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Radio 3 HD streaming broken?

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  • Message 1. Posted by GaryC (U14241337) on Friday, 8th April 2011permalink

    I'm getting warbling, crackling and general broken playback @8:45 on 8/4/2011. Sounds like the encoder is stuffed.

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  • Message 2. Posted by simonheard1 (U14835556) on Friday, 8th April 2011permalink

    Same here. Garbled warbling sound, through squeezebox server, and through the web link. Am wondering if my ISP, Virginmedia, may be throttling the stream in some way?

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  • Message 3. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Friday, 8th April 2011permalink

    General answer: Please confirm the url of what you are listening to, it will also be useful to know if it is the standard iPlayer or the new RadioPlayer version.

    Please also (assuming you are in the UK etc try the lower bandwidth, does that work ? ). It is also essential that you check other BBC stations and make sure they are ok, if they are there is a good possibility it is a BBC CDN problem. If you do not provide such info the BBC (or their agents) )will probably blame it on your ISP or computer setup.

    You will note the BBC states problems must be reported on its contact forms, please confirm you have used that method, and say when you reported the problem. I have not noticed any BBC announcements about this problem (Other than the usual vague and meaningless announcements).

    If you are as appears to be the case using an internet radio or similar device note that afaik the BBC has never encouraged such users to ask questions on this forum, and again afaik since closing the RadioLabs blogs the BBC has not really provided any support for such users, other than the infamous contact forms (if I am wrong no doubt someone could post appropriate links ).

    if you do post please make anote of the BBC suggestions
    <quote>If you do discuss technical problems, other users typically find the following information useful: - The programme name, broadcast station, time and date and BBC iPlayer URL - Your browser - Your operating system or device AND whether you are listening in the UK or overseas - Whether it's Listen live or Listen again AND is it with Flash, Real or Windows Media<quote>

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  • Message 4. Posted by simonheard1 (U14835556) on Friday, 8th April 2011permalink

    URL is
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] I have no idea what version of iplayer may be. The lower bitrate works, but I am not aware of any other HD streams. The issue arises through firefox 3.6.16, IE9. on W7, Ubuntu 10.10, on listen live, with flash and aac, and through squeexeboxserver on a linux box.
    Its not working, imho

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  • Message 5. Posted by Eric_T (U14603255) on Friday, 8th April 2011permalink

    It is still broken.

    It appears that you do not understand the BBC Radio 3 HD feed. It is not available on the standard iPlayer or on the new RadioPlayer.

    It is only available by going to www.bbc.co.uk/radio3... and clicking on the "Listen Live inHD" button. This does not use either the normal iPlayer nor the new Radio Player. Instead it opens a pop-up window to www.bbc.co.uk/radio3....

    The stream is at 320 kbps, and the stream is working fine, but the encoder is broken. So we get a perfectly delivered feed of a garbled version of Radio 3.

    There may be users playing it using internet radios which I understand you cannot support. But it is broken on your web page.

    Please mend it.

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  • Message 6. Posted by simonheard1 (U14835556) on Saturday, 9th April 2011permalink

    No idea why my last post is not appearing, but having just checked, the sound is still distorted, as at 10:00 BST

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  • Message 7. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Saturday, 9th April 2011permalink

    I am nothing to do with the BBC and do not normally use Radio 3. I had forgotten about the R3 HD experiment. Note however

    It is always suggested you provide full information including URLs used.
    The BBC insists contact forms must be used for reporting problems.

    Some links that may be of use are:
    - - "Launching HD Sound [now closed for comment]
    Tim Davie Tim Davie | 10:09 AM, Monday, 18 October 2010 "
    - www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/...
    - - "Help: Radio 3 in HD sound"
    - www.bbc.co.uk/radio3...

    So I have just tried this myself.
    Link: www.bbc.co.uk/radio3...
    Right click info from the Embeded Media Player
    - BBC Media Player v.2.24.18269.21576
    - bbc_radio_three | 320kbps | aac | AK

    And yes it sounds terrible, clearly a bbc fault I would expect. There was however no error message on right click, the iPlayer EMP sometimes shows error messages.

    What may have been similar types of CDN failure on overseas streams often take quite a while for the BB to track down, although they do get fixed quickly once full info is passed on to the technical guys, the problem is twofold,
    1) users do not use contact forms
    - or if they do fail to provide full information
    2) the BBC, or their agents, dealing with the contact forms do not pass on the information,
    - and send no response or blame the ISP/User

    This leads to disallusoned users not using contact forms and problems not being fixed.

    I have not sent of a contact form, but if you are interested in listening to R3 HD and it is faulty I suggest that you do send one off and state when it was sent and what any response is.

    I have no problem streaming BBC TV so I d not expect bandwidth problems. Also using the BBC diagnostics my streaming speeds are shown as an order of magnitude above that required for HD radio.
    - www.bbc.co.uk/iplaye...

    Diagnostics seems to be on the blink again, its graphical results fail to complete, and the last time that occurred there seemed to be a flurry of complaints about Radio problems - not sure if that was just coincidence.
    "Problem with Iplayer Diagnostics"
    - www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb...

