    I think iPlayer is an amazing service and on iPad with AirPlay I think it will change TV.

    One thing I do wish could happen is access to BBC iPlayer via Apple TV and iTunes. What about a model where UK iTunes accounts or IP addresses have access to free rentals on iPlayer TV shows while they are on iPlayer and revert to 99p per episode when they are off iPlayer and keep the buy season on iTunes? Also iPlayer content could be made available as recurring rentals on iTunes e.g. podcast for subscription with date limited DRM or something. That would be awesome. All of this could somehow sync to iPhone and iPad. To add some scope how about a model where entering a valid UK TV license somehow authenticated or linked to a iTunes account gives free access and if not the user must subscribe at £15 per month or whatever.

    One flaw in the plan could be the regulators and government who do not realise how ground breaking and world leading the BBC are and just how class leading iPlayer as a technology is. Then the other detractors and media companies who complain about BBC developing new delivery systems and methods as being uncompetitive when the clue is in the name (pointer at the second word and english dictionary would help in a few cases). BBC developed or drove consumer adoption just about every broadcast system and technology in use today. iPlayer and IP delivery is just BBC doing what it has always done so well and finding a new technology and doing a brilliant job of exploiting it for TV.

    There are some problems with iPlayer at the minute but I am sure these will get resolved. I am often amazed it works at all given the load it must demand from the BBC servers and how many people watch it. Then of course the acid test is we all expect it to "just work" like TV. It is so good we forget it is an Internet and computer application and now expect it to be just like TV. Early TV was a bit of a headache - moving aeriels, hold adjustment, service breaks etc. and I guess we are now just doing the modern equivalent of adjusting the vertical hold or tube voltage smiley - winkeye Or in the case of the BBC end of things pushing some more watts into the valves or dropping in a fill-in transmitter!

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  • Message 53. Posted by mark3000 (U14732801) on Friday, 14th January 2011permalink

    Having said the other day that it is now working, it entirely failed to work properly last night.

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  • Message 54. Posted by Jen (U14739889) on Saturday, 15th January 2011permalink

    Woof woof! Tucker your enthusiasm and obvious pleasure in cracking this problem is a joy, thank you for ALL that you are doing. Your comment on vertical tubes brought a smile of reminiscence to my face (showing my age here) and I am afraid I also remember watching that aerial in monochrome - and the colour tuning screen: Ma and Pa it was who had the pleasure of twiddling the cat's whisker for wireless.. .. You are right, different times but pretty much the same problems. Smiles.. Jen. ps: it was when both the vertical and horizontal tubes gave trouble that it was a bind. J

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  • Message 55. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Saturday, 15th January 2011permalink

    Hi Tucker,

    I am going to run some more extensive tests over the weekend on several DSL connections and with two iPads


    I am not an iPad user, but am sure those who do use it appreciate what you are doing. I do not know if you are at the moment in contact with anyone from the BBC, John247 from the BBC seems to have stopped commenting, in this thread.

    Just in case you are wholly focussed on iPad problems I thought I would point out BBC seems to currently have widespread problems, possibly mainly related to Radio rather than Video streams and although only for the past week it could conceivably impact on the iPad service.

    Note there are official BBC announcements about
    1) Radio streaming problems:
    "BBC Radio 4 – Why am I experiencing problems listening live to the station on BBC iPlayer?
    12 January 2011 10:15" - iplayerhelp.external...
    2) iPlayer Diagnostics faulty for some users:
    "BBC iPlayer Diagnostic Speed Checker – currently not working
    11 January 2011 15:16" - iplayerhelp.external...
    3) Streaming changes
    Also note BBC must have made some unannounced change to streaming last Thursday from reading this blog comment from an iPlayer Technical manager: - www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/...

    I share your opinion that BBC iPlayer is a ground breaking technology, and like the BBC site, however I think over the last couple of years their software releases do no longer seem well managed and user support has deteriorated badly. And hosts comments and management of this messageboard is almost none existent.

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  • Message 56. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Saturday, 15th January 2011permalink


    One thing I do wish could happen is access to BBC iPlayer via Apple TV and iTunes.


    Many related ideas have probably been discussed extensively on this messageboard and elsewhere; are stumbling blocks due to the Apple business model and IIRC
    - Apple will not allow BBC use of its DRM system
    - Apple will not provide such content free of charge

    Additionally there is a recent Trust ruling
    "BBC Trust gives provisional views on syndication of on-demand BBC programmes
    Nick Reynolds | 18:52 UK time, Thursday, 13 January 2011 "
    - www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/...

