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Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

toolcubed
I'm a Senior Contributor

Hi everyone.  I finally migrated to an Ignite TV + Internet + Home phone bundle on Saturday morning.  While I had already seen Ignite TV in action at friends’ and family members’ homes, it was a limited experience and I haven’t had a chance to really use it in depth until now.

 

Overall, I love it!  Great interface, cool features, and excellent picture quality.  I loved the picture quality of my old NB3 PVR but I can honestly say that Ignite TV pic quality is noticeably better.  In fact, when we were watching TV last night, my wife even said "wow, the picture is so clear!" and she NEVER notices stuff like that...so the fact that she noticed it says a lot.

 

I have the Technicolor XB6 running in bridge mode with my own Asus RT-AC68U router and everything (well almost everything) works great.  My internet plan is 150/15.

 

A few observations:

 

1. Pings and jitter are ever so slightly higher than they were with my CODA-4582 modem.  We’re talking 2-3ms higher so nothing significant.

 

2. When running speed tests on Ookla, download speeds are fine but the upload speed tests are interesting.  They always start at 16Mbps right away but then quickly drop to 3 or 4 Mbps, and then very slowly climb back up to the max for my plan.  They eventually reach 15 or 16 Mbps by the end of the speed test.  I tested this with the XB6 in gateway mode as well and it’s exactly the same result.  And it’s the same result regardless of being connected directly via Ethernet or over WiFi.  It’s also the same result when testing on fast.com.  With the CODA modem, it was a solid 16Mbps from the beginning and throughout each and every test…there were never any dips.

 

3. Regardless if I’m in bridge mode or gateway mode, the Ping Plotter app refuses to work 50% of the time.  Sometimes traces via the Ping Plotter app will start and run perfectly fine but sometimes they won’t run at all and will show a solid red bar across the board with no IPs listed, as if I have 100% packet loss, which is obviously not the case.  With the CODA modem, Ping Plotter traces worked every time.

 

4. Rewinding and fast forwarding anything (live tv, on demand, etc) is very frustrating.  I already knew about this after hearing of the experience from other Ignite TV users but I didn’t know how annoying it was until I started using it myself.  The timing is very off (more than just a few seconds).  It’s probably the one thing I miss most about the NB3 box and having a local PVR where rewinding was 100% accurate.  I hope Rogers (errrrr Comcast 🙂) fixes this soon.

 

5. If I connect my Xi6 TV box to my network using an ethernet cable, channel changing is surprisingly slow.  If I disconnect ethernet and use WiFi alone, channel changing is fast (around 1 second or less).  Strange that being directly connected with ethernet would be slower.

 

6. The XB6 is capable of a backup battery for home phone but there isn’t one installed by default.  In the US, Comcast offers free batteries to any of their Xfinity customers that request one.  Does anyone know if Rogers will do the same?

 

That’s it for now!  Overall, as I said, the experience has been mostly positive but it’s only been two days 🙂

 

*** Edited Labels *** 

37 REPLIES 37

Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@toolcubed wrote:

A few more things I wanted to mention:

 

2. I'm unable to find a lot of info on this (except for one thread on these forums), but without prioritizing TV traffic, what's preventing my TV service from being interrupted if I'm downloading very large files and taking up all of my available bandwidth leaving nothing for the TV boxes?  Another Ignite customer reported this problem a while ago on these forums where his TV kept freezing whenever he maxed out his bandwidth by downloading games from Steam.  I don't know if that was every resolved or if Rogers has now made provisions to prevent this from happening.


The Ignite TV streams are not sent at a constant bitrate.  Traffic is sent in bursts and an HD stream only requires an average of 10 Mb/s of bandwidth.  As long as the set-top box receives the incoming data before its internal buffer gets exhausted, you won't notice any issues.

 

You also need to ensure that you have enough bandwidth provisioned.  If you have four set-top boxes streaming 4K channels, each consuming an average of 25Mb/s bandwidth, a 4K Netflix movie streaming, and a large file downloading, all at the same time, and you only have a 150u service, your streaming services will be impacted.

 

3. I understand that the Xi6 TV boxes are purely IP, but what I still don't understand is how they work flawlessly over 3rd party networking equipment (i.e. with the Ignite gateway bridged behind a 3rd party router).  How do the gateway and TV boxes know how to operate properly in this mode with the right TV subscription (i.e. to access all channels I'm subscribed to), etc?  What happens if I were to bring my TV box to a family member's house and connect it to their home WiFi network?  Are the serial numbers and MAC addresses of these devices registered to my account and my home address?  And if so, how do they know they're physically located at my address when it's all IP-based and IP addresses change?


