Why are there so many issues with MePo TvServer (1 Viewer)

pur_berger

Super User
  • Team MediaPortal
  • Super User
  • May 14, 2007
    1,679
    309
    51
    Vienna
    Home Country
    Austria Austria
    Ok - I know this has been discussed over and over again - and every thread I read sooner or later switches to "must be your configuration" or "on my system everything is working fine". What I really like to question is why the the MP TV Server is producing as many issues as it does - starting from resources over to suddenly creating shtutter.

    I have meanwhile a handfull systems where these issues occur - three out of four times everything is fine - and suddenly - drops or connection lost or whatever. To be clear - I don't wan't to find a solution here for this - it's a general question about the whole TV server. I understood that it never was rewritten - only patched and expanded - so maybe this is part of the problem?

    It's hard to tell everyone how great MP is when one essential part is having issues. And - I have compared it to several other TV server - DVBviewer and Argus mainly - to be honest out of the box these are performing much better (even on a Atom 2400 DVBViewer is working with S2 like a charme) - still MP is the best when it comes to an overall picture. And - maybe the approach XBMC is using isn't the worst one - to concentrate on teh HTPC and create links to third party TV engines?

    What also is rather often to read in teh forums when it comes to question how to combine their software with Mp - is - forget it - they don't won't to or acting like divas. I can't believe this is to be true - but - well - it doesn't paint a very open picture of MePo.

    I also see there are a lot of tasks done in area51 to enhance things - so - ok - what are the plans for the future?
     

    mm1352000

    Retired Team Member
  • Premium Supporter
  • September 1, 2008
    21,577
    8,224
    Home Country
    New Zealand New Zealand
    Hello pur_berger

    Ok - I know this has been discussed over and over again - and every thread I read sooner or later switches to "must be your configuration" or "on my system everything is working fine". What I really like to question is why the the MP TV Server is producing as many issues as it does - starting from resources over to suddenly creating shtutter.
    Can you please give an example of the "resources over" problem - I don't understand what you mean by this.

    I have meanwhile a handfull systems where these issues occur - three out of four times everything is fine - and suddenly - drops or connection lost or whatever. To be clear - I don't wan't to find a solution here for this - it's a general question about the whole TV server. I understood that it never was rewritten - only patched and expanded - so maybe this is part of the problem?
    In my opinion TV Server is very stable and reliable when you get three things right:
    1. Good tuner with stable driver.
    2. Clean signal.
    3. Reliable network.
    Maybe one additional point: good timeshifting HDD (ie. properly formatted, not too full, and excluded from virus scanning).

    If these things are not okay then it doesn't matter what we do: people will have problems. Same would apply in other software as well.

    It's hard to tell everyone how great MP is when one essential part is having issues. And - I have compared it to several other TV server - DVBviewer and Argus mainly - to be honest out of the box these are performing much better (even on a Atom 2400 DVBViewer is working with S2 like a charme) - still MP is the best when it comes to an overall picture. And - maybe the approach XBMC is using isn't the worst one - to concentrate on teh HTPC and create links to third party TV engines?
    When you compare to DVBViewer, which server and which client are you using?
    When you compare to Argus, which client are you using?

    I ask this because they don't seem like "apples to apples" (fair) comparisons. For example, DVBViewer does have a "server" but most people just run it as a client which means it is usually not a fair comparison.

    Also, I'm confused because TV Server has nothing to do with the picture quality (rendering etc.). If the signal is not clean or your HDD is slow then yes there will be stuttering... but TV Server is not directly causing this. Garbage signal in -> garbage signal out. TV Server is just a pipe.

    So I'm not sure if I agree that the MP TV Server produces any more problems than any other TV Server.

    What also is rather often to read in teh forums when it comes to question how to combine their software with Mp - is - forget it - they don't won't to or acting like divas. I can't believe this is to be true - but - well - it doesn't paint a very open picture of MePo.
    No it doesn't paint a good picture. :(
    I'm confused about this - I don't know how they would get that impression. Could you give a link to such a thread?
    Personally in 99.9999% of cases I am very happy to answer any question or help anybody - developer, tester, user... anybody - that asks for it.

