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What's Up with TCM ON-DEMAND? Again....???


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#1 MovieCollectorOH

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 04:34 PM

**scrap that last idea for now, let's see how servers work after upgrade**


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#2 scsu1975

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 08:53 PM

Today using IE the films are hesitating like they did on Firefox. So I switched to Firefox and the films are not hesitating. Oh well ...


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#3 MovieCollectorOH

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 01:16 PM

.......

 

When I am traveling and have my notebook in tow, I always carry a 10 foot length of HDMI cable, and if I have access to a large screen TV with an HDMI port, I will connect my PC to it. At home, I often do as you do, to take advantage of a screen larger than my notebooks 18 inch monitor. 

 

However something that we probably are both aware of is the fragility of those connectors. They do get loose after repeated use, and eventually will fail. I have 2 HDMI, and 4 USB 3.0 ports on my latest notebook, but only one Ethernet jack, to which I am routinely attaching and removing cable.  That is my systems weakest connection, and likely the first that will eventually fail.

I have one USB port connected to an Anker 7 port USB hub, so I can minimize wear and tear on those. But I have wore out ports on previous hubs before, as well as USB ports and Ethernet connectors on other notebook PCs.

With tower PC's, one can usually replace or add a card with new jacks and/or port access. But with compact notebooks, those are always integrated into the motherboard which creates another can of worms when something fails.   

 

This is generally not an issue with static systems that don't move around and remain plugged in all the time. But it is a concern with portable systems and peripherals.

You are probably aware of this already, and it may not be an issue with the way you use your system anyway. But I have noticed with weak connections that just a little loose wobble can also generate some of the symptoms that you have described. Which may or may not be an explanation for why you experienced the temporary sound problem, which can be replicated with a weak HDMI connection. Likewise a weak speaker jack for non-Bluetooth systems using external speakers.

Of course the more peripherals we use, amplifies the possible causes of any problem we may experience, another "potential" that may need to be ruled-out to determine a problems actual source.

 

I use the Dell Latitude 14.1" (E6420) and 15.6" (E65xx) laptops.  They are medium-sized business-class machines which are sturdy and the more commonly replaced items are usually easier to service than on the lower end consumer-grade laptops.  For instance, to get at the HDD, you don't need to remove the keyboard and/or the whole bottom.  It is just four screws on the bottom, and the HDD caddy slides out.  Also the CD/DVD transport slides out (without any screws) and is easily replaced with a secondary HDD caddy.

 

Anyhow I went wireless at home years ago.  I don't use my wired network interface unless I need to connect to the Internet at a job.  I went wireless at home over a decade ago with my laptops, before the wired network interface was integrated onto the system board and was usually just a slide-in PCMCIA module.  I was burning through CAT-5 connectors too.  For me it was the CAT-5 connector on the wire which usually went bad.  The coating on the terminals wore off and then oxidized.  Replacing the wire or reterminating the wire fixed that.  I have found a wireless-G or wireless-N hot spot and Intel mini-pci BGN internal network cards to be a good combination, more reliable than an actual wired connection, for the reasons you mention.  [This may not be the case if you live in a condo or apartment in close proximity to a bunch of others doing the same thing.]

 

A pitfall in the past that has been resolved in the last 8 years or so on these Dell Latitude machines is the DC power connector.  Prior to that they used to be soldered to the system board, and the electrical connection would sometimes break loose.  In more recent years the DC connector is a discreet component jack with wires that go to the system board.  This jack is loosely connected to the chassis, using a clamp mount which allows to float around a bit.  The first computer I got where they mounted it this way scared me, until I looked inside and realized the change they made.  I though "oh, how cool is that".

 

There are plenty of USB ports, so the only remaining weak point for me on these is the single HDMI port, which I don't use that much.  It looks to be more robust than the other types of connectors anyhow.  It is closer in design to a USB port, which is designed for a high amount of insertion cycles.  I don't think I've ever had a USB port catastrophically fail.  Not unless the computer falls to the ground with a connector plugged into it, and the USB connector is dislodged off the system board.  They just seem to loosen their grip a bit over time.  On the other hand, I have had thumb drives that get worn out over time (worn off coating and oxidation like the CAT-5 terminations??), but the USB ports on a computer generally outlast the computer for me.  I could be wrong, but I suspect that the HDMI ports would last a long time too, unless abused, like if bumped or it fell with a connector plugged into it.

 

Also last but not least, these days I insist on laptops that have LCD displays with LED backlighting.  Traditionally they used LCD displays with CCFL backlighting (a form of fluorescent light), and they might still make some of those.  The problem is that CCFL lights go through a "red-shift" when they get old, whereas LED backlights are brighter and remain bright longer, which is easier on my eyes for a work computer.


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#4 Stephan55

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:59 PM

A few items I noticed the past few days:

 

1. The movies seem to be working again, but when I run them in Firefox, they are hesitating. The sound continues, but the picture freezes for a few moments. This is constant throughout the film. I thought this might be an issue with my laptop (it's 7 years old!!) but now I believe this is an issue with Firefox, because I ran the same film on Internet Explorer and had no issues. I will keep using IE if the problem persists with Firefox.

 

2. I usually connect my laptop to my tv via hdmi cable, so I can take advantage of the bigger screen, and also the sound system I have connected to the tv. For at least a week or so I was not getting any sound (on both Firefox and IE) except through my PC speakers. This had to be a TCM issue, because if I played a youtube video, the sound went through my television with no problem. Now the sound issue appears to have been fixed.

 

I noticed early yesterday (Wed. 10/11/2017) that TCM evidently had at least two persons working on the Not Really Available ON-DEMAND problem that began Tues. (10/3/2017).

At least one person was working on the current days programs, while at least one other was working on the earlier programs.