    Good luck with the testing,

    John

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  • Message 57. Posted by benthepowerstop (U14745826) on Sunday, 16th January 2011permalink

    Still dying at about 7 mins i.e. buffering with no recovery. help.

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  • Message 58. Posted by Y8or (U14754953) on Sunday, 16th January 2011permalink

    Hi Tucker

    Just to let you know that I was trying to use iplayer last night on my ipad and it kept freezing. I had to go back to the start every time because it wouldn't let me run it on to where it had left off as it kept freezing when I tried to do that. It is annoying because like everyone else one of the reasons I bought the ipad was to watch clips and tv.

    I also have the same problem with YouTube. Vid starts and then freezes after a couple of minutes. Won't restart - have to go back to the beginning.

    Cannot get TVcatchup at all. Says the flash player is the problem.

    These issues have been ongoing since I bought the ipad. I have never been able to watch a programme in full on either iplayer or youtube.

    We have virgin media and I watch iplayer on our tv with no problem at all.

    I really do hope the BBC are able to resolve this issue. Perhaps its something to do with Apple not allowing adobe flash player?

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  • Message 59. Posted by Jen (U14739889) on Monday, 17th January 2011permalink

    Hello, good morning.. I listened iPlayer radio all yesterday and only after 17.00hr did it give trouble with one stoppage.... I watched iPlayer TV at 21.30 and had to give up as could not get through the buffering ... Tried again with iPlayer TV at 09.30hr this morning and had absolutely no trouble with buffering or audio synch...overload of the evening must have some bearing on our problems..any ideas? Smiles from Jen

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  • Message 60. Posted by Tucker (U14729750) on Monday, 17th January 2011permalink

    I have carried out some more tests. I used Casualty stream on Sat evening and ran it. Show stopped at 31mins with endless buffer. I rerun the show from the start and it stopped at 31mins again. I changed DSL connections and wireless router and it stopped at 31mins again. Each DSL is a short line DSL syncing at 8128/832 from Zen. This cannot be a coincidence. I tested it on Sony Bravia and it worked fine. Same for web browser on laptop and for Sony Blu Ray.

    I then implemented some traffic monitoring at the data centre end of the connection. What I noticed was a new stream starting pushed the connection flat out and downloaded at 7.5Mbps. It then stopped and opened a series of burst connections. This went on and the bursts got less frequent but still regular. This appeared to be the http segmented download doing what it is designed to do. Around 29 mins I notice the iPad did not request any more connections - it just stopped. After a short period the stream stopped on the buffer icon. No connections were attempted at this point so the iPad was not trying to refresh its buffer.

    I then ran some diagnostic data on the connections. What I found was interesting. The byte count for the overall stream from iPad was around the same on each paused stream. It got to a certain number of bytes transferred then the problem happened. I wondered if it was the stream so I implemented a rate limit of 3Mbps connection the line to clamp the speed. This resulted in bursts to 3Mbps each time rather than 7.5Mbps. It also meant there were many more of them and much less gaps. Clearly the lower speed meant the buffer was not able to fill up as quickly. Playback carried on as normal and given the gaps in the connections I assume the rate of the video stream was less than 3Mpbs. As ipad is closed I have no way to look at the h264 stream data for Casualty. I wonder would anyone in BBC care to comment on the bit rate and file size used for the Casualty stream? If I knew this I could clamp the connection at a rate that would prevent buffer fill.

    What happened was interesting. The stream went past 31 mins for the first time. In fact it completed normally. Intrigued I removed the limit and it stopped working again and again at 31 mins. This must be more than coincidence. I now had a repeatable diagnostic on this and the same fault condition in each case.

    I have looked at this and have a theory. The iPad will run flat out to load a new stream and will buffer it. It then continues to read ahead and fill the buffer. The player tags along and empties the buffer - standard FIFO buffer with the streamer filling the buffer and the player emptying it. The stream side appears to fill it faster than the player empties it. Not normally a problem but it does fill the buffer. If the buffer space is finite which it is in iPad as it buffers to memory then at some point a buffer full happens. This event then causes the stream filler to abort and stop filling the buffer. The player continues to empty it until the buffer is empty. When the buffer is empty it simply waits for the now non-existent stream task to fill the buffer which it never does. The result would be a stalled player which continued to wait for the buffer to fill. Just the symptom I have been able to replicate.

