Giant Bomb Streaming Reliability

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#1 Edited by MookalHoys (60 posts) -

Giant Bomb Staff,

I write this out of long term frustration, not of contempt or ill-will. I understand there are other threads regarding this subject, however I found that I must voice my opinion specifically. I apologize upfront if I come across as an under-appreciative d-bag, let alone a long winded one.

The streaming reliability and quality of Gianbomb.com is hot garbage. Live, or archived premium content, it's just barely functional. Low/High/HD. It doesn't matter. This isn't bitrate, it's just terrible reliability.

You know this; it's been discussed time over time in the forums. Poor Rorie and Wcarle, they get the brunt of it and the limited Eng staff; I get it, you can only do so much and I feel bad bringing it up yet again. Blame Akimai, blame CDN's, blame pixies in the internet tubes. But it only goes so far.

The paid service you provide is crap, notwithstanding the amazing content.

No, it's not a personal affection. You should know this is a commonplace issue across your viewership.

/start blah blah ha

For what it's worth personally, with 150Mbps down on Comcast, ~140 via Cat6 (DOCSIS3.1 TPLink router running OpenWrt, stock for 6 months prior), dropping to roughly ~120Mbps over wifi, via my PC, across 4 Android devices (all supporting >100mbps) of varying OS version and platform (stock, AOSP, Lineage), running Chrome, Firefox, a third party stream application such as the Giant Bomb Video Buddy, also an iOS device. I've tried different DNS's, even firing up a VPN. As well as stream and speed tests at friends homes with varying equipment/ISP's across the nation.

The result is the same: Constant buffering, or even completely unavailable service. HTML 5, progressive, low, hi, HD, mobile, it doesn't matter.

/end blah blah ha

There's a site refresh ongoing - how about content delivery refresh as well...?

Point is - Your streaming is crap, and I'm sorry to say it. How many ways can your members put it till you enact change, at least somehow?

Non-Premium content? ALWAYS watch on Youtube if available- avoid the hassle of GB's streaming. Why pay $50/year again aside from the loving faces I adore so much? You all dig up so much out of your resources - this one really matters!

I understand that some members have just fine experiences, though they are certainly in the minority even after personally asking among the viewers. Qualifying that as videos viewed/time watched/viewers data is certainly more difficult, but I feel safe in saying that the people, as do the forums speak to the fact that this is still an ongoing issue. Can I binge on you folks that I enjoy so much, on occasion? Sure. But more often than not, there's the damn spinny circle yet again, just as the video was getting good....

It pains me deeply, as a paid member and absolute fan of what you do for the industry. I respect the challenges, the struggle working with your overlords. I've worked in "IT" for over 10 years, I get it, as much as I may. But here we are, consumers, paying for "Premium Content", just as with any other online subscription service, yet we struggle to watch said content which we enjoy so much. I can download 10MBs (~10,000KB) from Steam, while watching Netflix AND Amazon video simultaneously (let alone download at >15MBps), yet cannot stream your content reliably any day or time of the week.

You cannot keep saying, "It's Akamai, it's being worked on". Point-blank. We pay for you to stay on top of this, to feed us. Help!

I don't mean to come across as accusatory, nor malevolent. Yet as a consumer, (the truth always starts after "but", right?) who spends hard earned dollars to be part of this fantastic community, could we at the least be allowed to enjoy the personalities, the fun and facts of the last vestige of great video game journalism that exists? We love you, I love you, as a lifelong faceless subscriber. Help us help you.

I do apologize for the rambling tirades of a first world problem, however, if the people do not speak, no action can occur. I don't expect anything in reply, however, we, your loving audience, are (trying to) watch.

Sincerely,

A lifelong supporter and member

Avatar image for nick
#2 Posted by Nick (1042 posts) -

huh, 10 years and i've never had these problems, except occasionally when it was on my end. where do you live? i'm in Vancouver, maybe the servers are on the west coast and you're on the east coast?

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#3 Posted by MookalHoys (60 posts) -

@nick:

Thanks for reading. Just south (or maybe north) of you in Seattle. I feel terrible, but I had to say something about it. I'm just a whiner at this point I suppose, though the reliability of GB's content really is... something something darkside.

