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Loss of OTA... Where to blame thoughts (Split from L4.46 report)

Discussion in 'General DISH™ Discussion' started by Ron Barry, Oct 24, 2007.

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  1. Ron Barry

    Ron Barry 622 Tips & Trick Keeper

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    The other possibility is a change in the software on the 622/722 exposes a stream issue that was being ignored before. Not saying this is the case, but it is a possibility and has happend in the past.

    This is a hard some to grasp. Just because something that works before a software version no longer works does not necessarly point to the problem being related to the updated software. This hold especially true with external device interfaces.

    Ofcourse a software update introducing a bug is one possibilities. The other is that a change in the code could have been made to make the 622/722 more strict in how it handles the interaction to the external world causing what did work before because it was being ignored to be rejected.

    I am not saying this is the case here.. just that it is not as black and white as one may think and personally if you want to give it the best shot at getting it fixed, contacting both sides of the stream is a good idea.
     
  2. boylehome

    boylehome Hall Of Fame/Supporter

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    I failed to mention an important reason why it can help reporting the problem to the station. Quicker resolve.

    If the stations are the cause of the problem, as is the case here, and there is something in the E* software that is fixable, sometimes it is quicker if the station fixes the problem because the software update with the fix, is released weeks or months later.
     
  3. teacher1066

    teacher1066 Cool Member

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    It seems that I've heard numerous times in the past years on the Charlie Chats that they were testing receivers and software releases before downloading software to them. Often this announcement was followed with notes like .."testing across the country" or other such verbage which would seem to indicate that, at lest, some of the Beta testers must have OTA capability. Perhaps their "verbage" is just "garbage".
     
  4. ChuckA

    ChuckA Hall Of Fame

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    Do you really think that is true? You don't think beta testers use OTA just as much as nornal subscribers? I think there are a lot of receivers out there now running L4.46 and using OTA with no problems. Obviously there is some OTA issue with audio but I suspect it is related to some local condition or specific receiver/antenna/TV problem that does not affect all users as you seem to think it does.
     
  5. Ron Barry

    Ron Barry 622 Tips & Trick Keeper

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    Not Garbage...We know Beta Testing is done. The thing that needs mentioning regarding OTA is that it is an external interface just like EHD. Anytime you don't have control of both ends of the process, issues can crop up whenever a change is made in how the stream is handled or even having the timing changed slightly could uncover an issue.

    There is no way that Beta Testing can cover all the DMAs and their equipment. Just not possible and it does seem that with each release there is a small # of people whose OTA improves and another small percentage of people that start to have OTA issues and most of us don't have a change one way or another. Almost feels a little like Wack a mole. You try to address one problem and you fix it, but in doing so you introduce another. Being a Software Engineer myself... I have been there. Hopefully they will be able to address these issue quickly and get things tuned in solid.
     
  6. TulsaOK

    TulsaOK New Member

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    I don't think it's a local condition. There are way too many folks reporting this from all over the country. Why did it just happen with L4.46? There were no reports of this prior to this release. I think Dish screwed the pooch on this one. Also, I would be very surprised if anyone outside Dish was a Beta tester. I participated in one Beta test but the things to test were laid out in advance. They don't do a very good job of regression testing. This is why so many things that were working stop working after a release. Then when they arise, they don't seem to fix them. Example: frame by frame fwd and rev. That still doesn't work. There are many more.
     
  7. brettbolt

    brettbolt Legend

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    I disagree Ron, there is a way they could test all the DMAs in USA. Its not impossible. All they need are some volunteers in each DMA to test Beta releases and report the results. I don't know if they are already doing this, but I think it would be a good idea.
    I am a software developer myself and I can definitely relate.

    When I worked at a large company, we often had to maintain and debug other people's code. When we spotted a section of code that looked like it had a bug, we would find out later that it was placed there by someone else for a reason. 'Fixing' it would create other problems. The real resolution to many of the problems often required a deeper understanding of the full program. Too many 'quick fixes' often make problems worse elsewhere.

