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DirecTV On Demand and Satellite Internet

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by ZandarKoad, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. Sep 9, 2012 #1 of 17
    ZandarKoad

    ZandarKoad Mentor

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    Hey, does anyone know of a good way to que up On Demand content on DirecTV's DVRs, but somehow make all those downloads start only at the beginning of the Unlimited Bandwidth period (Midnight for Wild Blue)?

    A little background on Satellite Internet (like Hughesnet and Wild Blue): There is a very low bandwidth cap on all internet packages (around 10 to 15 Gigs). This makes it totally useless for streaming video content, unless you wait until the middle of the night (Midnight to 5am for Excede and I think Midnight to 8AM for Hughesnet), when none of that data transferred counts towards the bandwidth cap. So I'm trying to figure out a way to allow a DirecTV user to still select whatever movies they want, but have NONE of those movies start downloading until AFTER midnight...

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Shades228

    Shades228 DaBears

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    You're going to have to manually do it unless you have settings in the router's software that can handle it.
     
  3. funnyfarm299

    funnyfarm299 AllStar

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    Try installing DD-WRT or Tomato on your router. Those have QoS features.
     
  4. rmmccann

    rmmccann AllStar

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    Yeah, you'd want to look at a router with some kind of QoS capability built-in. You wouldn't want to completely choke the DirecTV devices through the day because I imagine it might break the ability to search for and queue up VOD, but if you set it to something low like 128Kbit or 256Kbit, it should still function while not doing a terrible amount of damage to the bandwidth cap during the day.

    If my math is right, a download started at the beginning of the 19hour data cap day would only use about 1GB of data downloading 100% of the time throughout that period at 128Kbit - assume twice that at 256Kbit. The one thing that is not clear is if the DirecTV receivers will gracefully start downloading at full speed when the QoS opens them up or if the downloads would need to be restarted.

    Would definitely be a nice feature for DirecTV to add a scheduling window for downloading VOD as I can see a lot of folks running into this problem.
     
  5. goinsleeper

    goinsleeper Godfather

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    Just keep in mind flashing these to your router can 'brick' the device making it a paperweight. It's not difficult, but definitely read up on how to do it before jumping into the process.
     
  6. maartena

    maartena Hall Of Fame

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    QoS isn't going to help in this case. The problem with WildBlue is that it has a heavy daily cap, with a free-traffic time slot between midnight and 5 AM.

    QoS is designed to allow certain services guaranteed priority by implementing priority levels. With QoS, you can set the DirecTV to the absolute lowest priority, but it wouldn't prevent DirecTV traffic to go and reach full speed when there is NO other traffic going on. (Which is highly likely at say.... 10 AM on a Tuesday morning when everyone is at work/school, and the internet is not or barely used).

    The BEST way of handling this should be DirecTV building in an option in their software to time the VOD downloads, and I am guessing this is something that has been thought of, but just not implemented.

    In the mean time, the best way to do this is with a manual switch. This is a scenario that should be TESTED (which can be done with unplugging the cable) as I am not sure if it is simply going to cancel the download altogether or whether it will automatically retry.

    Between the DECA and your internet router/switch, put ANOTHER switch, with attached to it a power timer, you know the ones you would use to time a light in your livingroom to automatically come on and go off at certain time. The switch could be programmed to activate at 12:05, and de-activate at 4:55 AM.

    Now, obviously.... you wouldn't be able to browse VOD that way, so you will want to buy a timer with a manual override switch. So basically what you will do then is if you want to go and browse VOD, turn it on, find what you want to download, start the download, and then hit the powerswitch on the network switch. If all goes well and as planned, the timer will power up the network switch at 12:05, and retry the download. Again, this needs to be tested.... you could test it, by starting a download, and then unplugging the cable, and come back after an hour or so, plug the cable back in to the DECA, and see if the download automatically picks back up.

    That's the best I could come up with to solve this particular issue.
     
  7. ZandarKoad

    ZandarKoad Mentor

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    I find it hard to believe that QoS can't be bandwidth capped based on time of day. I'm still reading up on it, but it seems like it's very do-able. It's all new to me.

