Sunday, October 11, 2015

An update

A month ago, we had IPTV installed and at the same time, our Canal + (now Movistar) box was replaced.

I am pleased to report that the new satellite box is performing perfectly. We can now rely upon it to record programmes for us. That is a huge improvement on the previous box that would crash each time it started up. A great result - well done Movistar.

There are however issues with the IPTV box. 

Some days it works flawlessly, we can watch programmes, go back and watch catch up and even record programmes that have been aired already to a portable hard drive.

Other days though things start out well and then, for no apparent reason, the picture stalls and a message appears at the top of the screen telling us we have a connection problem. The solution is to switch the box off and then switch back on again to try and re-establish a connection. Sometimes that works instantly, other times it can take up to a minute to get the picture back.

The other problem is stuttering. The connection remains on but the picture stutters. It happens less frequently and usually cures itself within seconds. It happened last night during "Strictly come dancing" a programme that many users of the service would have been watching.

The question is, where and why do these problems arise?


Streaming video live requires a good, stable Internet connection with sufficient speed and bandwidth to cope. We know that we have sufficient speed at our end because I test it regularly and it averages 8.4Mbs. The company that supply the service claim that you only need 2Mbs so we are well above that. I have also tested our connection for other parameters (ping and jitter) and it is rated B+ (one grade less than perfect) - sufficient for good reproduction of video and audio. The only thing I can't check for over the Internet is "packet loss" but looking at the statistics for my modem, there is zero packet loss reported. Packet loss would be a serious issue, not just for the Internet TV but for any other activity on the net.

The connection between the box and my Internet modem/router is via Home Plugs that use the electrical wiring of the house to carry network signals. Not as ideal a set up as having ethernet cable to the box but far better than a wireless connection.  The plugs installed are rated at 500Mbs and are designed for audio visual signals. Behind the TV is an unmanned switch that distributes the signal to the various devices that require a connection. However, when the TV is on, there are usually no other devices that are accessing the Internet in the house so all of the available bandwidth is directed to the television.

The only conclusion I can come to is that there is an issue with the supplier which I will be taking up after the holiday on Tuesday.

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