NOW TV Streaming Quality

chambeaj

Well-known Member
I have an issue with regards to the time it takes to reach the maximum streaming quality when watching NOW TV.

I have been with NOW TV for many months now and have always found that the maximum streaming quality was reached within a second or so (pretty much instantaneous), even when selecting one of the live channels.

Once the maximum streaming quality is achieved, usuaully 7821 (from memory!), the picture quality is always very good and never suffers from buffering issues.

This was the case regardless of whether I used my SONY TV, Fire TV Stick 4K or Fire TV Stick Lite.

I've been with Virgin Media Broadband for many years and on their M350 package in recent years. My downloads speeds have always been a consistent 389Mb/s and very reliable. My WiFi devices typically ahieve over 300Mb/s when doing broadband speed tests. In a nutshell there are no issues with respect to broadband speed, or my WiFi networks etc.

I have not watched NOW in the last 2-3 weeks, but upon viewing again this week have run into the issue whereby it can now take anything from 30/40 seconds to a couple of minutes for the maximum streaming quality of 8023 to be reached (starts off at around 1053).

This is now the case with all of the aforementioned devices. Furthermore, its the Fire TV Lite (the only non 4K device) which is the quickest to reach the maximum quality.

The strange thing is that 2 weeks ago I upgraded my broadband speed from M350 to M500 and now get a consistent 536Mb/s download speed (from my desktop PC).

Thus far I've not figured out how to resolve this issue and decided to post here in case any fellowe forum members have run into this scinario and found a solution ?

I can only guess that either the NOW app has updated recently and they have stuffed it up, or there is something very wrong with the adaptive streaming quality algorithms used by SKY/NOW ? Other than that I simply cannot make sense of what's going on. Any suggestions/input would be most welcome.

Thanks
Kind Regards
Adrian

ps.

I would also mention that the SONY TV is now connected to the router using wired ethernet (using a USB 3.0 to Ethernet adaptor) and broadband speed tests clock in at around 410Mb/s. And yet it can take the SONY TV a good 2-3 minutes to reach maximum streaming quality.
 
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chambeaj

Well-known Member
I searched the NOW forums, google, and AV Forums but struggling to find any up-to-date chat whereby others are complaining of this issue...
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
Just checked my Now stick & the Samsung TV app & no issues. Have you tried another streaming service to confirm it's only Now that's affected?

When you upgraded Virgin did they change the Hub?
 

chambeaj

Well-known Member
Just checked my Now stick & the Samsung TV app & no issues. Have you tried another streaming service to confirm it's only Now that's affected?

When you upgraded Virgin did they change the Hub?

All other streaming services are fine (Netflix, DIscovery+, Prime, Disney+).

Also, once the maximum streaming quality of 8023 is reached the picture quality is superb and with no buffering issues. It's simply the this delay in reaching that quality that has now cropped up.

I'm still using the Hub 3 I've had for the last 2-3 years, so no change in my hardware infastructure. I only use the Virgin Media Hub in modem mode. I use a separate (ASUS AX11000) router. But nothing has changed just recently. It's literally just Virgin updating my account and allocating be more bandwidth.
 

chambeaj

Well-known Member
ps. this issue will occur every time I change channel or select a different on-demand programme.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
Can you connect to you phone's 4G as a WiFi hotspot? That should confirm whether it's your Internet connection or Now account.
 

chambeaj

Well-known Member
I do not have a mobile phone or 4G. With the exception of the Fire TV sticks which connect to the ASUS router using my own internal/home WiFi 6 networks everything else is connected to the router using wired ethernet. Also, all of my devices when running broadband speed tests are achieving speeds in excess of 300Mb/s.
 

chambeaj

Well-known Member
Would a neighbour allow you to connect to their WiFi to test?
Not an option for me I'm afraid. Besides which my internet connection is fine and operating at speeds far in an excess of that required by the NOW streaming service.

Thanks for your input.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
There's more to an Internet connection than just speed, eg latency. We need to ideally rule out your connection as the issue by using another, but that seems not an option.

You could try setting up a quality monitor that will continually ping the hub & report the response.


Also run their speed test & look at the Analysis tab after it completes.


To rule out an account specific issue you could sign up to another free Now trial using a different email address or if Gmail, add a random full stop.
 

chambeaj

Well-known Member
Some good suggestions there.. I'll trying them out later on (once I've got this DIY lark off my plate) and post back the results. Thankyou.

Edit: Gave the Speed Test a quick run, and posted results below.
 