    As that has been archived I will start a new thread, see if others also notice a problem.

    You will notice the BBC has other announcements about current Radio problems, apparently on iPlayer and RadioPlayer, but the announcements are rather vague.

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  • Message 8. Posted by Eric_T (U14603255) on Saturday, 9th April 2011permalink

    Sorry - your original post looked like a formal response so I thought you were from the BBC.

    I'm pretty sure it's not a CDN/streaming issue. I usually listen using a home-made application that runs in the notification tray. It allows me to see the debug output from the BBC's flash SWF player - and it is quite vociferous if the CDN has problems. The current Radio 3 HD stream just steadily reports 3 seconds or so of buffer content with no errors.

    Radio 3 HD was a massive improvement for me.

    The local FM transmitter has hum on it that makes it unpleasant. despite recent efforts from Arqiva to fix it., All FM feeds have Optimod dynamic range compression. Of course , with the exception of Radio 3, the digital feeds are also squashed by dynamic range compression before transmission.

    The 192 kbps internet feed is not really good quality, with second-rate stereo imaging. I think it may be encoded with the same parameters as the lower bit rate feeds which need to use multiple techniques to get the optimum quality at low bit rates.

    DAB is orders of magnitude worse than the 192 kbps internet feed.

    The Virgin Media cable feed (probably 192 kpbs) sounds better to me than the 192 kbps internet feed, despite being an older digital compression scheme., Unfortunately it has occassional glitches of a few milliseconds of silence, possibly the result of mutiplexing togther radio feeds from multiple unrelated broadcasters.

    The Freeview feed is identical to the VM feed without the glitches, but with left and right channels randomly swapped by my television (it seems to have a few software quirks.)

    I sent off a proper contact form message yesterday morning as soon as I noticed it broken. That did not even elicit an automated response to say it was received.

    I guess a snail-mail letter to the head of Radio 3 is probably needed (and maybe I should buy a Freeview box with a digital output just for Radio 3!)

    Eric

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  • Message 9. Posted by Andrew Webster (U14836071) on Saturday, 9th April 2011permalink

    I have had exactly the same experience with the radio3 HD stream since yesterday 8th April. My ISP is Virgin so I was wondering about throttling (them) too. I haven't had time to try reporting it to the BBC yet.
    Is anybody experiencing this with a different ISP i.e. not Virgin?

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  • Message 10. Posted by Eric_T (U14603255) on Saturday, 9th April 2011permalink

    Yes it would be nice to know whether any non-VM customer can see the issue. I'm sure it is not that they are throttling it - I've checked the data rate on the port as well as the flash buffer content and both are ok. But the VM network could be fed from a different part of the CDN system - and I guess that could pull the stream apart and put it back together incorrectly.

    I don't see any problems using the iPlayer diagnostics page. 9335 kbps is my lowest reading.

    It can't be an upgrade to the iPlayer SWF that the BBC is using because the problem exists for a user with SqueezeBox - and the plugin for that does not use the iPlayer swf to download or decode the stream.

    If it is just the the AAC encoder that has got into an unfortunate state, the chances are that it will take nothing more than a restart to fix it if only we can get someone from the BBC (or, probably, Siemens) to look at it.

    I've now found some more forms on the web site to feed back the information that it is broken:

    The original one I used was the website technical problem form:

    www.bbc.co.uk/feedba...

    I have now also used both the iPlayer help form:

    https://iplayerhelp...

    And the Reception Problems form:

    https://faq.externa...

    Neither are really right as it is not a recption problem, nor is it the mainstream iPlayer.

    However, it will probably help if more people that have the problem report it.

    Eric

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  • Message 11. Posted by simonheard1 (U14835556) on Saturday, 9th April 2011permalink

    Thanks - report now made; It really would be good to know if this is a VIrgin issue.

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  • Message 12. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Saturday, 9th April 2011permalink

    @ Eric

    Yes it would be nice to know whether any non-VM customer can see the issue.


    I am NOT using VM. (I use Sky but not LLU, it is via BT connect) and I am still getting distortion on the R3 HD feed.

    oddly one iPlayer diagnostic test just reported "Your connection 2302 kbps" but the streamming sped (1): shows as 1kbps !!

    I tried the streams from the R3 site and the RadioPlayer BBC branded streams work, that give an option of high, medium, and Low "Quality" all of those work without giving the underwater burbling type distortion currently on the HD stream. I also tried the iplayer www.bbc.co.uk/iplaye... page and the iplayer streams from that also worked www.bbc.co.uk/iplaye... bothe the 192 & 48kbps streams.

    I am not currently set up to try the Windows stream. www.bbc.co.uk/radio/...

    I used Firefox 3.6 Firefox 4 & IE8 when trying R3 HD, last iPlayer diagnostic test showed connection speed of 5644kbps way above what is required for radio. But the test results are rather variable, maybe this is because of a genuine problem with the streams.

