Streaming has stuttering audio

Finguz

Active Member
Hi,

I have recently purchased an LG OLED55B6V, and really love the picture. However, I am having an issue with the playback of UHD .mkv HEVC files, which I have transferred to my WD MYCloud, that is connected to the TV and/or Nvidia Shield via a 3 year old Dlink 8 port Gigabit switch.

The TV, the Shield ( new model ) and the WDMYCloud are running the latest firmware.

When I try to play one of the .mkv files ( for e.g. Deepwater Horizon, Lucy, John Wick e.t.c ) via the MYCloud the video will occasionally freeze for several seconds and buffer. The sound is also skipping fairly often, or drops out completely and sometimes the playback just fails.

When I play the same files via a Transcend Jetflash 32GB USB3.0 Thumb drive or a 7 year old WD USB2.0 external HDD connected to either the USB ports on the TV or the Shield, the files play back perfectly and will happily seek in any direction with no issues.

All other 1080p bluray and lower content plays fine over the WDMYCloud and switch.

Is the most likely culprit the switch, or something else?
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Most likely culprit is the MyCloud or the TV.

Gigabit ethernet has more than enough capacity for media streams.

Note that a lot of mfgrs "only" fit 100mbps (AKA "fast") ethernet ports to their kit. You might care to check the spec of your TV (and MyCloud) and see how fast their ethernet ports are. If either MyCloud or TV are 100mbps and you data streams are greater than about 80-90mbps, then that could be the cause of your problems.

Could be the MyCloud HDD's aren't man enough for the job, but I'd start by checking a few files with something like MediaInfo (free) and see what kind of bit rates you're using.
 
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Finguz

Active Member
The highest overall bit rate that I have tried to play so far is 52.8 Mb/s. The MyCloud is capable of sustaining well over 500 Mb/s and the Nvidia Shield has a Gigabit port.

The TV may not have a Gigabit port, I will check shortly, but the Shield does and exhibits the same symptoms.

I can't see what else could be causing the issue besides the switch, unless it's possibly an iffy ethernet cable? I'll swap come cables a little later.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
50mbps is well within the capabilities of even 100mbps ethernet.

Each ethernet lobe is a contended medium. To effect a true test of the infrastructure, you'd have to ensure no other traffic was in flight at time of testing (basically unplug everything except your source and sink device and turn off Wi-Fi and the Internet.)

You could try cabling TV direct to MyCloud without switch and see if the problem goes away. However, depending on the capabilities of the NIC's in the TV/MyCloud you may need a special "crossover" ethernet cable to do that. And, you might have to manual set the IP addressing.

If you cite the model number of the switch, we can try to evaluate it's specification. However, there's really very little to "go wrong" in a basic ethernet switch and even modern cheap "desktop" stuff can sustain full packet rates on all ports, let alone a (relatively) trivial 50mbps.

Basic ethernet switches give you little if any diagnostic information (you can't check error counts for example) so there's little more than guesswork to rely on. You could buy a new switch, but it's a gamble; albeit one you might consider worth taking if you don't mind incuring the cost with the risk that it makes no difference.

Likewise cables - without error stats on the cable lobes, there's no diagnostic information available. If you can test with some "known good" ones it may help with the diagnosis. However, ethernet usually either "works" or it doesn't in all but the most exceptional circumstances. It's really rare that a "dodgy cable" causing "performance" problems - in 30 years of being an IT professional I can literally count instances of "dodgy cables" on one hand and "dodgy switches" never.

Do you know what network protocol you are using to ship the data across your network - CIFS/SMB/NFS/DLNA...?
 

Finguz

Active Member
The switch is a DLink DGS-1008D. I'm fairly sure we've tried both SMB and UPNP, using VLC on the Shield. I will double check later. All the cables are new and seem to work fine, but as I said I will swap some around later.

I'll try disconnecting everything except the MyCloud and the Shield later on and report back.
 

scarty16

Well-known Member
is the My Cloud trying to do Transcoding of the file, before sending it to the Shield?

Are you using Plex on the My Cloud to send to the Shield?
 

Finguz

Active Member
No to both.

The MyCloud came with Twonky media server and it does not offer a transcode function. I don't use Plex.
 

scarty16

Well-known Member
I can see you have used VLC.

I use KODI and SPMC or VLC on mine. Try KODI and SPMC as they might work better with HEVC files than VLC.

Also what is the Audio format you are using?

My shield mk1 (same hardware as mk2) works with everything I have ever thrown at it, MKV, MP4, HEVC, H.264, HDR, 4k, Dolby, DTS, Master HD, AAC etc etc
 
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Finguz

Active Member
I have Kodi 17.3 on the Shield and it has similiar performance issues, but I will try SPMC.