    This is only my analysis of the issue based on an understanding of networks and a background in networking and programming. I have not yet analysed the iOS SDK nor have I any access to the speed and size of streams used by BBC. If I had this and the ability to run the stream on a desktop I could nail this down a lot tighter. However the analysis seems to make sense. This is also backed up by my rate limited connection causing the buffer filler task to fill the buffer at a lower rate. When this is done the problem is fixed which seems to agree with the analysis.

    For now I have a fix which is not much good to everyone. I have now installed a VPN server in a London data centre and have configured this for 3mbps limit on download. I login to this using iPad VPN before using iPlayer and it works fine. if I do not login with VPN iPlayer stalls. It is now very repeatable - 3mbps and it works, 7.5mbps uncapped and it does not and this is consistent.

    Does anyone know the maximum rate BBC encode streams for iPad? If so I could set a very close rate limit on VPN and see if this does fix it. I am trying to work this out now by running Casualty only via VPN link and looking at data traffic then dividing by duration of show. It looks like it works out around 15MB/min or around 2.1mbps. I might try a limit at 2.4mbps and see what happens unless I get a suggestion.

    interesting findings and along lines I expected. Any thoughts or feedback? I am prepared to share any results with anyone and assist in anyway I can.

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  • Message 61. Posted by Tucker (U14729750) on Monday, 17th January 2011permalink

    Spoke too soon on tests tonight. Rate limited link has failed again now. However now at a different time and stopped at 25mins in a seemingly random point. Could be server load this time.

    I will run some more tests at times tonight and see what the situation performs like.

    This is a real pity. For me ipad iplayer is unusable as it spoils the enjoyment. For general viewing I am thinking of giving up on ipad and using Sony TV as it is a real pain in the neck to be in the middle of a show and for it to fail. It is also not good to have to explain to parents etc. that this is a "feature" of ipad playback and what they need to do to restore access. I get the usual comments - why not just use Freeview recorder which "just works" .... and I have little answer for them.

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  • Message 62. Posted by Tucker (U14729750) on Monday, 17th January 2011permalink

    Running Casualty again now and rate limited at 2.4mbps. This time there are fewwe gaps and it is more consistent stream rather than bursty buffer filling. Looks like it is running around 2.1mbps. Bit of a live commentary this time.

    Noticed another interesting effect. The connections open to different IP addresses and sometimes there are quite marked changes in the IP addresses of target servers. I wonder if the stall is caused when a server with heavy load is called upon to satisfy the stream. Clearly the connections are distributed to a CDN on a per-connection rather than a per show or stream basis. This means the show comes from a range of servers and load balancing at the CDN will decide on each stream where this should come from. This could be a cause.

    I intend to monitor how Sony TV connects and see if it uses the same method. I see the flash based web stream appears to keep one stream for the show - at least on the limited tests I have done. This could be a further contributing factor. I might look at each buffer fill connect and find out if there was an attempt or failed connect at the time the stream failed and if there was any attempt to re-present the stream. My feeling is the segmented downloader will not have the concept of retrying connections if they fail as it will assume if it works at initiation then it continues to work. I have seen this effect on some work I have done in relation to a school media system I have been developing similar to iPlayer and based on Wowza. We had similar problems getting HTML5 video to work when Flash video worked.

    Just watching the connection live and I can see at 2.4mbps the flow of data is almost constant. It is also interesting that in this rate limited mode the connection to BBC server does not close and open a new one as frequently. For example the stream has been filled at around 2.2mbps from idcpdl1.thdo.bbc.co.uk. for over 5 mins. It then has closed and reopened to same server (IP is 212.58.224.36). It seems to remain favouring this server for now and while it does it seems to stream fine. I have good connectivity to this server as it connects through a private peering link in TeleHouse London and lands directly on the server so I am only 5 hops off the server.

    Now just changed server to 212.58.224.66:443 or idcpdl2.thdo.bbc.co.uk. My feeling is if that server had rejected the connect due to load the stream would have stalled. The player is now sticking to that server and being fed with almost continual data at 2.2mbps with only occasional gaps so now depending less on the buffer.

    All through this the iPad opens a connection to the server, buffers some data then closes the connection. Looking at the TCP handshake the ipad is closing the connection cleanly so it is designed to work this way. It does mean it opens and closes a lot of connections and gives the connection tracker in my router something to do. This is wasteful as there is a session construction and teardown for limited amounts of data. If one of these tcp sessions fails to initiate the stream seems to stall. Given the number it opens - typically I am seeing around 6 per minute - this places a lot of points where a stream could stall.

    Just changed server again to idcpdl2.rbsov.bbc.co.uk. This has a longer connection link. Still on a peering link though so not the end of the world and well connected to BBC. This server seems able to keep filling data.

