Perlyn

TCM HD channel 789 - out of sync!

28 posts in this topic

Here we go again. The audio out-of-sync problem is back with a vengeance. This was a continuing problem over the past few years (especially back in late 2015). Thought it had been solved as we haven't noticed it for more than a year. Just returned from a vacation and tuned-in to a terribly out-of-sync "Detour" last night. It's still badly out of sync this morning. I certainly hope TCM responds to this soon as it took maximum effort from multiple viewers to get TCM tech people to fix it. We are in the SF Bay Area. This is NOT a Comcast issue. It is a satellite transmission problem with TCM!

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Here we go again.  Just chiming in that TCM HD via Comcast here in Tucson, Arizona, is ONCE AGAIN seriously out of audio/video sync  Has been since at least the weekend, if not longer. TCM SD is fine.  I wonder how many days or weeks this will take to fix.  I just checked TCM HD On Demand from Comcast.  Ben's intro to Silent Sunday Night from June 4th was just fine.  The version telecast on TCM HD on that same Sunday was wildly out of sync. I just reported this to "ComcastTeds" to see if he can help.  Let Comcast know!
 
Deja vu...all over again.
 
David

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StephenQ -

All we can do is continue to voice our frustration and hope there are others experiencing this issue. The longer and more frequent we post on this thread the more likely they'll do something about it. As I said, it took multiple complaints and several days until this issue was fixed before. Last time this happened I was able to find out some useful info on the Comcast/Xfinity message boards.

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Thanks David - yes, here we go again. I will check the Comcast site. I don't remember exact details, but I seem to recall that this problem requires both Comcast and TCM to work "together" for a fix. Something to do with a satellite feed and receiving stations.

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Hey StephenQ -

Here we are again. Thanks for posting the Comcast threads from last time. Proof right there that this issue is known and solvable, but is anyone listening? Apparently not.

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Watching "Giant" right now and audio is back in sync. Will see how long it lasts.

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Yes, seems the sync problem has been fixed.  I wonder by what person or persons?  Perhaps we'll never know.  I don't want to be complacent here.  A few days of no recurrence may convince me.  Keep checking and watching, I guess, should be the plan.

 

David (Tucson, AZ)

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Agree. Will continue to monitor. I recall it being "fixed" before only to have it go out of sync again after a few days. Still in sync as of 11:30 pm west coast time.

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Just got confirmation that Comcast Ted did fix the sync problem.  To paraphrase, the Comcast engineering team identified the problem and fixed it around 11:34 pm last night. There was an issue with the audio sync on the fiber feed that Comcast gets from TCM. The Comcast engineers switched over to the backup satellite delivery feed while the original problem is being investigated.  Comcast Ted thanks us for reporting the problem on the forums--I assume he means the Comcast forums.

 

David

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I'm not sure what to make of this.  Not only did Comcast Ted (and/or his staff) fix the audio/video sync problem, but also he sent me a gift (a movie trivia book) to thank me for reporting the problem.  Perhaps some of you who also reported to Comcast Ted will also receive a gift.  Feels surreal.  To paraphrase him, he says that the good news is that Comcast and the Turner team have identified the problem and expect a better experience in future.  In his enclosed letter, Ted even gave me his work email address.  Amazing. I will hold onto it.  I asked him what we should do when this sync issue reoccurs.  Too bad Ted can't help with other continuing TCM tech problems: WATCH TCM not working, the TCM.COM website not working and/or not allowing registered users to enter, FILMSTRUCK not working in desktop mode, etc. 

 

David (Tucson, AZ)

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Well, this is certainly interesting info to say the least. Thanks David. I guess ComcastTed is where to go when this out of sync issue rears it's ugly head. Watching TCM tonight and surprise surprise - the movie's audio is in sync, but the segments with the TCM hosts are wildly Out Of Sync! This just seems completely absurd to me. What the hell is going on here? I am not on the Comcast forums and don't plan on creating a new acct. or password (that I long ago forgot). Would appreciate if someone might take a look there and see if anyone has noticed the bizarre "out of sync" host segments on TCM tonight between "All That Heaven Will Allow" and "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof."

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Just noticed. Now both feature film and host segments out of sync. Really hope this gets resolved permanently! So very frustrating as we all have better things to do with our time - like watching classic films that are IN SYNC.

 

Perry (East Bay, Northern Cal.)

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June 17 at 1:15pm PDT - happening again. Audio is out of sync. This is only happening on the HD channel. The SD channel is fine. It's just slightly off but enough that it's ridiculously painful to watch.

