Live Stream Troubleshooting - Hints and Tips
If you're having trouble watching or listening to a live stream, some of the ideas on this page might help.
- Shut down programs that utilize bandwidth.
If you're using software that downloads files or utilizes your
bandwidth in some other manner, turn it off. It's been found that a
fair amount of this software behaves in a way that is not "friendly" to
- Your ISP's bandwidth promise may not be realistic.
Just because your ISP says you get "30 megabits" worth of transfer
speed doesn't mean that you actually do. Some ISPs "oversell" their
service, based on the belief that not everyone will be utilizing the
promised amount of bandwidth. It's also possible that the quality of
signal reaching your premises isn't very good due to distance, poor
quality equipment or poor line conditions (such as an excessive number
of splitters on a cable TV line). Even if you do get the speed you paid
for, not everything that's on the Internet can relay data to you that
quickly. Failures can and do occur at locations outside of your ISP's
- Free up your computer.
Shut down any programs that you're not using. Adobe Flush Player is
well known for being less than wonderful software to start with,
especially on platforms that Adobe has forgotten (e.g., any Power
Macintosh G3, G4 or G5). Depending upon the age of your system and how
many resources it has available, watching a live stream can be very
resource intensive. Even if your system should
have some sort of hardware acceleration for audio or video content, it
may only be usable in certain circumstances and with a limited number
of formats. Or it might not work at all, due to bugs in some piece of
software. You can try updating your computer's drivers if you are
comfortable with doing so.
- Look for misbehaving programs.
Use the task manager software that comes with your operating system to
see if a program is misbehaving. It has happened in the past that
someone has come across a program that got stuck in a loop and drained
the resources on their computer to the point where it could not
reliably play a live stream. Chances are good that if you see a program
running that should be idle, but is holding the CPU utilization at 90%
or greater without letting up that the program has "run away" and
should be terminated. (Caution: terminating some programs, even if they
are malfunctioning, could cause your computer to stop working properly.
There's a remote possibility that data could be lost or damaged. So
think before you do, and make sure you're comfortable with this
possibility. You are, after all, responsible for actions that you take
and their results, whether good or bad.)
- Try different software.
I've personally witnessed unsatisfactory performance from a Pentium 4
computer that was otherwise more than fast enough to view a live stream
without issues. Switching to a different web browser solved the problem.
- If many people complain, maybe it's the streaming site.
It has happened in the past that the various streaming sites used to
broadcast are having problems. This can be for any number of reasons.
Many broadcasters hold accounts at different streaming sites for this
reason. Sudden switches to other streaming accounts will be announced
in the chat.
- Maybe it's your Internet connection.
Sometimes your ISP just can't quite keep up with a steady stream of
data, even if it is kept small. If the streaming site itself seems to
be working (broadcasters and viewers alike should check other shows on
the site in question), maybe your ISP or some piece of equipment just
isn't having a very good day. Switching to an audio only broadcast is a
technique that has worked well in the past.
- Don't discount possible computer trouble.
If everything else seems to be in order, try rebooting your computer
and Internet service equipment. Make sure your computer isn't
overheating (and possibly slowing down!).