    Just changed back to idcpdl2.thdo.bbc.co.uk.

    Just changed again back to rbsov server. Now flapping routinely between idcpdl2.thdo.bbc.co.uk. and idcpdl2.rbsov.bbc.co.uk. Not quite on alternative connections but not far off. If one of the servers drops the ball I wonder will it stall .... Still filling data at around 2.2mbps at present. Now at 22mins into the show and still filling data but at rate limited. Still being fed with almost constant stream so 2.4mbps rate limit cannot be far off the stream rate. Still flipping between servers around every 20 seconds now.

    BTW I am running the VPN on a fully routed IP address so have no NAT router in between. Not sure that makes a difference but given all the TCP sessions I wonder can a consumer DSL router get overloaded on its connection table and drop out .... worth considering. Some of them have limited connection limits as can be seen with protocols like BitTorrent.

    Just had as sluggish connection on idcpdl2.rbsov.bbc.co.uk. Took a while to ack the connection but did eventually run. Still stuffing data. At this point I have 22 connections to this server in close state waiting for timeout ... they do close but do fill the connection table. I wonder would this upset a NAT router or consumer router?

    Still being fed data at almost constant rate. Occasional connections at around 1.5mbps but most at bursts of 2.4mbps. Limited gaps in the stream given rate limit. Now at 26mins so gone past 25mins on 3mbps cap. Still alternating between two servers but now seems to favour idcpdl2.rbsov.bbc.co.uk.

    [I feel like I am back in the old days perched perilously holding the antenna in an awkward pose while I have a stable picture! LOL]

    Just gone past 32 mins which was the cutoff consistently when uncapped. Still alternating between servers. Still being fed an almost continuous stream of data at 2.2mbps. Little gaps in the stream so limited use of iPad buffer space.

    BTW iPad running Casualty on an uncapped connection (a second iPad) stopped at 31 mins ..... the iPad on capped connection continued working.

    Could this be dependent on the data rate and which server in CDN a session is assigned to? I wonder how the decision on CDN is made. I wonder can that be influenced based on source IP and in that case I am using IP that would report close to TeleHouse servers/peering I seem to be favouring.

    [The rate limit is having same effect as an RF attenuator on an over-strong analogue or digital signal that causes image faults or digital issues. Almost like a fast Internet connection delivers too much data and overloads the iPad ....]

    If rate limit is a consistent fix (too early to say) I wonder could head-end servers be configured only to send data slightly over the data rate of the stream. Wowza could be configured this way .... it may be a fix if it proves consistent.

    Still using same 2 servers though now favouring the idcpdl2.thdo.bbc.co.uk. Being fed with almost continuous stream of data but still using around 6-10 TCP connections per minute. For record there have been no frame issues or any form of glitch in the playback on iPad as a result of the constrained rate.

    Now at 41mins of 48mins show and still same pattern. Still being fed almost continuous stream and now almost exclusively from idcpdl2.thdo.bbc.co.uk. At 42:30mins data consumed is 612Mb which is around 15MB/min or around 2.1mbps stream rate.

    Just made it to end of 48min show. No stall and no issues. rate limited connection played to the end. Unlimited connection stopped at 31mins.

    Now have a head-to-head test. Two similar DSL connections. Two iPads on same firmware. Two separate wireless networks on non-overlap channels. One using VPN rate limited at 2.4mbps and one uncapped. Both lines sync at 8128/832. Uncapped link stopped at 31min. Capped link completed show without issue. Started at the same time and side by side. I think I will use the VPN for a while and see how iPlayer performs on iPad with the cap in place. Capped connection is the only way I have been able to get a show to play on iPlayer with no interruption to date.

    i will offer some more feedback after some more testing. If anyone can shed any light on things it would be welcome. I am more than happy to run any tests or variables anyone can suggest.

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  • Message 63. Posted by Tucker (U14729750) on Monday, 17th January 2011permalink

    Anyone who has stall issues could they post details on their setup? If we could also get details from users who have no issues it would be interesting. If we can get correlation between line speed and problems it would be interesting.

    Specifically:

    ISP
    Sync speed of lines
    Ideally results of speedtest.net running on London server
    Wireless router in use

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  • Message 64. Posted by Tucker (U14729750) on Monday, 17th January 2011permalink

    I just ran another test. Two iPads side by side on dedicated wireless and each on a dedicated DSL line at same speed again 8128/832. Left one iPad in NAT and uncapped mode. Ran other in VPN capped at 2.4mbps with No NAT. The uncapped player stalled and endlessly buffered around 28mins into the show. The capped player continued normally and had no issues.

