FAQ, optimization and troubleshooting info
20 South Productions and Blue Mountain Weddings have researched and tested a way to share the joy of the wedding ceremony through live broadcasting, over the World Wide Web. We have selected the Windowsâ Media Player (WMP) and streaming protocol to provide the best combination of quality and features, and to make them available to the widest range of our viewers. Further, all discussion in this document must assume the use of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser software version 6.1.sp1 or higher (IE6sp1+) running under the Microsoft Windows98SE or newer operating system. Last, we’ll strongly recommend installing all updates and patches offered by Microsoft for both the operating system itself (usually labeled critical) and for whichever version of WMP is running on your pc (often listed under ‘optional’ updates). Please see the discussion and links below related to Windows Update, near the end.
We are pleased to have found that several other operating systems and web browsers will operate beautifully with our service. That said it would prove nearly impossible to cover so many combinations with any degree of thoroughness and accuracy. We’ll have to confine our efforts to the free, built-in tools that Microsoft has provided. WMP has been built into every version of Microsoft’s operating system for over 10 years, and can be emulated seamlessly within Apple’s Mac OSX. We believe that if you have a home computer with a working high-speed internet connection, you’ll be able to enjoy our 20South/Blue Mountain Weddings broadcast.
Important note: due to quality considerations, a high-speed internet connection is REQUIRED to connect successfully to the 20 South/Blue Mountain Weddings broadcast or video-on-demand (VOD) broadcast. The streaming file itself is playable only over a broadband connection of DSL or better speeds (>384kbps). Since the complete file is not ‘downloaded’ to your computer, this is not a matter that is resolved by ‘waiting a little longer’ to ‘get the stream’. Unfortunately this will exclude dial-up (and even ISDN subscriber) customers, due to the limited connection speed offered by those technologies. The bride and groom may elect to enjoy and share an edited DVD composed by Blue Mountain Weddings.
We recommend testing your player’s ability to view our stream in advance, by connecting to one or more of our sample videos BEFORE the day of the ceremony. Experience has shown that if you can successfully connect to the test video streams on our website (although they’re not ‘live’), you should encounter no difficulty and only a slight delay when connecting to the ‘live’ stream from the venue.
On broadcast day, we plan to be ‘on the air’ about 15 minutes before the ceremony, to give folks an opportunity to verify their connection. We cannot guarantee that every viewer will have a perfect experience, but we are confident that many of the problems you might encounter can be resolved with little trouble or technical expertise. ‘Tuning in’ in advance and/or a little early should let everyone double-check all systems and connections beforehand. Try our test links now-
Click on the link below to connect directly to a test streaming video at the 20 South website.
Click on the link below to connect to the 20 South website for more information & samples.
If you clicked on the sample link above or on one from the webpage link provided and it worked (your browser opens, then WMP opens & pauses, then plays a segment of wedding video recorded by Blue Mountain Weddings), well you’re all set! On the wedding day, about 5 or 10 minutes before the ceremony is scheduled to start, just point your browser to our live broadcast by clicking on the link in your e-vite. WMP opens, pauses briefly to connect and buffer the stream, then you’ll join the celebration and share the joy. You may wish to review the ‘optimizing performance’ section towards the bottom of this document, but otherwise you’re ready to go.
If you’re still reading because all that ‘didn’t work’, we’ll move further into the ‘troubleshooting’ section after some general notes on Optimizing performance.
We always recommend turning off unused programs while connected to streaming media, in order to give WMP the full benefit of your hardware components. Many computers today come ‘pre-configured’ with trial software, sales offers and ‘support software’ that can bog down performance. Generally speaking, WMP doesn’t require a Ferrari of a computer –but it helps to make sure that your trunk isn’t full of lead and the tires aren’t flat! Let’s check to see that you’re pretty-well tuned. It’s simplest to start at the right end of your ‘taskbar’ (usually at the bottom of the screen), down by the clock. Any icons there represent programs of some kind running on your computer, and you don’t need MOST of them while you’re enjoying the ceremony. Usually, if you’ll right-click on each icon you’ll be able to ‘exit’, ‘quit’ or ‘close’ in some form or fashion. Print monitors, weatherbug/watchers, CD burning softwares, manufacturers’ support services, everybody’s update services, etc., etc., etc. can be turned off. Also, you will almost certainly have to turn off or reconfigure any ‘external’/non-Windows firewall program (Zone Alarm, Black Ice, etc.) found here.
Hopefully that leaves the clock, possibly an icon for your network connection and your antivirus program running –and that’s about all. Programs that don’t offer a way to terminate need to be identified and assessed if WMP or connection problems persist.