There were a few earlier programs that apparently had been skipped, but as of late today (10/12/2017), I am relieved to report (and confirm what scusu1975 posted) that both ends have met, and All TCM ON-DEMAND features currently listed as available, will at least load and begin to play. 

 

During the last few days of rechecking, I also noticed that some of the ON-DEMAND movies had slower than normal load and start times, as well as a few buffering, and stuttering issues, with occasional "freezes" during the initial load and play tests, even with my high end system and using dedicated Ethernet.

When I checked my download speeds while this was occurring, speedtest.net gave me better than adequate readings.

When I checked other on-line video streams from PBS and YouTube, everything appeared normal.

I have noticed with TCM streaming that sometimes just refreshing or reloading the browser will make the problem disappear, and other times it may last for an hour or so, which is more indicative of a temporary server issue with TCM.

Because this type of behavior does periodically (and usually transiently) occur with TCM, that is what I attributed it to.

 

I did check every ON-DEMAND feature to see if they would at least load and begin to play today (using Firefox but not IE or Chrome this time). However, since this latest TCM problem began, I have  both recorded (with Bandicam) and completely viewed  just a handful of the actually available features. Those that I did completely watch fortunately played normally all the way through. 

 

I am using an earlier version of Firefox (v.55.0.3, release 8/25/2017), and not the current version (v.56.0.0, released 9/28/2017).

This latest version of Firefox did present separate issues with TCM (a greyed out screen, with no movies or ancillary intros, clips, etc. loading) which you reported as well. So that could possibly be a factor if we are using different Firefox browser versions. 

 

When I am traveling and have my notebook in tow, I always carry a 10 foot length of HDMI cable, and if I have access to a large screen TV with an HDMI port, I will connect my PC to it. At home, I often do as you do, to take advantage of a screen larger than my notebooks 18 inch monitor. 

 

However something that we probably are both aware of is the fragility of those connectors. They do get loose after repeated use, and eventually will fail. I have 2 HDMI, and 4 USB 3.0 ports on my latest notebook, but only one Ethernet jack, to which I am routinely attaching and removing cable.  That is my systems weakest connection, and likely the first that will eventually fail.

I have one USB port connected to an Anker 7 port USB hub, so I can minimize wear and tear on those. But I have wore out ports on previous hubs before, as well as USB ports and Ethernet connectors on other notebook PCs.

With tower PC's, one can usually replace or add a card with new jacks and/or port access. But with compact notebooks, those are always integrated into the motherboard which creates another can of worms when something fails.   

 

This is generally not an issue with static systems that don't move around and remain plugged in all the time. But it is a concern with portable systems and peripherals.

You are probably aware of this already, and it may not be an issue with the way you use your system anyway. But I have noticed with weak connections that just a little loose wobble can also generate some of the symptoms that you have described. Which may or may not be an explanation for why you experienced the temporary sound problem, which can be replicated with a weak HDMI connection. Likewise a weak speaker jack for non-Bluetooth systems using external speakers.

Of course the more peripherals we use, amplifies the possible causes of any problem we may experience, another "potential" that may need to be ruled-out to determine a problems actual source.


"We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?"  "...They're probably watching me..."

 

I have been told that I have a tendency toward verbosity.


#5 scsu1975

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 01:54 PM

A few items I noticed the past few days:

 

1. The movies seem to be working again, but when I run them in Firefox, they are hesitating. The sound continues, but the picture freezes for a few moments. This is constant throughout the film. I thought this might be an issue with my laptop (it's 7 years old!!) but now I believe this is an issue with Firefox, because I ran the same film on Internet Explorer and had no issues. I will keep using IE if the problem persists with Firefox.

 

2. I usually connect my laptop to my tv via hdmi cable, so I can take advantage of the bigger screen, and also the sound system I have connected to the tv. For at least a week or so I was not getting any sound (on both Firefox and IE) except through my PC speakers. This had to be a TCM issue, because if I played a youtube video, the sound went through my television with no problem. Now the sound issue appears to have been fixed.


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#6 MovieCollectorOH

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 10:18 AM

I currently have IE, Google Chrome, and Firefox browsers on my PC's.

IE is a relic that I stopped using over three years ago. I stopped regularly using Chrome over two years ago and only comparatively refer to it when trying to rule-out a possible issue with Firefox, generally associated TCM ON-DEMAND. Firefox has been my default browser since then.

Aside from the inability to effectively "block" the persistent google cookie, and a few conflicts with TCM ON-DEMAND, which more often than not originate with TCM, so far I have been generally satisfied with Firefox, and support them with donations.

However, because of my generally conservative on-line habits, there may be other issues with Firefox that I am unaware, and I think that it's good to have viable options regarding alternative browsers as well as Operating Systems. So I will follow your example and check out both Vivaldi and Brave. 

 

Perhaps it is wise of you to avoid the frustration of TCM ON-DEMAND, I find myself often wishing that I'd avoided getting sucked into the habit, more and more, these days. But when it works as it should it is easy to become reliant upon the convenience, and it has allowed me to wean myself from consistently recording on my aging DVR's, which I purchased years ago, and the tedium of transferring video's to my stash of blank dvd's.

 

Not sure how "constructive" or helpful any "feedback" that we've posted here has been to TCM, since they refuse to dialogue with us.

TCM ON-DEMAND has been chronically ill since it's inception. When I first started using it, it's "good" days, well outnumbered the "bad." But it appears to be entering a terminal phase, with ever fewer functional days, and longer lasting periods of decrepitude. Of course it doesn't help for it's "care" to be mismanaged by incompetent "physicians."

Regarding "their R&D," if they'd actually employ some qualified Q & A staff, and stop treating their On-Line viewing products as forever betas, then maybe we could stop posting about these ongoing problems. 

