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How can I make online videos stream smoothly?

by 1785bkc / May 26, 2008 2:14 PM PDT

When trying to watch videos on youtube, etc., the video feed stops and starts. Is this caused by too little RAM (512)? Or is the video play speed just faster than the download speed? I don't understand much about this stuff. Can someone clue me in, or offer suggestions?

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Get A Faster Internet Connection..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / May 26, 2008 2:47 PM PDT

If the data is streamed as fast as the video is playing, it will stutter, stop, start, etc. 512 MB of RAM for anything but Vista shouldn't be the limiting factor for watching YouTube.. Dial-up simply isn't fast enough and for most types of streaming video, neither is the basic "half speed" DSL options that some ISP's offer, like 768 Kbps.. The best way to fix such is get a faster connection speed.

On the other hand, if you already have a quick broadband connection, you'll need to tell us more about your computer and things you've done to clean it up.. Which operating system are you using? Processor speed? Do you have up to date antivirus and antispyware programs installed and have you performed Malware scans? Removed all unnecessary startup programs and services?

Hope this helps.


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This can be complicated
by Dango517 / May 26, 2008 2:52 PM PDT

I'd suggest you download and use this media player only. This will simplify things. It plays all the major video file extension.

Next for Adobe Flash. Go to this page and make sure your using the right version of the Adobe Flash Player for your system and it's configuration. Some older systems require previous versions of the software:

Then go to this page:

And choose "global storage setting panel" (on the left side). Here set the slider to the maximum amount of storage.

Now about your IP connection. If it's slow you will continue to have problems with video. If this is the case then you need a faster connection so start shopping.

You can check your connection speed here:


In addition you might.

Get a good Video card, this might help, as well as a 2>GB 10/100/1000 Ethernet adapter card. More RAM would help too.

Like I said this gets complicated.

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Realplayer Doesn't Play YouTube Flash.. It's A Resource Hog
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / May 26, 2008 3:16 PM PDT

... and why suggest it? And depending on exactly which streaming video site you go to, some won't use RealPlayer. It's really NOT the best tool if you're going to "use this media player only".

Next, since the original question was specifically about YouTube videos stopping and starting, and isn't about whether the user can view videos at all, the user should already have flash. In addition, the Global Storage Settings don't help things much if at all, especially when the download speed is slow.. The max storage setting is 100KB and that's almost nothing in the streaming video world..

Hope this helps.


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Well thank you for your opinions
by Dango517 / May 26, 2008 3:43 PM PDT

but I use it all the time and have virtually no problems with it. I often download files from YouTube with zero problems.

You seem to have missed the point. Four plus media players add a tremendous amount of complexity to online videos by using one you can avoid this complexity. In other words, "keep it simple stupid".

The "Flash Global Storage" settings change is to insure that there is enough storage space for the buffer. A large enough buffer is often the problem here and by resetting this panel it may improve video performance when using Adobe Flash.

I'm only addressing the problem at hand, intermittent stops and starts in video play, not a failure to receive videos problem.

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You Watch Flash Videos In RealPlayer?
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / May 27, 2008 4:44 AM PDT

And where was there a mention of "Four plus media players" in the original topic? This is about YouTube.

And as I mentioned above, the buffer generally isn't the issue when the download speed isn't sufficient.

Hope this helps.


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It also

It also comes complete with spyware. RealPlayer has always exemplified what you DON'T want in a media player.

If you want an all-in-one media player free of bloat and spyware, then you should try VLC Player. There's also Songbird, and MediaPlayer Classic combined with FFdshow.

I'm wholly with Grif on this one. RealPlayer is one of those programs best forgotten.

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by Dango517 / May 27, 2008 12:33 AM PDT
In reply to: It also

I use that, it's as old as the hills, amazing it plays anything. Hmmmm, must be a Linux user about. It does play DVDs thou, so it's still good for something.

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You sure?
by Jimmy Greystone / May 27, 2008 1:48 AM PDT
In reply to: VLC?

You sure? It was just recently updated. Though it was only a minor update: 0.8.6f from 0.8.6d, but there isn't a lot of need for a major update because the set of decoders that powers VLC Player, libavcodec -- which is the same as what powers ffdshow incidentally -- works just fine as it is. It can decode and play virtually any type of video file you throw at it. Probably including a half dozen codecs you've never even heard of.

And in all honesty, VLC Players main fan base is with Mac users. Linux users tend to prefer Mplayer, whose developers more or less came up with libavcodec. An open source, independent, decoding library for video codecs. One with huge amounts of hand written assembly code to make every possible use of CPU instructions like MMX and SSE2 to squeeze every bit of performance out of it as possible. It can often decode files with less load on the CPU than official codecs.

