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  Reply # 1113563 22-Aug-2014 16:50
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Lightbox:
Lightbox:
PhantomNVD:
Does this mean Friday will be the last day it works, or the first day it WON'T work? Just checking 'cos Friday is our kids "movie night" and I'll need to download something from iTunes if L/box dies that night :)



We'll most likely take it down Friday afternoon, so you may have to look at other options this Friday. But next Friday, we'll have you sorted again.


A little update on this - we've now scheduled the take down for 11 PM tonight, so your kids can watch stuff tonight.


Thanks!

We watching it now and were just waiting to see it conk out and thinking how we could explain it to them :)


Thanks also for the updated menu dropping offscreen, and the improvement in skipping frames :)

(now for a mouse 'hide' so it doesn't need to be offscreen perhaps?)

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  Reply # 1113568 22-Aug-2014 17:04
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PhantomNVD:

(now for a mouse 'hide' so it doesn't need to be offscreen perhaps?)


That's done in our staging environment, so it'll be rolled out to production before we launch.




Lightbox - we are online TV.

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  Reply # 1116101 26-Aug-2014 20:43
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I have subscribed to the new Lightbox service but was not enrolled in the beta testing.  I have read through all the postings on this topic but no where did I see a discussion on how the service is going to work for those of us with slow broadband service, in other words those with less than 5 Mbps.  I downloaded Silverlight and tried their demo videos and sure enough the video plays then stops for buffering then plays then stops ..etc.  Clearly that is not going to be acceptable.

I could not find anywhere in Silverlight the option to either increase the buffering amount or some sort of DVR function where I can download the video and watch it after it has been completely downloaded.  It would seem to me that given the level of encryption available that Silverlight could save the video to avoid the start and stop disruptions.  Also, it would be a lot better if we could download during non-peak hours (e.g, between 2am and 5am) to take advantage of higher data rates during those hours.

Using iTunes I was able to select a video, download it during the early morning hours to my IPad and watch it whenever I wanted.  So I know it is possible to do these things.

So I guess my question here is, a) does Lightbox have some sort of mechanism for dealing with slower ADSL lines, and b) does Lightbox have the ability to download during off peak hours and be watched later.

Seems like both of these features would help to manage the overall loading on the internet when thousands of users begin to watch Lightbox.

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  Reply # 1116109 26-Aug-2014 21:02
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CraigY: I have subscribed to the new Lightbox service but was not enrolled in the beta testing.  I have read through all the postings on this topic but no where did I see a discussion on how the service is going to work for those of us with slow broadband service, in other words those with less than 5 Mbps.  I downloaded Silverlight and tried their demo videos and sure enough the video plays then stops for buffering then plays then stops ..etc.  Clearly that is not going to be acceptable.

I could not find anywhere in Silverlight the option to either increase the buffering amount or some sort of DVR function where I can download the video and watch it after it has been completely downloaded.  It would seem to me that given the level of encryption available that Silverlight could save the video to avoid the start and stop disruptions.  Also, it would be a lot better if we could download during non-peak hours (e.g, between 2am and 5am) to take advantage of higher data rates during those hours.

Using iTunes I was able to select a video, download it during the early morning hours to my IPad and watch it whenever I wanted.  So I know it is possible to do these things.

So I guess my question here is, a) does Lightbox have some sort of mechanism for dealing with slower ADSL lines, and b) does Lightbox have the ability to download during off peak hours and be watched later.

Seems like both of these features would help to manage the overall loading on the internet when thousands of users begin to watch Lightbox.


As a 1mb/s rural adsl Lightbox beta trialist I can say both iPad and PC stuttered and buffered heavily for all lifelike video, but cartoons for kids rarely did. I asked several times about buffers being increased, as Netflix allows a 5min buffer, and my videos from there rarely stopped to buffer once I'd let that 'pre-buffer' fill.

I was told that the downscaling goes as far as 360p (maybe cartoons are only 240p anyway?) and that the buffer limits are set by he content providers, who are wary about how much content resides on the end-user machine (as if I could get it off an iPad, or COULDN'T just as easily download it directly from an unpaid source!?)

Best bet if your link is iffy like mine will be to sign up to the free 30-day trial and see how you go personally?

