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Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

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Kraken
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Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by Kraken »

The last episode of Doom Patrol Season 2 developed a stutter. The content plays for a few seconds, then the screen goes black, shows the loading icon, and resumes after a second. The problem continues in S3E1.

This is only on my desktop PC. My laptop, sitting four feet away, plays the show fine. My desktop's internet speed is fine. I emptied my browser cache and disabled some extensions, but the behavior is the same in both Firefox and Chrome (which I'd never used for HBO before, so not a cookie thing). The desktop machine can play other HBO Max shows without issues, as well as any other video from any other source. When I mentioned this to Wife, she said she saw the same thing on her laptop with a different show. If true, then it's not specific to my machine. And because the same show plays OK on my laptop, it's not specific to HBO's recording playback.

What am I missing here?
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Victoria Raverna
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Re: Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by Victoria Raverna »

Maybe using different DNS and that result in the desktop PC and the laptop stream from different servers?
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Kraken
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Re: Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by Kraken »

Probably not, since this machine can play other videos from HBO Max without issues.

Couple more data points: When I went back to an episode that I'd watched before this issue began, it stuttered, too, so there's nothing magical about the last episode of S2 (when it first happened). And: I was able to play the Doom Patrol S3 trailer just fine, no hiccups.
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Re: Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by hepcat »

I have noticed issues with stuttering on some videos streamed to my TV for HBO Max. But quitting out of the app and then going back in usually takes care of it.

Check https://www.speedtest.net/ and see what your ping rate is. Anything higher than 20 (heck, below 10 should be the norm) and you may want to take a look at settings on the router or your computer.

Do you use VPN during all this?
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Kraken
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Re: Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by Kraken »

No VPN. Ping is 13, download rate is 120. Remember that most videos are playing fine, it's just Doom Patrol.

I'm thinking it's got something to do with HBO caching, possibly due to using the "resume watching" function (which seems to trigger automatically no matter how I start the episode). Doom Patrol is the only show I've watched repeatedly on my PC. It behaves like it can only buffer a few seconds at a time, as if a cache is full. It's not my browser, since I get the same thing in Firefox and Chrome (unless they're sharing some hidden HBO cache). I did empty my Firefox cache with no joy. (edit) Also deleted my HBOmax cookies...no difference.
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Re: Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by Victoria Raverna »

Speedtest ping is kinda useless to measure since by default it measure ping between your home to the nearest speedtest server.

The reason I suspect DNS is because you are supposed to stream video from the nearest CDN but DNS is the one that supposed to send you to the right one. If the DNS send you to wrong server, it can affect the performance.
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Re: Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by hepcat »

Victoria Raverna wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 8:35 pm Speedtest ping is kinda useless to measure since by default it measure ping between your home to the nearest speedtest server.
If it’s in the hundreds, that’s one very good clue that it’s your connection. Even if it connected to a server across the continent, it wouldn’t be that high. It’s a low hanging fruit for initial troubleshooting.
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Re: Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by LawBeefaroni »

Kraken wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 1:12 am The last episode of Doom Patrol Season 2 developed a stutter. The content plays for a few seconds, then the screen goes black, shows the loading icon, and resumes after a second. The problem continues in S3E1.

Spoiler tag please!!!!
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Re: Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by hepcat »

:lol:
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Re: Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by Kraken »

Victoria Raverna wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 8:35 pm Speedtest ping is kinda useless to measure since by default it measure ping between your home to the nearest speedtest server.

The reason I suspect DNS is because you are supposed to stream video from the nearest CDN but DNS is the one that supposed to send you to the right one. If the DNS send you to wrong server, it can affect the performance.
This isn't intermittent like you'd expect with a weak connection. It's rhythmic. Play for 5 seconds, pause for 1/2 second, and over and over and over. And again, this machine is streaming other videos from HBO without any hiccups. It only affects the one show that I want to watch on my PC -- the only show that this PC has a history of playing.