The MAC addresses of your set-top boxes are registered under your TV account.  (They will only play content that your account is subscribed to and entitled to access.)  There are (potentially several) ways that Rogers can determine whether you are accessing the Ignite TV service from your own home network or from outside your home but I don't know what controls they have in place.  I don't know whether or not the Ignite TV boxes specifically check for the presence of the Ignite gateway that is also registered under your account.



Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@toolcubed wrote:

Ok thanks @-G- 

 

Do you suspect that could be a potential reason for my Xi6 boxes being slow over ethernet?  I know...doesn't make much sense but perhaps they're trying to connect back to the XB6 wirelessly, failing, and then defaulting to ethernet?  And now that I've typed that, I realize that would not make any sense at all.  Plus, the WiFi signal wouldn't be "weak" as it reports it is under device settings when connected over ethernet because the XB6 is right below (one floor down) the family room...about 10 ft away.  When you check your device settings (where it says ethernet, assuming you still have it connected over ethernet), does it also say "Your WiFi signal is weak..." for you?


To be honest, I don't really know what's going on in your case... only that I am not seeing the problem of slow channel changes with my current setup.

 

I have had one of my set-top boxes connected over Ethernet ever since you reported the problem.  No issues.  It reports an "Ethernet Connection" in Settings / Device Settings / Network, and also reports a weak WiFi signal strength.  I can confirm that is NOT connected to my Wi-Fi access point.

 

If I look at my WiFi Details in the (long-press-Exit, Down Down 2) Diagnostics, it shows that WiFi is not connected.  (This is different from what I have seen before.)  I don't know whether or not the STB has an active WiFi connection to any of the hidden services on my XB6 gateway.  Unfortunately, I don't currently have a WiFi sniffer set up that I could use to confirm a connection or to check for any WiFi traffic being exchanged.



Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

toolcubed
I'm a Senior Contributor

Thanks again @-G-   Appreciate the quick and detailed responses, as always.

 

Regarding your statement:

 

"I don't know whether or not the Ignite TV boxes specifically check for the presence of the Ignite gateway that is also registered under your account."

 

That's exactly what I was wondering when I asked that question in my prior post.  With the Ignite gateway in bridge mode, I don't know how the TV boxes are checking for the presence of the gateway (if, in fact, that is how the system is meant to work).

Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@toolcubed  For all I know, my Xi6 set-top boxes could also be set up to detect a Bluetooth beacon from my XB6 gateway.

 

That's exactly what I was wondering when I asked that question in my prior post.  With the Ignite gateway in bridge mode, I don't know how the TV boxes are checking for the presence of the gateway (if, in fact, that is how the system is meant to work).


There are a number of ways that an Ignite set-top box could confirm/detect the proximity of an XB6 gateway (even when Bridge Mode is enabled) and a number of ways that Rogers could detect an Ignite set-top box connecting from an unauthorized network address.  I seriously doubt that Rogers will tell us what measures they have in place to detect suspicious, unauthorized or fraudulent activity.  I don't know and I have no desire or inclination to test either.



Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

toolcubed
I'm a Senior Contributor
I know. Neither do I. I have no intentions of trying it either. I was just asking because I was legitimately curious as to how this all works. Interesting stuff!

Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

toolcubed
I'm a Senior Contributor
As I watch Ignite TV more and more, I’m noticing judder on more and more content. Some of it is so bad that my 6 year old notices it…”daddy why is this so choppy?” Lol.

I hope this is something Rogers can fix/improve in their encoders without needing to wait on Comcast for anything.

Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@toolcubed wrote:
As I watch Ignite TV more and more, I’m noticing judder on more and more content. Some of it is so bad that my 6 year old notices it…”daddy why is this so choppy?” Lol.

I hope this is something Rogers can fix/improve in their encoders without needing to wait on Comcast for anything.

Yup.  99.9% of the time it's not too much of a problem but when it is, it really jumps out and smacks you hard.

 

Yes, it's fixable but upgrading encoders is EXPENSIVE.  Improving quality throughout the entire encoding pipeline will also introduce delay, and some folks are already griping about a 30-second lag.  Also, what will Comcast support?  The next question is, which channels do you upgrade first? Usually, service providers try to make sports look as good as possible... but how does Rogers feel about improving the quality of CTV Sci-Fi (Space), Crave, or any of the other movie channels?