    However, I don't work for E* and I don't know if this is the essence of the OTA software problems. But when you have a large team of developers coupled with staff turnover you can run into trouble.
     
  8. TulsaOK

    TulsaOK New Member

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    Being a software person, as was I, don't you think regression testing should catch stuff like this? The attitude of testing only changes made to code is very naive. But, that's what a lot of companies do. Then things start snowballing. I wish Dish would stop releasing "improved" versions of software and fix the ones they have released.
     
  9. TulsaOK

    TulsaOK New Member

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    If only Charlie would agree. There are many of us that would be glad to be testers. This would definitely result in far fewer problems after a release.
     
  10. Ron Barry

    Ron Barry 622 Tips & Trick Keeper

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    Well I guess I should have been a bit more conservative or detailed in my response and I think it is more in terms of cost of managing such a program, costs in equipment, variences in installations. And you have to take also into account that delivering OTA is not Prime businees driver for Dish. So if you combine those that is what I meant by impossible. I know it is technically possible but given the conditions not pratically possible if one was to look at it from a Dish business perspective not a consumer perspective...

    Well that is at least how I would see it.. though I wish we could some how help in this area, but then I would be wondering off topic.
     
  11. Ron Barry

    Ron Barry 622 Tips & Trick Keeper

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    I agree with that testing only the changes is very niave. I have seen more than one time in my career where a one line wonder was more like a one line killer than one would expect.

    I also feel that regression testing is helpful and I wish I saw more of it, but it is not the magic bullet. Well written regression tests definitely provide value and more companies need to invest in them. However, in this case regression tests might not of caught what people are reporting.

    Why?? well in my opinion Dish only owns one side of the communication. The other side is owned by 100s of locations all using various different pieces of hardware and software. This I don't think you can regression test against.

    Sure you can regression test against a specification, but if anyone has been in the software/hardware business for any length of time it is in the grey areas of the spec where the problems come and regression tests would be based on how Dish interpertetes the spec vs. another company that is on the source end of the signal.

    Not saying regression tests would not help here.. Sure they would close the whole for bugs to creep through, but there is still that whole and the whole is always bigger when you don't have control over both ends of the communication.
     
  12. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I am not speaking specifically of Dish here, since I do not know the ins and outs of their testing procedures... but I do know other companies I have worked for.

    All too often it seems like testing is about 90% focussed on how things are supposed to work. In other words, does Feature A, B, and C work... do they all work together... does new feature D work and do features A-C still work. All fine and dandy... except this testing process only verifies if things work as they are intended.

    When I test things, I always try to do things abnormally. I figure the programmers shouldn't be submitting code if it doesn't work the way it is expected to work.

    An example from the golden oldie days... Whenever you were supposed to input a numeric value, I always attempted to put in letters. Good code should accept any input, even invalid input, and then tell the user what he did wrong. Bad code will only work with numbers and will crash or behave unexpectedly otherwise. An extreme and simple example of course.

    In terms of a receiver... I would want to test things like what happens if the power cord is yanked unexpectedly... or satellite connection is lost unexpectedly... or network/phone connectivity is lost unexpectedly. Does it crash? Does it recognize the failure and recover and retry whatever it had been doing?

    It's basically two different ways to think about testing. Do you test only what the intended function is, and assume it will always and only be used exactly as designed? Or do you also devote some time to possible things the user will do that you may not have designed?

    In my way of thinking, as both a programmer and a tester at various times... When I wrote code, I would never dream of submitting code as "done" or "ready for test" unless I had already tested it myself and knew it did what it was supposed to do. Then you have integration test where my code has to work with Bob and Lisa's codes... and perhaps our code together introduces an unforseen problem that one or all of us has to fix... and of course regression testing that goes back and hits unchanged code to make sure none of our changes affects previously working functions.