It might help if I had any idea how streaming actually works. It's as if HBO sends a 5-second burst, doesn't get an acknowledgement, and sends another burst. I don't have any other ideas, so...How do I make my PC refresh its DNS table?

I tried logging in with Wife's profile instead of mine, no change.

I guess I'll just have to watch it on my laptop or the TV.
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Re: Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by Victoria Raverna »

If you don't specifically change the DNS to point to a different server, then it is not likely to be the cause.

Another possibility is that the wifi connection is too slow or having a problem. The way streaming work is almost like downloading, it'll send the data faster than what is needed to playback which go into a buffer. If PC can't receive data faster than what is needed to playback, the video will play a bit then pause repeatedly like what you experienced. So most likely it is because of that but the problem can be any point between the server and your PC. Why other video have no problem can be because the compression is higher so those video can still play. It can also be your PC are not play the videos from the same server. For example there are two servers, for the problem videos, they're hosted in one server and the ones with no problem are in a different one. The route between server one to your PC has problem but not from server two to your PC.

Since only one laptop has problem then it is more likely problem is the connection between the laptop to your network. Are you using wifi or ethernet cable to connect the laptop to your router?
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Re: Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by Kraken »

No, the PC (with the problem) and laptop (no problem) are both on WiFi, and they sit about four feet apart.
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Victoria Raverna
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Re: Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by Victoria Raverna »

Kraken wrote: Wed Jan 05, 2022 12:08 pm No, the PC (with the problem) and laptop (no problem) are both on WiFi, and they sit about four feet apart.
Four feet apart doesn't mean they'll have same wifi signal. The PC can still have a slower wifi connection than the laptop. Location, the wifi hardware on the PC can affect the quality of the connection.

If your PC has ethernet port and you are near the router, you can try to use an ethernet cable to test it out. That'll help rule out if it is wifi problem.
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Re: Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by Kraken »

Nope, router is on the first floor and my cave is upstairs. Our TV is cabled to the router. Watched a couple of episodes of Doom Patrol on the TV tonight with no problem.

We have a technician coming to convert us to Xfinity next week. The tech visit is free, so he'll be at my disposal to kick and wiggle things to my satisfaction. Plus I have no idea how to integrate their Xflex (or whatever it's called) streaming box into my setup.
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Re: Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by Anonymous Bosch »

I suspect this could be the root of your problem:
help.hbomax.com wrote:Can I manually adjust the video quality?

HBO Max automatically adjusts the video quality based on your network bandwidth and connection speed. Most shows and movies are available in high definition (HD). Manual video quality settings are not currently available.

If your network bandwidth is too low or the connection speed fluctuates, you might get a lower resolution video.
Since it automatically adjusts video quality based upon the speed of your connection and specifically does not provide any manual video quality settings to override it, the stuttering could be occurring when Wi-Fi speeds on the problem PC fluctuate, and the app 'helpfully' adjusts your video resolution to compensate. Because Wi-Fi does not necessarily always operate at maximum speeds, and can be dependent upon a wide variety of factors (e.g. age & quality of the problem PC's Wi-Fi adapter and your Wi-Fi router, which particular Wi-Fi standard the problem PC is using, its proximity to the Wi-Fi router, potential sources of interference, physical impediments, etc, etc.)

So, if you possess a sufficient length of ethernet cable, VR likely has the right idea in suggesting you try connecting the problem PC via ethernet, so as to rule out whether fluctuations in the quality of the Wi-Fi connection in the problem PC could be causing automatic adjustments to your video quality.
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Kraken
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Re: Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by Kraken »

Alright, that calls for desperate measures. I am prepared to believe that my router hates my PC. I'm going to reach around the back of my machine and wiggle the antennae. Wish me luck.
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Re: Strange problem with HBO streaming in browser

Post by stessier »

Please - I thought this was a Safe for Work thread!
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