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Video streaming issues on laptop


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#1
Miriam84

Miriam84

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:) I hope someone out there can help me. I am having major issues when trying to watch any kind of streaming video online (youtube, fancast, etc.). I eventually gave up trying, but with the economy the way it is I had to give up my cable and can't watch any of my DVDs one more time or my head will explode lol. I find that with Youtube I can manage if I pause the video as soon as it begins and wait for it to load a few minutes ahead of itself, but often times it will catch up to itself and pause to buffer every few seconds or skip constantly (buffering I assume). On other sites like Fancast, pausing immediately after the video begins and waiting awhile has no effect and the video is just unwatchable. I've run programs such as CCleaner (to clear temp files and registry errors) and that has had little to no effect. My CPU usage is generally low (under 10%) and I only have 37.6GB of used space on a 101GB hard drive.
My internet connection is through Verizon Wireless Broadband Access, I use Internet Explorer and my OS is Windows Vista Home Premium. Please see below for System info. Thank you very much in advance. :)

Toshiba Satellite L45
Processor: Intel Pentium Dual CPU T2310 @1.46GHz
RAM: 1015MB
System type: 32-bit OS

Afterthought: I also have the same problem when trying to watch video using Windows Media Player.
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#2
nates_tips

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Here is a tutorial that I recently wrote. Please follow all of the suggestions.


How Streaming Media Works

There are many types of files available for download from the Internet. Most of these files have to be completely downloaded to your computer before you can use them. All downloads work by dividing the original file into small packets which are encoded with their destination and their order in the data stream.

With streaming media however, instead of waiting for all the data to arrive, a streaming video can be watched as it is downloading. This allows the user to see the video almost immediately after clicking the view button, whereas if the entire video file had to be downloaded there could be a delay of several minutes or even hours.

You must have a very fast Internet connection to watch videos such as on YouTube or on other sites with streaming video. An unstable Internet connection is the main reason for which a streaming video will not load / buffer completely. You'll need a broadband connection with at least 500+Kbps for the best viewing experience. So for those on dialup with 56 Kbps connections, you're out of luck. I was chatting with someone the other day who told me that it took them over an hour and twenty minutes to load a 4 minute video on YouTube with his dialup connection.

With those on dialup who REALLY want to watch a video, one option is to download the video onto your computer using special software. Since the video would be on your hard drive, you will be able to watch the video smoothly.


Why Is It Taking Forever to Load? - Troubleshooting

1) Your connection speed makes all the difference in the world. As mentioned above, you'll need a broadband connection with at least 500+Kbps for the best viewing experience.

2) The web site's servers may be experiencing high traffic. If this is the case, there's not much you can do. However, sites like YouTube are continuously adding servers to keep up with demand and improve the user experience on their site. Generally, the best time to watch videos is early in the morning or late at night, when traffic decreases.

3) Your video download speed may be slow or inconsistent. In this case, you can try pausing the video until the entire stream is downloaded (the loading bar reaches the end of the player), and then, once the video's completely loaded try playing the video.

4) Occasionally, an incomplete copy of a video can get stuck in your cache and never fully download. You can re-attempt the download of the video by clearing your browser's cache.

5) Clearing your web browser cache. Cache is a fast storage buffer in the central processing unit of a computer. Each time you access a file through your web browser, the browser caches (stores) it. This enables your PC to display these pages to you without having to go back and and re-build the page, and making it quicker for the user to see. Web cache can compile and after a while, it can slow down your web browsing. And as mentioned above, it can also hinder your streaming video speeds. If I have several YouTube videos that I want to watch, I will clear my browser cache to allow my browser to function more efficiently.

