Why do I have to power cycle my Roku DVP?

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Why do I have to power cycle my Roku DVP?

Postby sweller » Tue May 18, 2010 8:12 am

I just sent this to the help desk, but I figured I'd post it here in case someone already knows the answer...

Hi, Folks.

After having been at war with Qwest over the lack of bandwidth, my connection has been reasonably stable. Last night I turned on Netflix and was dismayed to see that none of my selections were streaming in HD. So I went to the Qwest bandwidth tester and it was good. The next thing I did was unplug the video player - wait five seconds - and plugged it back in. Then HD streaming came back.

Any ideas or suggestions? The firmware is current (at 2.0?).

Thanks.

Steve in NM
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Re: Why do I have to power cycle my Roku DVP?

Postby vmps » Tue May 18, 2010 8:29 am

one possibility is that you were getting poor bandwidth the last time you watched a movie. the roku has some memory about the bandwidth level (ISTR one of the roku guys saying that it would take at least a few minutes of watching before it would be convinced that enough bandwidth is available to raise the quality level). it may be that memory is reset when you power cycle. if your connection is stable you should be fine; if you have inconsistent bandwidth you'll likely end up in the same place eventually.
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Re: Why do I have to power cycle my Roku DVP?

Postby sweller » Tue May 18, 2010 8:37 am

vmps wrote:... if you have inconsistent bandwidth you'll likely end up in the same place eventually.


EDIT: Upon further reflection, I seem to recall the the DVP continuously tests the bandwidth (Else, why would it stop in the middle of an HD stream and rebuffer to SD?). If this is the case, why would it lock in at a slower-than-available rate? It sounds like a software defficiency...

I hope you're wrong, but I'm afraid you're right. During the course of my war with Qwest, I sent an email to their CEO and got a call back from the top dog in NM. If it persists, I'll have to call him back again. I'd really like to take them to small claims for the difference between what I'm getting and what they're selling.

We're *supposed* to be getting 12Mbps here in Podunk this summer (Uh-huh). If I buy that and they still can't deliver consistently I'll just go nuts!
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Re: Why do I have to power cycle my Roku DVP?

Postby kc8pql » Tue May 18, 2010 9:10 am

sweller wrote:We're *supposed* to be getting 12Mbps here in Podunk this summer (Uh-huh). If I buy that and they still can't deliver consistently I'll just go nuts!

All the ISP contracts I've ever seen say up to XXMbps along with a fine print statement that says speed is not guaranteed.
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Re: Why do I have to power cycle my Roku DVP?

Postby kc8pql » Tue May 18, 2010 9:13 am

sweller wrote:EDIT: Upon further reflection, I seem to recall the the DVP continuously tests the bandwidth (Else, why would it stop in the middle of an HD stream and rebuffer to SD?).

Actually it doesn't. It simply plays until it runs through the buffer and then recalculates the then current available bandwidth.
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Re: Why do I have to power cycle my Roku DVP?

Postby vmps » Tue May 18, 2010 9:22 am

sweller wrote:EDIT: Upon further reflection, I seem to recall the the DVP continuously tests the bandwidth (Else, why would it stop in the middle of an HD stream and rebuffer to SD?). If this is the case, why would it lock in at a slower-than-available rate? It sounds like a software defficiency...

Could the software handle it better? Probably (and it might, this information was a while ago, and it may have changed). But there's a reasonable argument that it would be better to simply start at an achievable bandwidth than to try a high one every time and rebuffer down to something realistic. Especially given some ISPs propensity to pull dirty tricks like giving you a little bit of high speed bandwidth up front before throttling you back (meaning you'd get a rebuffer with ever new movie). On a PC with a huge buffer capacity there's more time to plan this; on the roku there's not much buffer available to switch streams before you stall.
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Re: Why do I have to power cycle my Roku DVP?

