Do any streaming services offer dual live buffers?

Discussion in 'Internet Streaming Services' started by itzme, Jun 19, 2020.

  1. itzme

    itzme Hall Of Fame

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    The one main thing keeping me with Directv is dual live buffers, aka their DoublePlay feature. I want to be able to turn on my system and instantly be tuned to a channel and have a buffer to rewind. I also want to be able to add a 2nd buffer on another channel. It lets me watch 2 channels, not miss anything, and skip commercials without having to mess with setting up recordings. Does anyone else offer this feature?
     
  2. techguy88

    techguy88 Well-Known Member

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    Not that I'm aware of out of the services I have tested including YouTube TV, Hulu+Live TV and AT&T TV Now.
     
  3. itzme

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    I can't do anything like that on my HDHomerun (using wither Plex or Channels), either. As soon as somebody offers buffering like that, I'll be ready to cut the cord. Its a shame, I hear really good things about YouTube TV in terms of their DVR fucntionality and all.
     
  4. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Years ago when SkyAngel converted from satellite to streaming they offered a 48 hour rewind on their "faith" channels. The buffer was in the cloud and other than setting aside storage space for storing one copy of 48 hours per channel (shared storage for all of their subscribers) it didn't make much difference if they were streaming something live from their source or something they captured 48 hours prior. However SkyAngel's "faith" content was non-commercial mostly religious and they and most of their channels did not make money off of commercials. (Rewind was not available on Fox News or other commercial "family friendly" channels that they carried.) SkyAngel was one of the first streaming services and they did not last long as a streaming service (about 6 years).

    The design of most current streaming services is either live linear or on demand. Tuning to a linear channel and rewinding a stream seems to be a mind blowing idea that they can't grasp. It would be up to the streamer to buffer each channel on their end (most home devices not having hours of storage). There are probably contractual issues preventing such buffering.

    Not for "live TV" but I will note that YouTube offers live streaming of cameras and video feeds from across the world. I like watching some of the live camera feeds that have a 12 hour rewind. I remember watching the Animal Adventure Park feed of April the Giraffe a few years ago and that had rewind. The technology is still there but I expect there are contractual issues with rewinding "cable TV" channels.
     
  5. mjwagner

    mjwagner Icon

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    YTTV could implement something like live buffer if they wanted to. They already allow the pausing of live tv for extended periods of time . I’m not sure what the limit is but I have done it for over 40 minutes and it worked fine. The buffer is in the cloud so doesn’t take up any device storage. When you resume play you can FF thru commercials.
     
  6. itzme

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    That is very close to the functionality I want. When you turn on your system is the 'current' channel buffered? Now if you could just add a 2nd channel, buffer that, and switch back and forth between them you'd have the equivelent of Direct TV's doubleplay. Then I'dcut the cord.
     
  7. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    There is no "current" channel when the streaming device is off.
     
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  8. itzme

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    Agreed, but there could be, right? My HDHomeRun is always powered up. All steaming devices are.
     
  9. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    "All" is an absolute statement. While always connected to power, the streaming devices I own are not always "on" (connected to a streaming services and/or streaming content). One has a static display with time and temperature (not streamed content). One has no video output when "off". Both break the definition of "always on" (always streaming content).
     
  10. wmb

    wmb Godfather

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    Annoyingly yes. When I sleep the Apple TV, YTTV restarts where I left off. My wife dislikes it.


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  11. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    You can stop that by exiting the you tube app before sleeping the appletv box.

    And there in lies the reason you don’t have live buffers in general. It’s an app and the app isn’t running all the time because if that was the case every app you had on a streaming device would have to be running.

    The only way a streamer could do it is if they always had every channel being recorded for at least whatever the current program is on their own servers then let you back up into their own servers.

    The funny part there is I do know of one service that does do that for a lot of their channels. Turn on the tv and if the program is halfway through, you hit rewd and it’ll load up the streaming version of the program from its start. The company... DIRECTV. Go figure.
     
