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Author Topic: NTLive Satellite Issues
Geoff Power
Film Handler

Posts: 37
From: Pershore, Worcs, UK
Registered: Apr 2012


 - posted 10-16-2015 08:23 AM      Profile for Geoff Power     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Are we the only ones having problems with live satellite feeds, specifically from National Theatre Live in the UK? We've run many live shows from ROH, Bolshoi etc with relatively few problems, but over the past year we have suffered many receiver crashes with NTLive. Our equipment supplier identified a potential issue with our older receiver (we run two, one as a back-up and to ensure we get a good recording for a re-run). So, this week we replaced the "old" set with a newer Technomate model just in time for the Hamlet show last night. 2 hours in, and the second set jittered, then froze and reported "No or Bad Signal" exactly as the other one used to. Fortunately I had the new set running in parallel from a dual LNB on the same dish, and quickly switched to that, while the other set crashed repeatedly for the rest of the play. It seems really weird that our No 2 set "inherited" the same problem immediately the old set was replaced.

Enquiries by our supplier to CreativeBroadcasts (who provide the feeds for NTL) confirmed that in providing 4K streams for some customers "they have increased the data rate from 448 to 640 Kbps, and as the audio is locked to vision with Dolby E it has a knock on effect". They blame us for having old equipment ... though they never warned anyone there might be a problem following their change.

So, is it just us having these problems? And does anyone know a solution?

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Kevin Markwick
Film Handler

Posts: 43
From: Uckfield East Sussex England
Registered: Sep 2004


 - posted 10-16-2015 11:05 AM      Profile for Kevin Markwick   Author's Homepage   Email Kevin Markwick   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This is worrying. We had no problems last night using the LanSat receiver. I did a back up recording on my Icecrypt and will have a look to see if that encountered any of what you describe.

The test on Tuesday was definitely flaky via LanSat, this was apparently down to Russian subtitles switching on and off. This is only hearsay though.

What were your "old" receivers?

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Geoff Power
Film Handler

Posts: 37
From: Pershore, Worcs, UK
Registered: Apr 2012


 - posted 10-16-2015 11:15 AM      Profile for Geoff Power     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
All 3 receivers are Technomate, but different models - I don't know the numbers.

I'm sure you'd know if you had the same problem (assuming you had a live audience) as the crashes were very obvious. It must be a firmware or hardware issue our end as there was nothing on the blog. One theory is the higher data rate with these broadcasts causing the internal processors to overload or overheat.

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Steve Moore
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 198
From: Leeds, West Yorks, UK
Registered: Apr 2008


 - posted 10-16-2015 11:41 AM      Profile for Steve Moore   Email Steve Moore   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We too, in Leeds had issues with NT breaking up during the test period, and this was the first time I'd had satellite issues. I discovered that the setting they sent for Humax, that I use, said that polarisation was to be auto, however for any other brand it should be vertical. I deleted and retuned with the same parameters and set for vertical and then not a problem at all. I'm not sure if this is anything at all to do with your issue. It could be if your box is old that the PSU is going or the LNB is packing up, but if you say it's fine for any other show then perhaps not? Can you get other channels ok? I presume you are using intelsat 10-02 too? It might be worth you looking up something like a second hand Humax Foxsat HDR as they go quite cheap on ebay and might be worth having as a backup anyway?

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Kevin Markwick
Film Handler

Posts: 43
From: Uckfield East Sussex England
Registered: Sep 2004


 - posted 10-16-2015 12:17 PM      Profile for Kevin Markwick   Author's Homepage   Email Kevin Markwick   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Geoff I wasn't monitoring the Icecrypt recording as it was not playing out live, it is simply a back up recording.

We play out from the LanSat box and because we showed it in multiple screens, we streamed it to the others HDMI over cat5.

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Geoff Power
Film Handler

Posts: 37
From: Pershore, Worcs, UK
Registered: Apr 2012


 - posted 10-16-2015 12:41 PM      Profile for Geoff Power     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks Steve - that's given us a possible clue worth trying, as when we tune we do a "blind search" narrowed for frequency but with polarisation etc set to Auto. Whether that allows it to switch if it encounters a data glitch is debatable, but it otherwise fits with the symptoms of it regaining signal 5 minutes after each crash.
Yes, we do tune to IntelSat 10-02 and have had no problems with any other feeds than NTL (except when a pidgeon crashed into our LNB!).
Overheating or failing processors is another possibility though, especially if NTL are pushing the data load up.

