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YouTube/Amazon streaming buffering/stalling

Assistant Professor

YouTube/Amazon streaming buffering/stalling

Amazon seems to be suffering the same problem as YouTube lately. Have run some tests and my observations are as follows. There's been a number of complaints here about it so thought I'd do a bit of investigating and discovered the same issue.

 

Streaming starts out fine but then about two minutes in it buffers and I get the "bandwidth may be too slow" popup error. I'm on Gen 4 with good speed, 20-30 Mbps much of the time, and during the times I tested this.

 

Been watching my bandwidth throughput meter when checking. The video initiates and loads the cache on the computer, or TV, for the first minute or two minutes of viewing but then the throughput drops to zero or near zero. Once the cache drains then the video stops/stalls and starts buffering again, the throughput goes up from zero starting to load the cache but by then it is too late as the server end (Amazon/YouTube) thinks either the connection has been lost or the bandwidth is too slow and the error appears.

 

The problem seems to be something in the communication between client and server when it comes to the caching and it is not refreshing/filling ahead of time to keep up with the stream. It appears to be a satellite system to the video server communication problem and has been going on for awhile now. I even tried increasing the cache size on my Chrome browser but that didn't help, just extended the time a bit until it times out, drops to zero caching download. It is like a "keep alive" or similar signal is not being communicated between the streaming server and HughesNet client.

 

If I test Netflix streaming during the same period, it works fine, cache is continually updating. So it really does seem to be a communication thing between the Amazon/YouTube servers and HughesNet. It used to work fine just like Netflix some time back, but has really gone bad the last few months or so.

No idea which side the problem is on but there defineitely is a problem.

 

Pretty sure it is not fixable on the user end, will probably take engineering looking into it and until enough people complain here it may not get looked at period. Get the same results with Video Data Saver and Web Acceleration turned off.

 

Perhaps someone on HughesNet side can check it out and see if they get the same result? It sure seems like there is a breakdown in the communication between the streaming servers and user end over the HughesNet system.

 

 

 

22 REPLIES 22
Assistant Professor

Re: YouTube/Amazon streaming buffering/stalling

UPDATE:  Ran same tests just now and seems the buffering/stalling cache issue is mostly another prime time issue as everything works as it should now during the day. Really strange since my speed during prime time has been at least 10 Mbps which should be plenty to keep a consistant stream especially at 360p and lower. Strange how badly the caching acts during the evening time, especially when Netflix doesn't seem to suffer the same problem.

Moderator
Moderator

Re: YouTube/Amazon streaming buffering/stalling

Hi BirdDog,

 

Thank you for testing this out and sharing your findings, that does sound intriguing. I tried it out myself on our Gen 5 system here. I started streaming a half hour show off Amazon and didn't see any buffering. I went for about 15 min before I stopped. Then I streamed a ~20 min vid off YouTube. I noticed 7 brief (<5 seconds) periods of buffering, first after 6 min in, then again around the 10-12 min period. After 12:30 until close to the very end the video streamed fine, but it buffered during the last 10 seconds. This was all done with VDS enabled. Not quite the same experience, but I can see if we have Amazon complaints trending.

 

 

Thanks,
Liz

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Advanced Tutor

Re: YouTube/Amazon streaming buffering/stalling

Something's not right..i've been trying to watch a 6 minute utube video for the past few days and still haven't been able to watch it in it's entirety....and this is at 144p resolution.

 

After 20 seconds, it starts to buffer, and then..nothing.

I get the little pop up notification as shown below in this screen shot...

Untitled.png

 

I've tried watching several other u-tube clips...and they all act in the same manner.

 

According to Testmy.net my download speed is 32 Mbps, and HN Speed Test has me at 41Mbps...

but you sure wouldn't know it after trying to stream a very short u-tube video....

I sure do hope the problem gets resolved quickly....

Assistant Professor

Re: YouTube/Amazon streaming buffering/stalling

bare65, yep, and my point is that it isn't so much buffering as the caching process stops completely for a significant amount of time for some reason even when speed is good, especially at night during peak times. At least that is the case for me. All works fine during the day.

 

The spinning buffering wheel is just a symptom of the stream totally dying for some reason and not filling the cache. Today I started watching a YouTube TV show stream and it kept filling the cache until almost the end until I quit watching. At night, the stream starts and fills the cache for the first few minutes of video then completely dies like a switch is turned off. Sometimes if I'm able to pause then restart while stalled it will start downloading and filling the cache enough to play another minute or two until it completely dies again, repeating the cycle.

 

It is like a switch is allowing only a certain amount of the stream to be downloaded and cached at any given point in time. Very strange and not sure if Im explaining well enough what is happening. Not really anything to do with actual speed from what I see.

Distinguished Professor IV

Re: YouTube/Amazon streaming buffering/stalling

I sometimes find the same thing on Youtube, but it often varies from video to video.  Sometimes, regardless of the VDS being on or off, a 240p video buffers like nuts, while at the same time I can watch another vid in 1080p (with the VDS off), with the entire vid loading before I'm a quarter of the way into viewing it.  I assumed it was due to them being on different servers, as that was the only thing I could think of causing it.    


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Professor

Re: YouTube/Amazon streaming buffering/stalling

@Liz,

 

" I can see if we have Amazon complaints trending"

 

I have a hard time streaming from Amazon -- I can stream fine from YT, Hulu, and Netflix (the latter is particularly friendly -- I hope they won't "upgrade" anything and ruin the experience) but Amazon is consistently pixelated and it buffers often.  I see no difference with VDS turned off.  I imagine it's something on their end but I will leave that speculation to BirdDog and the other experts.

Moderator
Moderator

Re: YouTube/Amazon streaming buffering/stalling

Hi folks,

 

No trends found or reported regarding Amazon or YouTube, so I'll see if our testers have noticed anything. Or have time to try it out, too.

 

 

Thanks,
Liz

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Moderator
Moderator

Re: YouTube/Amazon streaming buffering/stalling

Hm, I didn't get any info regarding caching specifically, but I was informed that as opposed to Netflix and YouTube, Amazon uses progressive streaming (the others use adaptive). Apparently we also have an illustrated FAQ article about the differences between the two. 

 

I've pointed out to the testers that you all have even encountered buffering despite good speeds, no VDS, and low playback qualities selected. Let's see what happens next.

 

Can you all, if you haven't done so already, let me know whether the buffering persists in the evening and if it does so with and without VDS enabled? Let's try the 360p quality first. 

 

 

Thanks,
Liz

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Tutor

Re: YouTube/Amazon streaming buffering/stalling

I may as well report I tried to watch an embedded utube video Wednesday morning and it wouldn't even start. I saw nothing but the spinning wheel for the few seconds before terminal boredom set in and I moved on.