BroadbandVideo: Streaming Media Video for your Web site

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Frequently Asked Questions - Help

Special Update:
Many people have chosen to use the open-source browser called Firefox. We have spent a fair amount of time and expense to adapt our product to work with Firefox. Because Firefox is open-source, you must use plug-ins to let the browser know what to do when it encounters certain types of data. This is not the case with Internet Explorer, which comes fully ready to deliver multimedia content.

If you choose to use the Firefox browser, you'll have to install the latest "plug-in" version of Windows Media player. Here's a link to those plug-ins:
the same materials are also provided by Firefox on their plug-ins page:  (scroll to the bottom of the page).

If you have problems or issues installing these plug-ins or the media still won't play, please contact technical support for Firefox: where you will find FAQs, newsgroups, chat sessions, message boards and searchable knowledge bases. Unfortunately, as this is an open-source product, you will not find a phone number or any actual technical support personnel who work at Firefox. There is third-party support at this number 1-888-586-4539 for $39.95 per incident.

Or, you can just use Internet Explorer which is free, supported and has all the capability to run this media built right in.

Probably the most often-asked question is "How do I tell what my bandwidth is?" well, just click  below:


The Basics

The Connection

About Windows Media Player

I click on a video link and nothing happens    back to top
First, make sure that your Internet connection is working -- go to a site like or , it’s very rare that these sites are not working. Once you’ve established that your Internet connection is working, make sure you have downloaded and installed the Windows Media Player. You may need to re-install the Windows Media Player.

I get an error message   back to top
Microsoft has provided an extensive list of error codes and what they mean. You can read about them here:

There may be some problems that you’re not able to solve, these may be related to network or simply some “bad code” on the website. If you’ve tried everything from your side, you may wish to notify the webmaster of the site where you’re encountering the problem.

I can hear something, but I’m not seeing video   back to top
This is usually caused by one of two things -- either your connection to the Internet is too slow to view this particular video or the video has been incorrectly encoded. Windows Media includes a very low quality audio track as the “lowest common denominator” in all its streaming video files. If your connection to the Internet OR to that particular server is very slow all you may be able to do is hear audio.

I get video, but it looks choppy   back to top
This is most likely due to the speed at which data is reaching your computer over the Internet. A faster connection will generally mean better video.

The video keeps “buffering” -- what does that mean?   back to top
Windows Media Player will attempt to “store up” frames of video to insure a smooth playback / viewing experience. Lots of “buffering” coupled with the video stopping and starting usually indicates that you have a slow connection to the Internet.

Why do I see a big broken puzzle graphic?   back to top
This is usually caused by a missing plug-in. This means your browser does not know that it has the capability to play a certain type of video or you haven’t installed the correct video player. Typical causes of this behavior would be that you’ve been using Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player video -- then you click on a page which is supposed to contain some video content -- and a big, broken puzzle picture appears. This would indicate that the content you’ve chosen is either Real Video or QuickTime Video and you don’t have the plug-in.

What do I need to view streaming video?   back to top
You need a computer (at least a 486 with 32 megs of ram running Windows 95), an Internet connection (dial-up with modem, DSL, cable modem or LAN) and a “player” application (Windows Media Player).

What kind of computer works best?   back to top
All computers running with a 486 or above processor running Windows 95 or above have the capability of showing streaming video. The faster the processor you have and the more memory you have will make your system run faster -- streaming media will work better on a faster system. Macs can also run streaming video, but some of the earlier operating systems have problems with different versions of the media players. There is a new version (released in 2001 - Ver. 7.1) of the Windows Media Player that works very well on the Mac with OS 8 and above.

What does “streaming” mean?   back to top
Most of the content that you view on the Internet is downloaded to your computer. This means you “request” to view something, and a server sends it as a file to a special place on your computer. You them view this content through a web browser (Internet Explorer or Netscape). Since video files are very large, you don’t want to have to wait for the entire video file to download before you start viewing -- so your video player just shows you the part you need to see. The data you’ve just viewed is thrown out, you view the current content while the content you’ll need in a few moments hasn’t been sent yet. This data is sent in a “stream” that is not saved on your computer.