I'm hoping some cable swapping this evening will help, but a friend has also mentioned an issue with the Shield pausing and resuming while transferring data via the ethernet port with the latest software update, so maybe that's the issue.

Time will tell.


I'm not quite sure what you mean by what audio format I am using? It varies with each movie, and my Denon AVR does the decoding.
 

scarty16

Well-known Member
I was just wondering if the shield was transcoding the audio before it sends it to the TV as I get my shield to convert the audio to PCM before it is sent to the Receiver.

My shield uses WIFI (AC) so I have no idea about the potential ethernet issue.

Good luck with the bug fixing/tracing.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
IMO - the switch spec. looks pretty decent - the packet forwarding rates cited suggest it's got more than enough horsepower.

From it's description I note the switch has a rudimentary "cable test" function, though one suspects it will only "spot" real howlers such as fundamentally "broken" cables rather than intermittent faults, still it won't hurt to give it a try.
 

tich77

Active Member
50mbps is well within the capabilities of even 100mbps ethernet.

Except the OP quote 52.8Mb/sec, which is well beyond FastEthernet's capability ;)

If the UHD video is compressed with H.265, and/or some specific encoding options (or certain options on H.264), it can lead to playback issues with some devices.

I'd start looking at the MyCloud - possible (off top of head) issues:

0. Check it is actually connecting over a WIRED ethernet connection, and NOT wireless. If there is a wireless link ANYWHERE between MyCloud - Shield - TV, then that is more likely the issue...
1. There is a degree of fragmentation, or the files you are playing are fragmented to the degree that it is causing a hiccup in the transport stream. Possibly exacerbated as the disk/OS may be reading ahead 16 sectors or so as a form of caching, and this causes a cache-miss.
2. There is a [recoverable] filing system error causing a pause in the transport stream whilst the OS corrects the issue
3. There is a disk-level error causing a hiccup. Could be a redirected corrupted sector, or multiple corrected sectors leading to multiple redirects.
4. MyCloud is attempting to play the media and output the data streams, or is attempting to transcode the file

The MyCloud seems to be the common element - possible 'quick' fixes

Map a network drive to the MyCloud from a Windows PC, transfer a file to the MyCloud, and transfer a different one back. As Windows copies, click on "more details" and note the read/write rate.

Remove the drive and test for errors. This will require connecting to the PC either using
a) native internal SATA port b) external eSATA if you have a suitable external drive enclosure and eSATA cable (and eSATA port on PC) c) external USB drive - USB 3 if at all possible

Then either boot up a Linux LIVECD and run a filing system test such as fsck, depending on what filing system the MyCloud uses, or boot up Hirens CD - iirc it had various Linus disk check tools.

Assuming that the MyCloud doesn't have any diag tools...

TBH, I'd have a quick look at it first rather than delve into networking because its low hanging fruit.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
Weird, it sounds like a networking issue but on the off chance you may want to check that the firmware on the Denon receiver is up to date too if your passing the audio from media player to the receiver.

One way to know for sure would be to turn off the pass-through and go back to 2.0 stereo decode and see if the same videos glitch out.
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
Except the OP quote 52.8Mb/sec, which is well beyond FastEthernet's capability ;)

If that's a "byte" rather than a "bit" value, I'd imagine it would be unwatchable over 100mbps ethernet (which would be about 4 time under capacity.) I'd be expecting some very long pauses.

One also wonders how it compares with the bus capacity of the NAS and it's HDD.
 

Finguz

Active Member
If that's a "byte" rather than a "bit" value, I'd imagine it would be unwatchable over 100mbps ethernet (which would be about 4 time under capacity.) I'd be expecting some very long pauses.

One also wonders how it compares with the bus capacity of the NAS and it's HDD.


It's a bit value...

megabit per second (symbol Mbit/s or Mb/s, often abbreviated "Mbps") is a unit of data transfer rate equal to:

  • 1,000,000 bits per second
  • 1,000 kilobits per second
  • 125,000 bytes per second
  • 125 kilobytes per second

megabyte per second (MB/s) is a unit of data transfer rate equal to:

  • 8,000,000 bits per second
  • 1,000,000 bytes per second
  • 1,000 kilobytes per second
  • 8 megabits per second
 

Finguz

Active Member
Thanks for the replies guys, it is now working as it should. The MyCloud was faulty, I borrowed another from a friend to test.

It works just fine on his, so have ordered a replacement.

Thanks again!
 
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