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#4 Posted by Rorie (5882 posts) -

This is most likely an issue with your connection to our CDN and yes, we are working on splitting up our files to multiple CDNs so that this happens less often for people with bad connections. That work has been going on for a while now but I don't have an ETA on it; @wcarle might be able to speak more to the progress on that.

Moderator
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#5 Posted by Leckerdoener (2 posts) -

@rorie said:

This is most likely an issue with your connection to our CDN and yes, we are working on splitting up our files to multiple CDNs so that this happens less often for people with bad connections. That work has been going on for a while now but I don't have an ETA on it; @wcarle might be able to speak more to the progress on that.

On that note, being able to say what's going on behind the scenes in one sentence over simplifies everything involved. File propagation/replication, static routes, and server balancing are just a few things to throw out there that's being taken into consideration with this sort of change.

They do also provide the files for download; you might swap to downloading the file and playing it locally for the time being, or some video players can stream the file if you nab the download URL. Might be a work around for your issue in the mean time; admittedly the streaming from a video player with the download link may or may not work, depends on where that's hosted as well.

Just a friendly reminder; computers are not perfect because they're created by people, and people by nature are not perfect!

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#6 Posted by Puchiko (847 posts) -

There is a "Download" option. I used to download all my videos locally to avoid the streaming issues. Its not a solution but an option if you are having streaming issues. I'm not sure what player you are using but I'm using a 7 year old PC and the HD downloads play fine. I'm having streaming issues as well but only on mobile devices.

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#8 Posted by perniciousdistortion (92 posts) -

I have personally been a paid member since day one and the only video problems I ever had occurred two months ago when Google was updating their Chrome software to the newest version now other than that I have had very little problems with anything that comes streaming this was when I was living on the East Coast for six of the of the 10 years I've been a member now I live on the west coast in Seattle and I have 0 problems if at all ever. This is just my personal experience and my personal opinion that I think the work they're doing has been fantastic I'm sorry if anyone has been having problems, I hope things get better for you guys in the future take care.

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#9 Posted by Narx (221 posts) -

@nick said:

huh, 10 years and i've never had these problems, except occasionally when it was on my end. where do you live? i'm in Vancouver, maybe the servers are on the west coast and you're on the east coast?

Same thing here except I'm on the east Canadian coast. I honestly cannot remember having any streaming issues with the site and I've been a subscriber since day one. And god knows I'm watching so many stuff on the site.

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#10 Posted by Nick (1042 posts) -

@mookalhoys: hope i didn't come off as a dick, it was a "huh" of honest surprise because i didn't realize people in North America with good internet speeds were having video connection issues; i thought it might only happen over-seas. i know your pain though, i actually spent a few years in South America and i had to (as others have pointed out) download the videos ahead of time and watch them offline.

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#11 Posted by JohnyMyko (1898 posts) -

I have to agree that the bitrate is kinda bad, I usually just watch on YouTube when it's non-premium stuff. But even there sometimes things look a little muddy. It think part of the problem might come from the way it's recorded or converted or something. I don't know much about the technical aspects of it so I don't know what it is, but I've always noticed the video quality isn't that great. However, I notice a lot of difference between Low/High/HD.

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#12 Posted by MookalHoys (60 posts) -

I truly appreciate the responses and feedback. I'm quite thrilled that there is positive response that more and more folks are not having issues. I realize this whole original post is just a big "boohoo", however being a member of the community, after hearing and experiencing enough frustration, I was compelled to draw a line in the sand. It's great hearing from folks of all origins reporting good news.

@Nick - couldn't be less worried, ya'll right and I hear you :) Also West Coast is the best coast ;)

No harm, no foul, just expressing myself hopefully for the greater good of what makes all you duders fantastic and this URL such a rad place to hang out. I put my foot down, or as a wise man named Homer would state:

Homer: (Sternly) Marge, I never put my foot down about anything.

Marge: No--

Homer: But I am severely tempted to do it over this. (Raises foot)

Marge: Oh, Homer.

Homer: Marge, I'm sorry. I think it's coming down.

Marge: No, Homer! Not--

Homer: (Sticks foot over floor) It's coming down. My foot, it's--

Marge: No!

Homer: That's it, Marge. The cable stays. The foot has spoken. (Slams foot down)

Thanks Rorie, and the entire Eng staff.

