TECHNICAL HELP/FAQ's

    

Podcasting Reference Guide

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Video:

 

Q: What are the minimum system requirements for watching the live and archived video?
A: System Information:  To view and hear live webcasts or archived video, your computer must have a sound card, a minimum 56 Kbs Internet connection, and Windows Media Player 9.0 (available free of charge at Microsoft).  If you have a Macintosh, be sure that you are running Mac OS 8.1 or later, have a PowerPC 603e 180MHz or better with 32MB RAM, virtual memory turned on, and 10MB of free disk space.

Player Information:  In order to view the video streams you must have Windows Media Player Version 9.0 (Netscape users should download the plugin version  found under 'Windows Media Tools and Services').  In most cases, if you do not have the software already installed, you will be automatically directed to the download page.

Browser Information: Please be sure that you are using Internet Explorer 5.0 or Netscape 4.7 (or later).

Connection Information: As with all Internet-based video, the more bandwidth available to you the better. The video on our site is configured to stream at various speeds from 20kbps (audio-only) up to 350kbps. Our servers will automatically detect your connection speed and send the highest quality stream possible. If you are trying to view the webcast with a dial-up connection, you will find the best performance is achieved by manually selecting an audio-only version of the webcast.

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Q: I have all the recommended software installed but I'm still not able to view the webcasts. Any suggestions?
A: Double-check your connection speed?: To ensure maximum quality for a wide-range of connection speeds, we frequently include separate audio-only versions of our webcast. If you have a slow connection speed (less than 100kbps like a dial-up connection) you will receive better quality if you select the audio-only version.

    Are you firewalled?: Occasionally a firewall will reduce the speed with which you can receive webcast information on an otherwise high-speed connection. We have gone to great lengths to make our data as 'firewall friendly' as possible but bottlenecks can still occur at a firewall (especially when connecting from a corporate LAN). Most users experiencing this problem can still enjoy the audio-only version of the webcast.

    Is your volume turned on?: This happens more than you think. Double-check to make sure that the volume is turned on loud enough and, if you have them, external speakers are turned on. This is especially important when using a low-speed connection where there might not be enough bandwidth to display video.

    Is your plugin installed properly?: Sometimes Netscape browsers will not pick up the Windows Media Player plugin properly, to fix this problem re-install Microsoft Windows Media Player 7 and try again.

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Q: I have all the recommended software installed but I am still unable to view the video, what can I do?
A:     First, double check that you have version 9 of Windows Media Player. You can download the latest version from http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/download.  Older versions of Windows Media Player do not support the latest file formats and may not work properly.  If you are using Netscape, you may need to re-install Windows Media Player for it to function properly.
Second, check that your Media Player is configured to use the TCP, UDP, and HTTP protocols.  To check this open Windows Media Player, then click on Tools, then Options.  Go to the Network tab and make sure that all of the protocols are allowed:

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Q: How do I "Fast-Forward" and "Rewind"?
A: You can use the "Jump To" links in the drop down window under the video to skip from agenda item to agenda item.  You can drag the tab on the scrollbar, directly under the video to move backward or forward in the video.  It is tough to get to an exact time this way on long videos.  To get to a precise point you can use the fast-forward or rewind buttons, the double arrow buttons on either side of the timeline directly below the video.  Simply click once on the fast-forward or rewind button to begin, and click once again on the same button to return to the "Play" mode.

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Q: I am trying to watch a stream, but I keep getting a message that the system can’t find a server, and that it may be behind a firewall.  What does this mean?
A: The streaming network keeps video files on a network of several servers.  When a change is made to a video file then the new copy of that video file must be copied to all of the servers in the streaming network.  Occasionally this takes a few minutes, and during this time you may receive this message.  Some files on the video network are only available from certain locations, like your Public Library or City Hall.  If you receive this message for more than a few hours, please contact the webmaster and tell them about it.  Be sure to write down which file you are trying to view, and the exact wording of the error message.

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Q: I can hear the audio but I can't see anything. What's wrong?
A: The problem is one of three things: (1) You don't have a fast enough connection to receive the video portion of the webcast, (2) you have selected an audio-only webcast, or (3) you do not have the proper codecs installed. To insure that your Windows Media Player has the proper codecs bring up the Player in it's own window and click on Tools/Options on the menu at the top of the window. Within the options window be sure that "Enable automatic codec download" is checked, and click on "OK".

