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pch failures..
04-26-2010, 03:35 AM
Post: #1
pch failures..
I have been consistently disappointed with my PCH/NMT - although the feature list and possibilities seem great, the actualities are very low in my experience. A few specifics, so I can see if there are any suggestions!
I have latest firmware, and it is on a 100/10 Mb local network. Internet access works fine, but players are very intermittent.

Examples:
When I go to Netflix, it often says Buffering, and then "Cannot play".
- sometimes it will start to play, and then after 1/2 minute or so, halt for another 1-2 minutes (buffering?), and often I get video without Audio.
- I ma using Playon on a windows-7 machine for that server.
- I can play Netflix perfectly all the time from another W7 machine located in the same room.

* performance is very poor. From Setup, going back to Home took ~25 seconds. The next time I did it it just reported "no content on server" (?on going to home?)

* Video playback from an iso - I tried it twice, failed both times - "can not play", although other iso's played fine.
- But, with no bookmarking or other standard DVD player features, it is pretty inconvenient).
- I tried it a 3rd time a few minutes later, and it played fine.

* Trying: Playon, MSP Community, Video, Apple trailers,
large (not HD), play one, buffering, then "Can not play"
(I used to play these all the time.)
Same with the other two Apple trailers from Playon.
- From the same selection (MSP) Ted lectures play fine.
[I realize that this may be a playon failure, but don't know how to diagnose to tell what is failing.
The message "Cannot play" is not very informative!]

* If my external USB disk is on (500 GB), then going to Home, takes about ~30 sec. (Much faster if I turn it off.)

* Several times (~30%) it will lock up on navigation, and I have to do reboot to get it going again.

== I have not tried alternative skins, players, etc. I did not want this to be a hobby, just a working STB device!

I keep thinking I will just wait awhile, and the next firmware release will fix all of this, but I never see any improvements. The last one advertised better Arabic titles, .... Hmm, not my top priority! :-)

This is not meant to just be a complaint, but a report of a literate user's experiences - to see if there are any remedies. Any hints or suggestions are welcome, else I suppose I'll just wait for Google's STB rumored to be coming.
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04-26-2010, 03:55 AM
Post: #2
RE: pch failures..
Most of your problems sound like a network issue.

I have all my isos on an internal hard drive, and do not have a single one that does not play. additional, navigation is extremely fast.

Additionally, playon was never advertised to work by popcorn hour themselves, but rather other people have gotten them to work. It is impossible for you to hold them at fault for a 3rd party program that does not always work.

C-200 || YAMJ || AEON || Lowlist 75%
Acer Aspire EasyStore WHS [(1) 1TB WD Green(sys), (2) 1.5TB Samsung Spinpoint(data), (1) 2TB WD Green (data)]
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04-26-2010, 04:18 AM
Post: #3
RE: pch failures..
(04-26-2010 03:55 AM)lewis26 Wrote:  Most of your problems sound like a network issue.

I have all my isos on an internal hard drive, and do not have a single one that does not play. additional, navigation is extremely fast.

Additionally, playon was never advertised to work by popcorn hour themselves, but rather other people have gotten them to work. It is impossible for you to hold them at fault for a 3rd party program that does not always work.
Yes, I agree that Playon may be to blame for some of this, but I don't see how navigation from setup to home taking 1/2 minute could be either Network or Playon related.

My network has several other machines on it, and all work fine. I see no reason to suspect it. This box is the only failing/troublesome one.

And inconsistencies in playing local disk files, and the huge performance hit on returning to home with local USB turned on, same. Same for lockups, and the intermittent iso playback (o0n one file only) that I reported.

Are there other options to PlayOn for Netflix and MCP sources?

I think my experience is directly inline with enGadget's review:
"But worst of all, the unit locked up on us a few times during setup and required us to power cycle it
"Conclusion: ... we would certainly recommend it to anyone who fits the geeky type. But its strongest feature is also its biggest drawback, as we would never recommend this to the simple type -- you know the general population... But for those who like to tinker, you're in for a real treat."
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04-26-2010, 07:59 AM
Post: #4
RE: pch failures..
Sounds like the Popbox with it's emphasis on premium webservices and ease of use would be the better option for you.

Sell your NMT and get a Popbox if you find it all a little difficult, and your emphasis is on webservices. Not being rude it is just exactly what the Popbox is aimed at, the USA premium webservice market with the ease of use that your mum or dad could operate it.

Apple trailers has not worked for months. If you read up you'll find out why and why it has nothing to do with the NMT. Same with Youtube and others.

A400: SD Card(Apps), HDMI C200: USB(Apps), BD ROM (SH-B083L(SB01)), HDMI
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04-26-2010, 09:42 AM (This post was last modified: 04-26-2010 09:44 AM by Adrgha.)
Post: #5
RE: pch failures..
(04-26-2010 03:35 AM)guthrie Wrote:  * If my external USB disk is on (500 GB), then going to Home, takes about ~30 sec. (Much faster if I turn it off.)

