20 Replies Latest reply: Jun 11, 2012 12:08 PM by wilbur55555 RSS

    Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems

    gbye

      Is Adobe aware of the current ongoing problems with MLB.TV streams that are succumbing to the so called "Spinning Circles " problem that is widely discussed at MLB.TV Support Forum?

      In the forum MLB.TV has not detailed what constitutes the MLB.TV media player as far as full components makup.  It is widely known, however that Adobe Flash and a product known as  NexDef are involved as prime components and probably are the culprits for the problem that some MLB.TV Premium paid subcribers have been experiencing from say 6 APR 2012 thru 14 Apr 2012 and continuing so far.

       

      Has Adobe been helping MLB.TV try to solve the issue. If not , please read the MLB.TV support forum and recognize that Adobe will probably be red flagged, if not already, as flawed, and thus IMHO will lose thier MLB.TV contract to Microsoft Silverlight again ... at least until HTML5 comes  along eventually to save the day ... I hope.

        • 1. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
          chris.campbell Employee Hosts

          I wasn't aware of this problem.  I'll forward this along to our video team for their review.  Could you provide us with some links to the threads on the MLB support forums?

           

          Thanks,

          Chris

          • 2. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
            chris.campbell Employee Hosts

            I've asked our video team and they are also not aware of any existing issue.  I think the best approach at this point would be to create a new bug at bugbase.adobe.com (which makes it official) and post back both here and on the MLB forums with the bug's URL so that others affected can add their votes and comments.

            • 3. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
              gbye Community Member

              OK Thanks.  I will be working up a bug report at bugbase.adobe.com as soon as I can.

               

              In the meantime, here is MLB.TV Support Forum link that is provided to MLB.TV Subscribers

               

              http://mlb.mlb.com/help/supportforum/index.jsp

               

              Unfortunately, the forum is not public, it is subscribers (login) only. If you are not a subscriber, maybe Adobe has corporate access under the MLB.TV contract.

              Please post here again, or contact me by private email if you can't login otherwise.

              I will be very very happy to ask the forum Admin for a temporary login on your behalf  for your research on the issue.

               

              If, indeed, you do get a logged to the forum,  my first suggestion would be the  - Search the Forum - dialog. Type the string:

               

              spinning circles

               

              and you will get to see lots of info on the problem.

               

              Please post here if you obtain a login. I'll check back later and can suppply you with some drilldown urls to the best technical threads on the spinning circles problem (I'm about to try to watch (and troubleshoot a SF Giants baseball game right now ).

              • 4. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
                gbye Community Member

                Thanks Chris

                 

                As a first go, try this drilldown link:

                 

                http://www.forums.mlb.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=16&nav=messages&webtag=ml-help01&tid=15127

                 

                There are many more, but new disscussion comments were added to this thread for 19 MAY 2012 games.

                 

                Please see my 18 May 2012 0817 ET response to this forum if you cannot login.

                • 5. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
                  gbye Community Member

                  Chris,

                   

                  I have now asked the MLB.TV Support Forum about the possibility of providing researchers from Adobe a temporary login temporarily view the MLB.TV Support Forum pages that apply to the streamed video Visual Quality problem (now also know "abnormal spinning circles"

                   

                  I have visited Adobe's:

                   

                  bugbase.adobe.com

                   

                  but because of required entry portions in the web form format, I now have a few preliminary questions on certain entries.

                   

                  I want the bug report to reflect circumstances of all impacted paid subscribers, but Adobe's form fillout only provides mutually exclusive selects etc. that would make the bug report less than ideally representative. 

                  I have set up Adobe Case Number 0208405348 by phone today in an effort to discuss this matter and all my other posts in this Adobe forum.

                  As it turns out, all my posts are indeed all interrelated to the use of Adobe Flash plugin and/or Shockwave Flash when troubleshooting the MLB.TV media player flaws.

                   

                  Will you please contact me by phone or private mail.

                   

                  As we go, along, and assuming you have not yet been able to log in and view the MLB.TV Support Forum at posttime, I will add new subpost links as you had requested.  for example this link:

                   

                  http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=13800469

                   

                  may be reachable publically. It provides an MLB.TV tutorial on how to setup the dreaded (and "... sometimes disabled ...") NexDef software.