Can I save a streaming video?   back to top
Because you’re only viewing a portion of the entire file at any given time, you cannot save a streaming video. If you want to view it again, click the Play button to start the “stream” again. Live events cannot be played again, but most live events are "archived" or saved on the companies' website for later viewing.

What are the different types of streaming video?   back to top
There are currently three major types of streaming video available on the Internet. They are Windows Media (created by Microsoft), Real Video and QuickTime (Created by Apple). Each one has it’s own player which must be downloaded and installed on your computer in order for you to view that type of video. BroadBandVideo uses Windows Media exclusively as this player is now the most popular and remains a free offering from Microsoft.

Why does the BroadBandVideo player look different than other players?   back to top
The BroadBandVideo player uses the core technology provided by Windows Media but uses additional “embed” technology to create a better viewing experience. By minimizing the distractions created by the “stand-alone” players, BroadBandVideo is able to create a focused video viewing experience.

Why does a faster internet connection mean better video?   back to top
Video is compressed data. In fact, it’s a LOT of compressed data. The more data you can get faster, the better the video will perform.

How can I get a fast Internet connection?   back to top
There are many different Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who will sell you a connection to the Internet. They usually charge a monthly fee for what is known as “access” --this allows you to view content (and video) on the Internet. Most people still use what is known as a “dial-up” connection. This means they use a phone modem over a telephone line to connect to the Internet. This is the slowest way possible to connect to the Internet and the worst way to experience Internet streaming video. New companies are offering new technologies that allow you to access the Internet faster -- they are DSL and Cable Modems.

What is DSL?   back to top
DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line -- it’s a system that uses your regular phone line to provide a very fast connection for your computer while still allowing you regular phone service. This service may or may not be available where you live based on how close your residence is to certain types of telephone switching equipment. Call your local phone company to see if they offer this type of access.

What is a cable modem?   back to top
A Cable Modem is a device that allows your computer to hook up to the same cable used by your cable television service. This allows for one of the fastest connections available to home consumers. Call your local cable television company to see if this service is available in your area. This is generally the most cost effective type of high-speed access for home consumers.

Can I see video at the office?   back to top
Many companies have computers that are hooked to a LAN (local Area Network), which is then hooked to the Internet at a very high rate of speed. This allows for optimal viewing of streaming video -- however, many companies have policies or software in place that restrict employees from viewing streaming media from their workplace. Here are some of the ways that are used to restrict employees from viewing video at the office:

  • Proxy server - If you are using a local or remote proxy server to cache frequently viewed web pages, streaming media may not work.
  • Overly sensitive firewall - Some offices restrict the downloading of materials from web.
  • Port filtering - Sometimes certain server ports will be shut off in your office / network environment. This can affect streaming media.
  • IP Sharing - Sometimes router settings, specifically where many people are sharing the bandwidth through a single IP address, can affect streaming.
  • IT browser configuration - In some companies, the IT department pre-configures the web browser so it won't accept streaming files.

How do I install the Windows Media Player?   back to top
You need to use your computer, web browser and Internet connection to go to: to download the latest version of Windows Media Player. The current version is 7.1, though if you have an older version of Windows Media Player installed on your computer it will “auto-update” itself when it encounters a new type of content.

What is “auto-update”?   back to top
This is a process where the Windows Media Player encounters a newer video format and usually displays the message “There is a newer version of the Windows Media Player than the one you currently have installed. Would you like to upgrade your player now?” -- the correct response to this is to click the “Yes” button provided. This will allow you to continue to enjoy streaming media presented in the Windows Media Format.

How long will the “auto-update” process take?   back to top
This depends upon your Internet connection. If you’re using a dial-up connection and have a very old version of Windows Media Player, this process could take an hour or more. For most users the process will take no more than 10 or 15 minutes. Users who have a high-speed Internet connection will have to wait only seconds. Unless your version of Windows Media Player is very old, you won’t have to re-start your system to enjoy the new version.

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