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  • Message 13. Posted by boccanegra (U14836338) on Saturday, 9th April 2011permalink

    I am with Talktalk and I am getting exactly the same problem. Broadband speed check shows a very healthy state of affairs. This is ONLY happening on the HD service. Clearly a BBC problem. Equally clearly, no BBC technical staff are monitoring the situation.

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  • Message 14. Posted by SteveD (U9254198) on Sunday, 10th April 2011permalink

    It does not take an idiot to click on the HD link on the BBC Radio webpage to confirm this is indeed an ISSUE.
    This is STILL the case at 8.30am on Sunday, April 10.

    (I have an O2 feed via a Be* reprovider, since you ask!)

    GET IT FIXED, BBC!

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  • Message 15. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Sunday, 10th April 2011permalink

    BBC does not monitor this messageboard for technical problems, they tell us to use the contact forms, which they say are monitored 24/7.
    (although users often report disatisfaction with the forms and the lack of response)
    Send off the contact forms, and follow them up for a reply. the more contact forms the BBC receive, the more likely they may
    read them and pass on the info to the technical department.

    Note this messageboard will be closing permanently soon, then you will have to rely on contact forms and for news of problems the BBC announcements.

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  • Message 16. Posted by Colin (U2252951) on Sunday, 10th April 2011permalink

    Radio 3 HD still broken at noon on Sunday 10th.

    Shoddy from an organisation that once prided itself on engineering, then that was outsourced so they could pay ££ millions to Wossy,

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  • Message 17. Posted by PJ (U7517565) on Sunday, 10th April 2011permalink

    Still broken - it seems to take a long time to fix these things. Furthermore, message-boards like these are a resource for letting one know one is not the only one suffering from this fault.

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  • Message 18. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Sunday, 10th April 2011permalink

    one of the regular posters has set up another messageboard for use when this one closes:
    see "Our days are numbered..." -www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb...
    and embryo CatchupSupport messageboard is here: www.catchupsupport.c...

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  • Message 19. Posted by simonheard1 (U14835556) on Sunday, 10th April 2011permalink

    All,

    Thanks for all the clarifications, particularly to you non Virgin users.

    My own suspicion is that the sound issue won't be resolved before tomorrow - this being the weekend. Still, fingers crossed.

    Regards

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  • Message 20. Posted by Mark800 (U14820650) on Sunday, 10th April 2011permalink

    Outrageous that this fault has gone on for so long.
    Shoddy and incompetent. Not what I pay my licence fee for.
    GET IT FIXED.

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  • Message 21. Posted by Bryn (U13691513) on Monday, 11th April 2011permalink

    How gratifying to see that the iPlayer team has taken ownership of the problem and apologised for their failure to resolve it sooner.

    Oh, hang on, I seem to have imagined that. smiley - sadface

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  • Message 22. Posted by David Hancox (U14417610) on Monday, 11th April 2011permalink

    Well, hooray, someone seems to have sorted it out by Monday morning.

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  • Message 23. Posted by SteveD (U9254198) on Tuesday, 12th April 2011permalink

    Good to see those pesky weekend gremlins have been anihilated.

    Let's just hope they are not planning to return on any other weekend or, worse still, on one of the extended "holiday" weekends that are coming our way soon.

    If that is the case, I fear we may be waiting until the Tuesday afterwards to have our clean stream restored.

    (Gremlins just "know" to strike when the fixing team is on extended away-ness, don't they!)

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  • Message 24. Posted by GaryC (U14241337) on Tuesday, 12th April 2011permalink

    I started this thread rolling and all I can conclude is:

    1. The BBC don't monitor their live radio internet streams (and their flagship 'HD sound' one at that)
    2. It's completely pointless filling out complaint forms as:
    (a) they won't be acknowledged
    (b) nothing will happen

    and perhaps more worryingly
    3. Hardly anyone listens to BBC R3 HD streams and for the few that do, if they do hear a corrupt stream, assume its their own equipment and/or ISP to blame.

    If it happens again I think I'll try texting the Chris Moyles Show.

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  • Message 25. Posted by John99 (U13871221) on Tuesday, 12th April 2011permalink

    As I mentioned a few times, BBC insists contact forms are monitored 24/7, or so the BBc insists - but that does not seem very effective.
    (see for instance my comments in an adjacent thread
    "New Radioplayer"
    - www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb... )

    Also I believe Sunday is statistically the busiest day for iPlayer use (and presumably RadioPlayer or R3 HD streams) would it not seem sensible for the BBC to have proper cover for weekend problems. There often seem to be problems occurring over the weekend, that the BBC does not respond quickly to. ( if they ever respond quickly it is weekdays).

    If of course contact forms are totally ignored, and no BBC response or announcement occurs, surely that is a valid reason to send in a complaint and try to escalate it to the BBC management, then the BBC Trust. I did not however send in any contact forms about this issue myself.

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  • Message 26. Posted by Bryn (U13691513) on Wednesday, 13th April 2011permalink

    The same problem hit the HD Sound stream again earlier today. It seems to have been dealt with fairly quickly this time. Let's hope they have got to the root of the problem this time.

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