Just because something hasn't been updated in a long time doesn't mean anything. For example, take the 2007 and 2008 models of any given car from any manufacturer. Is there REALLY that much of a difference between the two that you just have to rush out and trade in your 2007 for a 2008 the day they hit the local dealer's lot? If you want to talk software... What exactly has Microsoft added in Office 2007, that you would classify it as a "must have" feature for any and every Office user? We're talking everyone from the grandma who might make a simple Christmas letter once a year to some person who spends most of their waking hours looking at documents in Word. Or why should I bother using anything past WinAmp 2.95? The MP3 and Ogg Vorbis codecs haven't changed at all since 2.95 came out, so they still play great. I don't spend a lot of time looking at WinAmp, so skinning features are lost on me. If all I want is a simple, fast, low resource player, how do you plan to convince me that the WinAmp or iTunes or whatever is better? That they have some feature I just cannot live without, and need to change immediately.

I do so wish I had the kind of disposable income you seem to have, that you can afford to rush out and buy new things. Simply because they're new, not because they actually offer anything useful. Of course if I had that much money, I'd probably be inclined to donate at least some of it to charitable organizations. When you think that there are people starving to death over in Africa, and they don't even have something as simple as clean drinking water... It kind of puts things into a whole other perspective.

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It's free
by Dango517 / May 27, 2008 2:50 AM PDT
In reply to: You sure?

I haven't spent a dime on RealPlayer.

See link:

The Plus version costs money but there is a basic freeware version.

Your correct about VLC it was updated 2007-11-27 Changes between 0.8.6c and 0.8.6d. I haven't up dated it in six months, so there maybe a new one. Still looks like a 1990< vintage program with a few tweaks. Again if you haven't a DVD player VLC is pretty good but not as good as RealPlayer for web bases video. RP now has a download feature in it thou not everything can be downloaded. RP is really {u]very[/u} good give it another try.

I disagree about the up dates these are important. The web changes very rapidly, if for no other reason then security.

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So what?
by Jimmy Greystone / May 27, 2008 4:13 AM PDT
In reply to: It's free

So what? I really don't get this obsession with how things look. I want something that WORKS myself. Sure, the ideal is to have both style and function, but form should ALWAYS follow function, not the other way around.

There was an interesting article in the NY Times recently about Shigeru Miyamoto. The guy behind some of the biggest successes in video games over the past 30 years. He created the Donkey Kong, Mario Bros, and Zelda franchises to name a few. He talks about how gameplay is ALWAYS first, and the characters, story, and everything else all come as more of an afterthought to the gameplay. This is probably the single most successful video game developer of all time.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have things like Vista. All style, no real substance. Vista looks really very pretty, but once you start trying to do anything with it, you find yourself in a lake of quicksand. The more you struggle, the faster you sink.

VLC may not win any awards for its interface, but it gets the job done. I also like that they have resisted the temptation to start adding features for the sake of adding features like RealPlayer started doing ages ago.

If you want to use RealPlayer, spyware and all, be my guest. I really could care less what you use. But when you make claims about it being the best for something, I'm going to have to take issue with that. It's far from the best by any set of objective standards you can come up with. It might be the best for YOU, but it's hardly the best period. VLC may not even qualify as "the best", but it would certainly outrank RealPlayer with pretty much any set of objective measures you can come up with.

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VLS Copyright (C) 1989, 1991
by Dango517 / May 27, 2008 4:42 AM PDT
In reply to: So what?

under GNU license. <<<<< Linux

I did not say that RealPlayer was the best I said it was the easiest because it makes using the rest unnecessary. This illuminates 4>+ media players and there numerous settings. This simplification is in itself worth downloading the player.

I have other things I'd like to do other then fiddle with media players, things like argue with you. Grin

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VLC Is Now At Version 'f" And If You Use It...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / May 27, 2008 4:57 AM PDT
In reply to: It's free's a good idea to update to the most recent version. Lots of vulnerability fixes in it.. I think it's a great tool. It plays more file types than most others and it takes up little resources..

Yep, RealPlayer has it's free version (I'm currently on version 11, build which also plugged some major vulnerability issues) but if you really want to stop it from phoning home which prevents it from relaying your configurations, connection quality to the Real Servers, HTML clip info, and it's messager, you'll need to change many of the settings to do so.. Years ago, I posted some of those options in the "Spyware, Viruses, & Security" forum previously.

Hope this helps.


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Thanks guys - for the suggestions and info.
by 1785bkc / May 26, 2008 5:26 PM PDT

Shortly after reading your posts, I ran some speed tests and they did indeed appear to be on the slow side. Maybe my ISP was doing some system maintenance or something. Anyway, at present my broadband speeds are much improved (approx. 5000 kbps down and 2500 kbps up), and those same videos are now loading faster than they play. Thanks again.

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(NT) Good Job & Thanks For Posting Back
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / May 27, 2008 4:59 AM PDT
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