    I will think what other combinations of tests I can run. It seems to be pointing towards a problem on a line that is significantly faster than the stream speed and no problems on a line speed close to the stream speed.

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  • Message 65. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Monday, 17th January 2011permalink

    I see the BBC has stopped commenting in this thread. Despite saying on 5th January

    I can confirm this issue is under investigation at the highest level within the iPlayer team as I post this

    It probably would do no harm to fire off the info in a contact form to the BBC someone may read it.

    It would appear the BBC has widespread CDN problems again. One of the BBC technical managers did comment on the Logitech problem being down to changes the BBC made last thursday, and I see the BBC have issued an announcement, or updated it today, about that problem continuing. - iplayerhelp.external...

    Also of course the BBC's own iPlayer speedchecker / diagnostic is mis behaving for some users, a problem that has been going on for well over a week.

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  • Message 66. Posted by Tucker (U14729750) on Tuesday, 18th January 2011permalink

    I tried another test last night around 1230. This time from another BT exchange and using a BE wholesale LLU line. I used the VPN to get a cap of 2.4mbps as previously. This time I used the newly delivered silent witness stream to try it. It all played fine upto 17mins then suffered the dreaded endless streaming problem. It restarted fine but it did stall. At this time I was a bit tired to start looking at the VPN router traffic again!

    This test was run using the same IP address for the VPN endpoint as before so the BBC servers would have seen the same IP despite the change from BTW to LLU lines. Connectivity on the line I was using was better and it syncs at 13mbps and has a round trip response to the VPN router when connected of 21ms and again very closely connected to BBC servers.

    I am going to run the test again this morning. I am back on BT wholesale lines and will again run with the VPN. I wonder if the silent witness could be a server load issue though at 1230 I would not have expected it.

    This is a real shame. It is spoiling iPlayer for me and I can see for numerous others. At this rate the Freeview recorder with direct TV connect and sling box for iPad viewing or even a computer based recorder such as Elgato with eyeTV and Turbo 264HD for transcode to iTunes is looking better. Computer solution has the advantage of offering a web based interface for remote recording. eyeTV has a great iPad and iPhone client. Would be a pity to go down that route as I only really watch BBC channels with occasional C5/C4 so iPlayer is a perfect solution.

    I will post more details on what happens with tests as they happen.

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  • Message 67. Posted by Tucker (U14729750) on Tuesday, 18th January 2011permalink

    No go on Silent Witness with and without the VPN. It froze at 11 mins this time - 17 mins last night. Useless buffer of death cycle and as usual never recovers. Trying again with some setting changes and when freezes this time I will move to another show.

    BTW same effect on iOS 4.2 and iOS 4.3 beta.

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  • Message 68. Posted by Tucker (U14729750) on Tuesday, 18th January 2011permalink

    Ran silent witness again. No VPN and no cap on an 8mbps line. It played fine then froze at 31:59. This the amazing 31 mins pause again. Endless spinning buffer and no attempt from iPad to open a connection.

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  • Message 69. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Tuesday, 18th January 2011permalink

    Tucker,
    remember other sytems have current problems with using iPlayer, it is unlikely all problems are specific to using iPad, see the BBC announcements, ( iplayerhelp.external... ) I a suspect there are serious CDN problems.

    and for instance threads:
    "Wallander Pyramid Stops after 13 minutes" - www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb...
    "Chronicles of Narnia" - www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb...
    "Problem with Iplayer Diagnostics"- www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb...

    As usual only very limited information from the BBC as to what is happening.

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  • Message 70. Posted by Tucker (U14729750) on Tuesday, 18th January 2011permalink

    I have experienced buffering problems on Sony Bravia TV and have had to revert to normal quality to get shows to play. Example was Holby City last Tuesday night around 930pm. This despite my Internet connection being fine and testing fine on download from a range of services and indeed just having finished watching an HD movie streamed from Apple to ATV in HD. I have watched 4 movies in last 10 days on Apple TV and in each case they were in HD and each streamed. They started playing after 30 seconds and never glitched once which was impressive given they were using around 3GB per hour. I am pretty certain my end of things is fine.

    This is a real disappointment and is a spoiler for an otherwise brilliant service. The stop at key points just spoils good shows. I hope this gets sorted soon as the service is awesome other than the stream freeze issue.

    For now I might look at eyeTV and iPad app for that while keeping a review and test on iPad and iPlayer.

