Your Digital Media Has Never Looked So Good

 
rvaidyan
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Video Playback Problem

Mon May 08, 2006 10:08 pm

Hi folks!

I am hoping you can help me with a persistent problem I have started having recently. When I start playing a video or DVD on my Roku, some of them play only for about 30 seconds and then the video starts stuttering and the sound disappears. Some key facts:
1. It does not happen on all videos
2. The videos play fine on the computer, but not on the Roku

I initially thought it was a mPlay problem (see my post at http://www.rokulabs.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7129&highlight=) or a network setup problem. However, today, I noticed that I had this problem even with an .mpg file that I tried to play using the Roku's built-in player. It would only play the first 30-60 seconds of the file before dropping sound and displaying jerky video.

The weird thing is that this is happening with a fairly high percentage of my DVDs (and the one .mpg file I checked today).

Any ideas? This is really frustrating me as I can't play most of my videos on the Roku now. My wife is also getting a little annoyed with the hardware!

The Roku is hardwired into my ethernet network through a gigabit switch. I have a 128 MB CF card in the Roku which I use for a swap file. :roll:
--------------------
Rajiv Vaidyanathan
 
dgburns
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Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 9:37 am

Tue May 09, 2006 9:42 am

What firmware version do you have installed in your Roku?
Is your Roku a RevA or RevB hardware?
Where are the files stored? A computer sharing via SMB, or NFS, or some sort of NAS device, or... ???
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rvaidyan
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Tue May 09, 2006 12:48 pm

I have the latest firmware installed on the Roku (2.0.36).

The files are stored on the hard drive of a computer a computer that is connected to the network through a gigabit switch that also connects to the Roku. The drive is a FAT32 drive.

I'll have to check on the Rev. A/Rev. B. hardware. If I remember right, when I checked a long time ago, it was Rev. B., but I will check when I get home tonight.
--------------------

Rajiv Vaidyanathan
 
dgburns
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Tue May 09, 2006 12:55 pm

rvaidyan wrote:
The files are stored on the hard drive of a computer a computer that is connected to the network through a gigabit switch that also connects to the Roku. The drive is a FAT32 drive.

So it's a Windows PC? Check Task Manager when you start having trouble and see if something else is gobbling up CPU cycles. Try installing a network monitor (like DUMeter) and watch the graph when the problem starts.

This sounds like either your PC isn't able to serve out data fast enough, or something is causing congestion on your network. Me, I dumped using Windows to serve data to the Roku long ago, all my media is now on a Linux box running NFS sharing. It's a 2.4GHz P4, and no troubles streaming very high bitrate HDTV transport streams to the Roku over 100TX ethernet (even through both my router and a distribution switch).

You did see that either Endless or Marcello said there are and will be problems with mpg's (MPG-1 and MPG-2 Program Stream) that VOB's and TS's don't seem to suffer?

Luck!
HD-1500 RevB #1 (media room)

Mitsubishi WD-62528 62" LCD RPTV

Kenwood VR-407 receiver w/PSB Alpha's

PS/3 60GB (now 250GB) w/750GB Seagate ext

M1000 (upstairs)

HD-1000 RevB #2 (bedroom)

Visco 32" LCD

AR 2.1 audio system

PS/2
 
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TheEndless
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Tue May 09, 2006 1:23 pm

This sounds suspiciously like the transfer speed issues other people have reported with 2.0.36 (and the main reason I've not updated to 2.0.36 myself). Have you tried rolling back to 2.0.34/35 to see if it fixes the problem?

TheEndless
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chackett
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Location: Wallingford, CT

Wed May 10, 2006 9:37 am

You didn't say, but I'm assuming you're using SMB rather than NFS to share the files on your PC.

In my experience (and judging by the posts here, the experience of many others) using SMB to share HD video files is problematic. Theoretically it should be fine, but I found the results to be very unreliable. Sometimes videos would play flawlessly, sometimes they would be completely unwatchable (lot of audio dropouts and pixellation problems), and often they were somewhere in between.

Ever since I switched to using NFS to share my HD video files, the ROKU has been working flawlessly.
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jor
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Wed May 10, 2006 10:55 am

rather than leave him in the land of Maybe, let's have him get real metrics.

telnet into the roku, cd to /mnt/smb/whatever
and run
time cp [big file] /dev/null

find a file that is say 100-200Mb in size.