 

However, in light of the reality of what is, and not what I wish it was, I, and others here, have greatly benefited from your  technical savvy and insight, and generosity with your time in sharing with us. And if you should ever decide to begin "watching movies online using the Watch TCM services" for "evaluation purposes" I have no doubt that your astute observations and specific comments would prove even more invaluable, to us, and TCM as well, if they should ever discover the wisdom of actively tapping into these boards.

 

Thanks again.  Just your objective testing and reporting is all they need.

FWIW, I see there is a odd Firefox testbed to happen in Germany.  Could be a rabbit hole or could be nothing as far as we are concerned:
https://www.theregis...iqz_in_germany/

Also the comments section there reminds me of the downstream versions of Firefox.  There are a couple well-known ones anyhow.  I say "downstream versions" as they are not really developed into something much different than FF.  In fact they are more just reactions to the design changes Mozilla has made over the years to Firefox.  Also I think they are maintained by one individual each, not by entire teams or companies.

Waterfox
-dereviative of Firefox.  "64-bit version only.  Creates its own user directory, seperate from the FF user directory.  The telemetry is all removed; it's not even an option you can turn on or off."

Pale Moon
-derivative of Firefox.  Frozen version with pre-Australis interface (classic theme).  32-bit only.  [FF Stable was 32-bit-only on Windows until just the last year or two, so not as big of a deal as it may seem.]  So if you like the older theme, you wouldn't need to use Classic Theme Restorer add-on.  Doesn't support "e10s".  

["e10s" is the finalized release of FF's long-time process abstraction project, using a dedicated Web Content process to run all external plug-ins.  This isolates the browser for stability in the event a plug-in crashes, in which case the browser just keeps going along.]


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#7 Stephan55

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 12:39 AM

....

 

https://brave.com/

 

....

 

I have Firefox, Vivaldi, and Brave all installed on my Linux Mint computer, mostly for evaluation purposes.  That way I get to see what these two major Firefox and Chrome families of browsers are doing as well as Brave.  If something is broken in Vivaldi, there is a good chance it will also be broken in Chrome (in particular, with rendering or with the add-ons).  My regular browser is Firefox. 

 

To reiterate, I have no interest in watching movies online using the Watch TCM services at this time, but wish to see things work out.  So thanks for the constructive feedback and helping them with their R&D.

 

I currently have IE, Google Chrome, and Firefox browsers on my PC's.

IE is a relic that I stopped using over three years ago. I stopped regularly using Chrome over two years ago and only comparatively refer to it when trying to rule-out a possible issue with Firefox, generally associated TCM ON-DEMAND. Firefox has been my default browser since then.

Aside from the inability to effectively "block" the persistent google cookie, and a few conflicts with TCM ON-DEMAND, which more often than not originate with TCM, so far I have been generally satisfied with Firefox, and support them with donations.

However, because of my generally conservative on-line habits, there may be other issues with Firefox that I am unaware, and I think that it's good to have viable options regarding alternative browsers as well as Operating Systems. So I will follow your example and check out both Vivaldi and Brave. 

 

Perhaps it is wise of you to avoid the frustration of TCM ON-DEMAND, I find myself often wishing that I'd avoided getting sucked into the habit, more and more, these days. But when it works as it should it is easy to become reliant upon the convenience, and it has allowed me to wean myself from consistently recording on my aging DVR's, which I purchased years ago, and the tedium of transferring video's to my stash of blank dvd's.

 

Not sure how "constructive" or helpful any "feedback" that we've posted here has been to TCM, since they refuse to dialogue with us.

TCM ON-DEMAND has been chronically ill since it's inception. When I first started using it, it's "good" days, well outnumbered the "bad." But it appears to be entering a terminal phase, with ever fewer functional days, and longer lasting periods of decrepitude. Of course it doesn't help for it's "care" to be mismanaged by incompetent "physicians."

Regarding "their R&D," if they'd actually employ some qualified Q & A staff, and stop treating their On-Line viewing products as forever betas, then maybe we could stop posting about these ongoing problems. 

 

However, in light of the reality of what is, and not what I wish it was, I, and others here, have greatly benefited from your  technical savvy and insight, and generosity with your time in sharing with us. And if you should ever decide to begin "watching movies online using the Watch TCM services" for "evaluation purposes" I have no doubt that your astute observations and specific comments would prove even more invaluable, to us, and TCM as well, if they should ever discover the wisdom of actively tapping into these boards.


"We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?"  "...They're probably watching me..."

 

I have been told that I have a tendency toward verbosity.


#8 Stephan55

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 11:05 PM

OCT 10, 2017, Update!

 

 

Regarding the ongoing inability to view TCM ON-DEMAND movies (that "refuse" to load and play "normally"),

A little more "good" news, and some more "bad" news...

 

Good News:

Per a posted statement from TCMModerator1, and after another round of "load & play" checks, I can happily confirm that "somebody" at TCM is "attempting" to address this most recent TCM Not-ON-DEMAND mess....

http://forums.tcm.co...6531-watch-tcm/

 

As of an hour ago,  with one current exception, ALL TCM ON-DEMAND features, listed as "available" through Saturday (10/7/2017) are actually available to watch ON-DEMAND. The current exception that day is CANYON RIVER (1956) which aired that mid-afternoon.

 

With one exception, Sunday afternoon (10/8/2017), ALL other features listed as available for ON-DEMAND viewing during that day, are also actually available to watch ON-DEMAND. The current exception is ALL NEAT IN BLACK STOCKINGS (1969) which aired that late-afternoon.

 

Now the Bad News: 

Only two features from Sunday night (10/8/2017) will actually load and begin to play at this present time, they are:  JIGOKU (1960)  and the  MGM PARADE SHOW #2 (1955). ALL other listed features refuse to load, leaving that  ubiquitous black screen.

