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View Full Version : UK ISP Plus.net, Squeeze 7.4 and BBC Radio - anyone?



ModelCitizen
2009-09-30, 02:04
I'm desperate. Any help very much appreciated.

If anyone reads this who uses the UK ISP Plus.net (famous for their bandwidth shaping techniques) I'd be very, very appreciative if they'd select a few stations from the BBC App (install from App Gallery) and let me know if they play every time reliably.

I receive a mixture of "No item found in playlist", buffering stopping at 10%, no sound, and les than half the time a correctly playing radio station.

Background to this request:

Plus.net bandwidth shaping seem to be OK for the mass of users but users of less popular services (like streaming BBC Radio to a Squeezebox) can fall foul of their bandwidth shaping hardware. I've had problems with this before with the iPlayer plugin. In the end I had to install a program (Wireshark) that displayed the streaming packet data so I could prove to Plusnet that it was their shaping that destroyed the stream. To their credit they then sorted out the problem within 3 days.

For me BBC Radio screws up far too often (in the scheme of things) and it is always very time consuming to figure out whether the the problem is with the BBC, Squeeze code or my ISP. I have spent, and continue to spend, far too much time attempting to keep the system running.

Thanks

MC

DigitalMitch
2009-09-30, 07:30
I'm also on Plusnet in the UK and just installed 7.4 (WHS version) to my HP Mediasmart. I think I had two plug-ins predating this (BBC iPlayer and Alien BBC)

I'm happy to test and report on my experience, but I'm confused as to which BBC route to use (!)

Selecting on my SB3 via IR, but using SBC purely for viewing Now Playing, I have run through the following
Squeezebox Home\Internet Radio\Local\National Networks\BBC\Stations (11)BBC Radio 1 (London, united Kingdom)
This played first time just now (15:02 BST), displays radio1 logo, show is listed as "Radio 1's Early Breakfast Show" then "BBC radio 1 98.8. BBC Radio 1 (london, United Kingdom)", 8 minutes uninterrupted, then tried:-
Squeezebox Home\Internet Radio\BBC iPlayer\Listen Live\BBC Radio 1
This played first time just now (15:13 BST), displays different radio1 logo, show is listed as "BBC Radio 1", 2 minutes uninterrupted, then tried:-
Squeezebox Home\Internet Radio\Alien BBC\BBC Live Streams\Radio 1 Live
Long delay with SBC showing 'Fetching Track details' for about 20 seconds and SB3 showing Radio 1 live. SB3 lapsed time remains at 0:00. SBC moves to display Radio 1 Live (twice) and elapsed time incrementing to about 30 seconds and then restting repeatedly. No sound. SBC shows generic radio logo.
The installed BBC radio app from app gallery (my first app install but last.fm, previously a plug-in, was already there) and immediately tried:-
Squeezebox Home\My Apps\BBC\BBC Radio 1
This came up quickly (<2/3 seconds), on SB3 showing 'Now PLaying BBC Radio 1 by BBC' and SBC showing "BBC Radio 1" and on next line "BBC.BBC Radio 1" and the generic radio station icon. This has run effectively for 4 minutes.

I then repeated the exercise from the SBC (to check consistency in menus) and had same result for first three methods. The App then went 'fetching track details', 'Buffering 10%' and stalled there, with SBC elapsed time incrementing, but resetting to zero occasionally (e.g. when SBC went to screen saver and had to be shook awake).

I experienced the 10% rebuffering problem yesterday when I was using the penultimate beta from my desktop whilst I installed the production version to my WHS, but didn't note which route I used (except to say there were no apps on that).

I'll try and repeat test tomorrow to gather more data.

bpa
2009-09-30, 08:01
The RadioTime feeds ("\Local\National Networks") is relayed through the US and the AlienBBC is RealAudio - so neither of these will help ModelCitizen problems who wants to test direct WMA streams direct from BBC.

Unless you have disabled AAC and MP3 type in BBCiplayer plugin settings - the BBCiPlayer plugin will not use WMA.



1. Install BBC from under Radio Networks from the App gallery.
2. Install RadioFeeds from under Radio Networks from the App Gallery

Choose BBC stations for these Apps should use direct WMA streams.

DigitalMitch
2009-10-01, 03:20
Okay, I understand a bit more, packing for trip now but will install new apps and repeat tests next week.

Mitch

ModelCitizen
2009-10-05, 01:38
This morning at 6.30am I could get any BBC Radio feeds via my Logitech Squeeze devices or Window Media Player using the normal asx streams (listed below) or the iPlayer high quality ones. This is the worse this problem has ever been. Normally I can get one radio station (excepting the almost always reliable Word Service) if I try hard enough (usually via the iPLayer high quality live streams). The error received is:

"Error: No items found in Playlist" (even on the occasions when a stream connects this error often flashes up mometarily).