To Clear Internet Explorer Cache:
  • Open Internet Explorer
  • Click the Tools menu,
  • In the tools menu, click Internet Options. The Internet Options box should open to the General tab.
  • On the General tab, in the Temporary Internet Files section, click the Delete Files button.
  • Click OK.
To Clear FireFox Cache:
  • Open FireFox
  • Click the Tools menu
  • In the Tools menu, click Clear Private Data...
  • Check the Cache checkbox
  • Click Clear Private Data Now
NOTE: steps may vary slightly with different browser versions
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#3
nates_tips

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Please download ATF Cleaner by Atribune.
This program is for XP and Windows 2000 onlyDouble-click ATF-Cleaner.exe to run the program.
Under Main choose: Select All
Click the Empty Selected button.
If you use Firefox browserClick Firefox at the top and choose: Select All
Click the Empty Selected button.
NOTE: If you would like to keep your saved passwords, please click No at the prompt.
If you use Opera browserClick Opera at the top and choose: Select All
Click the Empty Selected button.
NOTE: If you would like to keep your saved passwords, please click No at the prompt.
Click Exit on the Main menu to close the program.
For Technical Support, double-click the e-mail address located at the bottom of each menu.
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#4
nates_tips

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I have one more thing to throw at you at the moment. You mentioned using Ccleaner. At Geeks to Go, we do not condone the use of registry cleaners. The fact is that they can be extremely dangerous. Deleting the wrong entries can render a PC unusable. Also, contrary to the popular belief, cleaning the registry does not make your computer any faster. The only people that says so is marketers trying to make money selling them.

So, I strongly recommend removing Ccleaner from your machine. ATF is the prefect replacement of Ccleaner for your computer. It will still clean your PC, but it does NOT have the registry cleaner.

This is a lot of information, but it should give you a start. Please follow all of the suggestions, especially cleaning your cache and running ATF. When through, try watching the videos again and report back here.
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#5
Miriam84

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Nate,
While I greatly appreciate the effort to help, I have already done everything that you have suggested. I did not, however, know what you told me about registry cleaners not making a difference, although I did know how dangerous they can be. Thank you for the suggestion of ATF, but unfortunately it is not compatible with my OS (Vista). Connection speed shouldn't be the crux of the problem, as I am not running on a dial-up connection; I am running on a wireless connction through Verizon Wireless Broadband Access. I have found numerous postings throughout the web that this is a major problem with the Win Vista OS-- any thoughts on this?

Edited by Miriam84, 30 June 2009 - 01:55 PM.

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#6
nates_tips

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Although it says otherwise, ATF is supported on Vista. It works well. Geeks to Go staff recommend it all the time to Vista users. I use it myself on Vista, and don't have a problem.

What is your upload and download speeds? If you're unsure, check it at the SpeakEasy Speed Test.

Are you having any other unusual computer problems?
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#7
Miriam84

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According to my most recent speed test via Speakeasy, DL speed is 792kbps and UL speed is 296kbps. Not really having any other comp issues with the exception of when I.E. stops responding, but that's an I.E. issue, not what I'd consider a comp issue. It's probably about time to upgrade to I.E. 8 (I've always had problems with I.E., but I'm a creature of habit).

Any thoughts on my previous question about Vista itself playing a part in this? Also, could any of this be due to the fact that this is a laptop? This is my first laptop and although it's a good one, I have never had this issue with any of my desktops. It's also the first machine on which I've run Vista, so I wonder if either one of those could be playing a role, especially given the posts I've read about streaming issues on Vista.

Thanks for the info on ATF, I'll get on that.

Thank you so much for your time and assistance. :)
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#8
nates_tips

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No, it doesn't have anything to do with you being on a laptop. I have a laptop, and I watch videos all the time.

Another way to stop choppy playback and slow video streaming is to Disable the use of hardware acceleration. Hardware acceleration can cause choppy PC playback, application crashes and slow streaming video problems. This occurs because the option forces all video players to conform to one setting. By disabling this option, the individual player can set based on the requirements of the file.

Disable Hardware Acceleration by using these steps:
  • Click on Start
  • Click Control Panel and Click Display
  • Select the Settings tab and click on the Advanced
  • Click on the Troubleshoot tab.
  • Disable the hardware acceleration completely by dragging the slider to the extreme left

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#9
nates_tips

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To answer your question about Vista; no I do not think that Vista is playing a part in this issue. It's simply a matter of you having trouble loading streaming media online. There's a couple of things we can try out.

Try the above (post #8), and let me know how it works for you.
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#10
Miriam84

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Well, this can't be good: "Your current display driver does not allow changes to be made to hardware acceleration settings." Batting a thousand here, huh? :)

And thanks for clearing that up for me; like I said, this is my first laptop and I have read in multiple places about Vista having a streaming issue.
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