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Q: How can I determine my connection speed?
A: The easiest way to check your effective connection speed is to select a webcast (live or archived) and place your mouse cursor over the small picture, usually of a sun or storm cloud, on the bottom-left hand corner of the viewing screen as the webcast buffers or plays. A small pop-up window will appear displaying the speed at which you are receiving the webcast.

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Q: Is there any way I can make the viewing area larger?
A: You can make the video viewing area for live webstreaming by right-clicking on the video box and selecting the full-screen option or type ‹alt›-‹enter›. To return to the normal viewing size right-click and deselect full-screen or simply hit the ‹esc› key. You cannot alter the size of the screen while watching web archiving.

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Q: The webcast stopped while I was viewing it. Was it something I did and how can I fix it?
A: Occasionally enough packets will get lost in cyberspace on the way to your computer to cause a noticeable interruption. In most cases the system will recover automatically and resume the webcast after a few seconds without any special action on your part. However, if you get no response after the first minute, refreshing the page is the best way to resume the webcast.

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Q: The web cast buffers a lot even though I have a high speed connection. Any suggestions?
A: The #1 cause of buffering is poor network connectivity.  This may not be a problem with your network but may be caused by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) getting overloaded.  This is especially likely during peak usage hour.
If you experience excessive buffering after 15 seconds to 1 minute, no matter what you try, you may be experiencing a firewall problem.   The problem has to do with the way some firewalls handle streaming traffic.  To fix the problem, you must update your firewall’s firmware.  For instructions on how to update your firewall’s firmware, contact your firewall vendor.  They will be able to provide you with firmware updates and easy to follow instructions on how to install them.

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Q: My video player just says “Ready” and does not play any video or audio, what should I do?
A: The video player will say “Ready” when you have reached the end of the video clip, or when there has been a serious error with the video file.   First, check that you have version 9 of the Windows Media Player installed.  If you have installed Windows Media Player version 9 and still get this message, please right-click on the black area of the video player, and click on “Error Details” on the pop-up menu.  Write down the exact wording of the error message, along with the name of the video that you were trying to watch, and report the problem to the webmaster.

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Q: My video player just shows a blue screen, what is going on?
A: The streaming system shows a blue screen when it is not receiving a signal from the cable network or video feed.  If you are watching an on-demand clip, try selecting one of the Jump-To points from the jump-to dropdown.  If you are watching a live stream, please make sure that there is a broadcast in progress.  If a broadcast is in progress and you are still getting a blue screen, we may be having technical difficulties.  Rest assured, if that is the case, we are working as hard as we can to fix the problem.  Try again in a few minutes and it will probably work.

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Q: How do I jump ahead to a specific agenda item of the meeting that I am watching?
A: Once you click on the "View Video" of the specific archived meeting that would like to watch, a new window opens and the meeting starts from the beginning.  You can either click the pull down menu under the screen and "Jump to.." any of the listed items.  Or, once the minutes of the meeting have been published they will appear in the window on the right and you may click on that item and the video will "jump to" that segment of the video.

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Q: I am looking for a specific item discussed in a Calabasas meeting, but I don't know which City Council or Commission meeting to look in, how can I search the entire meeting archives?
A: You may click on All City Meetings link and a "Search Archives" box is available.  You may type in any specific "Keywords".  Click the "Search" button and a list of every Council or Commission meeting with your keyword in the agenda will appear.  Or if you only want the City Council meetings with you key word,  you may choose the City Council Meeting link and again use the "Search feature to only look for your keyword in the City Council archives.
Note: The search only works for words that are in the actual agenda title.

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Q: When I hit the "Previous" and "Next" buttons, the screen turns black and freezes up.  What is wrong?
A: The "Previous" and "Next" buttons are part of the Windows Media Player and are not meant to be used with our web archiving.  We are working on hiding these buttons on our player.  If your system freezes up, unfortunately you'll need to shut the player window and reopen it.  See the question below for tips on fast-forwarding and rewinding.

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Back to Archives

 

You will need Windows Media Player 7.0 or higher to view the programs.
Download the latest Windows Media Player for
PC (all versions)   Mac

Please email us at ctv@cityofcalabasas.com if you are experiencing problems viewing programs.

Visit our Calendar Page for a detailed listing of this month’s meetings, or our Media Operations Department for staff information.

How do you like our streaming?

Questions or comments to Deborah Steller, Media Operations Director dsteller@cityofcalabasas.com

 

 

City of Calabasas © 2014