Question re : Buffering

Posted by: BruceD

Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 03:59 PM

This may be as good a place to ask this question on PW as anywhere else, since many of you are YouTube listeners/viewers.

Invariably, when I listen to a YouTube video, the first few seconds will start without hesitation, and then the video stops while the "buffering" (represented by the grey bar) catches up and moves ahead of the current listening spot. Sometimes the video will stop more than once, but, most frequently, it's once only and almost always near the beginning of the video.

Is this a fault of the YouTube transmissions, or is this a flaw in my computer set-up? If the latter (I have removed browsing history, cookies, etc. etc.), is there a way to avoid this minor annoyance? I use a high-speed Wi-Fi connection and rarely have to wait more than a few seconds to access the video, but invariably get hung up after the video starts.

Regards,
Posted by: the nosy ape

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 04:46 PM

When you say "high-speed Wi-Fi connection" does that mean you have a wireless connection to your own router or are you sharing the internet connection? If there are a lot of users on the connection it could slow things down quite a bit. Have you tried watching videos at different times of the day? Your internet connection can slow down depending on how much load there is on your provider. Also, you can try one of the web sites that check your connection speed to see how fast things really are.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 04:56 PM

This drives me insane, too. I'll be interested to read responses from someone who can help both of us!
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 05:08 PM

I didn't watch much (actually, hardly any) YouTube videos until I bought a laptop - my first computer - two months ago and signed up for internet connection, but have not encountered any problems of this sort so far. I keep getting pestered by my internet provider to upgrade to fibre optic connection, but see no reason to do so, as I don't do downloads, or uploads, or whatever they're called.....

However, I don't share my internet connection with anyone. But even when my TV is connected to the internet, I don't get any problems on my laptop. (I sometimes watch two YouTube videos simultaneously... wink ).
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 05:26 PM

Check Speedtest.net to find out what your actual download rate is at various times of the day.

I find that 95% of the time, I have no problem with YouTube or Netflix. When I do, I unplug the modem and router, count 20 or 30, plug them back in an have no problems for another 3 weeks or so. Works in my, maybe not yours though.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 06:19 PM

This happens to me with some videos and not with others, so it is a bit strange. In general though it has to do with Internet connection speed .
Posted by: AndyJ

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 06:37 PM

Originally Posted By: BruceD
This may be as good a place to ask this question on PW as anywhere else, since many of you are YouTube listeners/viewers.

Invariably, when I listen to a YouTube video, the first few seconds will start without hesitation, and then the video stops while the "buffering" (represented by the grey bar) catches up and moves ahead of the current listening spot. Sometimes the video will stop more than once, but, most frequently, it's once only and almost always near the beginning of the video.

Is this a fault of the YouTube transmissions, or is this a flaw in my computer set-up? If the latter (I have removed browsing history, cookies, etc. etc.), is there a way to avoid this minor annoyance? I use a high-speed Wi-Fi connection and rarely have to wait more than a few seconds to access the video, but invariably get hung up after the video starts.

Regards,


It's a symptom of a slow internet connection or one that's shared with too many other users. It happens when your computer can't download the data fast enough to keep up with the player. It's like trying to drink a thick milkshake through a straw: sometimes the flow of the milkshake stops until enough vacuum builds up to get it going again.

There's a little gear-shaped icon at the bottom of the Youtube viewer. If you click on that, you may get a set of "quality" choices. The higher the quality number, the more data you need. Try lowering the quality until the buffering stops.

Next to the gear icon is a clock icon. If you click that, the video will download to your computer and you can watch it after it's all downloaded. http://support.google.com/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1290556

-Andy
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 06:41 PM

And also, Adobe Flash is a steaming pile of....well you know.


If you are using an HTML5 capable browser (Chrome, Safari are safe bets), try youtube's HTML5 trial.

http://www.youtube.com/html5
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 06:50 PM

Yes, Adobe Flash is also important. Check if you have the latest version:
http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/find-version-flash-player.html
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 07:10 PM

I'm speaking separately from Bruce.. what if I have done all of that, and still have problems? (I'm not 100% novice, but not nearly a tech expert.) I've done speed tests, made sure I had the latest versions, have enough processing power to render the video..

What I find is certain users' videos are extremely slow. Is it possible an issue on their end?
Posted by: currawong

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 07:23 PM

Originally Posted By: AndyJ
There's a little gear-shaped icon at the bottom of the Youtube viewer. If you click on that, you may get a set of "quality" choices. The higher the quality number, the more data you need. Try lowering the quality until the buffering stops.