I feel they see heading in the right direction, but may need a wider client base (like us with slower internet) before addressing these 'niche' issues :)

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  Reply # 1116129 26-Aug-2014 21:28
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It is no wonder that users are forced to find alternative ways when they prefer to do it legally.  Take music for example.  In the early days we used to download music from many sources to offset the problem of getting the music you wanted.  For most of us it was not that we wouldn't pay for it if made available locally, it is just that NZ was too small to support huge music stores in every small town.  Instead of being leaders into the new digital age, the record companies just complained about the illegal downloading and raiding the odd user.

Today of course that has all been resolved by the likes of iTunes and Spotify.  For reasonable prices (especially Spotify) you can listen to all the music you want .. and it is legal.

Now we enter the video age.  The problem again is not getting the content so we go to illegal means (or legal but around the backdoor) to download or view content.  So in comes Lightbox and Silverlight which is great for a few viewers with fast speed, but is of no use to the majority of us who do not have those speeds.  Watching those videos will be like the old days of listening to MP3 music over 9600 baud links (remember those days) .. with all the gaps, a 3 minute song took 15 minutes to play.  I think we are back to square one again with video.

The first company to provide a video service which can provide HD quality material at any data rate (just have to wait longer or schedule if your speed is not fast) will be the one adopted by the masses.  If Lightbox doesn't do this then maybe the upcoming NetFlix or Sky TV (maybe they are listening).  Someone will and then the others will wonder why they lost all their business.  Was kind of hoping though that "Spark" was going to be more forward thinking on this .. looks like it is still the same old Telecom.  I hope I'm proven wrong.


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  Reply # 1116132 26-Aug-2014 21:32
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CraigY: So in comes Lightbox and Silverlight which is great for a few viewers with fast speed, but is of no use to the majority of us who do not have those speeds. 




What are you on about? 90% of the people with a copper line can get at least 10Mbps.
http://www.chorus.co.nz/benchmarking/new-zealand-s-broadband-story'


Anyway the Lightbox streaming goes down to 600kBps if necessary.

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  Reply # 1116140 26-Aug-2014 21:54
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Sorry, I meant the majority of us with slow speed access not the majority of users in NZ. Am I correct that at those slow speeds the quality is low? Why can't we have HD quality but have to wait longer for it then have to give up quality for real time? Seems like those days are now behind us.

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  Reply # 1116163 26-Aug-2014 22:56
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DarkShadow:
CraigY: So in comes Lightbox and Silverlight which is great for a few viewers with fast speed, but is of no use to the majority of us who do not have those speeds. 




What are you on about? 90% of the people with a copper line can get at least 10Mbps.
http://www.chorus.co.nz/benchmarking/new-zealand-s-broadband-story'


Anyway the Lightbox streaming goes down to 600kBps if necessary.


From the beta user thread, page 7
Lightbox:
PhantomNVD:
StarBlazer:
So back to the question, does the video buffer in packets and if so what length?  I would have thought if I had received a video block, regardless of how long it took to arrive, it should still play smoothly - is this wrong?

Thanks


Andif it buffers, can the buffer be set to allow more locally cached content please?

Netflix seems to allow 5 minutes to be locally cached, and this DEFINITELY helps to even out occasional 'blips' that happen when streaming on a lower-than-optimal speeds (like my 1mb/s) or slightly flakey copper (most rural connections), and would ALSO help the niche clients (GZ'ers and their families) who have done VPN or DNS geo-evasion at the router or device level?

Please also post the levels that the downscaling is done at (e.g. 240p/360p/480p/720p/1080p like youtube, or some other stepping progression?


Adaptive streaming works by serving up small segments of the video, constantly adjusting the bitrate from one segment to the next. Segments are sensitive to packet loss and bad connections, like any traffic over the open internet. 

I can't off the top of my head tell you what our video buffer is, but it's pretty strictly mandated from content providers, who are wary of actual files residing on customer hardware. I'll check into it, though.

Our formats run across 1080p/720p/360p as the bandwidth degrades.

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  Reply # 1116187 27-Aug-2014 04:18
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I can understand why content providers would be concerned about storing material on a users HDD but buffering is normally done using RAM. 8 GB of memory is common today. When I run Silverlight on Windows 7 I am usually using 2 GB of memory leaving 6 available. A HD TV show is about 650 MB in MP4 format so it would easily fit in The available RAM. RAM is much harder to capture than a file on the HDD because it is volatile. And I am sure that if Microsoft only hires the best IT people then it can easily design Silverlight to buffer this content in RAM and satisfy the content providers.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1116376 27-Aug-2014 11:50
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Any idea if prezzy cards will work on the service? I'm guessing not as there's little to stop you using a card with no credit just to use the trial..