                  NexDef was reportedly originally written by Justin Chapweske of Swarmcast

                   

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzs9QcnDPPU

                   

                  Swarmcast is a company that, IIUC, is either Google-search-string OOB (Out-Of-Business), or at the very least, no longer involved with NexDef as used by MLB.TV.

                   

                  NexDef seems to no longer work properly as intended in conjunction with (the) Adobe Flash component(s) in the MLB.TV player. IMHO, these two primary player components seem to conflict with one another as both want to conduct quality adjustments automatically at timed or triggered intervals.

                   

                  If these adjustments trigger and run PROPERLY and BRIEFLY say ONCE A GAME and lock the resultant quality that would be OK. I think that's what happened last season but this season things have been different.

                   

                  Notabally, Even if NexDef is not installed the quality issue this year persists ... Does this imply that Adobe alone is at fault? or are there newer implementations or component additions to the MLB.TV media player that are giving Adobe Flash or Nexdef a bad name?

                   

                  By the Way (BTW), the tutorial mentions ways for users to adjust Visual Quality and more importantly how users can determine the Visual Quality level that works for their receipient hardware and software configuration. This user guided customization has reportly worked just fine for impacted users in the past ... Their settings STUCK. This year (6 April 2012 thru 22 May 2012 and continuing) their chosen settings do not STICK. IMHO, The faulty interplay between Adobe and NexDef is a likely root cause. That's why we need your (Adobe) help.

                   

                  Thanks

                  • 7. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
                    gbye Community Member

                    OK.  Hopefully Adobe will be able to help us and all the others reporting on the abnormal spinning circles problem at MLB.TV Support Forum.

                     

                    I am also asking Adobe to help out with some related issues at least for me and my troubleshooting-low-ender machine (W2KP etc, it just barely meets MLB.TV System Requirements).

                    It is an excellent machine to test scenarios for the MLB.TV problems we are encountering this season.

                    So if you are curious, take a quick look at my other threads that Adobe is helping with:

                     

                    http://forums.adobe.com/message/4415240#4415240

                     

                    http://forums.adobe.com/message/4431713#4431713

                     

                    http://forums.adobe.com/message/4390444#4390444       

                    • 8. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
                      chris.campbell Employee Hosts

                      I'm trying to find someone that can help you guys with the MLB site.  Since I do not have access, I'm unable to test or verify these issues.

                      • 9. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
                        gbye Community Member

                        Hi Chris

                         

                        Thanks again for your response. Here's an update from my end:

                         

                        Don't know if it was your efforts (which I do very much appreciate), or the separate Adobe Case #0208405348 phone calls BUT:

                         

                        Today,  23 MAY 2012 circa 1925 ET, I received a phone call from Nimish, a staffperson with Adobe.

                        He told me that Adobe and MLB (MLB.TV? MLB Advanced Media?) are NOW currently working on the "spinning circles" problem together.

                         

                        I was encouraged when he sincerely promised a callback later when-if-once the problem is FIXed.

                        I can't WAIT! (... taken in context ... oh, Yes, I can!)

                         

                        Hopefully together Adobe and MLB techies will be successful.

                         

                        So ... , at least for the time being, let me say, I do appreciate this Adobe Forum approach and your customer service:

                        Checking up-the-ladder with Adobe technical types, letting us no where things stand, etc.

                         

                        You should know that I continued to ask The MLB.TV Support Forum for at least a temporary login on your behalf. As I mentioned before, there is quite a bit of

                        research material embedded in the MLB.TV Support Forum. Subscribers often throw out useful technical details and notions in their commentary; datapoint snippetts abound.

                        I suggested to Nimish that Adobe staff, while conducting their troubleshoot, may still want to login and do a read. I got the sense from him, however,  that Adobe was otherwise ON IT, NOW.

                         

                        The abnormal spinning circles problem has been longstanding and continues to be frustrating and tedious to the paid subscribers.

                        MLB could have easily lost a percentage to cancellation, however small, because of this issue alone, but I doubt they did,  or ever will.

                        Recognize that these are essentially not just customers. They are core baseball fans that relish their MLB.TV experience WHEN IT IS RIGHT. They don't want to cancel; they want a FIX (solution).

                        Subscribers survive with try-this or try-that workarounds from the land of tweakdom and tolerance while they wait for a complete resolution and a return to normalcy (saneness).