  12. itzme

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    All I'm suppossing is that it shouldn't be a drastic change to add a buffer that acts like the HR-24-- to apps like YTTV (say on an Apple TV, Firestick, or Roku) or to devices like my HD Homerun. I wonder if the new Tivo streamer offers buffering like the older Tivos have.
     
  13. techguy88

    techguy88 Well-Known Member

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    The TiVo Stream 4K? Nope it doesn't have a buffer like that either. The main selling points of the TiVo Stream 4K is the Unified Search feature from major streaming apps like Sling TV, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Now (will be upgraded to HBO Max), Prime Video Membership, Prime Video Store, Google Play TV & Movie Store and the fact it is an affordable Android TV streaming device/dongle.

    Apple TV hardware via tvOS 14 will get Picture in Picture support platform wide and will finally support YouTube in 4K. Apple TV+ will come to Vizio and Sony smart TVs later in the year.
     
  14. itzme

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    I guess its only really desireable with us old timers. Millenials seem content to watch commercials.
     
  15. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    No millennials are watching Netflix and such and never having commercials.

    Really think about it though. Your streaming boxes have no hard drive for recording. Everything is on their servers end. It’s a different concept from the ground up making live buffers a bit of an oddity concept wise. Some services have no ability to even pause live tv.
     
  16. itzme

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    Yes, when you're talking about streaming services like Netflix and Hulu (etc). But my HD Homerun and Plex, and Channels let me use my hardrive (and others). The streaming boxes just host an interface.
     
  17. wmb

    wmb Godfather

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    That makes implementation on streaming boxes pretty easy though. All they need to do is persist where the user is in the stream and include that in the request to resume the stream.

    This assumes that they can retain the stream on their servers for a period of time after the end of the show. Some things they allow you to start at the beginning instead of joining live, so it is possible for them to access the stream at arbitrary points for multiple users.


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  18. mjwagner

    mjwagner Icon

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    I’d have to test it to verify since we very rarely watch live tv but I think YTTV already does persist even after the channel goes to another show. My wife was watching the local news a few weeks ago and she got a call so she paused live tv. IIRC by the time she unpaused after her call was over the channel already switched to whatever came on after the news and it worked fine, when she hit play it started right where she had paused and then she was able to FF thru commercials. The limitation currently is if you change channels the buffer clears. I have also noted that if you tune to a channel and watch for a bit you can REW at least back to the point where you tuned the channel. Again, as soon as you tune to another channel the buffer clears.
    Edit for clarity - “buffer” in the above description is the incorrect term. It’s really using pointers to the data stream on the YTTV servers and uses no device storage.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2020
  19. grover517

    grover517 AllStar

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    Services like YTTV basically record everything anyway, so I doubt they are pausing any streams on the back end but rather using the buffer data already present to restart playback at a particular point in the stored video so I agree in that it should be an issue to implement something like that.

    But I also suspect it would require one to have higher end devices to stream from such as an Apple TV, PS, Xbox, etc. with more internal storage available than what the average "stick" has as well as an app designed to buffer more than one stream, which is not the norm. PS Vue used to offer multi view where multiple streams could be viewed at once but only on a PS or Apple TV, which made sense.

    When viewing YTTV on my FireTV 4K stick, it buffers about 10-12 seconds of the stream. Not sure what determined that size of a buffer but I suspect it may be based on things like ensuring a big enough buffer to successfully resume a paused stream without needing further buffering on slower connections as well as available internal storage available for use to buffer multiple streams.

    If that same 10-12 seconds of buffer were now split by two streams, 5-6 seconds per stream may not be enough to reliably restart the streams without buffering more for a few seconds after restart. Not a great user experience if that were to occur and I am sure would generate at least a few complaints.
     
  20. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    Yes but that also requires a contract with the station. That equates to more money, especially when they want people to watch commercials or later higher fees for higher tiers. That’s why DIRECTV has it on some stations and not others. Still find it funny they are the only one who does it that I am aware of.
     

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