If you’d like to dig deeper into the list of programs that start every time your computer gets turned on, google ‘startup directory’ or ‘msconfig’ or ‘task manager’ and read up a bit. For now, we’ll be content to shut down the obvious ‘extras’ and go from there.
Here’s the bit about Windows Update: Use it. Period. Left-click the start button and the menu should include a link to the Windows Update site. Click it. If not, open Internet Explorer and left-click the ‘tools’ item on the menu at the top. From there, select “Windows Update’ and click it.
Follow the prompts until you have a choice between ‘Express’ and ‘Custom’: choose ‘Custom’. Leave all the ‘high priority’ items checked, but click on the ‘software’/optional category in the middle of the left column. Poke around and select any updates/patches/hotfixes that may pertain to WMP as detected on your system. Moreover, if there’s a newer version of WMP available, now may be the time to snag it. Click the ‘review and install’ and then the ‘install now’ button to get it started. Once the updates have been downloaded and installed, it will probably be necessary to restart the computer. Repeat the update process after the restart, to verify that you’ve got all the ‘high priority’ and pertinent ‘software’/optional updates for WMP. Download/install any new items and repeat the process until there are no more such items.
The last couple words are about browsers that AREN’T Internet Explorer (IE6sp1):
Under the Mac OSX, a plug-in can be installed to let Safari (the web browser) run WMP (as an emulation) using Quicktime. Everybody I know that has tried it found that it works. Get it straight from Microsoft/Quicktime here:
If you’re a Mozilla/Firefox/Netscape user, the add-ons you need can be found here:
This fine browser family has a lot to recommend it, and many users and supporters worldwide. Since it runs apart from IE6sp1, problems or outdated components in that browser (bundled ‘inside’ Windows as it is) may require repair/update in order to address network-related problem in WMP.
If all else fails, you might try to download this nifty little Media Player that seems to work wonders. It’s free and it’s a quick download at less than 2 MB. It installs just about instantly and works (even looks) just like the older WMP (ver.6 series).
Pick your O/S and click the appropriate link below-
As noted above we’ve found that problems are often either WMP or Internet Explorer (IE6sp1) program issues, or network/connectivity-based (somewhere between your machine and our servers or the venue itself). Given the above steps, it’s a fair guess that if WMP or Internet Explorer didn’t open at all, the problem is ‘program-related’. If Internet Explorer & WMP both open, but you can’t connect to the media stream properly (or connects and plays only audio, for example), then odds are better that the problem lies in a network setting or condition somewhere.
Check out the links to Microsoft and other sites with LOTS of info to help solve different problems that readers have reported. Since we can’t address all the possible versions of WMP and combinations in detail, we’ve provided the following links and descriptive info to give you the best chance to resolve your difficulty. Let’s start by narrowing things down a little. Although it’s labeled ‘for WMP v.10’, for a list of error message descriptions that cover lots of bases and apply to multiple versions, click here:
Different error messages should contain language to help distinguish between ‘program-related’ errors and ‘network-related’ ones. If your problem seems to fall under the first category (usually problems with WMP itself or IE6sp1) then repairing or reinstalling those programs may be the simplest route to success. If the error message is straightforward and recommends a simple setting change for WMP, please try that first.
If Internet Explorer did not open at all, please note any error message and proceed below to the ‘reinstalling a program’ paragraph.
If Internet Explorer opens but reports a ‘page not found’ or ‘error 404’ then you’ll need to check your internet connection itself (which is beyond the scope of this FAQ).
If Internet Explorer opens, but WMP does not open properly, then let’s start with the basics and try one more time to open the program ‘manually’ and connect to the 20 South Productions/Blue Mountain Weddings stream. Open Windows Media Player by double-clicking the shortcut on the desktop (if available) or in your ‘quicklaunch’ bar (next to the Start button). If neither shortcut is handy, left-click the Start button and left-click (all) Programs, then left-click Windows Media Player.
If Windows Media Player still does not open, please note the resulting error message and proceed below to the ‘reinstalling a program’ paragraph.
If WMP opens, let’s first verify that you’re correctly configured to play our type of file. We’ll point you back to our webpage with the test videos again, but this time you’ll right-click on one of the samples and left-click the ‘save target as’ item.
Save the wmv file to a convenient location (your desktop, or My Documents perhaps) and then double-click it to run the sample video. If it plays now (running locally on your machine) we can narrow the troubleshooting to a network-related setting or issue. If not, it’s probably best to start with a reinstall of WMP.