Unfortunately attempting to diagnose the problem is made difficult by the the various services involved. It might even be that the true problem is due to a combination of the factors below:

1) ISP. MY ISP, the UK's Plusnet performs heavy (intelligent?) bandwidth shaping that has caused me issue with my Squeeze devices and BBC feeds in the past. In the small testing I've done I have not experienced (as yet) the same errors conecting via UK ISP Nildram.
2) BBC playlists - they are quite complicated (and UK specific), listing multiple stream in any one playlist.
3) Squeezebox interpretation of these playlist (it's possible that the Squeeze devices have worse problems than Windows media Player for instance).
4) BBC data transit paths (internet routing), reliance on third parties and peering relationships (again complicated and stuff I don't really understand).

As the way that the BBC delivers their playlists is country specific, i.e. the UK receives different streams from the rest of the world, the problem can only be properly looked into by someone connecting to the Internet via a UK IP address (which rules out all the Logitech developers afaik). If (as I suspect) the problem is (at the least) exabberated by the PlusNet bandwidth shaping them this makes things even tougher to work out.

If anyone could supply any input I'd appreciate it. These are the things that might help:

1) Anyone who uses UK ISP Plusnet and listens to the BBC streams below via their Squeeze devices. Escpecially useful would be someone who has simultaneous access to Plusnet and another UK ISP.
2) Someone to tell me what Squeeze debugging option to turn on to log the SqueezeServer connection to the BBC streams
3) Anyone from the UK who can open one of the playlists below (preferably Radio 4) to reveal its contents (and paste in this thread)
4) Anyone who uses the BBC streams listed below from a UK ISP very frequently (and expecially before 8.00am, as I am almost certain the problem is worse between 6.30 and and 8.00am)

Here are the playlists in question (I am going to ignore the iPlayer high quality live streams for the moment so as to not muddy the waters. They also seem a bit less problematic).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/listen/live/r1.asx
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/listen/live/r2.asx
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/listen/live/r3.asx
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/listen/live/r4.asx
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/listen/live/r5l.asx
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/listen/live/r6.asx
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/listen/live/r7.asx

Any help appreciated, especially from any Plusnet users who have simultaneous access to other UK ISPs (as I am becoming more and more convinced that Plusnet is a big factor in this problem).

Thanks for reading this.

MC

bpa
2009-10-05, 01:57
It may be coincidence but another BBciPlayer user has posted a message about getting the "Error- Item not found in playlist." message on a local radio stream.

I have seen this message happen with some security software which buffered up http responses to examine them but some chunks of http were left in the security s/w buffers presumably waiting for another read. Have you tried turning off security s/w to see if it makes a difference.

ModelCitizen
2009-10-05, 03:18
Hi Bryan,

I have had this problem whilst running two different AV progs, Eset's NOD32 and Kaspersky. Just now I tried the Radio 4 ASX stream using Windows Media Player with Kaspersky turned off. Still no connection. I am currently VPN'ed into my work machine from home so tried that too. At work we have a Nildram feed (and also use Kaspersky now). The stream connected fine from work. I am becoming convinced that Plusnet is a large part of the problem (if not all of it) and have left a post in their forums:

http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,79767.0.html

As an aside, I could get none of the AAC feeds at 6.30am this morning either. After 8.00am (i.e. at the time Plusnet change the characteristics of their bandwidth shaping) the feeds returned. ASX streanms however, have continued to be flaky (mostly non-existent) all day so far.

Can you point me towards the other guy who is having a problem? I'd like to swap notes with him (and see if he's on Plusnet too).

BTW. BT bought Plusnet some time ago.

Thanks

MC

ModelCitizen
2009-10-06, 11:25
I'm sort of slightly embarrassed that it has never crossed my mind that the problem above could be caused by my main PC (the one hosting Squeezebox Server), but it looks like it might be.

At this moment I can not get any BBC ASX streams to play via Windows Media Player on my my main home machine or on any of my SlimDevices via Squeezebox Server also hosted on this machine.

However, using my laptop, attached wirelessly to the same router and on the same network, Windows Media Player can play all ther BBC ASX WMA feeds. What's more I've now installed Squeezebox server on the laptop and all my SlimDevices will play the BBC streams fine, as long as they are attached to my laptop Squeezebox server and not my main PC Squeezebox Server.

I'm sure that here must be some sort of simple explanation why neither WMP or my slimdevices can play the BBC streams via my main PC but they can via my laptop. But I can't see what it is.

What could be wrong with my PC? Might turning on any SBS logging help me figure out what it is? If so, which logging. Othwerwise what might I look at in my PC?

Any help appreciated.

