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Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

Contributor

Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

I have a Roku 3710RW Express+ connected to an older TV through composite video and RCA audio, and a pretty comprehensive Comcast subscription with nearly all TV channels, Internet, and even landline phone. I am located in the Denver area. I installed the Stream TV Beta, and it seems to work very well: all channels, recordings, etc., are working seemingly fine. But the primary reason I purchased and set this up was to watch CNBC business news during the day at my desk. For weeks, this worked great. Recently - like in the past week or so - the channel drops off with the message "Something went wrong. Please try again later." and "Error DRM.-3" appears in the lower right corner of the screne.  I can push the back arrow and select the channel again, but it craps out again within 5-10m, as if something spurious in the video comes along, randomly, and bollixes up the feed.

 

None of the other channels appear to do this, but I only watch business news. Testing it on Bloomberg and it seems to feed just fine (for the 20 or 30m tests I ran, at least). I haven't seen other channels drop out yet. I tested it on a HD TV using the HDMI cable, and that fails the same way. I deleted the Stream TV channel and re-installed an re-activated, but the problem on CNBC persists. 

 

To work around the problem, I set a recording of the channel then immediately start watching the recording. This round-about redirection of the video feed seems to work fine: the channel (so far) doesn't drop. 

 

I doubt you have a fix for this as this is a very specific and spurious kind of error, and probably not many people are encoutering something similar, and I have a workaround. But as a (retired) software engineer, I wanted to report it. Sometimes this stuff turns up other problems that could be significant when you transition from Beta to full rollout; e.g., something spurious in CNBC's video causes a problem that might very well appear with other channels for other users when you rollout to other devices and go live.

Service Expert

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped


steveschu wrote:

I have a Roku 3710RW Express+ connected to an older TV through composite video and RCA audio, and a pretty comprehensive Comcast subscription with nearly all TV channels, Internet, and even landline phone. I am located in the Denver area. I installed the Stream TV Beta, and it seems to work very well: all channels, recordings, etc., are working seemingly fine. But the primary reason I purchased and set this up was to watch CNBC business news during the day at my desk. For weeks, this worked great. Recently - like in the past week or so - the channel drops off with the message "Something went wrong. Please try again later." and "Error DRM.-3" appears in the lower right corner of the screne.  I can push the back arrow and select the channel again, but it craps out again within 5-10m, as if something spurious in the video comes along, randomly, and bollixes up the feed.

 

None of the other channels appear to do this, but I only watch business news. Testing it on Bloomberg and it seems to feed just fine (for the 20 or 30m tests I ran, at least). I haven't seen other channels drop out yet. I tested it on a HD TV using the HDMI cable, and that fails the same way. I deleted the Stream TV channel and re-installed an re-activated, but the problem on CNBC persists. 

 

To work around the problem, I set a recording of the channel then immediately start watching the recording. This round-about redirection of the video feed seems to work fine: the channel (so far) doesn't drop. 

 

I doubt you have a fix for this as this is a very specific and spurious kind of error, and probably not many people are encoutering something similar, and I have a workaround. But as a (retired) software engineer, I wanted to report it. Sometimes this stuff turns up other problems that could be significant when you transition from Beta to full rollout; e.g., something spurious in CNBC's video causes a problem that might very well appear with other channels for other users when you rollout to other devices and go live.


standard first fixes are logout and uninstall the app. Unplug the unit and wait 20-30 seconds before rebooting. Reinstall and log back into the app. does that fix the problem?




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Contributor

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

Yes, I removed Stream TV, powered down, re-installed, re-registered, etc., multiple times - I should have mentioned that. 

 

Just to continue testing, I put the channel on this morning at a time when CNBC runs nothing but paid commercial advertising/shows. Its been running about 30m and has not failed in the manner described earlier...and now, just as I was writing this note, it failed with the same message when the current paid commercial show ended...! Bang.

 

It just seems there is some signal or tidbit of information in the raw video stream - possibly the stream that CNBC feeds directly with their own embedded DRM - that triggers the DRM (judging by the "Error DRM.-3" message in the lower right of the screen). Given the spurious-ness of this, it would seem likely to me that other raw video streams (e.g., HBO, or ESPN, or some such thing that I don't watch on the Roku) could easily have the same thing happening, just that nobody has reported (or maybe even noticed) it yet, and it won't become a problem until the software gets broader distribution. Its as if "running DRM checks" embedded into video decoding get triggered, depending on when the DRM verification meta data is embedded in the stream.

 

'Tis the nature of beta software; I ain't complaining. Just trying to help identify what might become a more significant problem down the road.

Service Expert

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped


steveschu wrote:

Yes, I removed Stream TV, powered down, re-installed, re-registered, etc., multiple times - I should have mentioned that. 

 

Just to continue testing, I put the channel on this morning at a time when CNBC runs nothing but paid commercial advertising/shows. Its been running about 30m and has not failed in the manner described earlier...and now, just as I was writing this note, it failed with the same message when the current paid commercial show ended...! Bang.

