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Advocate

NowTV 4k box bandwidth usage and lockout

Hi. I have a fairly ridiculous problem that occurs pretty much every month and is denying me from using NowTV on a 4k box.


On a monthly basis my box will provide the services without an issue and then suddenly stop. The message displayed is “NowTV is not currently available” and nothing loads.

 

When the box suddenly doesn’t work anymore I check my UniFi controller and it tells me the box/port has downstreamed usually around 110 to 130GB of information. 

 

Given I can’t actually turn the box off and the remote only controls the TV, it seems the box is forever downloading content continually, even when I’m not using it. 

 

Can anyone confirm or deny if there is a monthly bandwidth cap on what a box is allowed to consume before it gets bricked?


Also why is the box continually pulling down so much content if nothing is actually being displayed? It’s not like I leave the thing in live TV on an internet channel.

 

I ask because I have absolute no idea why it works for a couple of weeks and then simply just stops and displays the message “now tv is not currently available”. A factory reset does absolutely nothing and the service works fine on other devices.

 

Any help and advice gratefully received. thank you. Paul

 

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Legend 5
Legend 5

Re: NowTV 4k box bandwidth usage and lockout

Hi @D1m3b4g 

 

I have a NowTV 4K Box running between 8 or 12 hours a day, 7 days a week and my useage is not capped in any way and don't get the message that you seem to be getting every month.

 

The only things i have changed from default on the box was to disable auto power off after 4 hours, disable Bandwidth Saver (both in the box menu settings).

 

Plus going into the box secret menu settings by pressing the Home button 5 times, followed by pressing the RW button 3 times, followed pressing the FF button 2 times, where i have manually selected the stream rate at 12 Mbps where my internet can cope with this speed.

 

I am assuming there is nothing on your Router settings causing this problem ?

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Advocate

Re: NowTV 4k box bandwidth usage and lockout

Hiya, thanks for the reply.

 

I've adjusted the bitrate to 12Mbit as you've done to get the best quality stream. I think auto may have worked this out anyway as the connection into the property is quite good.

I don't run anything on the router/switches/controllers that would bandwidth limit at all no, so I'm not sure what's going on.

 

I think I've just worked out what the issue actually is - blocked DNS. I run a pihole for control over DNS within my network. It seems the NowTV is reliant on calling out to various DNS tracking addresses that are blocked via "Gravity" (system of blocking known bad adresses via tracked lists) to actually work at all.

 

This is admittedly fairly shocking - the NowTV box absoultely can not operate if certain known malicious / tracking addresses aren't contactable. So it's fairly safe to assume at this point the box is gathering metrics we are likely not being made aware of and provided to a third party.

 

I'd show a screenshot of the Gravity grab on the undesirable address (dpm.demdex.net) but I don't have permission to paste it.

 

DemDex captures behavioral data on behalf of Websites and advertisers and stores it in a “behavioral data bank.” Nice one NowTV/Sky/Roku.

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Legend 5
Legend 5

Re: NowTV 4k box bandwidth usage and lockout

@D1m3b4g 

 

DemDex is Adobe’s rival to Google Analytics. 

 

I imagine you might become aware of it, or at least of what it is collecting, if you read NowTV’s cookie policy.

I also imagine that NowTV would be no more keen on the data collected going to a third party than you are, as they will be paying to have it collected.

 

While you may not like trackers, there is absolutely no evidence that DemDex is associated in any way at all with the spreading of malware.

 

There are internet reports of similar difficulties to yours - a Roku user with pihole who could not access Hulu while blocking DemDex, who solved the problem by whitelisting it.

 

Perhaps the most effective solution would be for the anti-tracking software not to block these IP addresses, but just to feed them ###### 💩


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Re: NowTV 4k box bandwidth usage and lockout

Heh, not a bad idea. Open to suggestions on that one.

 

The only real issue I have over and above the capturing of usage information for tracking purposes is the box's inability to work without it.

 

I have plenty of devices on my internal network that try to "phone home" to send telemetry (Unifi, Amazon echo, Philips Hue etc) and I take out their ability to do so by blocking various DNS requests. Fine.

 

Doing that to those devices however doesn't utterly cripple them. I personally feel that really should be my choice under GDPR to opt in, or out of enabling that tracking functionality (as it really is personally generated data) without jeopardising the ability to consume the service.

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