    I also see there are a lot of tasks done in area51 to enhance things - so - ok - what are the plans for the future?
    ;)
    There are so many plans which I would like to share but I cannot right now.
    Maybe I could turn this question back to you: what would you like to see us do in the future?

    mm
     

    pur_berger

    Super User
  • Team MediaPortal
  • Super User
  • May 14, 2007
    1,679
    309
    51
    Vienna
    Home Country
    Austria Austria
    It's always hard to break it down - but - I take a Atom 2400 system (a xtreamer Ultra 2 to be precise with an USB TerraTec DVBS2 receiver) as example - with nothing more running as MePo and Tv Server, moving pictures and Tv Series. Using the MePo leads to TVServer crash and an over all negative experiance (like time for channel changing). On teh same system running the paid version of DVBViewer (with it's minimalsitic HTPC functionalities) works perfect. No lags, no breaks, no failures. Not to compare - yes - absolutely. But as said - it's not about finding a solution to specific problem - it's a subjective feeling.

    About the picture - look over the official DVBViwer forum for example about connecting with MePo. Or - Soundgraph. Of Course this doesn't represant the trooth - and we all know that forums often only represant the "negative" things (as if everything is working as it shoudl it is not posted). But it creates a feeling of a closed community not interested in other approaches. If the server is an issue (in terms of resources for example) - other solutions shoudl be supported or API's shoudl be defined wheer they can connect to (as - if the DVBViewer TV Client for example would be for systems with less power a better alternative as a server). But I'm can't say what's right or wrong - or maybe it's teh only way how it will work (as to many option are going to create problems too).

    What I would like to see - good question. Personally I'm happy. If the dropps on the TV side would be gone for good - perfect. A basic thing I don#t understand is why the server isn't used constantly as base and the client is only a client providing graphical features. What I mean is putting all these databases on the server so it acts like a real one and not only TV. but onthe other hand - you are never going to have the CVlient only option like you have now. You see - I'm cluless ...
     
    Last edited:

    seco

    Retired Team Member
  • Premium Supporter
  • August 7, 2007
    1,575
    1,239
    Home Country
    Finland Finland
    My biggest struggle with TVServer has always been the network setup (connection & adapters).

    Since I'm running single-seat it is quite annoying that I have to struggle with network problems. For a very long time I was using a WLAN adapter(s) and the common problem was that after a reboot/resume WLAN connection takes a while to start up (compared to wired) and therefore TVServer won't start up correctly because the network interface it is trying to bind on is not properly up yet. I also get MySQL connection errors after wake up if I don't use reinitialize service option. I don't know why this is but maybe the MySQL isn't up yet when TVServer is trying to establish a connection. Currently I'm using power line adapters which give me a more stable connection startup.

    I also tried using loopback adapter but this gave me more strange behavior and TVServer was not able to start listening the correct interface and port at all.

    The main problem I see here is that TVServer is not very robust when there are connection delays here and there. Same problems are visible when using MP TV Client, if there are connection problems most of the time UI just freezes, navigation goes dead slow and the MP startup (in multi-seat as a TV client) takes forever.
     
    Last edited:

    mm1352000

    Retired Team Member
  • Premium Supporter
  • September 1, 2008
    21,577
    8,224
    Home Country
    New Zealand New Zealand
    It's always hard to break it down...
    True. :)

    ...with an USB TerraTec DVBS2 receiver
    TerraTec S7?
    I would freely admit that we have problems with that series of tuner.
    TerraTec S7, H7
    TechniSat CableStar Combo HD CI
    TechnoTrend Connect CT 3650 CI, Connect S2 3600, Connect S2 3650 CI

    All of these seem to be based on a similar/base design. I spent many many hours over here working on improving support for them:
    https://forum.team-mediaportal.com/threads/trouble-with-terratec-h7-and-cam.103398/

    I hope the tricks that I found will be included in MP 1.4 and/or released earlier in Area51.

    Using the MePo leads to TVServer crash...
    This is *very* unusual.