 

This continues to be the case for every succeeding title listed as available to WATCH ON-DEMAND, throughout Monday (10/9/2017) through today, Tuesday (10/10/2017).

The latest title to join the list of Not really available ON-DEMAND titles is TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN (1962).

 

My loose "assessment," based upon what is transpiring, is that the problem has become endemic within the TCM ON-DEMAND system.

Rather than a "simple" individual technical error it appears as if perhaps some recent systemic TCM modification or flawed "update" is to blame. Something not easily reversed or corrected system wide, rather requiring individual, and evidently time consuming, remedial action movie by movie, which some TCM personnel is now attempting to reverse with the earliest movies first to allow ON-DEMAND users at least a day or two, or three  of  delayed viewing opportunity.

Of course this is only my subjective and limited assessment based upon my own viewer experience history with TCM ON-DEMAND.

 

Aside from a simple and belated acknowledgement that the problem actually exists (courtesy of a post initiated by TCMModerator1),  TCM consistently refuses to dialogue with us, it's user base. So how and why this happened and "How Long" this "problem" will continue to persist, is anybody's guess. But it is, in any case, another totally unacceptable happening from TCM.

 

If TCM did their homework and stopped treating their ON-DEMAND product as a forever "work in progress" Beta, and actually employed some qualified Quality and Assurance staff, these currently chronic issues could be severely limited. 

And If TCM actually provided a functional line of communication between themselves and their subscriber base, and used it to keep us informed, then they could reasonably ask for our "patience and understanding," when the hopefully rare disturbance occurred.

But again, that is only my experienced opinion.

 

I may not continue to routinely post updates on this current on-going problem, unless TCM stops trying to correct their "mistake," whatever it is, or to perhaps comment when it appears have been resolved this time.

 

While this "bad experience" persists, it may be a good idea for all those still loyal TCM viewers, which routinely use the ON-DEMAND product, to continue rechecking to see if or when TCM has finally made a listed feature that they wished to watch actually available for ON-DEMAND viewing before it's ON-DEMAND window expires.


"We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?"  "...They're probably watching me..."

 

I have been told that I have a tendency toward verbosity.


#9 MovieCollectorOH

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 04:22 AM

Thanks MCOH for the link, I will definitely check out Vivaldi.

I doubt that it will make the current TCM Not ON-DEMAND issues go away, since those problems originate with TCM.

 

But, Firefoxes latest update (v.56.0.0, released 9/28/2017) brings it's own issues into play (with TCM at least)  presenting us with a blank, greyed-out screen when attempting to load anything from TCM ON-DEMAND.

 

Another issue I have with Firefox is that it will not functionally accept a Privacy "exception" to block the google.com cookie.

 

And I stopped using the Google Chrome browser (except for testing purposes) over two years ago because of that undesired telemetry.

Same reason that I am no longer a fan of MS.

 

So if I can find a more "secure" browser that is as functional for me as Firefox, that will allow me to deny persistent google cookies from migrating into their cookie jar, I would be a more happy on-line user.

 

My on-line habits have grown ever more conservative over the years, while at the same time my dependency on digital data has increased dramatically. It is a conundrum trying to balance an acceptable level of "security"  while still retaining access.

So I am very appreciative of your advice and suggestions.

 

Ok, then in the same kind of direction I was going with Vivaldi, there is one more browser.  It is called Brave.  This is different from Vivaldi as it is written from the ground up.  As a result it has the least amount of features out of any browser I have covered in this thread, but it too is actively being developed by a real company.  It is headed up by the former CEO of Firefox of many years (back during their most productive years), and he was also the creator of Javascript (part of any modern web browser).  In any case, Brave is entirely built in-house, except for some optional extensions as I understand.

 

https://brave.com/

 

A unique feature of Brave is that it incorporates its own optional ad server system which allows you to substitute Brave's own ad network for a given website's ad server (Allow Ads / Show Brave Ads / No Ads).  The clicks from Brave Ads generate revenue for both the site being visited and Brave.  You can also choose to just browse without any ads.

 

Besides those three options, there is a fourth option to register and put money down to browse without ads, but only for sites you wish to support.  The money is directly transferred in anonymity to your preferred websites in click points, in exchange for no ads.  Your preferred websites get credit for click points and you get no ads. 

 

Like Chrome/Android, Brave will soon have a Sync With IOS completed (for iPhone).  On the other hand I think it is unknown if Vivaldi will have this, as most of the important things Vivaldi does operate outside of the Google Chrome environment.

 

There is the provision for extensions with Brave too, but it is mostly still in its infancy.  This would include an external plug-in for Adobe Flash.  I can't speak for Windows, but on Linux operating systems it needs "pepperflashplugin", a product developed for Chrome by Google.  This browser caught my interest because its main components are truly built from the ground up.

 

 

 

So to summarize desktop browser families in order of popularity:

 

There is Google Chrome and several downstream browsers which use common open-source tools developed by Google for it.  One of these downstream browsers would be Vivaldi, which has all the Google telemetry stripped out, but also has the benefit of their R&D in its rendering engine.  It has many additional features that only Vivaldi's (formerly Opera's) crazy Norwegians could think of (actually they listen very closely to their user base).

 

There is Mozilla Firefox and its derivatives, written from open-source components sourced by Mozilla.  This has a large add-on base, but they are currently phasing older ones out due to recent changes in the main program.  This may or may not hurt them.

 

There are the two main OS vendor browsers (IE/Edge and Safari).  Both are closed-source, so no downstream browsers being developed by third parties.

 

Then there are new ones built from the ground up.  This is a very small category because it is the most difficult to do with limited resources as they have built their own rendering engines too, in order to qualify being in this category.  This would include Brave (headed up by Firefox's former CEO).  Because he is involved, I would say Brave has a lot of potential.

