Why does streaming video always fail for me?
March 19, 2007 10:31 PM   Subscribe

I constantly have this problem: I try to play a streaming video (youtube, g.video, dailymotion, doesn't matter) and the clip will start playing fine. Then it will stop playing somewhere into the clip, but continue to load, but won't let me keep playing! What's going wrong?

If I clear my cache the clip may play in it's entirety, or freeze at another point. It seems to only be with flash video that it occurs, embedded quicktime seems fine. Problem occurs in IE and firefox alike.

I'm not technically incompetent. Do you think it's a software issue, or is my wireless card faulty? This problem only came up in the last 6 months or so, but not immediately following any software changes (upgrading firefox, etc). It's got me stumped.

TIA Metafites.
posted by linus587 to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried upgrading your Flash Player to the latest version? - in addition, check your graphics card drivers.

There could well have been incremental upgrades in the video decoder that may affect playback of newly created videos.
posted by rc55 at 11:08 PM on March 19, 2007

What's probably going on is that the data isn't coming down fast enough to keep up with the playback. Usually if you wait patiently for more data to come down, it will begin playing again.

On most of those players there's a line on the bottom with a button showing where the playback is, and a bar showing how much data has been downloaded. If you watch them both you can see if the playback is catching up to the download, in which case playback has to pause.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:10 PM on March 19, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the initial responses, but my flash player and drivers are up to date.

Also, the problem is not a matter of trying to play before the clip is loaded. The player will freeze, then continue to load until the whole clip is "preloaded". But even after the entire clip has loaded, it will not play anything after the point at which it froze.

I have tried sliding the bar forward past the freezing point and this does not work either.
posted by linus587 at 11:19 PM on March 19, 2007

I've seen this problem on a Mac playing Flash videos. My solution was always to hit pause, rewind the playback to the start, and let the whole video load before playing. This is easier on some Flash players than others.
posted by ardgedee at 2:40 AM on March 20, 2007

I've had this problem with Flash 9, in Firefox 2, on Linux. Generally I can push the slider back a ways and it will get past the obstruction the second time. When that doesn't work, reloading the entire thing and waiting for it all usually does.

I've noticed that something that seems to cause the problem is if I get impatient and try to skip ahead while the video is downloading. Even if I stay in the portion that is already downloaded, it often causes this problem.
posted by DU at 4:35 AM on March 20, 2007

It's almost certainly a software issue, and probably sound-driver related.

I've seen the behaviour with Flash 9 in Firefox on Ubuntu Dapper; it doesn't seem to be happening with the Edgy, though. In my particular case, certain PDF's would cause the Evince document viewer to seize control of the sound hardware for some odd reason. You're on Windows, so everything is different, but do try closing everything else that could conceivably be trying to make noises.
posted by flabdablet at 4:49 AM on March 20, 2007

Make sure quicktime, realplayer, or windows media player aren't set to default media players for flash. If you have quicktime or realplayer try removing them temporarily. Then reinstall flash.

I'd also update or reinstall all the relevant drivers, video, sound, chipset, network card.

Clear out the cache too.

Good luck!
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:23 AM on March 20, 2007

I have the same problem on an older laptop, and I know exactly what causes it (at least on this machine); It's running out of hard drive space to cache the file. Is the drive that your browser is installed on almost full?
posted by quin at 5:32 PM on March 20, 2007

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