Postby sweller » Tue May 18, 2010 9:24 am

kc8pql wrote:Actually it doesn't. It simply plays until it runs through the buffer and then recalculates the then current available bandwidth.

Ok. But in this case it wouldn't re-buffer at the higher bandwidth without being power cycled.
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Re: Why do I have to power cycle my Roku DVP?

Postby vmps » Tue May 18, 2010 9:24 am

kc8pql wrote:All the ISP contracts I've ever seen say up to XXMbps along with a fine print statement that says speed is not guaranteed.

That's definitely true--there are two many factors involved for an ISP to have any chance of being legally responsible for giving you a set bandwidth at the consumer level. (They'd go out of business quick.) That said, some do much better than others. I can *consistently* max out at 25Mbps on long downloads with my FIOS connection, even if doing so isn't guaranteed.
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Re: Why do I have to power cycle my Roku DVP?

Postby sweller » Tue May 18, 2010 9:26 am

vmps wrote:Especially given some ISPs propensity to pull dirty tricks like giving you a little bit of high speed bandwidth up front before throttling you back

I'm under the impression that was determined to be a myth after Netflix/Roku were accused of it. No?
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Re: Why do I have to power cycle my Roku DVP?

Postby sweller » Tue May 18, 2010 9:30 am

vmps wrote:
kc8pql wrote:All the ISP contracts I've ever seen say up to XXMbps along with a fine print statement that says speed is not guaranteed.

That's definitely true--there are two many factors involved for an ISP to have any chance of being legally responsible for giving you a set bandwidth at the consumer level. (They'd go out of business quick.) That said, some do much better than others. I can *consistently* max out at 25Mbps on long downloads with my FIOS connection, even if doing so isn't guaranteed.

All the Qwest techs that have "visited" me were adamant that I should complain at anything BELOW 80% of the stated bandwidth. They still won't/don't gaurantee (in my case 7Mbps), but they do have a minimum threshold at which they assume there's something wrong.
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Re: Why do I have to power cycle my Roku DVP?

Postby vmps » Tue May 18, 2010 9:37 am

sweller wrote:
vmps wrote:Especially given some ISPs propensity to pull dirty tricks like giving you a little bit of high speed bandwidth up front before throttling you back

I'm under the impression that was determined to be a myth after Netflix/Roku were accused of it. No?

Two different things. Netflix was accused (without evidence that I know of) of throttling their streams for high use customers. What I'm talking about is actually sometimes advertised as a feature (powerboost by comcast, for example--if you're forced to disclose something you might as well spin it, right?), applies to all traffic, and has known and measurable characterstics.
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Re: Why do I have to power cycle my Roku DVP?

Postby KennyJ » Tue May 18, 2010 9:42 am

Instead of power cycling next time, try this...

Let the video play in non-HD for about 30 seconds to a minute. Then stop it (or rewind) to cause it to rebuffer.
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Re: Why do I have to power cycle my Roku DVP?

Postby sweller » Tue May 18, 2010 10:07 am

vmps wrote: (powerboost by comcast ...

Ooh, I forgot about Comcast and the Supreme Court! Does not sound good for the consumer.
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Re: Why do I have to power cycle my Roku DVP?

Postby sweller » Tue May 18, 2010 10:09 am

KennyJ wrote:Instead of power cycling next time, try this...

Let the video play in non-HD for about 30 seconds to a minute. Then stop it (or rewind) to cause it to rebuffer.

I have tried that. IIRC, it didn't have much effect. But it was before my war with Qwest, so it can't hurt to try it again...
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Re: Why do I have to power cycle my Roku DVP?

Postby vmps » Tue May 18, 2010 10:26 am

KennyJ wrote:Instead of power cycling next time, try this...

Let the video play in non-HD for about 30 seconds to a minute. Then stop it (or rewind) to cause it to rebuffer.

My recollection is that you need way more than 30s (like several minutes). If you just go back and reenter too quickly it won't work (and may make things worse).
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