 

It just seems there is some signal or tidbit of information in the raw video stream - possibly the stream that CNBC feeds directly with their own embedded DRM - that triggers the DRM (judging by the "Error DRM.-3" message in the lower right of the screen). Given the spurious-ness of this, it would seem likely to me that other raw video streams (e.g., HBO, or ESPN, or some such thing that I don't watch on the Roku) could easily have the same thing happening, just that nobody has reported (or maybe even noticed) it yet, and it won't become a problem until the software gets broader distribution. Its as if "running DRM checks" embedded into video decoding get triggered, depending on when the DRM verification meta data is embedded in the stream.

 

'Tis the nature of beta software; I ain't complaining. Just trying to help identify what might become a more significant problem down the road.


thank you for trying those checks. 

 

I have escalated your issue to the Comcast Team available to these forums. Check back often for a reply in this thread or via Private Message from a Comcast Official Employee.




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Official Employee

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

Hi steveschu, thank you for troubleshooting and finding a work around this DRM-3 error message. I will try to find more information about the cause and see if we have a fix. I will update this post with my findings.  


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Contributor

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

I'll check in occassionally. Thanks for following up. Perhaps an email notification help - I presume you can get my email address from this forum.


S

Official Employee

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

You actually should get a notification email but it will be in your Comcast email. Not sure if use it as your primary email. I actually researched the DRM issue, asked couple engineers, and I need your assistance:

- Per my understanding, it does happen on SD and HD CNBS channels, is it correct?

- Have you noticed any other channels that get DRM-3 error? 

- Could you please let me know the approximate time and date when the last error occurred? 

- By any chance, have you tried to stream CNBS on your PC or smartphone? Did you get any issues?

 

Something is definitely not quite right and I'm trying to get more information. My apologies for taking so much time for the research. 


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Contributor

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

Yeah, I thought I'd get an email notification of new responses to this string, but I don't seem to. I'll have to check on that; I use Outlook on the web (OTW), which frankly has been darn unreliable in dealing with non-Outlook emails. Apparently my comcast emails are no longer getting picked up by OTW. I'll try to figure that out now. Comcast is not my primary email account; I use "****@live.com" for that. You can email me there if you want.

 

Anyway: to answer you questions: First, I've been using the Roku all day today tuned in to CNBC (channel 746 on my local comcast/xfinity). I haven't received the DRM-3 error once today. Perhaps something changed in the past week or so?

 

But, when I was encountering the error: yes, on it occurred on both SD and HD versions of the CNBC channel (even the version that is on channel 1121... which is identical to the 746 channel... not sure why those redundant channels even exist up there over 1000... they all seem redundant to channels in the 600's and 700s... why chew up the bandwidth with redundancy? Curious....).

 

Anyway, back on topic: I don't watch much of anything else, so no: I can't say if other channels give the error as often as I encountered it on CNBC. But what few times I did try other channels, I didn't encounter the error. It seemed to be latent in the CNBC stream, and no others. I have watched CNBC on my Android tablet several times over the past month, and have NOT encountered the error, but I don't watch it for hours on end on my tablets.

 

I don't watch that station on my PC (I watch specific stocks and make trades on my PC, and use two monitors, so it would diminish my market and stock tracking and trading to watch TV over my PC...that's why I bought the Roku), so I can't speak to the PC. I never have a problem with any of the comcast set-top boxes, of course. Those work fine, and I do watch CNBC on those.

 

Anyway: I appreciate your researching the problem at all! As I mentioned, I hope my reports help you resolve a possible issue - I can live with the problem; after all, this IS a beta. I get that. I just hope it points you in the direction of a possible issue that could be effecting other streams besides CNBC.


S

Contributor

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

Hey, I just checked both my comcast email and my OTW, and I am getting comcast emails in OTW (it won't remove them from the server once an email is cross-loaded over to OTW, but at least I am receiving them).  I don't see any notifications from this forum that a response has been written to the base string. This time I checked the "Email me when someone replies" box, which I might have missed earlier - so now, maybe I'll get an email.

Official Employee

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

Thank you so much for the provided information! I edited your post and removed the personal email, just in case. These forums are open for a public view.

At this point, I don't have any valuable information. I was able to find out, that DRM-3 error message is a generic playback error; unfortunately, nothing specific. The good thing, I was able to pass along the details to the engineering team, so they are aware.  

 

 Glad to hear that you have not received any errors today, I hope you are not going to get any again. If I get any additional information - I will definitely let you know. And I want to thank you for all your help and assistance,  I really appreciate it. Please let me know if you get this error message again, so I can update the engineering team.  


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Contributor

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped


ComcastElla wrote:

Thank you so much for the provided information! I edited your post and removed the personal email, just in case. These forums are open for a public view.

At this point, I don't have any valuable information. I was able to find out, that DRM-3 error message is a generic playback error; unfortunately, nothing specific. The good thing, I was able to pass along the details to the engineering team, so they are aware.  