 

Is there someone that we should contact when this happens?

 

I realize it's a feed problem so when I call Comcast/Xfinitiy support desk there is NOTHING they can do. This is SOOooo frustrating!!!!!!

 

 

edit: I'm in Northern California, in case that matters

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Just finished watching TCM Essentials with Letterman. Can't believe the host segments continue to be slightly out of sync but the features are in sync. Just crazy. Really wondering why Comcast and TCM can't get this technical issue resolved once and for all. Anyone else noticing this or am I "seeing things?"

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Archie -

just read some of the previous posts. This has been off and on, but an on-going issue for over 2 years. Ultimately, Comcast and TCM are both aware of the audio sync problem but have yet to fully resolve it.

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Posted (edited)

What's so puzzling about this - we're watching "Marlowe" (James Garner and Bruce Lee)! but now, we're noticing the dialogue is slightly behind and ......OUT OF **** sync! Do the Comcast and TCM people see this? Is it too subtle for them to notice?

Edited by TCMModerator1
Edited for Language

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Someone posted something about this on another thread, but I don't recall which one. They explained that this issue is most likely associated with the way in which the signal is transmitted to your home/cable box. The video and audio are sent via "packets" of info digitally along the cable, and as it flows through the various lines, these packets can fall out of alignment, so to speak, so that when they reach your home they are not in sync. The main cause of this is that the cable infrastructure was not designed to handle the load that is being placed on it by the ever-expanding customer base.

 

The more people are watching TV, especially HD TV, added to the number of people online at a given time, especially those who are streaming video or other heavy-bandwith usage, increases the load on the cables and increases the likelihood of things not running smoothly, whether it be digital "static" or sound/picture misalignment.

 

The only way to permanently fix these problems is for the entire cable infrastructure to be upgraded, and you can guess how likely that is to happen anytime soon. Plus, with more people using internet streaming services every day, these issues will only get worse. 

 

I'm sure you're also aware that this section of the message board is for Technical issues with TCM.com and not TCM the channel, so the likelihood of getting prompt help with TV issues is next to nil. I'm not saying that someone with any ability to fix things won't eventually read it, but I wouldn't hold my breath.  :(

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Hi Larry - thanks for chiming in. Just a couple of points...

 

Wrong forum: perhaps, but I've always felt it was more important to have all pertinent information in a single place whenever possible. Showing that this impacts more than one person, at various times, will hopefully point out that this is a larger problem. One that requires immediate attention. At this point, we're all better off if anyone having issues with TCM HD Channel 789 delivered via Comcast/Xfinity cable add to this particular thread. Power in numbers sort of thing.

 

Packet breakdown: Not exactly. The answer you passed on would also mean that other channels that I was meant to be receiving would have the same issues of being out of sync - since they'd all be coming across the same lines. That's not the case for me, or, as far as I can tell, anyone else on this thread. It's actually more likely the case that the HD feed from TCM to Comcast/Xfinity has gotten out of sync. (That's where the packets come into play). This idea is also reinforced via a post mentioned at the beginning of this thread (see: DavidST's post dtd 08 June 2017 - 11:15 AM). My internet speeds slow down when everyone in the neighborhood is home at night/on the weekends using the internet - this is the outdated wiring and technology you refer to, the 'last mile' as it's usually known. However, I don't encounter any problems with my tv channel reception when the internet slow down happens. (And for what it's worth, being a former network engineer in a past life, the first thing I do is troubleshoot anything and everything I have access to, going all the way out to the street, just to ensure the problem isn't on my end. Force of habit.)

 

But, happy to have you try and further the conversation. The more comments, the more people read it, the better chance of someone actually doing something about it. So THANKS!

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No problems, Archie...I may have over-simplified my explanation, but I was paraphrasing from memory someone else's diagnosis, so I may have gotten it wrong in the telling, or he may have been misinformed, himself.

 

For what it's worth, and it isn't much, but I have Comcast/Xfinity cable as well, and don't have these issues with TCM. But I'm also in North Florida, so it's a whole other system. I sympathize with those having troubles, as I've had issues with other channels in the past and it was like pulling teeth trying to get them resolved.