 

 

 

I have Firefox, Vivaldi, and Brave all installed on my Linux Mint computer, mostly for evaluation purposes.  That way I get to see what these two major Firefox and Chrome families of browsers are doing as well as Brave.  If something is broken in Vivaldi, there is a good chance it will also be broken in Chrome (in particular, with rendering or with the add-ons).  My regular browser is Firefox. 

 

To reiterate, I have no interest in watching movies online using the Watch TCM services at this time, but wish to see things work out.  So thanks for the constructive feedback and helping them with their R&D.


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#10 Stephan55

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 12:02 AM

Hey Stephan55,

I see you are having issues with Firefox again.  There is another browser you may be interested in testing for these purposes.  It is from the team that brought us Opera in the early 2000s. 

https://vivaldi.com/

 

The short story is that the Opera browser was sold to the Chinese and is no longer being developed by its Norwegian founders.  The good news is that Opera's original developers have regrouped and are actively developing Vivaldi, carrying over their methodology from Opera.  (The original Opera browser brought us many of the browser features we use across the board today, such as tabbed browsing)

 

It has more native baseline features than Firefox, so depending on your browsing habits you would probably need fewer add-ons for Vivaldi than for Firefox.

 

The rendering engine is the open-source Chromium project from Google, so if the Google Chrome browser can work for you, then this should too - except that it won't "phone home" to Google (though it uses free add-ons from the Chrome "store").

 

Just another tool for the toolbox.

Thanks MCOH for the link, I will definitely check out Vivaldi.

I doubt that it will make the current TCM Not ON-DEMAND issues go away, since those problems originate with TCM.

 

But, Firefoxes latest update (v.56.0.0, released 9/28/2017) brings it's own issues into play (with TCM at least)  presenting us with a blank, greyed-out screen when attempting to load anything from TCM ON-DEMAND.

 

Another issue I have with Firefox is that it will not functionally accept a Privacy "exception" to block the google.com cookie.

 

And I stopped using the Google Chrome browser (except for testing purposes) over two years ago because of that undesired telemetry.

Same reason that I am no longer a fan of MS.

 

So if I can find a more "secure" browser that is as functional for me as Firefox, that will allow me to deny persistent google cookies from migrating into their cookie jar, I would be a more happy on-line user.

 

My on-line habits have grown ever more conservative over the years, while at the same time my dependency on digital data has increased dramatically. It is a conundrum trying to balance an acceptable level of "security"  while still retaining access.

So I am very appreciative of your advice and suggestions.


"We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?"  "...They're probably watching me..."

 

I have been told that I have a tendency toward verbosity.


#11 Stephan55

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 11:17 PM

OCT 9, 2017, Update!

 

 

Regarding the inability to view TCM ON-DEMAND movies (that "refuse" to load and play "normally"),

A little "good" news, and much more "bad" news...

 

Good News first!

 

I just finished spending about two hours attempting to load and begin to play practically every TCM "ON-DEMAND" feature listed as "available for viewing" beginning with when I first noticed this recent TCM snafu (last Tues. (10/3/2017) evening.

From that evening up until yesterday FRANKENSTEIN (1931), failed to "load" or play, leaving a blank, black screen, where the movie should be. I am happy to report that as of about two hours ago, it now loads and begins to play as it should.

This feature is due to expire by tomorrow evening (10/10/2017) for those that wanted to view it ON-DEMAND, so TCM has "allowed" us at least a day to still watch it.

 

Because not all systems are the same, I share the following data for comparative purposes :

My OS is currently Win 7 pro, 64 bit.

I have a high speed system with a high-end GPU with 4 GB of dedicated memory, plus 32 GB of fast RAM and 4 (1TB) SSD drives.

For TCM video, I use direct Ethernet (from modem to PC), so I can maximize my download speeds (tested using speedtest.com ).

When TCM is operating as it should (with this system) TCM ON-DEMAND features will normally begin to load within 2-3 seconds.
For this downstream "test" I allowed up to 30 seconds for each feature to attempt to load and begin playing.

Those that did load, did so within 2-5 seconds, the others failed to even attempt a load throughout the entire "test" time that I allotted.

For these "tests" I used slightly earlier versions of both Firefox v.55.0.3, (released 8/25/2017), and Google Chrome v. 60.0.3112.90 (released 8/2/2017), both of these web browsers have proven to work well with TCM ON-DEMAND.

I did not test using any version of MS Explorer.  The still current version version of Adobe Flash (v.27.0.0.130, released 9/10/2017) was used. No other apps were running.

 

Of the features that failed to load and play on Wed. (10/4/2017), through to yesterday (Sun. 10/8/2017), I am happy to report that as of a couple of hours ago, most of those will now load and begin to play "normally."

 

Of the Buster Keaton features from that day, the only ones that still will NOT load are:

BELL BOY, THE (1918) a 21 min short, CAMERAMAN, THE (1928), and STEAMBOAT BILL JR. (1928).

From that evening All features will now load and begin to play normally, except the 25 min MGM PARADE SHOW #2 (1955).

These features are due to expire within the next two days (Wed. 10/11/2017), so TCM still has a little time left to maybe "correct" the "problem" before the above four viewing window closes.

 

From Thurs (10/5/2017) through to yesterday (Sun. 10/8/2017),  I previously noted Five features from that day that wouldn't load or play, that now will: WICHITA (1955), EXPERIMENT PERILOUS (1944), FACE BEHIND THE MASK, THE (1938) an 11 min short,  DAYS OF GLORY (1944), and INCREDIBLE STRANGER, THE (1942) another 11 min short.

These are due to expire in the next three days (by Thurs. 10/12/2017), for those of us still wishing to watch any of them.