 

 Glad to hear that you have not received any errors today, I hope you are not going to get any again. If I get any additional information - I will definitely let you know. And I want to thank you for all your help and assistance,  I really appreciate it. Please let me know if you get this error message again, so I can update the engineering team.  



I let it run overnight and it did NOT get the error. Still running all morning, no error - total maybe 18-20 hours.

 

Also, not getting a notification when you respond, even though I checked "Email me when someone replies". 

 

Gotta love those spurious errors.... *sigh* Having run a software company myself and dealt with angry users with massive tempers, I can sympathize with the frustration. Hope all this helps. If I start getting the error again, I'll post here.


S

Official Employee

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

Did you check the email at my.xfinity.com or via OTW? Any information about the Roku App is very helpful at this moment, so please feel free to update this post with the new details.  


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Contributor

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

I did receive a notification for these last couple replies. I'll keep checking in regardless.

 

Update: I let the Roku run continuously now for several consecutive days, including overnight, and the error hasn't appeared in at least 4 days of continuous streaming of CNBC. Love those spurious, impossible to replicate errors, right? Or perhaps, the better way to view it: love those errors that fix themselves. 

 

I will post here again if it comes back. The Roku worked fine for me for several weeks before this error first starting appearing, the error appeared quite frequently for over a nearly 2 week period, and now it's gone again. Poltergeists in the stream.... *sigh*


S

Contributor

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

Well... you'll be interested in this. As noted above, I left it running for a good 4 days or so and did not see the DRM-3 error. When I started paying attention to the video (mostly I just listen to the audio narrative and only occassionally watch the visuals when watching CNBC), I realized the audio was a good 15 seconds behind the images.

 

Perhaps there is some kind of "audio sync slippage" that accrues over continuous hours of viewing. So I backed out to the guide, immediately re-selected CNBC, and the audio was completely in-sync.

 

I'll try some more testing and update you here. Interesting side effect. I'll let it run over the weekend and see if, on Monday, it's out of sync again.


S

Contributor

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

I let it run on the local Fox affiliate (which was broadcasting the US Open) over the weekend, and on Monday morning, the audio-sync creep was a good 10 seconds (i.e., audio was about 10s behind the video).

Contributor

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

Changed channels to CNBC this morning (Monday), and the DRM-3 error is back. It comes up about every 10-20m or so, same behavior as previously reported above.

Official Employee

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

Thank you so much for the updates, steveschu. I will escalate this issue further. Hopefully, we will find the cause. I would think that there is an issue with RF signals, especially after you've mentioned that audio is not in sync. But in that case, it would cause issues for all cable boxes and internet connectivity as well. I will follow up with you as soon as I get an update. 

 

Thank you so much for your patience and assistance!


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Contributor

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

Glad to help. It is, after all, a beta. Just glad y'all are working to support other set-top boxes. Please keep it up!

 

 

One more idiosyncrasy of this: when the DRM-3 error gets displayed, the video keeps playing for a few seconds after the error is displayed before the whole thing bombs (but it does return me to the guide with that program selected; the app doesn't crash completely back out to the OS). Most of the screen goes black with a borderless black window that fills most of the screen, blocking out most of the video, but you can still see and hear the video in the border behind the unframed black window for maybe 5 secs or so before everything stops.

 

That makes me think the error gets captured some point early in the stream decoding (the Roku Express isn't exactly a processing powerhouse), but the rendering thread keeps cooking until the buffer runs out. Hope that helps, too.

 

I presume the DRM-3 is "digital rights management" and some blip in the stream makes the decode/render think this is an illegal stream. I'm sure THAT is fun code to fiddle with...

 

FYI: I also use a very cheap Windows 10 PC on a TV sometimes, and I have noticed that your video codec is quite a bit less efficient than, say, Amazon Video and Netflix. When watching Amazon and Netflix video on my tiny little PC, the frame rate appears near-perfect 30fps most of the time, with no perceptible frames dropped. But Comcast video on the same PC on the same wired or wireless connection, drops quite a few frames very consistently; maybe 10-20fps or even less. Very choppy rendering. FYI: it doesn't matter what my connection's bandwidth is: >30Mbs or as slow as a 5Mbs connection, Netflix and Amazon are fine, Comcast is choppy, rendering video on the same computer. (I test my connection speed regularly, and am slightly AR about that).

 

Whatever compression/codec you're using, it is not as efficient as those guys. Or perhaps its your server. Either way, you should know.



Contributor

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

Looks like you have a new version of the app; the "*" (asterisk) button the remote to enter a specific channel number now has new functionality to include filtering channels, enter channel by name, etc. The DRM-3 error is still there... perhaps even worse than it was. All day today it fails within 5m or so of watching CNBC (channel 746 in Denver). Watching the show recorded with a few seconds delay does not generate the DRM-3 error. FYI.

Official Employee

Re: Roku Express - Stream TV - Live channel gets dropped

You are correct, the new version V2.1 of Roku Beta app has been launched on 6/22. I escalated your issue to our tech support team, they tried to contact you on Friday. I sent you a private message with the phone and ticket number, I would greatly appreciate if you contact them back. 


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