Improved Playback of Youtube Videos?
May 24, 2006 9:00 PM   Subscribe

How can I configure my PC to play Youtube Videos better?

I want to tweak my laptop to play Youtube Videos better. The main problem is that if I try to watch a video while its still downloading, the sound clips, and sometimes the system freezes. I am using an HP Laptop running WinXP with a 1.3GHZ AMD Athlon and 240 MB RAM
posted by sswiller to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Buy more RAM - that's your biggest problem and the best bang/buck ratio as far as upgrading your machine.

Also, youtube videos tend to play much better on my laptop if I press pause, let them download completely, and THEN press play. Probably because I too need more RAM :-)
posted by twiggy at 9:06 PM on May 24, 2006

Youtube videos don't stream very well. It's more to do with your connections speed than RAM on your machine.
I've found videos on Youtube to be fairly slow to download too . Maybe they have issues with bandwidth.

I also do twiggy's trick of pausing the video and waiting for it to download completely, works for me!
posted by snarkle at 9:35 PM on May 24, 2006

snarkle: I don't think it's connection speed. When I do not do the "pause trick", the download progress meter is well ahead of where I am in the video ... it's something about playing the video while also still downloading it that seems to cause hiccups on my laptop. This leads me to believe it's either RAM or processor speed, and I tend to lean toward the former because the processor on my laptop (and a 1.3ghz AMD for that matter) is plenty fast to do some downloading and some video playing...

It could be, however, that YouTube's application is very poorly programmed and is a CPU hog. Either way, 240mb of RAM is very, very little these days. A noticeable benefit would be seen from putting a gig or so in there, even if it doesn't end up specifically fixing YouTube.
posted by twiggy at 9:39 PM on May 24, 2006

As a simple first step, make sure you have the latest Flash player installed from Macrodobia. They improve the performance of it with each release and YouTube is a Flash application.

I also suggest getting more RAM... 240MB isn't really enough for solid video playback these days.
posted by bruceyeah at 9:57 PM on May 24, 2006

Youtube videos stutter for me too, and it's not because of my computer. They don't stream well. Try pausing and wait for the video to finish downloading. Or you could use video downloader to save the file to disk then play it with flv player.
posted by puke & cry at 10:06 PM on May 24, 2006

It's not hard to imagine that WinXP + a modern web browser + a flash plugin + whatever else you have running on that computer doesn't fit nicely in a tiny 240MB and ends up paging to disk a lot, thus causing your video to stutter.

Also, given that 240MB is a very odd number for the amount of RAM in a PC, it's probably the case that you've got 256MB, 16MB of which is being used by the graphics subsystem of your laptop. That kind of arrangement isn't usually great, performance wise, and it could be that the contention for memory bandwidth between CPU and graphics is part of the reason for the stutters.

First thing I'd do is see if there is a newer driver version for the laptops video "card," and then try shutting down anything you don't need to have running while surfing YouTube.

Generally, I'd suggest getting more RAM, because it'll just generally make anything you do on that thing more taxing than checking the time run better, but that clockspeed seems pretty slow and I'd tend to avoid putting too much more money into something that dated.
posted by Good Brain at 10:25 PM on May 24, 2006

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