 

Now, for the BAD News:

As previously posted by scsu1975,

All of the remaining TCM Not ON-DEMAND features, from Thursday Evening (10/5/2017), up to the present (Mon. 10/9/2017), 

beginning with ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, THE (1960), to the most recent  EASY TO LOVE (1953), still refuse to load or play at all... Just a blank, black screen...

 

It is obvious that "someone" at TCM apparently made an effort to "correct" part of the "problem,"  by virtue of the fact that some of the movies that wouldn't previously load, now will. But they stopped well short of remedying the entire issue, leaving a huge block of still un-viewable Not ON-DEMAND features to present.

 

Not knowing the how or why this is (continuously) happening in the first place (since TCM refuses to even acknowledge that these problems exists, let alone offer any explanation or apologies for them), allows us otherwise "loyal" viewers little room for patience and understanding.

That said, it may prove of some "value" to periodically recheck TCM Not ON-DEMAND, to see if a currently un-viewable feature, may suddenly begin to load and play.

 

However, I do empathize with those that are so frustrated with TCM about this, that they no longer wish to subscribe to TCM at all.

I'm having similar thoughts myself. Since the primary reason I subscribe to cable TV at all these days is to have access to TCM, and since for the last year and a half my viewing has been almost entirely from the ON-DEMAND "service," if that service continues to degrade even further than it already is, I see no point in continuing to throw my money away subscribing to it.

 

I can at least "cut" the TV portion of my cable bill, and just retain the internet. The money saved will allow me to try out other alternative on-line services such as hulu, which, in addition to NetFlix, and PBS on-line, may end-up satisfying my video "needs." 

 

I never thought that I'd ever say this before, after being a loyal TCM viewer and "fan" almost since it's inception in 1994, but I may join the ranks of others who have put an end to frustration with this chronic TCM Not ON-DEMAND inconsiderate  "mess" by saying goodbye to TCM.


"We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?"  "...They're probably watching me..."

 

I have been told that I have a tendency toward verbosity.


#12 scsu1975

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 03:06 PM

It appears than any film set to expire on October 11 or earlier will load on the TCM on Demand website. (I use Firefox.) Anything scheduled to expire after that will not load. I think the same issue exists if I use Internet Explorer.


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#13 MovieCollectorOH

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 12:52 PM

Hey Stephan55,

I see you are having issues with Firefox again.  There is another browser you may be interested in testing for these purposes.  It is from the team that brought us Opera in the early 2000s. 

https://vivaldi.com/

 

The short story is that the Opera browser was sold to the Chinese and is no longer being developed by its Norwegian founders.  The good news is that Opera's original developers have regrouped and are actively developing Vivaldi, carrying over their methodology from Opera.  (The original Opera browser brought us many of the browser features we use across the board today, such as tabbed browsing)

 

It has more native baseline features than Firefox, so depending on your browsing habits you would probably need fewer add-ons for Vivaldi than for Firefox.

 

The rendering engine is the open-source Chromium project from Google, so if the Google Chrome browser can work for you, then this should too - except that it won't "phone home" to Google (though it uses free add-ons from the Chrome "store").

 

Just another tool for the toolbox.


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#14 starstricken

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 11:20 PM

More problems with "TCM On Demand", which is becoming very unreliable to the point where I will need to find an alternative classic movie source.  :angry:   In the past, I had problems loading certain movies but not all of them.  If that issue were a problem with my hardware (pc) or from my end at all, why then would I be able to stream ANY '"TCM on demand" movies when I can in fact stream others?

 

Today, I attempted to stream films from "TCM On Demand", and I received an ominous, hateful message in a nasty dialogue box that "I am unauthorized to view this content. :huh: Check with your tv provider", which I did (Verizon Fios), who insisted that there has been absolutely no change in my home tv channel lineup and that I am still a valid Verizon FIOS subscriber.

 

What makes this even more frustrating is that there is no tcm customer service whatsoever.  Even if there were, these frequent tcm streaming  access issues always occur late at night, so even if tcm had customer service agents, they probably wouldn't be able to respond late at night anyway.

 

Seems like I have no alternative but to search for alternatives to tcm.  Oh well.  :(   


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#15 Stephan55

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 09:53 PM

OCT 8, 2017, Update!

 

1) Conflicts between the Latest FireFox browser update v.56.0.0, released 9/28/2017, and TCM ON-DEMAND (leaves a blank, grey screen when attempting to load and view a movie.)

 

2) Reoccurring inability to view TCM ON-DEMAND movies (refuse to load and play normally).

 

 

Regarding this on-going (albeit sporadic) "problem" with TCM ON-DEMAND.

 

I wish that I could share with you that this is a rare occurrence, but sadly, it is not. A "similar" problem  has generally occurred about every other month for the last two and half years with TCM ON-DEMAND.

Up until the recent past, the movies affected were generally singular features, though sometimes a whole block of ON-DEMAND films stretching over a period of several hours to a few days would be affected. Generally someone at TCM eventually appeared to "catch" the problem and it would "spontaneously" resolve after a few days, usually, but not always, within a day or two of the ON-DEMAND expiration date.

 

This latest round of "similar" but confoundingly different set of TCM ON-DEMAND problems apparently first occurred last Sept. and negated the ON-DEMAND viewing of a substantial number of features for a period lasting 11-12 days. The movies affected were never view-able throughout their 7 day window. (refer to previous post).

 

What makes these recent problem/s different is that it may not affect every feature in a block of time, as before. For example, one movie will load and play normally, the next may not, but the one following will, while the one after that won't....

 

I recently noticed this same type of "problem/s" reoccurring (again) this month beginning with the Tues. (10/3/2017) evening presentation of FRANKENSTEIN (1931), which still fails to "load" leaving a blank black screen, where the movie should be.

However, all of the remaining features available for ON-DEMAND viewing from that evening load and play normally.

 

As others have mentioned in their posts on this issue, I have not attempted a thorough check of every movie listed as currently available for ON-DEMAND viewing, but when one of those that I am interested  in watching failed to load, I did check those preceding and following it.

 

Wed. (10/4/2017) was a mixed bag, with no clear rhyme or reason. Some of the Buster Keaton features would load and play, while others would not.

 

CONEY ISLAND (1917) a 26 min short, followed by PASSIONATE PLUMBER, THE (1932), loads and plays normally

 

Whereas, BELL BOY, THE (1918) a 21 min short, GOOD NIGHT, NURSE (1918) a 19 min short, SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK (1931), SPITE MARRIAGE (1929), PARLOR, BEDROOM AND BATH (1931), and CHARACTER STUDIES (1923) a 6 min short, would not!

DOUGHBOYS (1930) will load and play normally, but not CAMERAMAN, THE (1928).

 

The 38 min docu BUSTER KEATON: SO FUNNY IT HURT! (2004) played fine, but STEAMBOAT BILL JR. (1928), and GENERAL, THE (1927) wouldn't (won't) load at all.

 

That evening SCARAMOUCHE (1952), and BARRY LYNDON (1975) would not (still will not) load and play at all!

But FLESH AND THE DEVIL (1926) plays fine.

 

On Thurs (10/5/2017) BERLIN EXPRESS (1948) loads okay, but from later that day WICHITA (1955), EXPERIMENT PERILOUS (1944), FACE BEHIND THE MASK, THE (1938) an 11 min short,  DAYS OF GLORY (1944), INCREDIBLE STRANGER, THE (1942) another 11 min short, still won't load or play!!!

Whereas, STARS IN MY CROWN (1950), and OUT OF THE PAST (1947) played fine.

 

However, since Thurs evening (10/5/2017) every ON-DEMAND feature that I've checked through to present (Sun 10/8/2017), the entire block of features from ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, THE (1960), to the most recent  I'LL CRY TOMORROW (1955), refuses to load and play at all. Just a blank, black screen...

 

None of the clips, trailers, or intros, seem to be affected, just the main features.

The "live" broadcasts also apparently remain unaffected.

 

I can't even begin to "diagnose" why this is occurring, especially when it occurs with such apparent  randomness...

But I can (at present) rule out my provider (COX) , my download speeds are more than adequate, my modem and PC equipment functions normally, and the most recent Adobe Flash plugin is loaded. I use no other add-ons when watching TCM ON-DEMAND, so that rules out additional potential conflicts.

 

There is a separate issue with the latest FireFox browser update v.56.0.0, released 9/28/2017,  that apparently conflicts with TCM ON-DEMAND, leaving a blank "grey" screen. But that is remedied by reverting back to the previous v.55.0.3, released 8/25/2017, which addressed the various "cookie" security issues brought on earlier that month by an "invasive change" from TCM ON-DEMAND.

 

There are several features (some personal favorites) that TCM infrequently broadcasts, which are currently listed as ON-DEMAND available (which aren't). So I can certainly relate to any shared disappointment and frustration over this.

 

I have said in several posts regarding problems with TCM ON-DEMAND, that it is a severely flawed and unreliable "system."

Evidently un-monitored by anyone at TCM for consistency, and totally lacking in any kind of viewer "support."

When it does work well, it displays enormous potential, and it becomes easy to rely upon it's viewing convenience. However, it is flawed and fails it's viewers with a routine albeit sometimes "sporadic" consistency. And when that happens, it severely disappoints and frustrates those of us that would really like to support it.

 

The last two months have shown that these TCM ON-DEMAND issues are becoming ever more frequent and even more severe than those experienced over the past two plus years.

And whenever such "problems" occur, TCM consistently remains blind, deaf, and dumb to it's loyal viewers, apparently oblivious that anything is wrong with their flawed product!

We can confirm the widespread existence of the problems on these boards. We can attempt to help each other troubleshoot some of the various potential causes, and sometimes offer a temporary "work-around." But when TCM itself is determined to be the root of problem, we can do nothing. 

Despite any "lip service" to the contrary, No one at TCM hears us! Nobody at TCM apparently reads these boards, nor takes the time to respond to any of our legitimate concerns.

No one at TCM apparently really cares about the reliability or validity of this aspect of their "product," nor do they care about us, as satisfied, or dissatisfied viewer/users of it.....

 

Sadly, TCM demonstrates that despite the uniqueness of their product appeal, they are no different than any other corporate entity when it comes to viewing us as "consumers." And "care" even less for those of us who use their NOT really ON-DEMAND services.

 

All we can do at present is "hope" that someone at TCM will get off their duff and "fix" this problem so that we can actually use their service. But TCM has consistently reinforced through their untimeliness that we are fools to rely upon them to behave as even a  seemingly responsible business would to a loyal customer.


"We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?"  "...They're probably watching me..."

 

I have been told that I have a tendency toward verbosity.


#16 Stephan55

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 03:28 PM

September Update:

 

It appears as though the latest Mozilla Firefox browser update (version 55.0.03, released 8/26/2017) has gone a long way to restoring the previously insecure issues resulting from TCM's last 3rd party cookie "remodeling" from last month (early August 2017). 

 

I can now use either the 32 or 64 bit Firefox and watch TCM ON-DEMAND as I once could in Private Browsing mode.

Yes, we still must select the Privacy function Accept 3rd Party Cookies ALWAYS button, when viewing TCM ON-DEMAND, but thanks to Private Browsing, all of TCM's insidious 3rd party cookies (except for the google cookie which migrated over to Firefox from the Chrome browser's "cookie Jar" ) are prevented from loading onto our PC's.

 

When finished watching TCM ON-DEMAND, switch back to the Firefox  Privacy function Accept 3rd Party Cookies FROM VISITED button and delete any persistent cookies (i.e. google) that may remain, for normal "secure" Private Browsing.

