March update

Based on the feedback from users on reddit as well as my own experience, the Super Bowl test seems to have passed with flying colors. Everyone seems to have had a perfect video stream. The new antenna has had perfect signal. Additionally, the switch from RCN to Boston Broadband as our ISP is clearly visible in the response time graph below. Given this is a real time system, latency is important and the faster responses have helped.

We hit some of our highest concurrent numbers. Of the 400 or so testers that were using the app at the time, 65 were watching the Super Bowl. We were able to service everyone. For the Super Bowl we pumped out 360GB of data from our CDN. Based on how the CDN performed, while these are tiny numbers I am more confident the current stack should scale up to much more. The generally flat green line while the blue spikes indicates the CDN is doing a much better job of absorbing almost the entire load. We have increased the test flight limit to allow more users to use it. Thank you everyone who watched with the app. Please keep using it as the data we get from these tests allows us to keep improving our software.

The purpose of this long test phase is to keep making adjustments so we have a service that can reasonably handle the volume to traffic we expect while still keeping operating costs low.

Looking at the Super Bowl you can clearly see when the game started, ended, where and when the game got more interesting.

Finally, some house keeping. If you are new to this blog, this is primarily an engineering blog for the free LocalTV+ service run by Mass Local TV, a non profit based in Boston. This is a temporary website. Some quick answers to common questions:

  1. The app is only for iOS an tvOS for now. There are other versions in development. You can get the test app on TestFlight.
  2. The service only works 100 miles around Boston.
  3. We are a non profit and donations are tax deductible. You do not need to donate to use the service. It does, however, help keep the lights on
  4. This service was made by three people who are all volunteers.
  5. Join us on reddit, which doubles as a support forum.
  6. If you have GitHub you can submit bugs and feature requests.

February Update: CBS works. Preparing for the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl on Feb 11 will be the largest test of this platform. We have seen large numbers during the NFL playoff games but we expect the Sunday to be the biggest traffic spike yet. This will be a trial by fire for this service. In preparation for that we have rolled out some server and app updates. We have also moved our hosting to Boston Broadband, a great locally owned ISP you should check out. At the new location, we now have an antenna with a clear line of sight to the towers in Needham. This will provide us with clear reception on all channels regardless of weather conditions. The new antenna and hosting was funded by donations from beta testers who have found the app useful. LocalTV is funded by viewers like you. Thank you. We would like to stay free for as long as we can. If you find this useful please consider making a tax deductible donation. Depending on employer, your donations may be matched. If your employer uses Benevity you can find us there for easy donation and matching.

The new antenna in Brookline

If you would like to test LocalTV+ on iOS or Apple TV. You can use our public testflight link.

With the new location users who have been using the app for the past few months will notice several other changes:

  1. PBS (WGBH) is now in high definition
  2. FOX is much more reliable and we are trialing subtitle support
  3. CBS works
  4. Overall much faster and hopefully little if any freezing