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  • Message 71. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Tuesday, 18th January 2011permalink

    I do seem to recall conspiracy theories along the lines that ISPs may deliberately allow iPlayer streams to have breaks in them, knowing that iPlayer does not buffer very well.

    There are again net neutrality debates, and in the UK a major topic is likely l involve relationships with BT wholesale and BBC iPlayer content eg
    "BT Content Connect tramples on net neutrality?" - www.techwatch.co.uk/...

    I suspect in the case of current iPad problems it will all be down to changes the BBC has made and problems with their CDN, which the BBC often seems to have problems in monitoring adequately.

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  • Message 72. Posted by Holster100 (U14758010) on Wednesday, 19th January 2011permalink

    I'm having the same problem - I really hope the BBC looks I to this sooner rather than later. 4 times during Ski Sunday last night (10pm). The buffer never recovered, so I had to reload the page, and restart the programme from the beginning and skip to where it last crashed.

    This happens to virtually every programme I try to watch on the iPad, regardless of location within the house. No problems with 2 laptops and a desktop on the same wireless network.

    Sooo frustrating!

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  • Message 73. Posted by Tucker (U14729750) on Wednesday, 19th January 2011permalink

    I tried using iPlayer again last night to watch Holby City and Silent Witness around 10:10pm. On iPad they started and played for a short period then stopped in endless buffer. Same effect on each show. I then moved to Sony Bravia TV and it struggled badly. Took ages to load the main menu of shows and when I tried each show they took around 2 mins to move from getting ready to play to playing. They then displayed the show in 5 second bursts with blank screen, buffering and long pauses. Unusable on each device.

    To test network I then tried a film on LoveFilm on Sony TV - after all my plans to watch BBC had just fallen apart. The film played fine and never glitched once. I went to Demand 5 and tried a few shows on that and they each played fine. I then went to iPad and tried some previews of movies and all worked fine. Just to be sure I rented a movie and it started playing in less than 30 seconds and had no issue for over 30 mins. I can be sure it is not the wifi or Internet I am using. Sony TV is connected via CAT5 and iPad on 5Ghz to access point around 10m away with full signal on the iPad. Connection in use was BE wholesale and sync at 13.9mbps.

    This is a real pain and is really spoiling iPlayer. I am seriously considering buying a Humax 9300 for no hassle viewing!

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  • Message 74. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Thursday, 20th January 2011permalink

    Just as a reminder that iPad users may not be allone BBC faq:
    "Playing BBC iPlayer Content – Why are programmes stopping a few minutes after commencing? - 19 January 2011 14:55" - iplayerhelp.external...
    Although all it says is the BBC are investigating.

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  • Message 75. Posted by Jen (U14739889) on Thursday, 20th January 2011permalink

    Hello Tucker .. .. I am becoming thoroughly indignant at the seemingly insouciant way the BBC iPlayer team are regarding both the irritation to their users of a non-existent service on iPad and the lack of acknowledgment you are receiving from the team by way of encouragement for some of the most precise and detailed diagnoses reports to be produced on a message board thread. No wonder you are thinking of giving up and calling it a day. You asked for some data from other users: I have tried but not sure that I have done the test correctly as the Ping rate changes each time I have tested.. But the basic download goes from 6.54 to 6.55 Mbps. Upload is 0.87 and 0.88 Mbps. I use a very conventional BT home hub (flashing blue lights) with a tailored broadband taking in wifi and my landline. I have no equipment except the iPad and use it as emaIler and television and general Internet browser.. Nothing at all high powered and certainly when I checked if I had enough speed for iPlayer, the young man in Jaipur told me I had an ample sufficiency for running iPlayer and so far as he could see there was no reason why it should not run. Hope someone from the BBC will come back to you with the offer of some help... Even knowing you are not whistling in the wind would be a comfort! By the way, I ran Zen (90 minutes) at 05.00 on Wednesday morning with no hitch and tried the same this morning at 06.00, however, this morning I had three buffer stoppages which could not be rectified except for coming out of the programme and starting it from the beginning, sliding along to roughly where it had buffered.. A pain indeed! Smiles, as usual, from Jen

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  • Message 76. Posted by Chris O (U13750132) on Friday, 21st January 2011permalink

    Interesting, John99 & Jen smiley - smiley

    this morning I had three buffer stoppages which could not be rectified except for coming out of the programme and starting it from the beginning, sliding along to roughly where it had buffered.. A pain indeed!


    The problem seems to be across platform, not just Ipad related. I get the same stopping-at-random effect and use the above quoted method to overcome it. I'm on Windows SP3, old nail of a laptop, regularly cleaned & updated (last update 12 Jan), 6Mbps connection.

