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SageTV Media Extender Discussion related to any SageTV Media Extender used directly by SageTV. Questions, issues, problems, suggestions, etc. relating to a SageTV supported media extender should be posted here. Use the SageTV HD Theater - Media Player forum for issues related to using an HD Theater while not connected to a SageTV server.

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  #1  
Old 06-06-2008, 04:01 PM
t4uecker t4uecker is offline
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Need help with HD100 buffering/stuttering issue -- about to lose wife's support!

hey folks -

i'm having some problems with buffering/stuttering that's making my wife want to revert back to tivo. i'm desperate for help to see if there's a way to fix the situation, so here's some information:

symptoms

the main problem is that under certain circumstances (mainly when rew/ff a recorded tv show) video playback stutters and/or the audio drops out. sometimes pressing the skip back button gets things working again; and sometimes waiting for 10-15 seconds gets things working again. sometimes i'll get the spinning circle thing in the middle of the screen. the same thing also happens sometimes even if we're not using the rew/ff button, but that's less common.

more generally, the responsiveness seems quite slow -- in terms of menu selections, etc.

configuration

i'm running a dedicated sage server with windows xp, a 3GHz intel cpu, 2 Gb ram, and plenty of hard disk space. i'm running sage server version 6.3.5.159. and i'm running the latest version of the hd100 firmware (if i click check for update it says i have the latest one).

i actually am using 4 hd100 extenders and probably the most important piece of information is that 3 out of the 4 seem to work fine and don't have the stuttering issue. unfortunately, the one that doesn't work is the one my wife watches the most, which is in the bedroom.

the 3 that seem to work fine are all connected via cat5 ethernet. the bedroom, however, doesn't have an ethernet jack but that does have coax running to our central switching area. so i bought a pair of motorola nim100 devices which do ethernet over coax, in order to get ethernet in that room. i tested the connection with a laptop running ixia's qcheck application and it indicated tcp/ip throughput (to the sage server computer) of about 43-44 Mbps and an average response time of about 3 ms.

what i've tried so far

in another thread that mentioned stuttering with the hd100, i saw a suggestion to make sure the disk cluster size was 64k. mine wasn't, so i formatted it to be 64k, but that doesn't seem to have fixed the problem.

using windows task manager, i've checked on the server computer to see what kind of cpu, memory, and network load is on the server...and it seems very minimal. with the hd100 in the bedroom playing back a recording, the cpu runs about 5%, there's basically no pagefile usage, and network utilization is shown to be between 0.35% to about 0.75%.

i've also tried exchanging the extenders between two of the rooms -- no difference.

ideas

i'm wondering if it's some kind of a buffering issue with the ethernet-over-coax that i'm running in the bedroom and whether there's any setting i can change in the server or the extender that might help with that. (though i'm not sure why that'd be a problem given my measurements of throughput, etc, but i can't think of what else the problem could be).

hopefully someone will have a solution, since i'd really hate to give up the sagetv system and go back to tivo. i'm happy to provide any other information that might help troubleshooting...
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2008, 04:35 PM
photon photon is offline
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The fact that swapping extendors with one that is known to work fine elsewhere points to something not related to Sage or the extendor. Have you tried running a long ethernet cable temporarily? That would tell you for certain if it is a problem related to ethernet-over-coax or something else.

You can also try the option for never showing previews on menus (I'm probably not phrasing that correctly but I'm at work and hopefully you know the option setting I am trying to describe)
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  #3  
Old 06-06-2008, 08:00 PM
t4uecker t4uecker is offline
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yup, i'm guessing it is something related to the ethernet-over-coax issue, since that's the only difference between the working and not-working extenders. but i'm not sure exactly what that difference could be and was hoping someone might have some insight into that; and also i'm trying to figure out if there's some setting adjustment for slower network connections that might help.
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  #4  
Old 06-06-2008, 11:51 PM
MrD MrD is offline
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If you have a spare switch, put it between the nim and the extender. Let the switch deal with the nim instead of the extender.
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  #5  
Old 06-07-2008, 02:51 PM
t4uecker t4uecker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrD View Post
If you have a spare switch, put it between the nim and the extender. Let the switch deal with the nim instead of the extender.
i did have an extra switch and tried putting it between the nim and the extender. didn't seem to make any difference, though. any other ideas? so frustrating that it works in other rooms.
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  #6  
Old 06-07-2008, 06:31 PM
Madcoder Madcoder is offline
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How about loading the newest Sage beta, and then trying this new setting in your settings file (it is a new feature):

media_server/readahead_optimized_file_extensions

You can set that line equal to the file type of the recordings, and it should help on that slower link.

Someone else was asking about it in the following thread:
http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33285

If that doesn't work, and it is too much trouble to run a Cat5 cable there, then I would try wireless.

There is also a feature on the newest beta firmware for the extender to allow you to use it in a placeshifter mode, which might allow you to have the server side transcode it to a lower bitrate. However, that would be my last ditch effort.