    ...and an over all negative experiance (like time for channel changing). On teh same system running the paid version of DVBViewer (with it's minimalsitic HTPC functionalities) works perfect. No lags, no breaks, no failures. Not to compare - yes - absolutely. But as said - it's not about finding a solution to specific problem - it's a subjective feeling.
    DVBViewer is very quick - I agree.
    If I could offer you some tips...
    About the picture - look over the official DVBViwer forum for example about connecting with MePo. Or - Soundgraph. Of Course this doesn't represant the trooth - and we all know that forums often only represant the "negative" things (as if everything is working as it shoudl it is not posted). But it creates a feeling of a closed community not interested in other approaches. If the server is an issue (in terms of resources for example) - other solutions shoudl be supported or API's shoudl be defined wheer they can connect to (as - if the DVBViewer TV Client for example would be for systems with less power a better alternative as a server). But I'm can't say what's right or wrong - or maybe it's teh only way how it will work (as to many option are going to create problems too).
    Interesting - I've never been approached by anybody from DVBViewer or Soundgraph.
    We do have quite stable APIs, as evidenced by the fact that 4TR is able to plug in to our server for the last 3 (???) years.
    About using the DVBViewer client: we can't do anything about that because their source is closed, but they could create a client for MP's TV Server if they wanted to. Probably they would never do it because it wouldn't make much money for them. But we would absolutely support them if they wanted to do that.
    As an alternative, I'm wondering if you've heard of the MP TV Client:
    https://forum.team-mediaportal.com/forums/mptvclient-stand-alone-tv-client.262/
    This is a TV only client for MP's TV Server. I'm 90% certain it is still functioning fine.

    What I would like to see - good question. Personally I'm happy. If the dropps on the TV side would be gone for good - perfect.
    Probably these problems aren't going to go away unless you look into what is causing them. It could be issues with your network configuration. Not that I'm trying to blame at all. Rather, I would like to help if you can post your log files. :)

    But if there is a problem that we can fix then we would absolutely try to fix it.

    A basic thing I don#t understand is why the server isn't used constantly as base and the client is only a client providing graphical features. What I mean is putting all these databases on the server so it acts like a real one and not only TV. but onthe other hand - you are never going to have the CVlient only option like you have now.
    Are you talking about the music, videos and moving pictures DBs?
    If so, these things are happening with MP2. Doing that with MP1 would be cool, but a lot of effort would be wasted on something that might soon be replaced. These days we prefer to develop things that can easily be transferred to MP2 (eg. Blu-ray suport).

    You see - I'm cluless ...
    I would not say clueless.
    Your questions are very reasonable. I'm glad you asked them and I'm happy to be able to respond. I hope what I'm saying is helpful. :)

    mm
     

    mm1352000

    Retired Team Member
  • Premium Supporter
  • September 1, 2008
    21,577
    8,224
    Home Country
    New Zealand New Zealand
    My biggest struggle with TVServer has always been the network setup (connection & adapters).
    It is true that we do rely heavily on the network.

    Since I'm running single-seat it is quite annoying that I have to struggle with network problems.
    It is a balance. On one hand it makes it easier to support multi-seat. On the other hand it potentially makes the single seat more fragile.

    For a very long time I was using a WLAN adapter(s) and the common problem was that after a reboot/resume WLAN connection takes a while to start up (compared to wired) and therefore TVServer won't start up correctly because the network interface it is trying to bind on is not properly up yet.
    Yes, this does happen. :(

    I also get MySQL connection errors after wake up if I don't use reinitialize service option. I don't know why this is but maybe the MySQL isn't up yet when TVServer is trying to establish a connection.
    MySQL should be set as a dependency of the TV service, which means the TV service should wait for MySQL to start before attempting to start.
    This is configured automatically when MP installs MySQL, but *not* if you installed your own MySQL or SQL Server.

    I also tried using loopback adapter but this gave me more strange behavior and TVServer was not able to start listening the correct interface and port at all.
    Strange.

    The main problem I see here is that TVServer is not very robust when there are connection delays here and there. Same problems are visible when using MP TV Client, if there are connection problems most of the time UI just freezes, navigation goes dead slow...
    This is an area that we do need to improve. The issue is that a lot of the communication with the server is synchronous. Changing to asynchronous is reasonably straightforward in principle but timeconsuming to do in practice.