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chambeaj

Well-known Member
[
1632653659195963655[1].png
 

chambeaj

Well-known Member
The only thing I'm uncertain of with those results is if the latency is on the high side, or if its what I should be expecting. I've run the test on my desktop PC which is directly connected to the router using (link speed of 1Gb/s).

Edit: Using google, suggests anything between 40 and 60ms should be ok.
 

chambeaj

Well-known Member
I'll try the broadband quality checker later on, that one needs me to create an account first of all.
 

chambeaj

Well-known Member
The obvious test I neglected to do before all this was using the NOW app on my desktop PC. This gives a crystal clear picture straight away. Although, I do not know how with the Windows NOW App you can display statistics (visual observation). It's only my Android/Fire TV devices that are suffering the aforementioned problem, regardless of whether using a WiFi or Wired connection to the router, and only it would seem since I had my broadband speed increased from 350 to 500Mb/s.
 

Whitey1977

Active Member
I had a similar issue a few weeks ago and to fix it I had to change my DNS servers to Google 8.8.8.8 I was using 1.1.1.1

I don’t know if it’s because 1.1.1.1 wasn’t directing traffic to the correct CDN for my location or what but it’s been fine since this change
 

chambeaj

Well-known Member
I've tried both Cloudflare (1.1.1.1) and google (8.8.8.8) servers. No luck.
 

chambeaj

Well-known Member
analysis.png
 
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chambeaj

Well-known Member
speed test.png
 

chambeaj

Well-known Member
Your latency is considerably lower than mine.

Having said that, with Speedtest.net my ping time is 17ms
 
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RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
This looks like a potential issue:

1632755929689.png


In both download & upload tests, there appears to be a short period before anything happens. On your analysis page it also appears that the download latency starts relatively high & then improves over the course of the test. I'm not sure how you can progress this without access to another Internet connection to prove or disprove the connection is the issue.

Maybe try the Virgin forum here or better still, Virgin's own. It looks like they have staff participating to help.

Factory reset of the Hub might be worth a try together with tmporarily removing the ASUS from the equation, if you haven't already.
 

chambeaj

Well-known Member
Many thanks for all the input. I'll look into the what happens if the router is taken out of the equation. I'd never have noticed this but for the NOW app. All other streaming services work flawlessly incl. Bravia Core. with its 79Mb/s video bit rates etc. I had no problems with NOW prior to around two weeks ago. Since then all I've done get my broadband speed increased, although this did coincide with Virgin Media having done updates to the network infastructure in our region in the last few weeks. Thanks for pointing out that deadzone at the start of the test, thats something which as you point out warrants my further attention.
 

Clem_Dye

Distinguished Member
@chambeaj : On my LG TV the NowTV app frequently takes time to lock onto the best quality. I have the HD Boost pack and when I check stream quality it usually settles at about 7835. Initially, for a few seconds, quality will be in the 4800 range. For a few weeks recently, quality did improve such that streaming started really crisply and it was really noticeable. However, over the last week, things have reverted to earlier form. The poor initial stream quality is a known issue on LG TVs, and I believe some Samsungs too.

I use a VM 350Mbit connection, and my TV is connected via Ethernet to a Hub 3 VM router, with a switch at the TV end to feed another couple of devices. According to SpeedTest on my laptop connected to a port on the switch, I get ~385Mbit down, ~ 38Mbit up with a latency ranging between 12 and 17ms. SpeedTest also confirms 4K video streaming at 2160p.

If I use my old NowTV box (a Roku), again connected via Ethernet, then I never see any streaming quality issues but I can't check the stream value, as there's no facility on the box.

I do think that there are some oddities with streaming via VM. I've had problems with Amazon Video streaming in HDR in the past.

CiyFibre has recently cabled my area and I'm waiting to see what's on offer. Gigabit connectivity is being touted, so if I can get a good deal with an unlimited service I might bin VM. Time will tell.
 

chambeaj

Well-known Member
I subscribed to NOW around about April this year and from the start I found it took about one second for the streaming quality to lock onto 7831. This was both with my Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite and my SONY TV.

It now takes anything from approx. 30 seconds to what sometimes seems like 2-3 minutes for the streaming quality to shift from 1053 upto 8023. This is regardless of whether I use the Fire TV Stick or the SONY TV.

And the only major change in recent weeks was increasing my broadband speed.

My desktop PC using the Windows NOW App always presents an instant sharp/clear picture. No problems at all. It's only the Fire TV/Android devices which are presenting this issue.

I did find when playing around with using different DNS resolvers (i.e. Cloudflare 1.1.1.1) that the NOW App initially went crazy i.e. streaming quality was jumping all over the place and as low as 243.

I'd be interested to hear how you get on if you change broadband provider.
 

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