                        • 10. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
                          chris.campbell Employee Hosts

                          A bit more info from my side.  From what I understand, this is actually an issue with MLB's usage of a technology called SwarmCast.  It appears to be Flash but is not.

                          • 11. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
                            gbye Community Member

                            When I set up this thread I focussed on the MLB.TV media player by saying that"

                             

                            "... It is widely known, however that Adobe Flash and a product known as  NexDef are involved as prime components and probably are the culprits for the problem that some MLB.TV Premium paid subcribers have been experiencing from say 6 APR 2012 thru 14 Apr 2012 and continuing so far .."

                             

                            (Oh , let's update that timestamp for the purposes of this reply to "..." from say 6 Apr 2012 thru 24 May 2012 and continuing so far)

                             

                            Chris, please be advised that NexDef  IS indeed "... Swarmcast ..." from a MLB.TV Support Forum users/mods/admin perspective. Yes, from their perspective and mine SWARMCAST and NEXDEF are one and the same.

                            BTW, since NexDef is also componentized software, you may also see it referred to as Autobahn.  

                             

                            With all due respect to you, the right honorable gentleman (TRHG) (I enjoy watching the British Parliment), I "... totally agree with the right honorable gentleman ..."  that:

                            Swarmcast's NexDef is a bad actor here . So far, at least this season, it is has been both a very disruptive delivery agent and an uncontrollable visual quality meddler.

                             

                            Look, we all know that Adobe Flash may adjust video quality inherently from time to time (spinning circles or equivalent visual timer-timeout) on flash content

                             

                            BUT:

                            MLB.TV media player also uses NexDef as a plugin to adjust video quality automatically to the MLB.TV ideal known as High Definition (HD) for High-enders (devices and configs that can handle HD).

                             

                            BUT:

                            NexDef also allows, via a MLB.TV interface, Low-enders to manually adjust Visual Quality to suit their devices and configs. Low-enders would be OK with this if it worked but this baseball season

                            it is NOT  working properly.

                             

                            IIUC, NexDef is a two headed beast that handles:

                               1. the stream (adaptive bit rate streaming, manages CDN hopping etc)

                                and

                               2. the features implementation interface (plugin) that encloses the actual game video (frame, or window) that is viewed.

                            Whomever is the technical go-to for (Swarmcast's) NexDef should INDEED be involved with Adobe and MLBAM in the troubleshoot that eventually FIXes this problem.

                             

                            BUT:

                            Will TRHG recognize ... that in the meantine, I will remain unconvinced that Flash is exempt from some culpability, in part,  perhaps,  because, at least officially, MLB Advanced Media continues to do Flash-flagging:     

                              A couple notions here:

                              The game video can be right-clicked and the Adobe classic .... Settings and Global Settings panels  (please don't get me started on the failings of that interface) are made available during the game.

                              MLB.TV Support Forums Moderators and Admin are notorious for mantra-trythising and mantra-trythating the user with Adobe "Settings and Global Settings" adjustments.

                             

                              As recently as yesterday one of the MLB.TV Support Forum modererators posted:

                              

                                To:jaimet

                                1:37 PM

                                 15411.5 Reply to 15411.4

                                 ForumModerator1

                                 ForumModerator1 Posted by host

                                 Posts:8063

                             

                                Are you currently on the latest flash player? We are trying to figure out if the latest flash player is what is causing the issue.

                               

                            So ... this to my point that Adobe (Flash) has been characterized as "... red flagged ... " or "as flawed".

                             

                            Again, ADOBE STAFF SIMPLY MUST-DO-A-MUST READ OF THE MLB.TV SUPPORT FORUM to be fully informed.

                             

                             

                            Now to Swarmcast :

                             

                              I have spent some time reasearching Swarmcast, the adaptive bit rate streaming, the CDN hopping, the feature interface etc. Have you tried researching that company yet? It is going to be fun... more later ...

                            • 12. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
                              chris.campbell Employee Hosts

                              gbye,

                              Thank you for the update.  I've raised your concern to our Flash Media Server team (along with other members of the Flash Video related teams) so people should have a heads up with regards to mlb.tv.  I unfortunately still do not have access to the mlb.tv forums so I can't monitor what is going on over there.  If you'd like, please feel free to forward my email (ccampbel@adobe.com) to the appropriate people at mlb.tv if they need Adobe contacts to work through this issue.