    ...and the MP startup (in multi-seat as a TV client) takes forever.
    This does not have to be the case: you can untick the "wait for TV Server to start" setting.
    If the setting is disabled in MP configuration (which it sometimes is), you can "hack" the setting in MediaPortal.xml.
    Not that that is a solution. I'm just saying you don't have to put up with that.

    mm
     

    seco

    Retired Team Member
  • Premium Supporter
  • August 7, 2007
    1,575
    1,239
    Home Country
    Finland Finland
    MySQL should be set as a dependency of the TV service, which means the TV service should wait for MySQL to start before attempting to start.
    This is configured automatically when MP installs MySQL, but *not* if you installed your own MySQL or SQL Server.

    Yep, I'm aware of this and the dependencies are set and OK. However I don't think these settings are taken into account (services are already started) during system wake up so it might be that something goes in wrong order there.

    This does not have to be the case: you can untick the "wait for TV Server to start" setting.
    If the setting is disabled in MP configuration (which it sometimes is), you can "hack" the setting in MediaPortal.xml.
    Not that that is a solution. I'm just saying you don't have to put up with that.

    Actually this is not what I meant. I had multi-seat setup for testing purposes and when the TV server was asleep, starting MP on client machine took a very long time to start (I don't think any connection attemps should be made in MP startup).
     

    pur_berger

    Super User
  • Team MediaPortal
  • Super User
  • May 14, 2007
    1,679
    309
    51
    Vienna
    Home Country
    Austria Austria
    Looking forward for MP2 - I had it running and looked great so far.

    The Zapping - I mean the time from selecting the program until it appears on the TV (over the miniguide for example). As for looking into what's causing teh problems - these are probably 90% setup issues (in terms of codec and / or network issues). My point is - shouldn't a basic setup be bulletproof? So - When you run the TV after the first time install everything shoudl work wthin optimal paramteres? When you do things liek (in my case for example) ambilight you know what to look after if you experiance dropps or issues. I think this is what DVB makes better. You install it - you configure the satelite - you run the scan (everything during setup) and you are fine to go. Plus (and this is something I'm realy missing ...) you can sort your channels when TV is running. For me personally this is what I miss most comapred to a noraml SatReceiver - at least having the option to add a program to a favourites list. Plus - maybe - the EPG grapping (ok - now we are back to the wishlist) to be assigned to groups - or the selection splitted to groups (maybe directly over the cannel setup? - Right - Click - enable EPG or something like this). And - how about giving the MPClient when watching TV over the Menue an option to "Grab EPG now" for the running program? And a channel EPG and ... I should stop now :)
     

    mm1352000

    Retired Team Member
  • Premium Supporter
  • September 1, 2008
    21,577
    8,224
    Home Country
    New Zealand New Zealand
    I should stop now :)
    No, don't stop. :)
    Some of those are ideas I have not heard before, and I like them. :)
    So keep going if you like.
    I can't make any promise to implement them immediately, but I always store such ideas in my mind and bring them out when we next talk about improving that area of MP. ;)
     

    Paranoid Delusion

    Moderation Manager
  • Premium Supporter
  • June 13, 2005
    13,062
    2,978
    Cheshire
    Home Country
    United Kingdom United Kingdom
    Hi All

    Sadly one of the biggest problems that seem to hit us, is network reliability even hardwired ones, for some stupid reason the adapters that are onboard a lot of motherboards produced in recent years seem to suffer from stability problems, Intel produced NIC's (network interface controllers) have recently had major problems with cutting out, so this once 100% reliable bit of equipment seems to have become a minefield of chose the mobo with a bad NIC and nothing but a separate network card will fix it, and some users have done exactly that and then everything worked fine.

    Also there was a bit of a discussion regarding routers\network extenders and it was pointed out there that some of the major players also had flaws in their equipment, one of the recommended manufacturers for reliability turned out to be Cisco, my netgear scored pretty low on reliability regarding dropouts, again that is why my 2 setups are both singleseat using the MSLoopback adapter.
     

    Users who are viewing this thread

    Top Bottom