Good luck

Last edited by Madcoder; 06-07-2008 at 06:35 PM.
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  #7  
Old 06-07-2008, 11:29 PM
t4uecker t4uecker is offline
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(tail between legs): well i did some research online and although there wasn't very much explicit reference to it, there seemed to be some implication that you're supposed to connect the coax cable to the "coax in" connector on both nim100 units. i had used the "coax out" connector on one nim100 (the sending one) and the "coax in" connector on the other (the receiving one). it made sense, intuitively, and i figured i'd connected things properly since it was passing data, albeit erratically.

nevertheless, i tried connecting to the "coax in" connector on both nim100 units and voila! everything's working. i'm still surprised that it worked with the wrong connections (albeit erratically) but am happy that it's steady now. thanks for the responses, which encouraged me to research further.
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  #8  
Old 06-08-2008, 08:50 PM
Grahambo Grahambo is offline
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Ok, Well that makes sense. At least you were able to figure it out easily.

I've got a similar situation. At least in the weird network device world..

Here's my story: I just installed SageMC 6.3.10 on an old Dell Dimension P4 1.8, 1gig ram, XP pro SP3, 120HD, Hauppauge PVR-350. I only watch SD (for now).

I have the Sage server directly connect to a WRT-54GL and the HD100 connected to the same router via a Belkin Powerline Ethernet adapter (F5D4070)

Anyway, so I can watch stuff online without issue and the navigation seems fine, but when I attempt to watch Live TV or a recorded show its stutters and is more or less un-watchable.

Should I try the beta version and/or the beta firmware for the HD100? btw, I'm using the most current firmware on the HD100.
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  #9  
Old 06-09-2008, 11:58 AM
t4uecker t4uecker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grahambo View Post
Ok, Well that makes sense. At least you were able to figure it out easily.

I've got a similar situation. At least in the weird network device world..

Here's my story: I just installed SageMC 6.3.10 on an old Dell Dimension P4 1.8, 1gig ram, XP pro SP3, 120HD, Hauppauge PVR-350. I only watch SD (for now).

I have the Sage server directly connect to a WRT-54GL and the HD100 connected to the same router via a Belkin Powerline Ethernet adapter (F5D4070)

Anyway, so I can watch stuff online without issue and the navigation seems fine, but when I attempt to watch Live TV or a recorded show its stutters and is more or less un-watchable.

Should I try the beta version and/or the beta firmware for the HD100? btw, I'm using the most current firmware on the HD100.
others on this forum will probably be able to help more because i don't know what the system requirements are, etc, but i had tried a powerline ethernet adapter a while back and had pretty bad luck with the throughput rate so maybe that might be an issue with you as well. i'm told that the data rate you get is highly dependent on your power wiring, whether the two adapters are on the same power circuit, distance, etc, etc.
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  #10  
Old 06-09-2008, 08:08 PM
Grahambo Grahambo is offline
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Yeah, the max speed rating is something like 14mb/s. Should be fast enough for SD, but obviously I'm probably not getting the max rate.

The simple and best solution would be to run an ethernet drop..
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  #11  
Old 06-10-2008, 05:45 PM
timnelsonic timnelsonic is offline
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I've had very good success with the latest Netgear powerline adapters using SD. I could run multiple SD streams at once. When I moved to HD, though, I couldn't get even a single stream to work...the video and audio would pause every few seconds.

I didn't bother to do the math but I was suprised that I could move three SD streams reliably but not a single HD stream, but that's what I experienced pretty consistently. So I retired the Netgear devices and just started using some wireless-n game adapters. I can send a single HD stream reliably but get some occasional stutter with two streams. I'm hoping I can fine tune these a little so I can have two simultaneous HD streams.
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  #12  
Old 06-10-2008, 09:35 PM
Grahambo Grahambo is offline
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What wireless adapters are you using?

Has anyone had any luck with 802.11G stuff and HD?
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  #13  
Old 06-12-2008, 07:07 AM
timnelsonic timnelsonic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grahambo View Post
What wireless adapters are you using?
Oops, I said Netgear, I meant Linksys. Most recently I was using the Linksys PLE200. I was able to send multiple SD streams throughout my two story house with no issues. They wouldn't reliably run a single HD stream, however.

Currently I'm using Linksys Dual-Band Wireless-N Gaming Adapters. I can send a single HD stream with no issues. When I run two HD streams, though, it's hit-and-miss. Sometimes it works fine, but generally I'll get stuttering on both streams. Right now I'm using a single band wireless-n router. I'm going to try a dual band router by itself and, if that doesn't work, use it in addition to my existing router. Although it seems like overkill, I expect that having two wireless networks, especially if they're on different bands, should do the trick.

After a few weeks of fiddling, just last night my wife said "I think the new [SageTV] system is just fine...I like it," so my own WAF issues appear to be behind me.
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