This is most likely the PCH waking up the external HDD. I have the same issue and it only happens when the external HDD has been idle for a while (thus, powering down). Not much you can do about it, external HDD's themselves are programmed to spin down after around 10 minutes, so even if you manage to stop the PCH itself from powering it down (like you can do with the internal drive, which works fine) the drive itself will shut itself off regardless. Someone mentioned it could be possible to write a program that polled the drive every 5 minutes or so to keep it alive, but I have no knowledge of programming so I have no idea how one would go about something like that.

Not sure why it needs to spin the external drive up just to go back to the main menu, though.

17TB WHS 2011 w/FlexRaid -> PCH C200: Hitachi 2,5" 160GB & LG CH08 BD-ROM -> Onkyo TX-SR507B -> Pioneer KURO PDP-LX5090
[Image: watched-fanart.jpg]
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04-26-2010, 02:04 PM (This post was last modified: 04-26-2010 02:07 PM by guthrie.)
Post: #6
RE: pch failures..
(04-26-2010 07:59 AM)chris57 Wrote:  Sounds like the Popbox with it's emphasis on premium webservices and ease of use would be the better option for you.

Apple trailers has not worked for months...
Thanks - I hadn't heard about the Trailers & other site(s) being down.

Popbox is potentially interesting, but seems to have very limited content so far - no Flickr, Netflix, etc.

NB: I am an expert computer user, software developer, just that unless I break into the PCH to debug it, it is a black-box, and none of these failures are from any obvious or thus remediable sources. And one can only afford to have so many time-sink hobbyist projects. :-)

I'd also worry that the Popbox, or PCH-200, are also a "looks good on paper" situation. I'd spring for a PCH-200 if I thought it would fix these issues, but to me it looks like a faster hardware platform, but probably same software basis. I'll follow the initial experience reports with interest!

I suppose I'll try to setup Telnet to the PCH, and look at some log files.
(04-26-2010 09:42 AM)Adrgha Wrote:  This is most likely the PCH waking up the external HDD. I have the same issue and it only happens when the external HDD has been idle for a while (thus, powering down).

Not sure why it needs to spin the external drive up just to go back to the main menu, though.
Thanks for the note and suggestion; but this happens all the time, not just after inactivity.

I can see the active access LED on the USB disk blinking like mad when this happens, so it looks like the PCH is for some reason scanning the disk again on each of these transitions.
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04-26-2010, 02:14 PM
Post: #7
RE: pch failures..
(04-26-2010 02:04 PM)guthrie Wrote:  Thanks for the note and suggestion; but this happens all the time, not just after inactivity.

I can see the active access LED on the USB disk blinking like mad when this happens, so it looks like the PCH is for some reason scanning the disk again on each of these transitions.

Hm ok, that is odd. As I said, this only happens to me when the external HDD has powered down and I'm trying to get back to the main menu. After it has spun up again, everything is as fast as it should be.

17TB WHS 2011 w/FlexRaid -> PCH C200: Hitachi 2,5" 160GB & LG CH08 BD-ROM -> Onkyo TX-SR507B -> Pioneer KURO PDP-LX5090
[Image: watched-fanart.jpg]
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04-26-2010, 05:18 PM
Post: #8
RE: pch failures..
What box do you have? I have the A-100 and PlayON runs fairly well.
1.) PlayON is not to blame for any of this. Many of us have gone thru PlayON support and the issue is always narrowed down to a PCH problem.
2.) If you're interested in Netflix, Pandora, Youtube, Hulu then DO NOT buy Popbox until the selling unit is proven to support those services. Netflix has been continually promised by Syabas going back to previous models and nothing has materialized to date (just fair warning based on history)...
(04-26-2010 04:18 AM)guthrie Wrote:  Yes, I agree that Playon may be to blame for some of this, but I don't see how navigation from setup to home taking 1/2 minute could be either Network or Playon related.

My network has several other machines on it, and all work fine. I see no reason to suspect it. This box is the only failing/troublesome one.

And inconsistencies in playing local disk files, and the huge performance hit on returning to home with local USB turned on, same. Same for lockups, and the intermittent iso playback (o0n one file only) that I reported.

Are there other options to PlayOn for Netflix and MCP sources?

I think my experience is directly inline with enGadget's review:
"But worst of all, the unit locked up on us a few times during setup and required us to power cycle it
"Conclusion: ... we would certainly recommend it to anyone who fits the geeky type. But its strongest feature is also its biggest drawback, as we would never recommend this to the simple type -- you know the general population... But for those who like to tinker, you're in for a real treat."
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