If WMP plays a ‘local’ copy of the file, close WMP and then reopen the program to recheck the link one last time as above (make sure the cut-and-paste captured the entire URL but no extra characters). If the connection is still unsuccessful, there should be an error message displayed in a dialog box with buttons for ‘close’ and ‘more information’ or ‘web help’. Click the button for ‘more…’ or ‘…help’, make a note of the error code or number that is displayed and look below for troubleshooting, frequently asked question (FAQ)/help file pages and program download/setup information.
If WMP opens but the ‘network connection failed’ in some way, it’s a good idea to verify your internet connection (separately from WMP’s ability to connect to ‘network resources’ -namely, our broadcast). Close WMP and open Internet Explorer to see if it will connect to your home page or click to connect to www.google.com , for example. If Internet Explorer is able to connect to the Internet, the problem may exist somewhere in the network settings on your pc or in WMP. Reopen WMP and from the menu at the top of the WMP window, left-click ‘Tools’, then left-click the ‘Options’ item, then select the “Network’ tab from the Options page. Verify that all protocol boxes are checked, and make sure that the proxy setting for each protocol is set to ‘autodetect’ in the lower portion of that dialog box. Click ‘Apply’ and close/restart your WMP. Try again to connect directly to our sample video here:
If WMP will open but doesn’t play the stream, let’s dig deeper by looking for the menu across the top of the window (just below the ‘title bar’) and locate the ‘file’ item at the left. If that menu isn’t displayed, look across the upper portion of the window for a ‘chevron’ (looks like down-pointing arrowheads) or a ‘dropdown’ link (a solid black triangle). Click there and select ‘(view)classic menus’ to display the ‘file – edit – view’ menu across the top of your player window. Left-click ‘File’, then select‘open url’. Next, please use the link to our webpage and a test video as follows: Left-click and drag across to highlight as necessary for the entire URL, then right-click and select ‘copy’.
Return to WMP, left-click ‘file’, left-click ‘open’, right-click inside that box and select ‘paste’. Left-click ‘ok’ or hit the ‘enter’ key to view the broadcast or play the file.
If you’re still not successful, then we’re in pretty deep and there may be more going on inside your pc than this FAQ can fix –hey, it happens… but we have one more trick.
In most cases, your pc has an older (somewhat ‘generic’) version of WMP that almost everyone has forgotten. Highlight, right-click and ‘copy’ the wmv link above. Left-click your ‘Start’ button, select ‘run’ from the menu and type in ‘mplayer2.exe’ (without the quotes). Left-click ‘ok’ or hit ‘Enter’. The little WMP window that opens can be resized by left-clicking and dragging the corners or clicking the ‘maximize’ icon at the top right (it’s the middle one of the 3, just to the left of the ‘x’). This version works the same way as the newer versions, so you’ll left-click the ‘File’ menu at the top left, left-click the ‘open’ item in that list and right click the box to ‘paste’ in our URL. Left-click ‘ok’ or hit ‘enter’ to give it a try. If this method works, use it to view the broadcast and have somebody give your pc a good going-over; it’s time for a tuneup/overhaul. If not, then our last-ditch recommendation would be to jump to the end of this document to the section marked ‘If all else fails’ and try the Media Player Classic download.
Reinstalling a program is usually pretty simple. Jump to the DOWNLOAD section below and click on the link to download the most current version of WMP for your pc (note: infrequently, the currently installed version is the better choice but we recommend an upgrade if you’re running an older version). Newer versions can be ‘rolled back’ or uninstalled if necessary, and offer improved features, functionality and security overall.
Note: Windows98 & Windows 2000 must use WMP9, while Windows XP & Vista can use WMP11.
If Internet Explorer is implicated in the error description, we recommend that you download and re-install the same version you currently use. This type of ‘repair-by-reinstall’ is a little safer than trying to upgrade a ‘broken’ installation since Internet Explorer is so tightly integrated into the operating system itself. Links are found below.
Other issues INSIDE your pc:
Since the broadcast we’ve produced is designed to stream at high quality, there may be multiple factors affecting the transmission. Sometimes a connection can’t be completed at all, but other times your media player might play audio and no video –you’re somehow connected, but not ‘all the way’. It is important to remember that the internet is not a single monolithic entity, and that overall traffic or ISP-specific conditions may cause problems beyond our control. It’s also possible that your computer has so many programs running at the same time that a high-speed internet connection. We can’t lower the traffic on the internet, but we CAN cut down on ‘internal traffic’ that can clog up the works inside your pc. Please see the bit labeled ‘optimizing performance’ below.
Microsoft link to IE6sp1 download:
Microsoft link to IE7 download:
Windows Media Player
Microsoft link to WMP9 download:
Microsoft link to WMP11 download:
Microsoft download site for WMP help files – mp 6/9/10
Microsoft link for general WMP FAQs:
Microsoft WMP troubleshooting FAQs: