starstricken

tcm "on demand" streaming problem

10 posts in this topic

When I was streaming "Cool Hand Luke" last night from "tcm on demand", the screen suddenly blacked out several times.  I switched from google chrome to explorer and then to firefox, but it occurred on all three. Lately, I noticed this happening more frequently when streaming "tcm on demand", and it is very frustrating, especially when I couldn't boot it back up at all ten minutes before the end of the movie. Why is this happening?  It creates a very unpleasant viewing experience.  I access "tcm on demand" from my Verizon FIOS account.

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As a follow up to my earlier message, the "tcm on demand" streaming blackout/freeze problem seems to correct itself after certain hours. When I return to the same movies later in the night (very late!), I have no blackout or freezing problem. :D  I wonder if this is a volume issue that occurs when too many people are streaming the same movie? At the moment, I have no other Internet issues.  This is a problem that is only occurring when I stream "tcm on demand". :(  It doesn't seem to happen with the streaming of live tcm broadcasts, either east or west.  

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As a follow up to my earlier message, the "tcm on demand" streaming blackout/freeze problem seems to correct itself after certain hours. When I return to the same movies later in the night (very late!), I have no blackout or freezing problem. :D  I wonder if this is a volume issue that occurs when too many people are streaming the same movie? At the moment, I have no other Internet issues.  This is a problem that is only occurring when I stream "tcm on demand". :(  It doesn't seem to happen with the streaming of live tcm broadcasts, either east or west.  

 

You say you have FIOS through Verizon?

Fiber Optic Cable (from hub to home) is the fastest, most efficient commercial digital delivery system yet available.

However, there are variables, and sometimes using the word FIOS can be a little misleading.

If your cable provider uses Fiber Optic Cable consistently from their download signal hub all the way to your in house Modem, then you have the best that there is.

However, if there are any breaks along the way, where the Fiber Optic Cable interfaces with older copper cable lines, or goes through a conventional phone line upon entering your home, then the reception at your end is only as good as the weakest (slowest) delivery system in the entire chain. Sometimes a company will advertise FIOS, when in reality they only have Fiber Optic cable from their hub to your closest node, relying on copper from node to your modem. Likewise, they may only use Fiber Optic Cable from the node to your house, giving the customer the impression they have consistent FIOS, when in reality there are non-FIOS breaks along the way from their hub to your closest node. 

 

True FIOS has such great carrying capacity that it is not subject to the typical variable of heavy volume that can sometimes affect copper lines.

 

However, there are additional variables.

Your internet provider can choose to divert signal volume, elsewhere, if they want, which can sometimes cause your speeds to slow.

And at your end, even if you have FIOS all the way to your modem, if you are using a router and WiFi you are subject to the limitations of that equipment and delivery system. Public WiFi is notoriously affected by local access volume, and in your home, local WiFi is affected by how many users in your house are accessing it and to what extent (i.e. if 4 people are using the same router and they are all streaming HD movies at the same time, etc.) 

To get the most of whatever speeds that you are provided it's wise to use a direct Ethernet connection from your modem to your PC, that way if you do have FIOS all the way (or not) you are only limited at your end by the speed & quality of your Modem and Ethernet cable. However, this does put a damper on WiFi users in your household.

 

You have contracted with your Provider (in your case Verizon, in mine COX) for specific download & upload speeds.

So even if you have FIOS, you are limited by those contract speeds to whatever you agreed to pay for, i.e. 1mbps, 5mbps, 15mbps, 25mbps, 50-100mbps, and so on...) and these speeds are generally meant to be applicable only to the modem at your end, and not WiFi.

However, sometimes your provider may not actually deliver the contracted speeds, or not on a consistent basis.

Sometimes this is due to routine Provider maintenance, or local outages, etc.

This is why I always use a more reliable outside speed checker, like speedtest.net,

( http://www.speedtest.net/ ) to see if I am actually getting what I am paying for.

For me, with COX, my experience has been a noticeable user deficit lasting several hours or more, routinely (at least once monthly).

In order to receive credit for my lack of contracted service I must call in and and explain to the representative when it occurred and for how long. I then generally receive a credit on my monthly bill for that day. In the course of a year, it adds up.

Even when they know there is an outage in my area (for whatever reason) they won't automatically prorate those customers charges, it has to be brought to their attention on an individual, case by case level. (Sort of like being overcharged at Walmart, they will correct the price for the reporting customers only...) if you don't catch & report it, it is strictly corporate gain at the consumers expense.

This has become a tedious monthly routine, but I know of no way to circumvent it.

 

So to narrow down the variables: Can you share if you are using WiFi or are you accessing your modem through Ethernet?

If you are using public or provider contracted WiFi outside of your domicile, then you are subject to all of the traffic volume and/or venue constraints, which may not be the same as your in-home "FIOS".

If you are using WiFi with an in-home router, how many persons in your household are using it at the same time as you are trying to stream a movie?

Have you checked your download speeds before and after a movie, and especially when you are experiencing the problem?

If so, what are they and are they consistent with what you have contracted with your provider?

 

TCM On-DEMAND states that they require a minimum 3mbps for movie streaming.

My experience has been that this is very conservative and seems to vary from movie to movie, and if you are only receiving the minimum download speeds from your provider, and they fluctuate (for whatever reason), dipping you below 3mbps, then "buffering" and "black-outs" can be expected. 

This can also occur if you have various apps working at the same time draining your download speed, and with Win 10 users, that OS's telemetry can hijack your bandwidth at any time, and not just for one of their automatic updates....

 

However, in my case (and perhaps yours, as well) bugs or conflicts in your browser, and/or Flash player can also be a compounding issue, not to mention that TCM ON-DEMAND is notoriously buggy in itself.

 

Like yourself, I don't have the same problems with live TCM broadcasts. These particular issues only occur when attempting to access TCM ON-DEMAND movies.

 

Sorry for such a long winded post, but there are so many potential variables, and miscommunication is so easy, that I tend to belabor the details, especially on technical issues.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verizon_Fios

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I am having this 'black screen' problem also plus a few others. I have tried both Safari and Firefox. Adobe Flash etc is all up to date. Problems: movie fails to load, movie drops (black screen), infinite buffering. Problems occur randomly and lately too frequently to keep trying. I pick a movie, try it once then quit and go to Netflix or something. TCM is the best but if it won't work I get little choice but to move on. Our provider is WAVE and the system is sound. My provider speed promises 28 to 35 Mbps and my speed test comes in at 33 Mbps plus consistently (tested when TCM problems are happening). Sometimes I can restart the movie and sometimes not regardless of how and what I try. Totally frustrating! All other streamers I connect with do not have issues so after lots of checking and testing I am fairly convinced the problem is with TCM - but I am willing to try a suggestion if anyone has one.

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I am having this 'black screen' problem also plus a few others. I have tried both Safari and Firefox. Adobe Flash etc is all up to date. Problems: movie fails to load, movie drops (black screen), infinite buffering. Problems occur randomly and lately too frequently to keep trying. I pick a movie, try it once then quit and go to Netflix or something. TCM is the best but if it won't work I get little choice but to move on. Our provider is WAVE and the system is sound. My provider speed promises 28 to 35 Mbps and my speed test comes in at 33 Mbps plus consistently (tested when TCM problems are happening). Sometimes I can restart the movie and sometimes not regardless of how and what I try. Totally frustrating! All other streamers I connect with do not have issues so after lots of checking and testing I am fairly convinced the problem is with TCM - but I am willing to try a suggestion if anyone has one.

Hi  BillS,

We are far from alone with TCM ON-DEMAND issues, as these many threads testify, but you, starstriken, myself, and a few others here may be experiencing the same things of late. Please read through my latest posts in this thread:

http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/61701-anyone-else-having-problems-with-the-tcm-on-demand/

It sounds like in your situation you have ample speeds to rule out any legitimate buffering issues. 

Both of our internet/cable providers do not appear to be at fault this time.

We know that TCM has a notoriously "buggy" track record, and part of the problem may be a recent upgrade in their ON-DEMAND feature that none-of-us are aware of, that is messing things up.... or there is a strong possibility that TCM ON-DEMAND may not be keeping up with the latest browser and Flashplayer updates.

 

I have one issue that you don't seem to be experiencing, when I recently updated my Mozilla Firefox browser to the latest version (ver.50.1.0) along with the latest version of Adobe Flash Player (ver.24.0.0.194), I was no longer able to sign-in to my COX provider account through ON-DEMAND.

I was able to work around this by loading an earlier version of Mozilla, but still experienced the frequent  movie screen circle "buffering" and "blackouts," etc., that we all seem to have in common.

My download speeds have also been more than adequate, so my provider is not at fault either (in this case).

But what does seem to be a culpable element is the latest version of Adobe Flashplayer (ver. 24.0.0.194), as often when the "buffering" & "black-outs" occur I will receive a msg from Firefox that "A Web page is slowing down your browser..." then, another msg informing me that,  "The Adobe Flash plugin has crashed..."  

This occurs even when the ONLY webpage is TCM ON-DEMAND, and with no other plugins/add-ons running except the necessary browser and Flashplayer.

An experiment that I have yet to implement is installing an earlier version of Adobe Flash Player, to see if that remedies my On-DEMAND sign-in issues with the latest version of Firefox, AND to see if it also corrects the "buffering" & "black-outs" experienced with both the earlier & latest versions of Firefox.

 

I have, since yesterday morning, been able to consistently watch several "unbroken" movies from TCM ON-DEMAND (without the "buffering" or "black-outs") but only by re-loading the earlier version of Firefox and making sure that it's history has been deleted, each time. If I try to watch more than one TCM ON-DEMAND movie, without exiting and reloading the browser, then I again experience those problems.

 

What I think is happening at my end (and perhaps yours as well) is that a conflict is occurring between TCM ON-DEMAND and the latest Adobe Flashplayer update (version 24.0.0.194) that is causing the Flash player to slow down and eventually crash. Since this only occurs when attempting to watch a TCM ON-DEMAND movie, and nothing else, then that appears to be where the conflict lies.

 

Sadly, there is apparently no way to "report" this (or any issues) to anyone at TCM who may actually be able to remedy this bug, as ALL "contact TCM support" venues have proven useless...

 

The only hope for us may be to wait for the next Adobe Flashplayer update, and hopefully the conflict will have been corrected at their end???

Since version 24.0.0.194, was released fairly recently, we may have to wait a few more weeks before their next update becomes available.

 

I have submitted "bug reports" through Firefox, and asked my cable/internet provider (COX) to forward a bug report to TCM from their end, so hopefully these recent issues will be addressed and remedied soon.... (well, we can still hope, right...)

 

I still plan to perform the experiment of installing an earlier version of Adobe Flash to absolutely confirm (or rule-out) that this "bug" is the result of conflicts with Flashplayer ver. 24.0.0.194 AND TCM ON-DEMAND.

But I still want to try a couple more days of my current "work-around" (reloading and clearing the browser before each movie viewing) to see if that remains consistent. 

 

Since you are also using Firefox and Adobe Flash, perhaps you might be interested in trying the same experiment/s at your end.

If our systems are similar enough to rule out other likely variables, then we can doubly confirm the validity if we have the same results???...

 

If you are willing to try this along with me, here are links to older (unsupported) versions of Adobe Flashplayer, & of course a crash report link to communicate with Firefox...

https://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/archived-flash-player-versions.html

 

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/send-plugin-crash-reports-help-improve-firefox?redirectlocale=en-US&as=u&redirectslug=Plugin+crash+reports&utm_source=inproduct

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S55 - Good ideas worth trying - Thanks!

