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FAQ: Roku 2 Users: Pixelation / Artifacts During Playback


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#1 Alan Morgan

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 07:01 AM

This seems to be due to something in Roku's most recent firmware update for the Roku 2. Other private channels have reported this occurring to them as well; it's not specific to the Roku. It seems like it should be addressed in the next firmware release from Roku but I haven't seen clear confirmation from Roku on the matter.

I've asked Elan if we have a contact person over at Roku that we can reach out to regarding the issue. Unfortunately, if the Roku unit is silently dropping frames, which is the predominant theory for the pixelation affect, I'm not sure if there's anything that we can do code-wise to address the issue ourselves. Anyone with further details (not further symptoms, please, it's affecting all of us so I don't want to see this turn into a "me, too" thread) as to why it's occurring would be appreciated. If anyone has any thoughts on how we could attack it from our angle, I'd love to hear your thoughts as well.
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#2 scyber

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 08:34 PM

If anyone can provide some sample video that pixelates on the Roku2, I can put together a test case for the Roku folks to look at. Then hopefully they can either confirm that it is the suspected problem (HLS dropping segments), confirm that it is a new bug, or they can provide encoding feedback to fix the issue.

However, since I will need to publish the transcoded version of this video to a public server for Roku to view, I will need a sample video that isn't encumbered with copyrights. I don't want to get into any issues hosting copyrighted content and I know Roku isn't too fond of that either (it would likely deter them from investigating the issue). I've tried to replicate the issues with my home movies but I've been unable to do so. So if someone can provide a sample video that would be great.

#3 Alan Morgan

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 12:40 AM

If anyone can provide some sample video that pixelates on the Roku2, I can put together a test case for the Roku folks to look at. Then hopefully they can either confirm that it is the suspected problem (HLS dropping segments), confirm that it is a new bug, or they can provide encoding feedback to fix the issue.

However, since I will need to publish the transcoded version of this video to a public server for Roku to view, I will need a sample video that isn't encumbered with copyrights. I don't want to get into any issues hosting copyrighted content and I know Roku isn't too fond of that either (it would likely deter them from investigating the issue). I've tried to replicate the issues with my home movies but I've been unable to do so. So if someone can provide a sample video that would be great.


I'll try with my copies of Sanctuary for All. It was a web-based series that eventually became "Sanctuary" on SyFy. The thing is they provided HD downloads for their members back when it was a web-based show, so it's legitimate to have these files. They're not copyright free, per se, but they are redistributable and legal, which I think is the main concern, yes?
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#4 L0stS0ul

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 05:00 PM

Has anyone tried viewing the .ts files in VLC on the plex server side to see if there has been any quality degradation at the source possibly due to transcoding settings?

#5 Alan Morgan

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 05:22 PM

I think scyber might have done so, but I'm not sure.
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#6 scyber

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 08:54 PM

I have looked at segments and haven't seen the pixelation. I watched the same movie on an R1 and on an R2 and the difference is noticeable. Technically the different Rokus start a new transcoding session when they request the movie (so they aren't the exact same source), I doubt the pixelation would consistently appear for the R2, but not the R1 if the transcoding was causing the issue. Also the issue appeared right after the 1006 firmware came out, so that was a pretty good indicator of where the change happened.

#7 Alan Morgan

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 04:38 AM

So I touched base with Elan, who talked to Roku about this directly. They confirmed that it should be fixed in the next firmware release which is due out shortly. Keep checking for a firmware update to hit and we'll check in on things as soon as it gets updated. In the meantime, your best bet is to stick with 2MB quality or lower, as that seems to be least affected by the issue.

I understand it's frustrating (I personally reverted to my Roku 1 unit due to this issue, so trust me when I say I understand), but we just need to hold in there until the new firmware drops and then we can revisit the issue. I'll be glad to go back to my Roku 2 personally. (Although I'm looking to see if I can pick up another Roku 2 so the roommate can use the XS I have and I can use another one with my HDMI switcher, so I can test across both generations without having to swap hardware around.)
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#8 Adzam

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 07:36 PM

Any updates? This pixelation is driving me crazy, I've not seen a new firmware since middle of December.

#9 Alan Morgan

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 09:35 PM

We're waiting on Roku. I understand your frustration (I'm using my Roku 1 because of this issue) but there's nothing we do on our end to address this. They said it should be out shortly, but I don't have an ETA to pass along.
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#10 Adzam

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 08:32 PM

Ah well. I can just keep checking for updates. Hopefully soon! Thanks for the reply!

#11 silentjay1980

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:29 PM

So far the artifacts seem to go away with my roku set for 720 display and plex beta set for >4.0 720p. Input files are 720p 1:85 24p 5.1 dolby and 1080p 2:35 24p dts 5.1 both mkv containers. also checked a standard avi SD quality 4:3 24p 2mp3 2.0. Not sure if my results are similar to others. BUt this is what im experiencing. I started at the lowest bitrate up to 4.0 .

#12 pockets78

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:17 AM

FYI, just upgraded my Roku LT to the 4.3 firmware and the issue is still there (at least on SD content, using Plexgrid 1.7.7)

#13 Adzam

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 07:27 PM

FYI, just upgraded my Roku LT to the 4.3 firmware and the issue is still there (at least on SD content, using Plexgrid 1.7.7)


I think the LT boxes run a different version of the firmware than the Roku 2 devices. I think the LT is basically the old Roku hardware wise, but I could be wrong.

#14 Alan Morgan

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 07:38 PM

I'm waiting to get 4.3 on my Roku 2 so I can test this.
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#15 scyber

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 07:52 PM

I think the LT boxes run a different version of the firmware than the Roku 2 devices. I think the LT is basically the old Roku hardware wise, but I could be wrong.



You are wrong :) The LT is basically a stripped down Roku2. It doesn't have the bluetooth nor the micro sd slot (so no motion gaming options). It uses the 4.x firmware while the Roku1 boxes are on 3.x.

#16 Adzam

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 08:16 PM

You are wrong :) The LT is basically a stripped down Roku2. It doesn't have the bluetooth nor the micro sd slot (so no motion gaming options). It uses the 4.x firmware while the Roku1 boxes are on 3.x.


heh, I knew there was a difference in the version numbers. I couldn't remember if it was major version numbers were different, or the minor version numbers for the Roku 2 vs Roku. Sorry!

#17 Alan Morgan

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 02:54 PM

I got 4.3 tonight and can confirm that pixelation artifacts are still there. Not as bad as before, but still there. Referring this to Elan to follow back up with Roku.
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#18 Baloeb

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 06:14 PM

Is the stutter still there? I find that more annoying than the pixelation.

#19 macprivateer

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 04:20 AM

I got 4.3 tonight and can confirm that pixelation artifacts are still there. Not as bad as before, but still there. Referring this to Elan to follow back up with Roku.


So two questions. First, do you recommend doing the update? And second how do I do it?

;)

Seriously, when I tried to update my Roku2 it said the software (4.2) was up-to-date.


EDIT: So I cruised over to the Roku forums and (correct me if I'm wrong) this is a developer beta release so I couldn't load it even if I wanted to. But thanks for letting us know that there is work going on in Rokuland (even if it has not fully fixed the issue).

Edited by macprivateer, 02 March 2012 - 04:29 AM.


#20 Alan Morgan

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:40 AM

Yeah, it's not released to the public yet, but we were able to get them to upgrade us to check into this issue.
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