What's with Real streaming?
June 9, 2006 7:10 AM   Subscribe

Hi, wondering if anyone's had any experience with audio distortion with real player? After roughly 20 mins, sometimes less, of listening to perfect audio quality when streaming, i get a poor quality, poor resolution sound that is uninterrupted.

I am on a fast internet connection and there is no reason why the player should buffer.

I made a recording of it here

It's really odd and baffling! I have tried uninstalling my latest copy of Real and reinstalling. Still the same.

I have also tried installing previous versions - 8, G1 and G2, still the same.

If anyone can help, you'd be my best friend!

thanks in advance

posted by jwhittlestone to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Have you installed any audio enhancer plugins that were shareware?

Sometimes said plugins distort the audio quality after a 'trial period' (20 minutes.)

[BTW, that link is a no go]
posted by psyward at 9:43 AM on June 9, 2006

Are you only having this issue with realplayer? Have you tested Mediaplayer or another audio program to see if the problem is isolated to RP?

I have not run into the issue you describe, but the fact that it only occurs after a period of time just screams "Hardware overheating" to me. I have had similar performance degradations when using video cards over time. In one case, a driver update fixed the issue. In another, the onboard vidcard cooling fan had failed and the card needed to be replaced.

Now, audio cards don't generally have onboard cooling that I am aware of, so you may want to check if there is a driver update for your audio card, and ensure that your machine is sufficiently cooled: check for dust or other blockage around the fans, etc. If you're using a Wintel box, new sound cards are dirt cheap (>$20) so maybe replacing it will help.

Good Luck!
posted by BigLankyBastard at 9:48 AM on June 9, 2006

You might want to try Real Alternative, a media player that plays Real streaming file, without the bloatware of Real Media Player.
posted by eurasian at 2:06 PM on June 9, 2006

That sounds like packet loss to me, and switching to Real Alternative won't fix it.

It's most likely loss between your computer and the server. In RealPlayer, you can open the Playback Statistics window from the Tools menu. In the Packets tab, you can monitor the packet loss and retransmissions. In the Streams tab, you can pick the audio stream from the popup and see what Transport Protocol is in use.

If the Streams tab shows that you are connected via UDP and the Packets tab shows resends requested and/or lost packets, try going to the Preferences under Connection -> Network Transports, select Manually configure connections settings, click the RTSP Settings... button, and deselect UDP and try connecting again. You should now be connecting via TCP which shouldn't show packet loss. (If the connection between your computer and the server is actually very lossy, TCP won't be able to maintain a delivery rate for the stream and you'll see rebuffers instead.)

Now, if the Streams tab shows that you're connected via TCP (or RTSPvHTTP) and the stream isn't repeatedly rebuffering, you shouldn't be seeing packet loss as TCP hides any loss that occurs on the network. There could be loss elsewhere: probably between the encoder and the server, or between an upstream server relaying the stream to the server you are connected to. The Packets tab may show resends requested or lost packets in this case, but not necessarily. If you see lost or resent packets on a TCP connection, you can be certain that it's packet loss that occurs to the stream before it makes it into the server.

Hopefully just switching to TCP will correct the problem for you, otherwise it's something the server administrators will need to look into.
posted by xiojason at 3:38 PM on June 9, 2006

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