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  Reply # 1116392 27-Aug-2014 11:57
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CraigY: I can understand why content providers would be concerned about storing material on a users HDD but buffering is normally done using RAM. 8 GB of memory is common today. When I run Silverlight on Windows 7 I am usually using 2 GB of memory leaving 6 available. 


Actually, I'd imagine that most people won't be using the 64-bit Silverlight plugin* so the maximum RAM the plugin could address would be 4GB. So in the scenario above, you'd only have 2GB available for buffering.


* because this is only available in IE8+ (64 bit) and I don't know many (any?) people who use 64bit browsers in any case.


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  Reply # 1116393 27-Aug-2014 12:00
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loceff13: Any idea if prezzy cards will work on the service? I'm guessing not as there's little to stop you using a card with no credit just to use the trial..


pretty sure prezzie cards just look like normal credit cards to payment gateways.  So, I would assume it would work.


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  Reply # 1116524 27-Aug-2014 14:18
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Assuming 265 MB = 1 hour using MP4 HD then a buffering of say 5 minutes is only 22MB .. I would think any PC and browser today has 22MB of RAM available.

The other thing about increasing buffering is usually it operates as a First In First Out queue (or circular buffer) which means there are only two ways someone could 'copy' the content, a) snapshot the encrypted buffers each minute or so and then stitch it all together later, and b) capture a single buffer as it fills in.  With (a) this seems an awful lot of work just to illegally record a video because not only do you have to find the buffers and capture them but you also have to decrypt them and stitch it all back together .. just not worth it.  And for (b) if your going to do that, it is a lot easier to just capture the HDMI signal going to the TV and record it, again, for most people just not worth it.  So I don't see why the PC (which I assume you need Silverlight to watch the video) cannot increase the buffer time and maintain the quality.  I know the reason for it is because of the content providers, but like the early days of music downloads, I think they don't understand the technology.  Oh well, I guess we will see over the next few months how this all works out.

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  Reply # 1116575 27-Aug-2014 15:18
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trig42:
reven:
syousif: is Lightbox at $15 worth it? would you still keep Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Instant/prime?


Personally I think its worth trying for that, only time will tell if the content is kept fresh and how delayed it is.   If they do get new content, hopefully as it airs, or 1 day after the US.  then absolutely.

also they need to support more devices for playback.   I don't think I'll actually subscribe until I can watch without using a computer (and no I don't have any apple products so airplay is useless, chromecast would be a temporary solution, need to access easily via a remote).

and I'll keep netflix, havent used hulu in ages due to lack of content + ads.

I think it is a good start.
I will be keeping Netflix for the time being (main reason is that I bought a year of UnoTelly using the Geekzone discount code).
Once Lightbox gets SmartTV support, I will re-evaluate, and at the price, I'd probably sign up (even better if there is a Spark customer discount). Compared to Netflix (which we access from AppleTV) Airplay from the iPad is not Wife-Friendly enough, and there is no way we are watching TV on a laptop/PC or connecting either to the AV system.

Agree with reven on Hulu+, cancelled that subscription months ago for the same reasons.

I also recently cancelled Hulu+ for the same reasons. I'll definitely sign up for the 30 day trial and will more than likely stay on as a subscriber but will also keep Netflix as they have a good range of movies. If/when the day comes when Lightbox adds movies, I'll review my Netflix subscription.

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  Reply # 1116589 27-Aug-2014 15:35
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NonprayingMantis: I'll be keeping both Netflix and Lightbox, and finally ditching sky.

Netflix, (ironically) for me, just isn't wife friendly enough - she gets too confused by having to sometimes reset the IP address with unblock-us, search through mountains and mountains of terrible content to find what she likes, and she doesn't like using remote controls at all (even the apple tv remote)

She loves using the Lightbox ipad app to select the content, then a single button push to send it to airplay and she is done.  For her, that is easier than using a native app (bizarre I know, but there you go).   The content range on Lighbox also doesn't have thousands of hours of rubbish, whereas Netflix does.
It all seems good quality, so its actually a lot easier for her to find something she likes.

And there is also some content on Lightbox that Netflix doesn't have - Homeland, Vikings are two I have noticed.

My wife was confused about the IP address update part as well so I've set up the UnoTelly IP update as a browser bookmark she can just click and she's more than happy with that. Outlander is another series Netflix doesn't stream.

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