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Occasional Poster
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎11-11-2017

Mad Men season 7 - audio pitched up, playback speed problem?

People's voices in Mad Men season 7 on NowTV sound strangely high pitched compared to the previous episodes I was watching on Netflix. This makes the characters' voices extremely weird and slightly humerous. Also the intro music is playing about a semitone higher.

 

I suspect there's a playback speed problem caused by mismatched sample rate or frame rate.

 

I see a similar problem reported for another show here: https://community.nowtv.com/t5/Entertainment/The-Flash-plays-too-fast-chipmunk-voices/td-p/367868

 

I bought a monthly pass just to watch this final half-season, and am pretty disappointed to be watching a broken version like this.

 

Any way to get the attention of someone at NOWTV to fix it?

Legend 3
Posts: 9,401
Registered: ‎17-10-2013

Re: Mad Men season 7 - audio pitched up, playback speed problem?

@jm25

 

Welcome to the forum. It could be an issue with content file but it also could be some device/network/erratic streaming issue. Which device are you using to watch on, which episode(s) are affected and does it affect other shows or just Mad Men?

Occasional Poster
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎11-11-2017

Re: Mad Men season 7 - audio pitched up, playback speed problem?

HI Andy,

 

I noticed the problem using an AppleTV, but then checked on my Macbook Pro with the NOWTV player app, and it sounds the same there too.

 

The problem exists in both espisodes I've watched so far - the first two available (ep 8 and 9 of season 7). So I am assuming they're all like that.

 

I just checked the Curb Your Enthusiasm title sequences (on both the newest and oldest seasons) and they both seem to play in the correct key (comparing to a reference on youtube) - so it definitely doesn't seem to be a problem on all content for me. Whereas if I compare the pitch of the Mad men title sequence to a reference on Youtube it's definitely in a different key.

Legend 3
Posts: 9,401
Registered: ‎17-10-2013

Re: Mad Men season 7 - audio pitched up, playback speed problem?

@jm25

 

Had a quick listen to the episodes you mention on my iMac and can't notice any problem with the audio, but to be fair I'm not familiar with the show so certainly won't contradict anything you say. It does seem strange if you experience on two different devices. If the streams aren't showing any signs of buffering it's also less likely to be a network issue, although I would suggest trying a reboot of your broadband router anyway.

 

What I will do is tag @Mary-E from the NOW TV Content Team, she's the go to expert for content issues around here, and I'm sure she'll be willing to check things at NOW TV's end and let you know if there are any problems (probably be Monday when you get a reply).

 

Hope it gets sorted for you.

NOW TV Team
Posts: 173
Registered: ‎24-08-2017

Re: Mad Men season 7 - audio pitched up, playback speed problem?

[ Edited ]

@jm25 

 

Hi! It sounded fine to me via the web player/mobile but I've asked other depts to have a listen on various devices, and we'll see what they come back with.

 

**update** We've checked Eps 8 & 9, and cross checked them against Netflix and they sound the same on our side. This is really frustrating I apologise!! If you want to record a snippet and submit it via Twitter (@ nowtv/ nowtvhelp) then maybe I can hear how its sounding for you? 

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Occasional Poster
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎11-11-2017

Re: Mad Men season 7 - audio pitched up, playback speed problem?

@Mary-E here you go, I've tweeted you a screen/audio recording.

 

https://twitter.com/jamiemill/status/930194512240103425

 

Two episodes from the same series - one from Netflix, and one Fom NowTV. It's not obvious if you don't compare. But if you go to a piano you'll see that Netflix plays the title sequence in the key of C#m (first note A), and NowTV plays roughly a semitone higher in Dm (first note B flat) - and it also sounds faster, though I havent done a speed test - but that would be consistent with the pitch increasing.

 

I first noticed that the voice of Ken Cosgrove sounded strangely high in the NowTV episodes. Then my wife noticed the music was in a different key too.

NOW TV Team
Posts: 173
Registered: ‎24-08-2017

Re: Mad Men season 7 - audio pitched up, playback speed problem?

@jm25 thank you for this. I have relayed it to the relevant team, who will investigate. 

 

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NOW TV Team
Posts: 173
Registered: ‎24-08-2017

Re: Mad Men season 7 - audio pitched up, playback speed problem?

@jm25

 

One of our content checkers cracked it- Netflix content runs on a frame rate of 24 fps and sky Now TV content runs on 25 fps. I believe this is the difference you are hearing. 

 

Unfortunatley that does mean that from our perspective there's nothing wrong with the content, so it won't be changed. 

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Occasional Poster
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎11-11-2017

Re: Mad Men season 7 - audio pitched up, playback speed problem?

That's a somewhat frustrating answer. I'm aware that content is produced at a range of frame rates: 25 (UK video), 29.97 (US video), 24 (film) and even 60fps nowadays.

 

But if you're intent on broadcasting everything as 25fps, wouln't it be better to resample it, than speed it up?

 

For instance, if you acquire something filmed at 60fps are you going to play it at 25fps without resampling? That would mean it plays at less than half speed!

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Occasional Poster
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎11-11-2017

Re: Mad Men season 7 - audio pitched up, playback speed problem?

... putting it another way, I'm guessing that a lot of your back-catalog of US video was filmed at 29.97fps, and you're probably not playing that at 25fps - or if you are, you're resampling it first. Otherwise it would be playing at 83% speed, which would be highly noticable (much moreso than 24 vs 25fps).

 

So I'd find it hard to believe that playing everything at 25fps without resampling is intentional.