Buffer Problems
October 14, 2004 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Why is it impossible for me to watch/listen to streaming video without the program stopping every few seconds to buffer? I tried to watch this video on both RealPlayer & Windows Media the same thing happened with both.
posted by Juicylicious to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
It's either horsepower, or bandwidth.

How much do you have of each?

Check out http://www.bandwidthplace.com/speedtest/

as well as http://reviews.cnet.com/Bandwidth_meter/7004-7254_7-0.html

and http://www.dslreports.com/stest on the latter front.

And remember: bandwidth choking at the *server* end can kill you too. FWIW, *I* get "server not found" on the WMV-300 link.
posted by baylink at 9:57 AM on October 14, 2004

Download this if you're on a windows system. Feed it the url and it will download the media file to your hard drive.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:46 PM on October 14, 2004

In Real 10 you can eliminate this entirely by going into
Tools > Preferences > Playback Settings >

and in 'On demand (not live) Internet clips' select 'Cache on demand streams ...' and 'Pause clip on start'.

This will make Real player start streaming the clip while in paused mode. If you give it a wee while to stream ahead, you can then play it witho ...buffering... ut any stalling.
posted by Blue Stone at 2:26 PM on October 14, 2004

Odds are that if you're using a relatively modern (say within the last 5 years) computer, it's not a hardware issue but is a bandwidth issue instead. Even if you have a high speed connection, network traffic issue might be the culprit. As well, cable modem ISPs often cache content and I've encountered people who have trouble getting steady streaming over that kind of connection.

Try playing the lowest bandwidth (28Kbps) speed and seeing if that works. Then steadily work your way up until you hit the level at which the video starts to rebuffer constantly. That should give you a good indication of which speed you should be selecting for future reference.

One final change you can try: in Windows Media Player 9, go to Tools->Options->Performance and change the Network Buffering from "Use default buffering" to "Buffer __ seconds of content" and adjust upwards to see if this helps. If it is a bandwidth issue, this will just delay the amount of time between rebuffers, but it might just be that your buffering needs a bit of tweaking.
posted by filmgoerjuan at 3:45 PM on October 14, 2004

On that topic, look also for an older version of Windows Media Recorder. WMR80 was freeware, and you'll occasionally have good luck finding the 300-someodd KB zip file with Google -- the maker went commercial and tried to pull all the copies of it, but it's around, and it works well. It will even let you record a live stream and watch it simultaneously, which is pretty neat for ... er, um, certain purposes. :-}
posted by baylink at 6:12 PM on October 14, 2004

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