MC

bpa
2009-10-06, 12:47
Some security s/w still interfere with network streams even when disabled - I find definitive test is when the security s/w is uninstalled.

There are few possible sources of the problem such as DNS, HTTP for ASX or buffering the audio. A reasonable test to see what is happening during connection is to use mplayer from a command lineas follows.

mplayer -v -playlist http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/listen/live/r4.asx

It should give a log of what is happening as attached and may indicate which phase is causing the problem.

ModelCitizen
2009-10-06, 14:29
Cheers for this. I installed mplayer and entered the string. It played BBC Radio 4 just fine... whilst WPM and SBS would not.

I don't know what to make of the log. There are errors, but mostly they look inconsequential to me (missing bitmap files where you'd not excpect to have them anyway etc), apart from the last one... which gives me the impression all failed... but as I was hearing Radio 4 loud and clear at the time this was not the case.

I quit the stream.

I know it's a lot to ask and I'm sorry to ask, but I'd be very grateful if you'd give the log a quick scan and see if anything jumps out at you.

MC

bpa
2009-10-06, 14:37
mplayer ingores most of the HTTP header info and tries to play a stream by processing the byte stream so sometimes it tests a lot of choices which fail before it gets it right - it makes mplayer very flexible.

This sort of implies that the http headers being returned from BBC are being interfered with - so I still suspect security s/w.

I think you should turn on BBCiPlayer logging - there are two log variables - set both of them to DEBUG and then try to play a live stream.

ModelCitizen
2009-10-07, 02:08
Unfortunately(?) the iPlayer streams work at the moment (even all but Radio 2 of the ASX streams worked this morning!). I've attached the log file for what it's worth.

Are there any useful debugging options for the ASX WMA streams?

I'm going to entirely uninstall Kaspersky Anti-Virus later today (after I've done some work!) and see if that helps.

Cheers.

MC

goharbourview123
2009-10-07, 02:22
Hi ModelCitizen

Not sure if I'm the user bpa is referring to who had similar problems with BBC .asx streams when launched from Squeezecenter (as it was then), but which were OK on SqueezeNetwork (as it was then). Anyway just in case this might help, here's how I got my Kaspersky a/v software to stop interfering:

I use Kapersky for Windows Workstations (version 6.0.3.387) and had previously set up firewall exceptions for squeezecenter.exe as per the Squeezebox user manual, but this doesn't seem to cover everything:

a) Open the Kaspersky interface (by clicking the icon in the system tray if there, or from the Windows Start Menu)

b) Click on the "Settings" green tick

c) Highlight the "Protection" branch at the top of the menu tree in the left pane. In the right pane click on the "Trusted zone..." button.

d) Add squeezecenter.exe (now squeezesvr.exe) in the "Trusted applications" tab, and configure Kaspersky to "Do not scan all network traffic at any remote host and at any remote port". Click "OK", then "Apply"

Hope this helps

ModelCitizen
2009-10-09, 01:58
Well, a big thanks to you both for this.

goharbourview123. The Kasperskyy AntiVirus I had installed (latest edition?) appears different from yours. "Trusted Zone" is in a different place and the "Do not scan all network traffic at any remote host and at any remote port" setting does not seem to exist. However, I made what seemed to be the equivalent settings but still no joy. Previously I had stopped Kaspersky AntiVirus and BBC Radio ASX playlist WMA streams still did not work, so I decided to uninstall it completely.

I left it out for two days and the BBC streams worked perfectly in all that time.

I've now dumped Kaspersky AntiVirus and installed the free Avast which, although it speaks to me loudly and has horrible tray icons, leaves the BBC streams working in peace.

So I am a happy (if slightly embarrassed) bunny.

Again. Thanks for all your help with this (esp the ever-patient bpa).

I don't think anyone who uses the Squeezebox stuff should bother with the Kaspersky AntiVirus product. Flaky, inconsistent, unreliable and far too much trouble.

MC

bpa
2009-10-09, 02:16
I'm glad that you got your problem sorted after all the effort you put in - many users just give up.

Your experience confirms my belief that uninstalling is the only way to definitively test whether security software is causing a problem - disabling/turning off is not conclusive.

funkstar
2009-10-09, 03:58
I've now dumped Kaspersky AntiVirus and installed the free Avast which, although it speaks to me loudly and has horrible tray icons, leaves the BBC streams working in peace.

Right click on 'a' icon -> Program Settings -> Sounds -> Disable avast! Sounds

Right click on 'a' icon -> Program Settings -> Appearance -> Show avast! Tray Icon

And for the blue sliding update box:
Right click on 'a' icon -> Program Settings -> Update (Basic) -> Details -> Update Options.

Avast! might not be the "best" AV for detection and security, but it is very well behaved, light weight, configurable and "just works". Never had an issue with it and I recommend it to people all the time.