I ran a movie late last night with no issues at all. I'm planning on doing this again for a few nights to see if problems may be related to demand on TCM servers. Likely you're on to the cause being in the decoding.

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TCM fixed the streaming?

Last three movies played perfectly.

I was waiting for a problem to test the ideas suggested.

Maybe posting that it works will cause the problems to reappear :)

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Starstricken - Thanks, that's a time saver!

re:  switched from google chrome to explorer and then to firefox, but it occurred on all three.

 

Stefan55

Some added information and a few questions:
(This info may not be palatable to some)

My info:
Windows 7 Ultimate
3GB Ram, Intel Core 2 CPU          4300  @ 1.80GHz
Firefox 50.0
Shockwave Flash 24.0.0.194
Time Warner Cable
NetFlix
Computer literate, responsible for my activities, you (as well as any poster) remain blameless should I encounter any difficulties/damages.
I'm including these links for ease of access to members:
Firefox FTP directory of all releases:
https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/firefox/releases/

https://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/archived-flash-player-versions.html

I've noted the TWC problem and the TCM 'growth curve' issues.

re: Flash
I use CCleaner to clear my cache.  I've noticed, over the last year or so, that, when Flash has 3kb and 5 files, (sometimes 10 files) it tends to drag.
What I do:
1. Clear the cache, esp. the Adobe files
2. Using Firefox, on Facebook, in a casino app (DoubleU Casino) I right click on the FIRST page that loads, select quality, select Medium (not low nor high)
This helps load pages much faster, might ? help with streaming ?

My questions, in spite of TWC recalcitrance to 'modernize' are:

1. Which version of Firefox worked for you?
i.e.: "only by re-loading the earlier version of Firefox "

2. When you upgrade Flash will you be kind enough to add your results to this thread?

3. Visited the Adobe older versions site... looks a bit beyond my current pay grade:
How to prevent Adobe from displaying 'must upgrade page?'
If that's a simple click or two I can 'learn' how-to!

4.  If ANYONE has found a work around to the TWC issue I'd appreciate the heads up!
-Someone suggested youtube for older films - way too busy a site for my comfort.

Thanks in advance ! ! !

psjimm
Palm Springs Jim
 

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Thanks for your replies.  The "tcm on demand" blackout and freeze problems were especially bad last night, 1/25 and into the early morning hours of 1/26.  What makes this worse is that there is apparently no interest on the part of tcm about the "on demand" streaming problems of its viewers.  I hadn't had any problems for a couple of weeks, then suddenly they occur again which makes for a very unpleasant viewing experience.  When I returned late last night, which was actually early this am (too early!), I was able to finish the movie that I had started viewing but only after numerous attempts earlier last night.  If the movie would load later in the night/early the next morning, I'm led to believe that this is a tcm technical problem and not an adobe, Internet/wifi provider (Spectrum), or pc issue.  I don't experience any of these problems with any other website.  Unfortunately, I will be forced to view movies elsewhere, which is sad as I have been a loyal tcm viewer for many years.  For the record, I have no cable tv service at my current location in FL., only Internet wifi service, and I access "tcm on demand" from my Verizon FIOS account at my other house in the frozen north, but that shouldn't affect this problem. Or should it?  

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Agree completely! I was not experiencing any problems (last few weeks) until last night. I started a movie which loaded normally but ten minutes in it went to black screen. I retried numerous times. On about the seventh try I was only about forty minutes in and decided to give up. I started off using a iMac (late 2013 with Sierra 10.12.2, w/latest adobe) and gave up with the exact same issues using an iPad. I suspect TCM knows what the problems are but has little interest if they aren't losing money. Sure that they all love the old movies as much as us but lack motivation to implement a remedy. My uneducated guess is they have servers that are not adequate for demand. Appreciate what I have read on this thread, Thanks!

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