 

If Rogers needs justification for making additional investments to improve Ignite TV, Bell may help make the business case stronger.  Looks like (after a 3 YEAR delay) they are finally getting ready to upgrade their Fibe TV platform to MediaFirst.  They are certifying an Android TV-based client to run on the Arris/CommScope VIP7802W (Wi-Fi 6-capable) set-top box and, no doubt, their focus will be on taking market share from Rogers.  (How they plan to service customers still stuck on 15Mb/s DSL when HD streams require 10Mb/s bandwidth and 4K streams require 25 is another thing.)



Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

toolcubed
I'm a Senior Contributor
Sounds like the IPTV market in Canada is going to get more competitive (from a features and quality perspective…certainly not for pricing lol). It’s exciting nonetheless.

I wouldn’t mind additional delay if it meant improved quality across the board…the delay doesn’t bother me. But I can understand and appreciate that it bothers others.

Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

toolcubed
I'm a Senior Contributor
Does anyone know what the “Zoom” option does under “Video Display” settings in the Xi6 menu? Seems like toggling it between “Full” and “None” doesn’t do anything at all…

Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@toolcubed wrote:
Does anyone know what the “Zoom” option does under “Video Display” settings in the Xi6 menu? Seems like toggling it between “Full” and “None” doesn’t do anything at all…

This setting only affects SD channels with a 4:3 aspect radio.  When set to "None", you will see a square picture with sidebars on a widescreen TV.  When set to "Zoom", the picture will get stretched horizontally to fill the screen.



Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

toolcubed
I'm a Senior Contributor
Ahhh ok. So only SD channels and not SD content on HD channels, correct? Because all SD content on HD channels (e.g. Star Trek Voyager on CTV Sci-if) show the black bars on the sides regardless if Zoom is set to Full or None.

Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@toolcubed wrote:
Ahhh ok. So only SD channels and not SD content on HD channels, correct?

Yes, that's correct.  The Ignite set-top box can only Zoom (stretch) a channel that broadcasts with a 4:3 aspect ratio.... and the channel needs to be encoded in a very specific way to allow that to happen.

 

Because all SD content on HD channels (e.g. Star Trek Voyager on CTV Sci-if) show the black bars on the sides regardless if Zoom is set to Full or None.

Yes, because while source content may be 4:3, the channel itself is widescreen HD.



Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

toolcubed
I'm a Senior Contributor
Ok cool. Makes sense. Than you!

Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

toolcubed
I'm a Senior Contributor
There’s another positive observation and significant improvement over digital, which I noticed after the first couple of days of using Ignite but forgot to mention in this thread…and it’s related to picture quality. When watching recordings on Ignite, picture quality is equally as good as when watching live tv or on demand content. On digital cable, picture quality of recordings was not very good and significantly worse than Ignite. There was a lot of compression and artifacts on all of my recordings on my NB3. I think it was because of the media shrink feature on those PVRs. Thankfully it’s not like that with cloud PVR on Ignite 🙂

Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

toolcubed
I'm a Senior Contributor
Hello community!

A few days ago, I received a new firmware update on my XB6-T. My Xi6-T tv boxes also received a firmware update about a week ago. Ever since the XB6 update, I noticed that there’s no longer a delay or “ramp up” period to full picture quality when changing channels. Now, as soon as I change a channel, it’s full quality immediately. I even tested the frame rate by tuning into CP24 and CNN with scrolling horizontal text at the bottom of the screen - prior to the latest firmware update, it would take a couple of seconds (after tuning into the channel) before that scrolling text appeared completely smooth, and before overall quality appeared to be 1080p. Now (after the firmware update), it’s perfectly smooth and full 1080p right away (as soon as tuning in). It also doesn’t take any longer to change channels as it did prior to the firmware update…it’s still about 1 second.

Anyone else notice this improvement recently?

Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@toolcubed wrote:
Anyone else notice this improvement recently?

Yes, I noticed this as well!

 

It's funny... usually, I try not to fixate on that old little glitch but did when I noticed channel changes taking a fraction of a second longer than they used to, but then saw that they were now streaming immediately at a normal bitrate.  The slower channel change issue (thankfully) went away and I think that channel changes on Ignite are now actually slightly faster than they were before.



Re: Ignite TV - first impressions and a few observations

toolcubed
I'm a Senior Contributor
Nice! Rogers - keep the enhancements coming! 🙂
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