    In order to chivvy the programs along from where they randomly stop, I switch between IE7 & Firefox, between the regular play (streaming) iPlayer screen and the pop out player & between normal and lower bandwidth. Eventually, one of these combinations persuades the program to move along smiley - smiley

    Agree that it's a real PITA smiley - yikes, but I have nothing more constructive to add, I'm afraid smiley - sadface

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  • Message 77. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Friday, 21st January 2011permalink

    smiley - smiley Thanks for having a try.
    It is a pity the BBC does not engage with users a bit more effectively. The future of BBC is obviously digital, in my region terrestrial analogue no longer exists.

    If the BBC charged directly for the iPlayer service there would be an outcry and compensation claims.

    As it is the BBC can get away with problems because the users are never 100% sure it is a BBC problem, or how many users or what output is affected, clearly the BBC likes to keep it that way and only provided limited information; just enough to deflect any questions or complaints by pointing to the fact problems are being investigated.

    I guess a lot of the BBC work, be it handling complaints, running messageboards or development & CDN is outsourced to others external to the BBC or is handled by differing internal departments all with limited budgets and engendering a not my responsibility attitude.

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  • Message 78. Posted by Dodocase (U14760985) on Saturday, 22nd January 2011permalink

    I've been following this thread with interest hoping for a resolution to the iplayer on iPad stalling issue, unfortunately no permanent solution yet, but I remain hopeful.

    Here are some workarounds I have found help cope with the stalling and non-recovery from buffering. These mostly work for me, occasionally not.
    When iplayer programme does not restart within 30sec of buffering try:
    - use iplayer via Safari not the a saved home screen bookmark

    1- open another safari window have a quick browse of some other site and revisit iplayer it may work again
    2- turn the iPad off by the pressing the top button. Turn back on, iplayer may start again
    3- repeatedly press the play/pause button on iplayer. It may play for a few more seconds, minutes or keep going.

    I have BT infinity broadband with approx 30mb download, so assume download speeds cannot be the problem.

    I hope this helps someone.

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  • Message 79. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Saturday, 22nd January 2011permalink

    I notice some people get replies from the BBC: www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb...

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  • Message 80. Posted by Derek-N (U14761234) on Saturday, 22nd January 2011permalink

    I have just picked up this thread and also have the same buffering problem with iPlayer for the iPad. First occurred late October / November last year whilst still using iOS3.2. In December I removed the app from the iPad, upgraded to iOS4.2 and re-installed the iPlayer app with no improvement at all. Still just as frustrated. I get about 20 - 30 minutes through a program before it stalls. WiFi is around 6mbps through a 802.11n router (Apple Time Capsule). Never a problem with iPlayer on my Mac Book, a great service enjoyed over the last 2 years. Please please BBC sort this out. The iPad is great and so is iPlayer, its a pity they don't work together.

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  • Message 81. Posted by johnfourty (U14762390) on Monday, 24th January 2011permalink

    Just a quick note, not sure if this has been said before.
    I have an iPhone 4 and have the iPlayer homepage added to my homescreen and over the last few weeks I too have been having stalling issues at random points.
    D/L speed 16MB+, Sky broadband through dual band Time Capsule.
    However if I search through Safari for the iPlayer homepage - no streaming problems.

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  • Message 82. Posted by Tucker (U14729750) on Monday, 24th January 2011permalink

    Thanks for feedback and comments and for some outline on the network others run. It does indeed seem widespread. I have run more tests over the weekend and the issue is persistent on iPad but I have the issue in varying degrees on Sony Bravia TV and Sony Blu Ray. Especially at more normal viewing times I get stalls and stutters and can rarely access the High quality streams at these times.

    I am running all Apple wireless kit on dual band TC and initially I thought the wireless was an issue. I have run various tests and this was not the case. I have streamed video from LiveDrive to iPad including TV shows encoded at over 4mbps and they ran fine. I ran the ultimate test for network at the weekend. I installed a Layer 2 bridge between my house network and a remote iTunes server on which I have a very large personal media collection. I was able to play movies, TV shows, music etc. with ease on my macbook. I was also able to use Home Sharing to connect to Apple TV via wifi and everything played perfectly with no glitches. All of this was on the same DSL that was at this time glitching on iPlayer.

    For reference I had a remote iTunes connected to a 100mbps link. I had a VPN running a L2 tunnel over IP link. I then bridged this onto my local LAN and remote LAN so I could have a transparent lan extension and thus get Home sharing to work. The remote end was a 13mbps BE DSL. It worked perfectly even allowing for ethernet frame fragmentation to allow for the full 1500 MTU.