 

Thanks to Mozilla for listening to us and addressing this issue!!!

 

 

 

Most recent round of TCM ON-DEMAND screw-ups! (9/10-present, 9/17/2017)

 

 

I only use a PC for TCM ON-DEMAND viewing (no other devices, nor app's).

 

As far as I can figure from my end, this latest (of a very long line) of TCM ON-DEMAND "snafu's" began a week ago, Sunday evening (9/10/2017).

 

Everything from earlier that day, up until the first of the Prime Time movies, seemed to load and play normally from ON-DEMAND.

TCM hadn't aired "Blood and Sand" (1941) since 2/8/2013, and I wanted to watch it again... ON-DEMAND. No such luck.

For several days the movie wouldn't load at all, just a black screen. Then later in the week it would finally load, but began buffering and then freezing completely during Ben's intro.

Now it will load and begin to play, but the buffering begins early on in the first few minutes of the movie, and occurs repeatedly, often completely "freezing" the screen.

Same scenario with "The Three Musketeers" (1921), and "Charulata" (1965).

Strangely, I was able to watch "The Coward" (1965) all the way through without a problem. 

 

I checked all of the usual suspects (latest browser & flash player version, my provider's download stream consistency, my modem, other on-line video sources i.e. YouTube, PBS, etc.), everything was as it should be, except for TCM ON-DEMAND.

 

I have experienced problems "similar" to this with TCM ON-DEMAND several times before over the last three years, and many times "someone" at the TCM end "eventually" catches the problem and it mysteriously "self-corrects" after a few days... Usually before the particular movies affected run past their 7 day ON-DEMAND window... sometimes not.

Generally all movies during a particular time frame period are affected, which does make this recent problem somewhat different as it appears "sporadic"  from Sunday night through to Wed morning (9/10-9/13).

For example, that Sun night "Blackbeard The Pirate" (1952) appeared to load and play "normally" (though I did not watch it through to completely verify), whereas "B&S" immediately before it would not, and neither "T3M" nor "Charulata" after it...

But from "The Coward" through the following Monday's Jimmy Durante marathon, TCM ON-DEMAND movies appeared to load and play normally. However I only verified two of them completely ("Speak Easily" (1932) & "What! No Beer?" (1933), both early Buster Keaton talkies).

Then TCM threw us a curve ball that Monday night and didn't have a single Disney feature available ON-DEMAND, which I wasn't expecting at all since for the last two and a half years every Disney feature was also available for ON-DEMAND viewing.

 

The ON-DEMAND no load, no play, &/or buffering "problem" began reoccurring again with the Tuesday am (9/12/2017) schedule. Nothing beginning with "Son of the Gods" (1930) through the entire line-up of Jennifer Jones' movies that evening would load or play normally from ON-DEMAND.

However since the Wed am program day began (9/13) every ON-DEMAND movie loads and plays as it should, while the previous ON-DEMAND "failed" titles (from Sunday night-Tuesday night-early Wed am) remain "unviewable."

 

I noted that the trailers, clips, and intros were not affected. And the Live streams that i checked appeared to load and play normally.

 

What makes these issues particularly annoying is that when they (frequently) occur we have no effective way to contact anyone at TCM about them (except for ineffectively mentioning the problem/s on these boards).

As previously mentioned by others, TCM obviously doesn't effectively monitor their own ON-DEMAND output, and evidently has no effective (if at all) Q&A or oversight staff.

 

I've also considered the possibility that the recent hurricane/s may be a factor... this time.

 

However, because this type of frustrating problem, as well as many others, occur so frequently with TCM ON-DEMAND, I long ago stopped recommending it to anyone that I wanted to retain as a "friend".

 

I did check and "Blood & Sand" is on next months schedule, so perhaps there will be another "opportunity" to view it then. 

Who knows when TCM will re-air the 1921 version of "The Three Musketeers" and Charulata," neither of which I've seen before?


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#17 MovieCollectorOH

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 12:29 PM



Yeah but, FF still will not allow me to sign in, therefore cant load a movie. javascript error or on purpose. i have tried FF from  46, i think to 52.0.2 32bit, 64as well and 52.2 ESR 64. no dice

i do get it through chrome, auto updated to most current. loads of cookies for sure. but it works still. long load up times for movies now.i have windows 7 as well as 10 all are x64 one is ultimate ,others are professional versions. now,FF works as poorly as my linux browsers dont get tcm. by the way, they all will play html5 and flash movies/videos on all other pages or sites ive tried. tubi tv acorntv netflix brit box and let me see.... only tcm will fail

 

If you've tried allowing 3rd party cookies in FF preferences and it still doesn't work, maybe one of your add-ons could be breaking it.  Regardless, this video service seems to be crippled from the get-go for too many people to be a user issue.  Thanks for helping to clarify the issue.  [I don't have an online account associated with my satellite provider, and it doesn't look as if that is about to change anytime soon.]


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#18 johnniedoo

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 10:53 AM

Yeah but, FF still will not allow me to sign in, therefore cant load a movie. javascript error or on purpose. i have tried FF from  46, i think to 52.0.2 32bit, 64as well and 52.2 ESR 64. no dice

i do get it through chrome, auto updated to most current. loads of cookies for sure. but it works still. long load up times for movies now.i have windows 7 as well as 10 all are x64 one is ultimate ,others are professional versions. now,FF works as poorly as my linux browsers dont get tcm. by the way, they all will play html5 and flash movies/videos on all other pages or sites ive tried. tubi tv acorntv netflix brit box and let me see.... only tcm will fail



#19 BillS

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 09:23 PM

Enjoying and appreciating this thread on TCM browser issues. Many thanks to you guys for all the help on this one and other issues in the past!

 


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#20 MovieCollectorOH

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 10:25 AM

No worries...


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