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#13 Posted by soulcake (2820 posts) -

Yeah if given the choice i stick with you tube ( there video player is just more reliable) But then You Tubes budget is way bigger then CBSI's. One minor recent quirk i got is that the audio for the live podcast is just way to low, it's fixed in post when they upload it.

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#14 Posted by dudeglove (13780 posts) -

For what it's worth personally, with 150Mbps down on Comcast, ~140 via Cat6 (DOCSIS3.1 TPLink router running OpenWrt, stock for 6 months prior), dropping to roughly ~120Mbps over wifi, via my PC, across 4 Android devices (all supporting >100mbps) of varying OS version and platform (stock, AOSP, Lineage), running Chrome, Firefox, a third party stream application such as the Giant Bomb Video Buddy, also an iOS device. I've tried different DNS's, even firing up a VPN. As well as stream and speed tests at friends homes with varying equipment/ISP's across the nation.

The result is the same: Constant buffering, or even completely unavailable service. HTML 5, progressive, low, hi, HD, mobile, it doesn't matter.

I'd like to echo some of the OP's statements. I've tried to watch premium only videos over various connections (ADSL, 4G, wifi, and even at my previous employer which was an IT company that was basically also an IP) in various places across Europe (Ireland, Russia, France, Greece) on various devices (home desktop, work laptop, iphone) and I've had extremely mixed results - but they've all been... less than great.

I have not gone to the same trouble the as the OP has, and I am not an engineer either - but i will say that the net result of having such spotty service is that I simply don't watch premium videos as casually as I'd like to and I doubt I'm not the only person.

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#15 Posted by colourful_hippie (5914 posts) -

I have this issue on occasion when in the USA but whenever I'm back in Peru, (admittedly on slower internet, 16mbps) I end up watching most of their stuff on YouTube because of how often I run into buffering issues.

It's a bummer when this happens when I want to watch premium content and the vast majority of streaming issues I get through the Apple TV app although I've been told they're not in charge of that stuff (I wish they were)

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#16 Posted by johannes (97 posts) -

Yeah, lately I've been having some major issues with this as well. It's obviously worse with the premium videos, as they can't be watched using the YouTube player. I've been here since the start, and for me, the issues started about a month ago. I used to stay as far way from the YouTube player as I could, but lately it's the only one that works. Downloading the videos is not an option, as they download at about 3-500 kb/s. My connection is 500 mbit, and interestingly enough it works better at work where our connection is only 100 mbit, and shared with everyone in the office. The distance of a handful of miles between my home and work hardly makes a difference, but we are on different providers and backbones, so that's probably the explanation.

Doubt you can call my home connection slow tho.

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#17 Posted by myketuna (1961 posts) -

I haven't had too many problems honestly. I do end up using YouTube only because I'm already in the app on my Roku TV, so GB content is like right there (doesn't help the official and unofficial Roku apps are still rough). But even on the website when I'm on my PC, the content works pretty well. Worst case, I end up downloading videos so I don't have to worry about buffering, but I haven't had to do that for 5 or so years.

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#18 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1405 posts) -

I've definitely had issues with GB streaming reliability, even on a wired internet connection. It's not awful, but it is frequent enough to be a pain.

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#19 Posted by floydeo (453 posts) -

I can never stream in high with the video player. Has to be in low all the time.

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#20 Posted by icoangel (108 posts) -

I tend to agree with OP, I have a great internet connection.

But due to GB's CDN issue I have ongoing inconsistent streaming issues.... kinda sucks for a service I am paying for. Great content but kinda crappy product delivery.

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#21 Posted by fledeye (264 posts) -

I’ve been trying to say this for months. I didn’t renew my Premium in September because I haven’t actually been able to watch a premium video since about March without jumping through hoops. I really want to support the team, but I just don’t have £40 to throw around with nothing to show for it (can’t even use the store voucher as I’m not in the US).

All we get is “it’s been looked at” or “we’re working on it”, but nobody tells us what’s been done and there’s been no progress in months. Or we’re told “download the video” or “use such-and-such” app. Some of us don’t have those options and looking the forums it seems these ‘alternatives’ are just as buggy.

I really want to go Premium again, there’s just no point in it for me if I can’t actually watch streams or premium content.