    The fact that this worked clearly shows the networks can deliver and the devices can deliver. I am now convinced that the issue is not with the networks, DSL, routers, wireless, ipad, iPhone or MBP and clearly must be a BBC issue of some sort.

    I have just installed a new FTTC install and as I am so close to the cabinet (less than 60m of cable) I have 40mb down and 10mb up on a very low latency. This actually delivers worse performance on iPlayer than a DSL at the same site. More stutters and breaks. That is a disappointment.

    As a quick comparison I used Hulu and Netflix on iPad from US servers. Despite the link distance and need to use VPN to get US IP address each played shows perfectly fine (I have a paid account on each service so have access to full shows and movies). They also have a very nice iPad app that really does deliver an excellent experience.

    On point of feedback I am also a little disappointed. I have spent many hours running all combinations of tests and checks and considerable diagnostic. I have done this to try to offer feedback and help improve the service. We are all convinced the future of TV is digital and many of us believe the future is IP rather than RF based. As a license payer (actually 2) I have always wanted and supported the BBC to advance into these areas and lead the way as I believe they have done since inception. My feedback has not been intended to be derogatory of a service that I truly want to work but as a constructive feedback to hopefully assist in resolution. On this basis I had hoped for some sort of feedback. I also think this needs to be sorted. BBC lead the way with iPlayer but others will catch up as has been demonstrated by Hulu and Netflix which arguably deliver an improved service and without argument at least for me a better technical delivery experience.

    For the record I have submitted 3 fault reports. One at the start of this thread received a very brief response several weeks later to say "problem fixed". The second 2 reported the fault persistence on iPad and Sony devices and each linked to this thread. Neither have had a response.

    Please keep posting feedback on your experiences and where you have a problem the technical details of your setup as it will help to see more feedback,

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  • Message 83. Posted by ipadgirl (U14777499) on Sunday, 6th February 2011permalink

    I too am having the same problem, it is so annoying to have to keep starting the programme from the beginning every time it stops and the never ending bufferring starts! Our laptops have no problem with continual iplayer streaming so am at a loss as to why this happens. Someone suggested using another web browser other than Safari for the iPad, has anyone tried that and solved this problem?

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  • Message 84. Posted by Mike (U14779290) on Monday, 7th February 2011permalink

    Just my two penn'orth on this. I suffer from the buffer issue too, but bizarrely only when I go through the iPlayer button I created on my home screen. If I visit through www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer (with the Safari address bar thus showing) then buffeting barely occurs at all.

    Strange.

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  • Message 85. Posted by Dodocase (U14760985) on Wednesday, 9th February 2011permalink

    Update:
    Over the last week I have been able to watch most programmes with no or only very occasional problems. Has the BBC fixed something?

    iPad using wifi
    BT Infinity hub and broadband.

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  • Message 86. Posted by rshakey (U14734958) on Thursday, 10th February 2011permalink

    Still having same old problems via the normal site, but the official BBC iplayer app is out today free of charge through the app store. I only had time for a quick go this morning, but it was in synch and seemed okay.

    I'll report back in a few days once I've had time to check it out in peak demand time. Looks great by the way - let's hope it actually works...

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  • Message 87. Posted by GaryS50 (U14805165) on Sunday, 6th March 2011permalink

    I see there are no further comments on this thread since 10th Feb. I still have exactly the same problem with streaming stopping several times through programs. From all the analysis from Tucker, is the problem looking to be a flow control -Source quench problem?
    In desperation, does "Anyone" and especially BBC Support staff have an update they can please post on this thread?
    Is everyone tired and are waiting for time to provide an answer OR is there really a solution to this buffering problem that I've missed?

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  • Message 88. Posted by gsc (U14881229) on Thursday, 26th May 2011permalink

    I am also frustrated with this very same bug.
    Laptop streams iplayer programs without problems, yet the ipad keeps stopping despite rock solid wifi connection and 10Mbps speed.
    Anyone know of a fix to this yet?

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  • Message 89. Posted by Oliver Kohll (U14884270) on Sunday, 29th May 2011permalink

    Still having this problem, happens on the iPad app and iPad Safari, stream only seems to last 5-10 mins before stopping. Safari on the laptop is fine but I would much prefer to watch on the iPad.

    Info:
    ISP: Virgin cable (South West)
    Speed: 10MB (speedtest shows this is practically achieved)

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