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Thanks LawrenceA and ArchieLeachJr (great username by the way) for picking this up. Yes Lawrence, you did essentially get the technical part right. I've started these threads all too frequently (so has StephenL and DavidST). It's true that posting on the Comcast/Xfinity forums is more effective, but I've grown weary. I do believe that these are "1st world problems" and consequently a waste of one's time and energy because technology is always leaping ahead. Trying to keep up with it is really a losing battle, but given what we're paying for all all of this - that's ultimately what makes it so maddening. For me, this problem only happens with TCM - the one channel we watch the most. No other channel has these issues. I still don't get that. It's a TCM AND Comcast issue and it does seem more concentrated out west. I imagine thousands of people are experiencing this problem - perhaps more. How ironic - I'm here in the SF Bay Area - tech center of the the world.

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Well, here I am once again. Watching TCM HD and it's OUT OF SYNC! I'm so fed up with this! It seems to get fixed for a few days maybe a week and then......why can't they figure this out! Both Comcast and TCM are aware of this and they know specifically what the problem is. Everything was in sync last night. Again, I ask, is anyone seeing anything on the Comcast forums? Does Comcast Ted know? God, I'm so **** about this. Guess I need to spend another precious 1/2 hour or more to re-establish a new account and password on Comcast, and then spend another 15-20 minutes trying to find the freekin' discussion thread.

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THANK YOU Perlyn!!!!!! I was actually in a chat session with Comcast about this again - AT THE SAME TIME you posted this! I feel like an idiot trying to explain to them that a SINGLE channel is out of sync! And the HD channel at that, NOT the SD channel. I've explained that there are others experiencing the same issue....

 

Yet they always start the same way...

 

"Is you cable box plugged in?"

"Is it powered on?"

"Have you rebooted your system?"

 

AARRGGHH!!!!!

 

The ONLY channel I wanted from Comcast was Turner Classic Movies.

In order to get it I had to get their 3rd or 4th highest package - with a ton of other channels I'll never watch (I'm looking at you ESPN 8!).

 

From what I can tell it appears to be only impacting those of us who live in Northern California, is that right? I'm currently out in Stockton. Who is Comcast Ted? Is he any relation to Directv Marg? Or DishTV Sebastian? (I'll admit, I'm losing my mind at this point. Bit by bit, this is killing brain cells).

 

I'm happy to call anyone, write anyone, make a public spectacle of myself, hell, even tell my mother that I'm being mistreated (she doesn't like when that happens) but someone, please, I beg of you, tell me what needs to be done to fix this!!!!!!!!

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Hey ArchieLeachJr -

If you want some previous history on this eternally vexing problem, just look back at all the earlier threads here on the "Problems With TCM" forum. You'll see that it goes back to 2015-2016. Earlier, I just went down the Comcast rabbit hole and re-established my acct info and went into the community forums there where you'll again find plenty of info about this audio out-of-sync issue.

 

It took several of us disgruntled viewers weeks of posting just to figure out that the problem is definitely with Comcast. The only person (or persons) who has tried to help is "ComcastTeds" - apparently a knowledgeable person who seems to be a go-between for us and the tech-heads at Comcast. They know what the problem is. I'd love to know why they can't get a permanent fix. I don't know about this current out-of-sync stretch, but previously this problem existed back east in a few major markets but it does mostly seem to be here in the west and southwest. I hope ComcastTeds responds to my new post. Currently, that particular thread has a banner at the top which states, "Problem Solved!" Love it. Well, the problem was solved for about six days by my count. This is exactly the way it happened last time!

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Hi Larry - thanks for chiming in. Just a couple of points...

 

Wrong forum: perhaps, but I've always felt it was more important to have all pertinent information in a single place whenever possible. Showing that this impacts more than one person, at various times, will hopefully point out that this is a larger problem. One that requires immediate attention. At this point, we're all better off if anyone having issues with TCM HD Channel 789 delivered via Comcast/Xfinity cable add to this particular thread. Power in numbers sort of thing.

 

Packet breakdown: Not exactly. The answer you passed on would also mean that other channels that I was meant to be receiving would have the same issues of being out of sync - since they'd all be coming across the same lines. That's not the case for me, or, as far as I can tell, anyone else on this thread. It's actually more likely the case that the HD feed from TCM to Comcast/Xfinity has gotten out of sync. (That's where the packets come into play). This idea is also reinforced via a post mentioned at the beginning of this thread (see: DavidST's post dtd 08 June 2017 - 11:15 AM). My internet speeds slow down when everyone in the neighborhood is home at night/on the weekends using the internet - this is the outdated wiring and technology you refer to, the 'last mile' as it's usually known. However, I don't encounter any problems with my tv channel reception when the internet slow down happens. (And for what it's worth, being a former network engineer in a past life, the first thing I do is troubleshoot anything and everything I have access to, going all the way out to the street, just to ensure the problem isn't on my end. Force of habit.)

