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Horrendous Pixelating Watching DVR Recording


DamnedUndies
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DamnedUndies

I'm running Emby server Ubuntu X64 - BETA 3.6.0.57.

 

I've tried watching my recording of yesterday's Patriots-Bears game with identically atrocious results across multiple devices (Roku TV, Samsung SmartTV, Android Phone, Android TV, iPhone):

 

The picture is horribly pixelated and randomly freezes up with the "Loading" screen ad infinitum, and I need to restart the recording from the beginning to get back to the point where it froze up.

 

Are there known issues here?

 

I'm running with default server settings, my storage for transcoding has 10's of GB available and I'm not sure which knobs to tweak here, if any to fix this issue.

 

The HD antenna I am using is solid and I have no issue while watching Live TV.

 

I deleted the recording and might still have the server logs lying around if that's any help.

 

Thanks in advance for any help.

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If you deleted the recording then it will be difficult to do much troubleshooting.

 

First thing I would have told you to do is just play the file from a standard player of some sort to see if the issue was during the recording or not.

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DamnedUndies

By "standard player" - are you referring to something like VLC, for example? 

 

Do you have a preferred player that you recommend users use as a sort of litmus test for these sorts of issues?

 

Since you didn't mention anything, I'm going to assume I'm the only user experiencing the problem I described and the issue is somewhere on my end between the software and hardware.

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maegibbons

What is youe Tuner?  HDHR?

 

Does it happen with all recordings?  All channels?

 

Krs

 

Maek

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DamnedUndies

Sorry, forgot to mention I'm using HDHomeRun Connect with the latest firmware SiliconDust has published.

 

The issue does not appear to be connected to a single channel as it has happened with other recordings across a number of channels.

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DamnedUndies

maegibbons:

 

Just to follow up on your question with a bit more info in case you suspect it's my HDHomeRun hardware:

 

The signal quality according to the HDHomeRun diagnostics indicates that my tuner #1 signal strength is north of 85% and signal quality hovers around 100%, symbol quality is at 100% for the channel I recorded.

 

I'm streaming at around 15Mbps with no known internal wired or wireless network/router issues on my end.

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Is this repeatable?  From your initial post, I thought it was just a particular recording.

 

If you record something right now, does this happen?

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DamnedUndies

This is what is frustrating about it - it does not seem to be repeatable.  Some recordings are pristine.

 

One variable to be considered is that I tried watching some of the recording as it was still recording - would this have any effect or exacerbate the issue in any way?

 

I will try a few experiments now and try recording a few different channels to see if it rears its ugly head again.

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If your server is not very powerful, it is possible that the act of you attempting to watch the recording in-progress (which would have required transcoding it) could have taxed the server to the point where it wasn't able to keep up with the recording properly.

 

Tough to say though without seeing logs from exactly when this happens.  What kind of server (hardware) is it?

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Even though you checked it at one point and saw 85%, i would check that there aren't any spikes of signal strength occurring throughout the broadcast. That is something that could cause this. Thanks.

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DamnedUndies

Those numbers I mentioned were over a half-hour period.

 

However, the recording exhibited pixelating fairly consistently throughout the entire 3.5-hr recording period - not sure if I agree with your assessment that I have signal spikes repeating for a solid 3.5-hr contiguous window.

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I have a pretty powerful Intel NUC BOXNUC7I3BNK server with 16GB of RAM and an SSD drive running Linux Mint 19 MATE 64-bit.

 

That's just an i3 with a passmark of

 

Based on that, I think my hypothesis may very well be correct.  You overloaded the machine during recording which affected the quality.  Either that or the machine was overloaded when you tried to play it back which caused the app to choose a very low bitrate limit.  Actually, the second scenario is probably more likely.

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DamnedUndies

You could be right, which is a bummer considering I thought I had enough horsepower there to handle my 2-tuner setup and allow watching a recording while it's in progress.  Might need to upgrade to an i7 to handle the transcoding requirements.

 

Thanks for the feedback.

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maegibbons

Based on that, I think my hypothesis may very well be correct.  You overloaded the machine during recording which affected the quality.  Either that or the machine was overloaded when you tried to play it back which caused the app to choose a very low bitrate limit.  Actually, the second scenario is probably more likely.

 

 

I would agree with the second scenario.  Emby does not consume much cpu when recording a .ts stream to disk BUt transcoding a live stream for playback is a different matter.

 

You need to run some more tests and minitor the CPU metrics at the same time to see what is happening.

 

Krs

 

Mark

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DamnedUndies

I might give my trusty old i3 NUC a whirl with an HDHomeRun Extend and shift the transcoding heavy lifting off of the CPU to the HDHomeRun hardware, see how it fares in this scenario.

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  • 2 weeks later...
DamnedUndies

Wondering if anyone has had a chance to look at my latest post/log file?

 

Is there more information required from my end?

 

I have more log files that I can provide, just let me know.

 

Luke?

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If you are only guessing as to whether or not that is the right log it is hard to be sure but there doesn't look to be anything obviously wrong with it.  It is delivering the video right at 30fps which is the rate at which it is coming in.

 

If you are seeing pixelation, this could indicate bad signal.  If it is just stopping and starting, this could just be an inability to deliver the video fast enough (could be related to the underpowered server hardware or network).

 

Do the channels play fine in the HDHR app on the same device?

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DamnedUndies

Thanks ebr, good point on the HDHR app vs the i3 NUC I'm using with 16GB of RAM.

 

The channels play fine in the HDHR app.

 

So you're suggesting that even with a device with built-in HW transcoding connected to my i3 NUC emby server with 16GB of RAM, that my server is underpowered (even though it doesn't need to do transcoding since it's handled by the HDHR Extend device).

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What actual problem are you experiencing now?

 

The original post was for pixelation.  Is that still occurring or is it just pausing and stopping?  Or, exactly what?

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DamnedUndies

Sorry, I should have clarified my previous post.

 

The pixelating has stopped, but issues remain:

 

I'm still seeing poor video with video stuttering, freezing, and out-of-sync audio.

 

This is without recording watching live video.

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