                               

                              Thanks,

                              Chris

                              • 13. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
                                wilbur55555 Community Member

                                Chris, IMO you correctly identify the problem with MLB.com as being related to MLB using SwarmCast's NexDef technology to implement HTTP dynamic streaming.  I also note from this post http://blogs.adobe.com/ktowes/2010/06/flash_player_101_http_dynamic.html that Adobe has developed and deployed an equivalent technology to the one implemented in NexDef, an adaptable, scalable swarm-fed HTTP HD streaming technology.  These look to me to be similar in concept and purpose.

                                 

                                If this is the case, isn't the simple and prudent solution for MLB.com to jettison NexDef (as SwarmCast has done) and embrace your HTTP Dynamic Streaming technology?

                                • 14. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
                                  chris.campbell Employee Hosts

                                  I'm not a video expert by any means, but I do know that we do extensive testing and support using our tools.

                                  • 15. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
                                    J. Blair

                                    Chris,

                                     

                                    Thank you for your attention to this issue with MLB TV and Nexdef.

                                     

                                    My mother is retired and due to the current economy has limited recreational outlets and watching the Cubs online is one of the few affordable options to her.

                                     

                                    She has been on the phone with MLB TV tech support about a dozen times since March of this year and they try to put the blame on her version of adobe, bandwith or Nexdef.

                                     

                                    After her last go round with them and my downloading latest versions of Adobe Flash and nexdef and reverifying adequate bandwidth and nexdef installation all through the tool pages provided at MLB TV the freeze up issue still persists as of today.

                                     

                                    I verified that there are no issues with the adobe flash loaded on her system over this past week by watching both movies from Hulu and live feed from financial sites and adobe performed flawlessly streaming video for over two hours at a time.

                                     

                                    My mother attempted to post our findings and observations about this nexdef thing on the MLB support forum for subscribers yesterday and the admin of MLB support Forum has not posted her findings or a reply.

                                     

                                    Maybe you could forward what we have found regarding the nexdef situation on to your tech guys working with the MLB techs to show them that Adobe is serving us well but when MLB attaches nexdef to it, Adobe spits and sputters and freezes up within 6 innings.

                                     

                                    Thanks for all your help as we ball fans try to figure this out and get some relief. I really hate how the telephone techs at MLB are trying to make this look like its an Adobe Flash problem when flash works on every other site.

                                    • 16. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
                                      chris.campbell Employee Hosts

                                      I will definitely pass this along.  By the way, it might not be a bad idea to ask other MLB customers encountering issues to add a comment on this post so we can see how widespread this issue is, even though this does not appear to be a Flash Player issue.

                                      • 17. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
                                        gbye Community Member

                                        Chris,

                                         

                                        Thanks for the invite.

                                         

                                        I have posted the content of messages #15 and #16 (see below ) to MLB.TV Support Forum and requested users of that forum to consider commenting here at the Adobe Forums.

                                        The Point of Time (POT) timestamp for this reply shows 1038 Views and 16 Replies for this thread (#4455585). Let's see what transpires ...

                                         

                                            Attention Attention Attention

                                            (and now... respin ... respin again ... and again - c'mon,  it's an abnormal spinning circles emulation)

                                            We have all been invited by Adobe to register comments on the

                                            Adobe Forums | Flash Player | Using Flash Player | Discussions | Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems thread:

                                             http://forums.adobe.com/message/4455585#4455585

                                         

                                            The last two posts to #4455585 are messages 15 and 16 which show the invite:

                                              15. J. Blair, Community Member May 30, 2012 7:32 PM in reply to Chris Campbell

                                               Chris,

                                               Thank you for your attention to this issue with MLB TV and Nexdef.

                                               My mother is retired and due to the current economy has limited recreational outlets and  watching the Cubs online is one of the few affordable options to her.

                                               She has been on the phone with MLB TV tech support about a dozen times since March of this year and they try to put the blame on her version of adobe, bandwith or Nexdef.

                                               After her last go round with them and my downloading latest versions of Adobe Flash and nexdef and reverifying adequate  bandwidth and nexdef installation all through the tool pages

                                               provided at MLB TV the freeze up issue still persists as of today.

                                         

                                              I verified that there are no issues with the adobe flash loaded on her system over this past week by watching both movies from Hulu and live feed from financial sites and adobe performed

                                              flawlessly streaming video for over two hours at a time.