If you're running WinXP, open the task manager and watch network utilization to see if it jumps wildly about.
 
rvaidyan
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Wed May 10, 2006 2:41 pm

jor wrote:
rather than leave him in the land of Maybe, let's have him get real metrics.

telnet into the roku, cd to /mnt/smb/whatever
and run
time cp [big file] /dev/null

find a file that is say 100-200Mb in size.

If you're running WinXP, open the task manager and watch network utilization to see if it jumps wildly about.


Thanks, I'll try this out.

Sorry to sound like an idiot, but what exactly are SMB and NFS? And how do I change the sharing method?
--------------------

Rajiv Vaidyanathan
 
chackett
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Thu May 11, 2006 10:04 am

rvaidyan wrote:
Sorry to sound like an idiot, but what exactly are SMB and NFS? And how do I change the sharing method?

SMB is normal Windows file sharing, and is what you're using if you haven't specifically set something else up.

NFS is the file sharing system common in the Unix world, and gives you higher throughput (roughly twice as high). Other users here will have to help you set it up on your XP box, as I have Macs, but it can be done.

I agree though; the best place to start is to test your throughput with your current setup.
Roku HD1000 Rev B

Pioneer Elite 50" Plasma

Artison Portrait LCR

Polk 60ti L, R, LR, RR

Velodyne DD-18 Subwoofer

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TheEndless
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Thu May 11, 2006 10:25 am

If the throughput test does show a problem with your network speeds, then I'd strongly recommend rolling back to 2.0.34 to see if it fixes it, before going through the hassle of trying to set up NFS.

TheEndless
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dgburns
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Fri May 12, 2006 6:44 am

TheEndless wrote:
If the throughput test does show a problem with your network speeds, then I'd strongly recommend rolling back to 2.0.34 to see if it fixes it, before going through the hassle of trying to set up NFS.

TheEndless

AGREED!

And it's not so much SMB itself that's slow, it's the SMB code in the PB firmware itself that's slow. I can easily get 80+Mb/s SMB transfers between PC's, but not even a 1/4 of that to the PB. At nowhere near 100% CPU utilization on the PB (according to top), so better SMB code in the firmware I believe COULD be done if Roku were ever to put any development resources towards the PhotoBridge.
HD-1500 RevB #1 (media room)

Mitsubishi WD-62528 62" LCD RPTV

Kenwood VR-407 receiver w/PSB Alpha's

PS/3 60GB (now 250GB) w/750GB Seagate ext

M1000 (upstairs)

HD-1000 RevB #2 (bedroom)

Visco 32" LCD

AR 2.1 audio system

PS/2
 
rvaidyan
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Location: Duluth, MN
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Sat May 27, 2006 11:00 am

jor wrote:
telnet into the roku, cd to /mnt/smb/whatever
and run
time cp [big file] /dev/null

find a file that is say 100-200Mb in size.

If you're running WinXP, open the task manager and watch network utilization to see if it jumps wildly about.


Okay, first, I rolled back to 2.0.34 to see if that would solve the problem. It didn't.

One interesting insight is that this "jerky playback and loss of sound" problem occurs with some files, but not all. I have noticed it on SEVERAL ripped DVDs as well as most of the .mpg files recorded on my VAIO media PC (off the built-in TV card). Could this be some encoding problem (since some ripped DVDs seem to play fine?)

Then, I tried to follow the directions above. However, when I telnet into the roku (using the IP address it displays), I just get a flashing cursor. WHen I hit enter, it asks me for a login and password. Where do I get these? How do I log in to the Roku?

-RV
--------------------

Rajiv Vaidyanathan
 
dgburns
Posts: 807
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 9:37 am

Sat May 27, 2006 12:26 pm

rvaidyan wrote:
How do I log in to the Roku?


login name = root
no password
HD-1500 RevB #1 (media room)

Mitsubishi WD-62528 62" LCD RPTV

Kenwood VR-407 receiver w/PSB Alpha's

PS/3 60GB (now 250GB) w/750GB Seagate ext

M1000 (upstairs)

HD-1000 RevB #2 (bedroom)

Visco 32" LCD

AR 2.1 audio system

PS/2

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