Channel Issues & Questions

Help & troubleshooting for channels on your Roku device, including adding/removing channels, logging in to, authenticating, or activating a channel, channel-specific playback issues, assistance contacting channel publishers to report issues, and adjusting channel-specific settings.
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englishman
Level 7

Very poor video quality on Roku Slingbox channel

Hi all,

I recently bought a Roku 3 in hopes that I could use the Slingbox channel and watch my Slingbox PRO-HD stream on my Roku, through the Slingplayer app on my iphone/ipad.

Unfortunately, when casting to the Roku 3, the quality is horrible and won't go beyond 480p -- this is the maximum it has been able to reach. Additionally, buffering issues occur frequently.

I know that this issue has been occassionally discussed in the forums here, but I was wondering if there were any updates or new thoughts?

A few notes:

  • Video source on the Slingbox is component (HD)

  • In ALL OTHER occasions (viewing directly on the iphone, ipad, browser, and desktop Slingplayer apps), the quality is PERFECT (HD quality). HQ works great.

  • The upload speed of the network where the Slingbox PRO-HD is located is excellent, above 5Mbit

  • The download speed where the Roku 3 is located is 50Mbit -- more than enough for HD streaming

  • Clicking the "option" button on the Roku remote shows a constant bandwidth stream of >3Mbit (meaning that the upload speed on the slingbox is more than sufficient), but resolution won't go beyond 640x480

  • Everything that can be wired via ethernet, is wired (slingbox, Roku, etc)

  • The iphone/ipad that casts to the Roku 3 has excellent wifi reception (practically standing next to the router and connected on a 5Ghz wifi network)

  • All other Roku channels (e.g. Netflix, Plex, Amazon) have no issue with the quality and can reach up to 1080p with no problem at all

  • Obviously, all network settings (port forwarding etc) are properly configured and the "Internet Viewing" test passes successfully.

  • All devices (Slingbox PRO-HD, Roku 3, ios devices etc) have the latest firmware installed

  • The iphone/ipad identifies the Roku on the network as "Roku 1" instead of "Roku 3" -- maybe an issue here?


It looks like the issue is narrowed down on the way the device (iphone/ipad) "talks" to the Roku 3 and relays the stream. Not sure how the iphone/ipad, Roku 3, and Slingbox PRO-HD connect to eachother when casting to the Roku, and where does the video stream ultimately passes from.

Any ideas are much appreciated! Many thanks in advance!
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12 Replies
theuser86
Level 7

Re: Very poor video quality on Roku Slingbox channel

Is your Roku 3 connected via WiFi to your router?

Also, how is your Slingbox connected to your router?

I suggest you hard wire both devices to your router, should fix the problem. After you cast from the iPhone, the playback is handed over to the Roku so it is directly Slingbox -> router -> Roku streaming.

What is the make and model of your router btw?
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englishman
Level 7

Re: Very poor video quality on Roku Slingbox channel

Hi there -- thanks for your reply. Maybe it wasn't clear enough on my first post that the Slingbox and the Roku are in different locations (ie not in the same LAN).

However:

Like I said, both devices are connected via ethernet to their respective routers. This is not an upload/download bandwidth problem, as there is no quality issue when remote viewing on other devices (iphone, ipad, desktop slingplayer). The upload/download speeds on both sides are more than sufficient for at least 720p playback. The problem occurs only when casting to the Roku. So perhaps a problem with the Slingbox Roku channel itself?

The fact that, as you said, the playback is handed over to the Roku (and does not go through the iphone/ipad) shows that the issue probably is on the Roku's side then?
Mind that, as mentioned, other Roku channels such as Netflix do not have a playback quality issue and go easily up to 1080p.
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donikatz
Level 7

Re: Very poor video quality on Roku Slingbox channel

I get 720p (1280x720) on my Roku 3; LAN-to-LAN; Slingbox on Eth, Roku on WiFi. My Roku 3 also shows up as a Roku 1 on iOS, so I think that's just an irrelevant UI bug. Main difference is I have a Slingbox 350 vs your older HD-Pro, but obviously that shouldn't matter for 720p. Can you try your Roku and/or Slingbox on another network to narrow down where the issue might be, replicate the issue elsewhere?
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theuser86
Level 7

Re: Very poor video quality on Roku Slingbox channel

At the location where the Slingbox is located, what is the upload speed of the Internet there? This may be the issue if it's too slow. Download speed and upload speed are very different.
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englishman
Level 7