                                              My mother attempted to post our findings and observations about this nexdef thing on the MLB support forum for subscribers yesterday  and the admin of MLB support Forum has not posted her  findings or a reply.

                                              Maybe you could forward what we have found regarding the nexdef situation on to your tech guys working with the MLB techs to show them that Adobe is serving us well but when

                                              MLB  attaches nexdef to it, Adobe spits and sputters and freezes up within 6 innings.

                                             Thanks for all your help as we ball fans try to figure this out and get some relief.

                                             I really hate how the telephone techs at MLB are trying to make this look like its an Adobe Flash  problem when flash works on every other site

                                          
                                           16. Chris Campbell, Adobe Employee May 31, 2012 3:58 PM in reply to J. Blair

                                             I will definitely pass this along.  By the way, it might not be a bad idea to ask other MLB customers encountering issues to add a comment on this post so we can see how widespread this issue is,

                                             even though this does not appear to be a Flash Player issue

                                         

                                        Since I am not sure if J. Blair is a one-timer or regular MLB.TV Support Forum poster, I have posted the invite:

                                           here:

                                           http://www.forums.mlb.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?sr=y&msg=15395.3&nav=messages&webtag=ml-help01

                                           and

                                           for tracking purposes, there:

                                           http://forums.adobe.com/message/4455585#4455585

                                        • 18. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
                                          CCShine

                                          Chris,

                                           

                                          I post in MLB.TV forums as well and I have managed to watch 3 games from beginning to end all season. Generally what happens is NexDef crashes. It can be difficult to restart it and on occasion I need to completely close the browser to get it all to come back and work. We are very excited to have you looking into the issues and seeing if you can't find some resolution for us.

                                           

                                          Unfortunately I need NexDef in order to have the audio overlay work (watch the Phillies TV but listen to the radio broadcast).

                                           

                                          The computer that I watch the games on is an i7 Extreme 980X with 9GB of RAM and an ATI Radeon HD 5570 with 1GB of dedicated VRAM. It runs Win 7 Home Premium 64-bit I have a 12/5 DSL connection and generally am between 3500 and 4500 on the MLB bandwidth test. They tell us that you need a minimum of 3000 for HD.

                                           

                                          So I should be enjoying every game with no major issues. Instead at least once a game but more often 2-6 times per game NexDef crashes. It's easy to know it's coming because the audio stops, the picture freezes and then the spinning circles begin. I then have to get out of full screen mode, turn NexDef back on, readjust to HD, then change the Broadcast to use the audio overlay to listen to WPHT. Sometimes I'll get an inning or two before the circles come back to visit again. 

                                           

                                          At the beginning of the season, I couldn't use Firefox at all to watch games so I was using IE (yuck!). After seeing some posts from others that they were having good luck with Firefox, I tried it again and it is working. It may even be a bit better than IE but I've only been using it for a week or so.

                                           

                                          If there is any testing or question answering I can do, just let me know! I also have a much slower computer with a Pentium D 3.00GHz, 4 GB RAM and Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit with an NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT with 256 MB of VRAM.

                                           

                                          I hope this helps! 

                                          • 19. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
                                            mrut1

                                            Count me in as one more person who has spent hours on the phone with mlb.tv tech assistants being told to clear caches, reinstall NexDef, test bandwidth (by mlb.tv standards: 4-6000 kbps, so adequate) and still mlb.tv is jerky and hangs up with spinning circles. I can watch other streaming video and Hulu programs. Something is wrong.

                                            • 20. Re: Adobe Flash and the MLB.TV Baseball season current ongoing spinning circles problems
                                              wilbur55555 Community Member

                                              Please see my post here: http://forums.adobe.com/message/4483102#4483102  I have been testing and have seen the problem even with NexDef not running.

                                               

                                              IMO NexDef should NOT be needed to watch MLB games.  Its primary intention is to improve picture quality for people with slow internet connections.  I'd have to believe that Adobe is already doing the best they can on that score.  If not they should be. 

                                               

                                              MLB is pushing people to use NexDef because that's apparently how they're able to intrude commercials into the breaks between half-innings.  If NexDef isn't running I don't get commercials on my computer, and I also don't get them on my Western Digital WD Live Hub device.  I've heard that some people have had some luck blocking the advertizing with browser ad blocking add-ons too BTW.