Next to the gear icon is a clock icon. If you click that, the video will download to your computer and you can watch it after it's all downloaded.
Terrific, thanks! I'm always surprised when I find out that all those little thingies actually do something!
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 07:25 PM

Originally Posted By: Derulux
I'm speaking separately from Bruce.. what if I have done all of that, and still have problems? (I'm not 100% novice, but not nearly a tech expert.) I've done speed tests, made sure I had the latest versions, have enough processing power to render the video..

What I find is certain users' videos are extremely slow. Is it possible an issue on their end?


Sometimes I reload the page, and I'll also press pause and let the whole thing cache and go do something else and come back to it and watch it. Usually this works.
Posted by: currawong

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 07:33 PM

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
...and I'll also press pause and let the whole thing cache and go do something else and come back to it and watch it. Usually this works.
That's what I do. It works as long as the connection doesn't drop out while it's loading. It must be nice to just press play and have it all happen. smile
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 07:43 PM

When I had a slow Internet connection I used to mute the computer and let it run until the end, then I clicked on replay.
Posted by: Damon

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 08:28 PM

Some of it may depend on what you are calling high speed. Cable is the most convenient high speed. When I sprang for the highest speed, I never had hang ups, but at the lowest speed and for DSL, my experience is the same as yours. If you can plug directly into your router or modem rather than using wifi, that should help some. As someone else said, you can pause the video and wait for the buffer to fill. If you anticipate watching videos, close all the programs you aren't using and restart your browser. Depending on how you use your browser (tabs, windows, etc) your memory can become fragmented and slow things down.
Posted by: yhc

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 09:18 PM

You can analyze the problem this way: if you download something from other than youtube and without any intermittent connection problem, then your computer's network should be fine.
If it was your computer's network, it would happen in every connection.

If you can't stand the intermittence, try to save the flv and watch it later. There're lots of utils can help you download the flvs.
Posted by: AndyJ

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/26/13 10:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Derulux
I'm speaking separately from Bruce.. what if I have done all of that, and still have problems? (I'm not 100% novice, but not nearly a tech expert.) I've done speed tests, made sure I had the latest versions, have enough processing power to render the video..

What I find is certain users' videos are extremely slow. Is it possible an issue on their end?

When posting a video to Youtube or other streaming services, the poster can choose the video quality. If you consistently have problems with certain users' Youtube videos, those users are probably posting high-resolution videos which require maximum bandwidth.

Click the Quality icon (the little gear near the right on the bottom); if you have more than one quality level available, the video has more than the minimum 240p resolution. Change the setting to the minimum and see if the buffering stops. If it does, you can nudge the setting up until you start having problems, then drop it down again.

Internet bandwidth isn't a fixed commodity. You may have adequate bandwidth a lot of the time (i.e., when you run the speed tests) and still have dropouts or slower periods.

Bandwidth is really the only parameter likely to be an issue. Your computer is almost certainly fine.

-Andy
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/27/13 12:59 AM

Thank you all very much for your input.

Nosy ape : I have a wireless connection to my own secure router. My computer is the only one that can connect to my router.

Mwm: Upload speed : 0.49 Mbps. What does that mean?

AndyJ : Being only a single user on my connection, I should be able to watch videos in higher, rather than lower, quality, I believe. But I like the idea of downloading the video first and then watching it, rather than trying to watch it while it is loading. That's a solution that I had already found worked.

ChopinAddict : Thanks to your link, I have the latest version of Adobe Flash Player : 11.6.602.180 running on Windows 8.

Thanks, all!

Regards,
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/27/13 01:04 AM

Quick note about youtube: Up until recently I could start the video, pause it for 30 secs or so, for most of it to load in cache and THEN start playing. It worked like a charm.

Recently, however youtube changed its behaviour, probably because too many people were streaming videos like that and not watching and STOPPED me from putting too much data into cache.

Part of the reason this is happening is because youtube (ergo google) changed the way the user caches the data... And it's not in other videos or vimeo or anything like that. Just youtube!
Posted by: BDB

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/27/13 01:34 AM

Upload speed is irrelevant. That is the speed at which data is sent from your computer to the internet. Download speed is all that matters.

You should check whether you are getting Flash video or HTML5 video. Sometimes one works better than another. I think there are preferences within YouTube that control that, but I am by no means expert on that. There may be preferences in your browser or an extension that control that, as well. I use a Mac, so I am not certain.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/27/13 02:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Quick note about youtube: Up until recently I could start the video, pause it for 30 secs or so, for most of it to load in cache and THEN start playing. It worked like a charm.

