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RealAudio Configurations For Maximum Performance...

Tweaking RealPlayer for playing HTTP Streams...

Having problems with our show? hopefully, this will fix it! Bluboo (who does a show from Tripod also) prepared this info for his own site. We now post it here so you can get maximum Performance from your player when listening to all on-demand HTTP streaming audio. Thanks a heap, Blu!!!

HOW HTTP STREAMING AUDIO WORKS

Real Audio that streams from a web server operates like a download with the single exception that you do not have to wait for the entire download. Typically, the player will build up a sufficient BUFFER and then start to play(the BUFFER is extra file info that is waiting to play while the Player plays and the download continues).

However, a problem can arise as the result of three situations .... a slow modem and/or a slow Internet connection OR a crummy ISP with a dumb firewall (i.e. Prodigy) OR heavy traffic on the file's server. A streaming Real Audio program in stereo plays at 20,000 bps per sec (2.0 kbps). If the stream is downloading slower than 2.0 kbs, the player will continually run out of stream to play and the player will pause to rebuild the buffer.

There are only two ways to defeat this short of getting a 56K or higher modem and connection: first, have the proper configurations and, second, learn to manage the player based on the stream that is coming in.

THE PROPER CONFIGURATIONS IF USING AN ISP WITH A PROXY SERVER (like Prodigy)

Here are the configuration settings for RealPlayer 5.0 ...... you can access these by going under VIEW and then PREFERENCES on the Player:

General ----- select "Buffer Entire Clip to available memory" (Note: it is a good idea also to clear the disk cache and memory cache on your web browser before each session).

Connection ------ confirm modem setting (must be at least 28.8) and set Connection Timeout to 40 seconds and server timeout to 120 seconds. When buffering occurs, pause the payer and check statistics (see Section 3 below on using statistics) to see what is happening.

Transport ----- select "Use Specified Transports" then click the SPECIFY button ..... select "Attempt to use TCP for ALL" and make sure the UDP port is on and is 7070.

Proxy ----- if you are using a large ISP like Prodigy or AOL, you must check the box that says USE PROXY ... the proxy info should be automatically filled in for you.

MANAGING YOUR PLAYER'S PERFORMANCE / STATISTICS

The best way to listen to the show in its entirety without pausing is to pause the player at the very beginning and allow a substantial buffer to build up. To do this, your will need to view the stream statistics as follows:

a) immediately pause the player as soon as it indicates it is building a buffer.
b) click VIEW on the menu and STATISTICS in the drop-down menu
c) In the statistics box, click details to open a second box

The only number you need in the top box is RECEIVED. First, a typical stream of 22 minutes will read 7,200 when fully received. Thus, if you pause the Player until you have received 3,600 (or half the stream), the show should play straight through.

In the bottom half, you want to watch BANDWIDTH, as this will show you how fast the server (in this case, Tripod), in conjunction with your ISP and its firewall, is allowing the stream to reach you. If the average bandwidth is 20,000 bps or better, you may only need to buffer about 500 at the very start of the show. If it is less, you will want to let a bigger buffer in the beginning (examples: at an average bandwith of 15,000 bps, go for 2,000; at an average badwidth of 10,000 bps, go for 4,000).

With practice, you will be able to anticipate problems and avoid the need for buffer pauses. One way is to pause the Player yourself when you think you are approaching a buffer pause (on my Player, the pause button actually will start to flicker). A better way, rather than to sit and listen to dead air, is to use the back button (or drag the indicator clip back) and re-listen to songs while the buffer re-builds.

Please share this with fellow listeners who tell you of problems, or have them write to me for help. And PLEASE, always let me know if you have a problem with the show or a question ...... I want you to enjoy these to the fullest.


Please Write with Questions and Comments

rave669@usa.net


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