Fast download but slow streaming - technical explanation?

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  • ryohazuki1983 20 Jan 2014 09:49:58 735 posts
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    Hi,

    My connection speed is over 35Mb per second (verified with speedtest.net) which results in download speeds off around 5MB per second for files. My problem is that when streaming, e.g. TV Catchup, NBA League Pass, the video struggles playing 480p video and I cannot work out why.

    I've read that streaming isn't just about raw speed but have performed tests and get 0% packet loss and a ping off about 15ms.

    The thing I'm struggling with is that when downloading files I get a constant speed off at least 5MB a second, so why can't my connection buffer/stream at 5MB per second.

    It's not just one service, otherwise I'd put it down to their servers not being able to handle the amount of connections.

    Any advice or technical explanation appreciated :)
  • Salaman 20 Jan 2014 09:51:40 19,281 posts
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    Vinzinni was born for this sort of threads.
  • MrTomFTW Moderator 20 Jan 2014 09:52:15 38,704 posts
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    Sounds like your ISP is throttling the shit out of that service.

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  • nickthegun 20 Jan 2014 09:52:18 60,480 posts
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    A lot of ISPs cache popular streaming stuff on there own servers to mimise bandwidth, so quite often you arent even hitting youtube or whatever.

    Basically, your ISPs server is worse than NBAs server.

    Having said that, tvcatchup doesnt appear to have much bandwidth of its own and really struggles with primetime shows or anything remotely popular.

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  • ryohazuki1983 20 Jan 2014 09:56:41 735 posts
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    Cheers for the quick responses, @nickhegun - TVCatchup seem pretty defensive about buffering, I've read the twitter feed and even the website states it's a live service so doesn't buffer, but to me that doesn't make sense as It has to be passed through a web layer.

    I didn't know that about caching!, so when downloading you are hitting the server directly as with other services it's coming from Virgin server cache in some cases.
  • nickthegun 20 Jan 2014 10:00:04 60,480 posts
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    You didnt mention virgin in your original post, but i did suspect thats who you were with.

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  • Psiloc 20 Jan 2014 10:08:41 1,478 posts
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    It won't be a caching thing since he's talking about live TV.
  • ryohazuki1983 20 Jan 2014 10:09:38 735 posts
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    Yep I'm with Virgin, the up-to 120Mb package, along with paying over 150 a year for basketball, I don't mind paying a premium as to me it's worth it to watch NBA etc, what bothers me is when I don't get what I pay for and end up watching in a shitty resolution that's on par with an illegal stream.
  • Load_2.0 20 Jan 2014 10:13:26 19,444 posts
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    Post deleted
  • Load_2.0 20 Jan 2014 10:13:48 19,444 posts
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    I have the same issue/problems with Virgin, speed test gives me 18-20mb speeds but watch a film without issue?

    Fuggedaboutit.
  • quadfather 20 Jan 2014 10:16:54 12,910 posts
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    I find it depends what's service it is. And how well your ISP does peering with other sites. Talk talk for example gives me 23mb and downloads in steam are around 2-3mb. But trying to play streams is dogshit basically. I have to try different sites and services and then use the best one. Crap solution I know but its generally your ISP's relationship with other services that seems to be the problem

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  • Razz 20 Jan 2014 10:18:24 61,395 posts
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    Tried using a vpn? I'm with EE and pay around 5 quid a month for a VPN from PIA. Bypasses all that ISP throttling bollocks.

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  • ryohazuki1983 20 Jan 2014 10:23:10 735 posts
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    Interesting, cheers Razz - I will sign-up and give it a go, however on the site it states that you are given a US IP address, won't this mean that TVCatchup will detect a US connection and therefore refuse to play the video?
  • Gland 20 Jan 2014 10:32:42 78,459 posts
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    Yep. TVCatchup is ISP specific so if you connect to it from outside of the whitelist, you can't watch it.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 10:33:24 20-01-2014

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  • Gland 20 Jan 2014 10:39:11 78,459 posts
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    Altho as you're with virgin, you might be able to use this instead.

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  • brokenkey 20 Jan 2014 12:14:27 7,089 posts
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    Virgin have signed a partnership deal with Netflix (and prioritizing their traffic), so they are probably doing that at the expense of all other streaming services.

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  • ryohazuki1983 20 Jan 2014 13:41:52 735 posts
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    brokenkey wrote:
    Virgin have signed a partnership deal with Netflix (and prioritizing their traffic), so they are probably doing that at the expense of all other streaming services.
    This is very annoying, as if I complain to Virgin they will most likely blame the services ism accessing, as my ping/packetloss/speed is OK. So hard to prove it's Virgin and they won't do anything about it.

    Not looking for money off etc just want to watch what I pay for in a decent quality :(
  • kentmonkey 20 Jan 2014 17:54:02 20,775 posts
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    I've just upgraded from 3mb Sky/O2 broadband to BT Infinity 19mb is the predicted, so we can better stream movies from Sky, Blinkbox, etc, and potentially the streaming may not be any better at all going from this thread. Is that right?
  • mal 20 Jan 2014 18:03:07 22,710 posts
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    Yeah, potentionally the speed for any service on the internet may be throttled by your ISP so no better than it was under your old ISP or even worse. You'd hope that since you're going from 3mbps to 19mbps though, they'd have the bandwidth to back that up and not need to throttle quite as aggressively. BT are a shower of cunts though, so who knows?

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  • kentmonkey 20 Jan 2014 18:53:30 20,775 posts
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    I'd heard good things about BT's Infinity so that's why i went with them. I hear that their normal broadband is naff but that the fibre pisses all over virgin. But yeah, whether that's reality or not is another matter.
  • Deckard1 20 Jan 2014 18:55:52 28,740 posts
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    BT stopped any kind of throttling on new contracts around the middle of last year.
  • eleven63 20 Jan 2014 19:06:42 1,608 posts
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    No technical answer to the original question, but to say that in E8, with Virgin, we paid for 30mb and usually got about 20mbs (annoying, but still quick) - but in E8 between 6pm, to about 10pm the bandwidth was definitely throttled, noticed the different watching catchup, downloading games (XBOX 360), etc - it just slowed.

    Moved to E17 late last year, now get 60mbs, usually get about 45mbs (still with Virgin) and have noticed no slowing or throttling of bandwidth, etc all catchup in HD, live films, no problem - it just seems odd.

    Down loading games is still way too slow though, so that must be Microsoft/Sony?

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  • ryohazuki1983 24 Jan 2014 09:40:49 735 posts
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    Bit of an update, I signed up for an account on PIA for VPN access as suggested but sadly streaming such as NBA is still played at very low quality.

    Even more bizarre is that the stream starts of in HD for about 1 minute but then goes to shit in the same place every time, I refreshed the game about 20times, turned VPN on/off and it still fucks up.

    I'm starting to think it maybe an issue with my laptop streaming HD quality, but it seems odd that it could cope with about a minute then only show low-quality, it would make more sense that it shows HD but stutters.

    Edited by ryohazuki1983 at 09:41:10 24-01-2014
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