Re: Very poor video quality on Roku Slingbox channel

The upload speed where the slingbox is 5MBps. When I'm viewing through the Slingplayer on my desktop pc, the quality is fine, and the streaming stats from the player show an average of 3200-3500kbps of streaming speed. Yet, the problem still persists on the Roku, with the stream quality never going beyond 480p and averaging around 2200kbps.
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donikatz
Level 7

Re: Very poor video quality on Roku Slingbox channel

Wait, you earlier wrote: "Clicking the "option" button on the Roku remote shows a constant bandwidth stream of >3Mbit", but now you're saying 2.2 Mbps. Big difference. In any case, you really should try your Roku in a different location to see if you can reproduce the problem.
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englishman
Level 7

Re: Very poor video quality on Roku Slingbox channel

Thanks for your reply. Truth is that it fluctuates indeed. I've been monitoring it for the past 2 days, and I'd say the average incoming stream (from the slingbox to the roku) is around 2.2-2.5 Mbps.

Here's where it gets interesting now:

- Like I said, streaming to a slingplayer on desktop/iphone/ipad does not have any quality issues (ok I'm not expecting 1080p, but something slightly better than 480p seems like a reasonable expectation)

- Speed tests at the Slingbox location show at least 4000 kbps of upload bandwidth. Nothing else is consuming upload bandwidth operates at this location.

- I borrowed a latest gen WD TV, and the Slingplayer on the device (which is Flash-based) easily reached 1280x720p -- which is really satisfactory. A speed test from within the WDTV Slingplayer app shows around 3.2-3.3Mbps of upload speed from the Slingbox.

Mind that the WDTV, like the Roku, is connected via ethernet to the network. Also, the Roku is indeed capable of reaching up to 1080p on Netflix, Plex etc.

Does this leave us with the Slingplayer Roku Channel as the sole suspect of the problem? Maybe poor connection optimization?

Could this be a Pro-HD issue, and a newer Slingbox such as the M1 would actually work better?
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donikatz
Level 7

Re: Very poor video quality on Roku Slingbox channel

While I was testing some unrelated LAN changes today, I decided to pay attention to the Roku Slingbox channel connectivity for some insight. I notice that it takes a couple of minutes for it to negotiate optimal resolution, unlike with the iOS apps and browser players. Not sure if this is just after LAN changes, or if it always did that and I never noticed. Anyhow, after connecting, it goes from 640x480 --> 960x576 --> 1280x720, as kbps slowly ramps up. It doesn't seem to hit 1280x720 until kbps goes over 3500. Before 3000 kbps, it's usually in the 640x480 range.

So it seems to me like the issue may be your source. You're now saying 4 Mbps rather than 5 Mbps+ is your upstream. My upstream is 5 Mbps+ and the Roku channel downstream stabilizes at ~3750 kbps. So with "only" 4 Mbps, that could account for only ~2.5 Mbps in the Roku channel and therefore 640x480. So why isn't 4 Mbps enough? You're right, AFAIK, it should be. But yeah, maybe the Roku channel's connection optimization is poor next to other Slingbox players or it has more overhead. Or maybe it's the Pro-HD.

Sorry, I don't have a better answer, just thought my test info might be useful. If it were me, if possible I'd (1) test a newer Slingbox and (2) test at a site with more upstream bandwidth. Not sure what else there is to do.
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englishman
Level 7

Re: Very poor video quality on Roku Slingbox channel

Thanks for the elaborate reply! I have been testing it from various angles in the past couple of days. Unfortunately, the quality on my Roku does not seem to ramp up at all, even after 30 mins or so of streaming.

It seems that the combination of the Slingbox Roku channel and the mobile app is just plain horrible in terms of bandwidth and quality optimization. I can't blame it on the upstream bandwidth at the Slingbox location, when I get 1280x720 on the WDTV (on which the Slingbox app is flash-based) and max 640x480 on the Roku, with both of those devices sitting next to each other Smiley Happy.

For what it's worth....I borrowed an Apple TV (3rd gen) to test it as well. The ios Slingplayer app streams via Airplay to the Apple TV. Result? Same crappy 480p quality. Or maybe even worse! Let me say again that the ios device is on a 5Ghz wifi and the Apple TV / Roku are on ethernet -- so no local speed issues here.

It's like Sling just hasn't done a good enough job on making this work well on players that don't have a dedicated Slingplayer app and have to go through the mobile device always. Oh well...
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