Recently, however youtube changed its behaviour, probably because too many people were streaming videos like that and not watching and STOPPED me from putting too much data into cache.

Part of the reason this is happening is because youtube (ergo google) changed the way the user caches the data... And it's not in other videos or vimeo or anything like that. Just youtube!

Yeah, I'm really not happy with YouTube's service. They've made quite a few changes that may help Google's bottom line, but certainly are not better for the end-user.

From what I've found, in order for you to register a new YouTube account, you must first create a Google+ account. If there's a way around this, I'd love to know about it.

To me, YouTube is going the way of MySpace the second "Facebook" comes out..
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/27/13 10:05 AM

Originally Posted By: BDB
Upload speed is irrelevant. That is the speed at which data is sent from your computer to the internet. Download speed is all that matters.

You should check whether you are getting Flash video or HTML5 video. Sometimes one works better than another. I think there are preferences within YouTube that control that, but I am by no means expert on that. There may be preferences in your browser or an extension that control that, as well. I use a Mac, so I am not certain.


BruceD,

BDB is correct. Upload speed is not relevant in this case, though 0.49Mb/s is fairly standard for a private consumer connection. What was your download speed? - It needs to be in the 5Mb+/s range in my experience for good YouTube. Others may have better data on that.

Have you re-booted everything yet. My son, an IT guy, finds that fixes 20-30% of the service calls he receives on download speed problems.
Posted by: ando

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/27/13 10:30 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Quick note about youtube: Up until recently I could start the video, pause it for 30 secs or so, for most of it to load in cache and THEN start playing. It worked like a charm.

Recently, however youtube changed its behaviour, probably because too many people were streaming videos like that and not watching and STOPPED me from putting too much data into cache.

Part of the reason this is happening is because youtube (ergo google) changed the way the user caches the data... And it's not in other videos or vimeo or anything like that. Just youtube!


This is correct, and in doing so, Google has condemned all people who have a slow connection to never be able to watch a continuous performance on YouTube ever again. It used to be that somebody with a terribly slow connection could patiently wait for the whole video to buffer, and then press play and watch the whole thing. But now the buffering only ever gets about 30 sec ahead of the playing position, so if you have a slow or intermittent connection, you will be stopped every 30-60sec while it loads again. It's highly frustrating.

Another downside: as musicians we will frequently want to listen to a passage multiple times - now, instead of being able to go back and listen to it many times in succession with no loading time, it must reload each time because the buffer only works in the forward direction. It's highly suspect reasoning from google. One thing I have noticed however, is that if a YouTube video is embedded on another site, like here on PW, the video does buffer completely like it used to. This annoying new behaviour only applies to the YouTube site itself.
Posted by: AndyJ

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/27/13 11:58 AM

Originally Posted By: BruceD
Thank you all very much for your input.

AndyJ : Being only a single user on my connection, I should be able to watch videos in higher, rather than lower, quality, I believe....

BruceD,

Not necessarily. It all comes back to your bandwidth for downloads, that is, how fast your home can receive data from the internet.

I've thought of another analogy: plumbing. Forgive me if this evokes unpleasant images, but internet connections are a lot like water and sewer connections. You have a pipe entering your home that delivers fresh water, and a waste pipe leaving your home that returns wastewater.

Download speed is like the fresh water capacity, and upload speed is like the wastewater capacity. For our discussion, only the fresh water/download side matters. Viewing a YouTube video is like filling a bathtub. If your water company supplies you with unlimited water AND your inside plumbing is big and free of clogs, your bathtub will fill quickly. If your inside plumbing is old, narrow and clogged, it'll take longer but won't be interrupted. If your water comes from a slow well like mine and you don't have a storage tank, you'll get ten gallons in the tub and then have to wait while the well recharges. The recharge time is called "buffering" in computerspeak. (I know whereof I speak as I lived with that for years. Now I have a beautiful storage tank in the basement which supplies all the water I need.)

I hope this helps,

Andy
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: Question re : Buffering - 03/27/13 03:38 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
Upload speed is irrelevant. That is the speed at which data is sent from your computer to the internet. Download speed is all that matters.

You should check whether you are getting Flash video or HTML5 video. Sometimes one works better than another. I think there are preferences within YouTube that control that, but I am by no means expert on that. There may be preferences in your browser or an extension that control that, as well. I use a Mac, so I am not certain.


Unless you "opted in" to the trial I linked to above, you are getting Flash on youtube. Try HTML5 + get a quality ad blocker. At least for me, that gives the best youtube experience. Don't have to deal with Flash or ads.