    I forgot that you'd need to leave SOME bandwidth open in order to browse On-Demand... Even a tiny bit of bandwidth left open during they day would probably pass the monthly allowance if movies are constantly qued... It'd be downloading all the time, every hour of every day... Even at 128 Kbits * 60 seconds * 60 minutes * 12 hours (conservatively) = 5,400 Megabits every day. That's 0.675 Gigabytes. * 30 days = way too much data.

    I wonder if 32 Kbits/s would be enough to browse on demand? And maybe you could just open it up to that during prime viewing hours, say after 5:00PM? On the weekends? LOL :lol:
     
  8. ts7

    ts7 Mentor

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    QoS works as Maartena said - it is intended to prioritize traffic not limit bandwidth. Traffic shaping might help but is still not necessarily going to keep under a cap.

    If you are truly wanting to limit when the device can use the Internet connection then look at parental controls on your router. Many routers have the option to limit access by certain devices to a specific time of day. It is intended to allow parents to keep the kids off the Internet when they should be in bed or studying and is typically based on MAC address. I used this quite successfully when my kids were in school.

    There is no reason you couldn't to the same with your DVR. Just get the MAC address and program a time of day rule on your router that limits its access to 12:00AM to 5:00AM.

    I can't guarantee the DVR will load the VOD correctly but at least it wouldn't be doing it during capped periods.
     
  9. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    Actually, pretty sure you don't need internet for browsing on demand. I think it all comes from sat with the guide data... You can actually download the top 400 or so movies of directv cinema ppv via sat without ever hooking up internet.

    I'd look into parental controls on your router. You might be able to block all access to the internet for certain devices via ip or mac address for certain hours, so you could set it up so that the hr can only get to the internet during your free speed hours or whatever they call it.
     
  10. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    I took to long to type my post! :D
     
  11. ts7

    ts7 Mentor

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    Must mean it's a good solution!! :)
     
  12. ZandarKoad

    ZandarKoad Mentor

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    You are correct about the browsing of the on demand. It all comes from the satellite with the program guide data, so no need to be on the internet to browse through the on demand. You DO need to initiate a successful connection test to the internet in order to be able to ACCESS the on demand, but beyond that, the internet is only needed to actually download the content, not browse or select it.
     
  13. peds48

    peds48 Genius. DBSTalk Club

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    I am not sure if the DOD guide data comes from the satellite. the DOD "channels" are actually links to web servers operated by the particular channel. since DOD servers are not updated on a regular basis like the guide does, it is possible to browse the DOD guide without an internet connection, but at some point it would not be available.
     
  14. rmmccann

    rmmccann AllStar

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    I guess what we've all mis-defined as QoS (every vendor is different) would be more accurately called traffic shaping.

    I use Mikrotik for routing and traffic control needs at work, and I know that with some advanced scripting you could accomplish what you are looking for at the router level. I just don't know how the DirecTV receivers would react if the internet was completely unavailable during the day - it might just fail the download if it can't start it in a reasonable time frame. I haven't tried it, but that would be what would need to be figured out before diving into it further.

    Other vendors should offer something similar. Another thought I had is many consumer grade routers offer "parental controls" or access controls. You'd assign static IP addresses to your DirecTV DVRs and define the time frame they are allowed to access the internet. I know my old Linksys routers could do this 10 years ago.
     
  15. ts7

    ts7 Mentor

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    Hmmm...now there's an original thought ;)

    Seriously, though, I think you are correct that the DVR would probably have difficulty with the periods where access was turned off. I'm guessing the downloads would end up timing out rather than continuously retrying to see if a connection had come back up.
     
  16. ZandarKoad

    ZandarKoad Mentor

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    I don't own a TV, otherwise I'd borrow someone's HDDVR and try it. :lol:

    Are there no willing persons who can unplug an Ethernet cable and play around? :)
     
  17. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    I have in the past. The only reason I didn't say this is definitely how it works is because its been a year since i last did it, but i have seen nothing to indicated they have changed anything. You can download about the top 400 movies or so in the on demand section without ever connecting to the Internet. Without explaining in detailed, they are delivered via sat and they are rotated through on channels you never see. We mostly call them push channels. Do not ever ask me what 400 movies though, as I have never once seen any designation as to which ones those are, and no one seems to have any idea how to tell me either. But I do know that they work as i have tested it in the past and it does work. (I knew a few to try) Possible, maybe only the titles that are available via push will let you set them for record.
     

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