 

But, happy to have you try and further the conversation. The more comments, the more people read it, the better chance of someone actually doing something about it. So THANKS!

 

That was me.  It looks like they lost my post.  The correct answer for all combined situations of course would be "any of the above". 

 

In my post I was addressing the throughput differences between various local cable nodes due to congestion at their plants.  Also I mentioned the differences in packet loss/recovery between IP streaming and the full TCP/IP stack.

 

On "packet breakdown", it's not a question of "if", but "where".  Also I wouldn't automatically assume that the public Internet and internal cable service networks are that closely intertwined.  I wouldn't be surprised if it all came together at the plant just before the "last mile".  Also, the channel-to-channel audio offsets can take some time to develop.  I have seen it on other low-tier channels.  AMC and History channel for instance.  So for me it didn't only happen with TCM.

 

A few years ago I looked into this very carefully.  I did my own research, scoured the Internet, read what many people were saying, and even drew some of my own conclusions based on prior work. 

 

Here is a diagram and article for those following.  The SDV (switched digital video) cable system sends blocks of channels for the upper channels, and is expected to eventually be migrated to include all channels (if not already).  If you have other channels that this never happens on, then those may not actually be using SDV

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

I had more info handy on this at one time, but it is obscure so I'd have to dig around to see where I put it.  So the rest is from memory.

 

There is a two-way exchange that happens when the customer is changing channels, and the cable box or DVR switches from one block of channels to another.  The cable box tells the cable plant to send a different block of channels to its address.  Back when I had cable and had this synch issue, one of the sure ways to clear it up was to change channels until there was a longer delay in changing to the next channel (changeover to next SDV block).  Then I would go back to the block TCM was on (another delay) and then back to TCM (no delay).  Problem resolved, for a while at least.

 

While I am on this topic, another issue I had was that the signal to my TV would just randomly shut off.  I looked into this and treated it as a separate issue.  It turned out that the cable plant expects to see a "heartbeat" type of signal from the cable box or DVR, indicating that it is still in use.  If for any reason it missed it, then it would decide that the cable box was no longer turned on or in use, and it would free it up for reallocation somewhere else.  Hence a blank screen.

 

After about six months of stewing over these two issues, and after I had exhausted all resources with service calls (including a line change in my yard, new wire and junctions in the house, equipment exchanges), I had nowhere to turn.  Also our neighborhood friends had mentioned similar issues in passing.  So I went from TW cable to satellite (Directv).  Three years later and I have no longer had any such recurring issues as stated.  Almost always I am the guy in these threads to say "I'm on satellite.  No, it didn't happen to me this time". 

 

It can happen sometimes with the satellite DVR though, as I sometimes record things independently of the DVR (at the same time) and then sometimes find audio offsets later on with the DVR recording that aren't in my own recording (made directly from the live real-time audio/video signals).  So it generally just doesn't happen with live satellite for me, but can happen with DVR recordings.

 

Satellite isn't perfect though.  There is the issue of rain or snow fade, which is rare in my case.  I need a heavy rainfall or the dish needs to get fully covered in snow - in which case I just reach an extension pole out the window and gently knock it off.  There are also tape heaters made for satellite dishes.

 

I did keep the cable Internet service though.  Totally different beast.  It worked fine, and I didn't want to commit for two years to an unknown.  After seeing it at friends houses, I think though that the DSL service that comes bundled with Directv would probably have been just fine for my purposes.

 

Obviously there are occasional network-wide issues, but those are few and far between, and often confirmed as such between posters here (if we happen to get enough posters to respond).  More often than not though there seem to be one-of-a-kind incidents among the posters, others see it fine, which indicates a more localized problem.

 

Hope some of that helps.

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Well, it's clear to me that the "out of sync" issue is far too complicated for my limited tech brain, but I do get the gist of what's being conveyed here. TCM is now back in sync this afternoon here in Northern California, but I have every reason to suspect that it will happen again...and again. It's getting to where I don't even trust my eyes anymore.

 

All this info regarding "packets" and TCP/IP stacks and SDV blocks is fine and well and I'm sure "correct" - but 99% of us are not digital engineers. We just want this problem permanently fixed. All of this is just another example of how ridiculously complex our 21st century world has become. Just so ironic to me that this only happens on the one main channel I most frequently watch - and it's a channel showing old movies....nearly all of which are from the 20th century.

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