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Steve R Pike
Film Handler

Posts: 47
From: Tewkesbury
Registered: Apr 2011


 - posted 10-17-2015 02:35 AM      Profile for Steve R Pike   Email Steve R Pike   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Geoff - greetings from down the road!!

We use to use Technomate receivers but they proved to be quite unreliable. They kept crashing. Also we had issues with recording as the external hard drive use to fail frequently. We now use icecrypt.

I had to record Thursday's NT as we had That'll be the Day rocking away on stage, we didn't get any issues - using an icecrypt. I saf and watched the whole live broadcast. I know that on Twitter there were a lot of upset customers complaining to NTL about poor sound and picture loss. They were all replied with "it's a local issue". I showed Hamlet as an encore screening last night with no issues, apart from one of the actors radio mics rubbing against their costume !

Those that have LANSat - what are your thoughts? We are having it installed on Monday.

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Geoff Newitt
Film Handler

Posts: 47
From: FARINGDON, OXFORDSHIRE, UK
Registered: Dec 2011


 - posted 10-30-2015 12:44 PM      Profile for Geoff Newitt   Email Geoff Newitt   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi

Sorry to come in on this a little late. I'm Head of Technical at Picturehouse Cinemas; our distribution arm Picturehouse Entertainment handles NT Live and provides support via Creative Broadcast Solutions. I've just been chatting with our Production Manager, who tells me that out of the 450+ host cinemas, the Technomate receivers are notably unreliable. In our own cinemas, we are now standardised on the Icecrypt receivers. I've heard good things about LANSat, but have no experience (long story...). It's also worth getting your dish and cable run checked out if it's been in place for a while; we've certainly had a few issues recently that have been down to these rather than the receivers.

I can't say that we're particularly aware that NT Live specifically causes more issues than other shows, I'll see if I can follow this up.

We're always happy to get feedback and share experience in the name of making everyone's show more reliable.

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Geoff Power
Film Handler

Posts: 37
From: Pershore, Worcs, UK
Registered: Apr 2012


 - posted 10-30-2015 03:05 PM      Profile for Geoff Power     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Many thanks for the info Geoff. Our supplier has checked all our kit repeatedly, but it's worrying to hear from 2 sources (you and Steve) that Technomate are unreliable. The mentions of Lansat come at a good time as we've just been offered a free install, including 18TB storage etc. I'd be very keen to get some feedback from anyone who's gone that route.

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Steve Moore
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 198
From: Leeds, West Yorks, UK
Registered: Apr 2008


 - posted 12-05-2015 12:42 PM      Profile for Steve Moore   Email Steve Moore   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Geoff (Power) I have just seen you said you had been offered a free lansat. I looked into this a few weeks back and was told the offer had ended. What route are you using to potentially get one? Regards, Steve.

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Geoff Power
Film Handler

Posts: 37
From: Pershore, Worcs, UK
Registered: Apr 2012


 - posted 12-05-2015 04:27 PM      Profile for Geoff Power     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Have PM'd you Steve as this may be commercially sensitive, but it's quite possible the offer has now lapsed.

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Geoff Power
Film Handler

Posts: 37
From: Pershore, Worcs, UK
Registered: Apr 2012


 - posted 12-06-2015 09:14 AM      Profile for Geoff Power     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Steve (further your PM) - I'm concerned that you had issues with the Mikado on the 3rd, because we recorded it for later viewing due to other commitments on the night. I did check the monitor from time to time but all appeared OK. Can you remember roughly at what time you had major issues, to save me having to spend 3 hours reviewing it? We might be able to get a DCP if ours suffered too.

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Pete Naples
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1543
From: Dunfermline, Scotland
Registered: Feb 2001


 - posted 12-07-2015 03:12 PM      Profile for Pete Naples   Email Pete Naples   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Geoff,

We've seen a lot of issues caused by localised interference. Difficult to prove, you need a satellite engineers with a decent spectrum analyser (not the simple signal meters they use to setup the dish).

Once you've proven the cause, it's even more difficult to track down the source sadly.

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