    But somewhere in all that testing, you have to design tests that not only test the intended functions as intended to be used... but also unintended uses to see if they adversely affect things.

    Companies that I have worked for quite often did not place high priorities on regression and other testing beyond the "does it work like it is supposed to" kind... and despite protests from programmers/testing groups, things went out the door with areas not fully tested for the real world.

    In the real world, someone's dog or kid presses 9 keys on the remote at the same time. In the testing world, we often follow procedures that never find out what happens with simultaneous keypresses.
     
  13. rbyers

    rbyers Godfather

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    You don't suppose they hired some of the 921 programmers?
     
  14. brettbolt

    brettbolt Legend

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    Hopefully they don't consider OTA an unintended use. (Just kidding).
     
  15. jergenf

    jergenf Godfather

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    Is anyone having a problem where OTA digital channels are loosing audio. This may have happened after the L446 release. Please reply soon because dish wants to change my box and I'll loose all my recordings.
     
  16. jergenf

    jergenf Godfather

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    This is not an antenna problem or local station issue. I have my 921 also connected and receive audio on all local channels while the 722 gets audio on just some of them. Another thing I noticed is if I'm tune to a channel that isn't giving audio and turn the unit off then back on again, sometimes the audio comes back but now other channels that had audio previously are now lost.

    This just happened on Wednesday the 23rd of October.
     
  17. Ron Barry

    Ron Barry 622 Tips & Trick Keeper

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    Really... Well then explain why I can play back on OTA program from last week but can't play back the same program from last night recorded off the same source.

    Why some commercials come in fine while others don't. Your 921 has different software than your 722 for OTA. There is a report that encoders have been updates to a new firmware recently. Also we are not seeing reports for 222 and 211 world.

    There are also OTA channels that work just fine while others are not. People have reported if they remove the channel with the issue all is well.

    The more and more I am reading and experiencing the issue myself the more and more I feel this has been introduced by a software upgrade at the source and possible combined with the L4.46 codebase. Still curious if anyone has L4.45 in the areas where people are reporting and are not having these issues.

    I personally don't think this is just an issues introduced by L4.46 for the reasons above.
     
  18. jergenf

    jergenf Godfather

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    I've had the 722 for just 12 days. It was at 445 at first and now at 446 where I started to notice the audio problem. It could be a bad receiver of course but when I hear others having the same problem I wonder about the software.

    With the 921 software has always caused weird problems but was always solved by rebooting the box. With my new 722 reboots have no effect. I could try removing the OTA channels and re-scan them back to see if that changes the situation.

    I'm having sound problems with about half of my OTA channels. Sometimes power on/off may restore audio for a particular station but then loose it on another that previously worked. Recordings made earlier are not a problem also all sat channels appear to be ok.
     
  19. wonko

    wonko Cool Member

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    My guess...

    The 4.46 firmware was supposed to address audio loss (fix it, not make it worse). What people are describing sounds like the receiver is not properly detecting the audio format (5.1, 2.0) or SAP (no audio or getting audio in spanish) when changing channels (probably something to do with the "fix"). That's why channel ordering can help the issue, if you're changing from a channel that uses the same settings as the new one, things will work. But if they're different, the receiver doesn't detect that, and audio doesn't work. That would also explain why some channels work differently.

    I'm a software developer, so I know what the real problem is: Poor regression testing of new releases.
     
  20. brettbolt

    brettbolt Legend

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    There is an experiment that some could do (I can't) to determine where the fault lies. It requres an HDTV with a built-in HD tuner.

    When you lose audio, unscrew the OTA antenna cable from your 622/722 and screw it into the back of your TV. If your TV can properly decode the digital signal and you hear sound, but the 622/722 running L4.46 cant, then it should be clear where the fault it.

    If there is no sound when plugged directly into the TV and also the 622/722, then its a change that the broadcaster made at the source.

    I'd try it here, but I dont have L4.46 yet.
     
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