Choppy video solutions

Question

I have a new Netbook with Windows 7; videos are stop and go and sound moves ok. Is there a simple cure?

- Mark

Answer

This question was answered on January 6, 2010. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

The relative low price of Netbooks have enticed many folks to buy these low powered little gems, but all too often, the buyer isn’t really clear about what they are buying.

The retailers that I’ve talked with have told me that Netbooks have become one of the most commonly returned items they sell because so many buyers are seduced by the low price and don’t really understand what they are buying.

Netbooks are the computer equivalent of a Smart Car; they are not designed to carry lots of people, tow a heavy load, or go really fast.

If your computing needs are on the heavier side of the computation scale (live video or gaming) then a Netbook is probably the wrong tool.

Since you didn’t say if the problem was with all video or certain websites, I’ll keep this general

The choppy video that you are describing is most likely from either the lack of power in the Netbook or your Internet connection speed.

If the video you are referring to is loaded on your local hard drive, then the problem is definitely the lack of power in your Netbook If the video is being streamed from the Internet, there is a small chance that your Internet connection speed is too slow to provide a smooth stream.

The easiest way to check the Internet connection is to run the same video from another computer connected to the same network.

If the second machine has the same choppy results, then the problem is either your Internet connection speed (contact your ISP to troubleshoot) or the site that you’re streaming from can’t keep up.

If you want to check your Internet connection speed, checkout Cnet’s Bandwidth Meter Online Speed Test at http://bit.ly/7t9WaS .

If the video is coming from a small, non-commercial website, then it’s possible that they lack the technology to keep up with high demands, but sites like CNN.com/video or YouTube.com won’t have any problem serving video to you, so test with them to eliminate the source.

Netbooks were created to access basic Internet content like e-mail, blogs, social media, news sites and basic video, however, you should not expect video to be as smooth as a standard laptop or desktop.

Make sure that you’re not trying to view the video in full screen mode and if you’re using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, you will likely get better performance by installing either Mozilla’s Firefox http://mozilla.com or Google’s Chrome http://www.google.com/chrome browsers.

Both of these browsers work faster on underpowered or older computers (not just Netbooks) and can be tweaked to run even faster if you’re on a broadband connection (search Google for ‘Firefox speed tweaks’ or ‘Chrome speed tweaks’).

Another possible cause of performance drag when playing streaming video is a wireless connection If you are trying to stream video via WiFi, try plugging directly into an Ethernet port If it works better, then you may need to upgrade your WiFi router.

It’s also possible that the power source or power drain is causing performance issues If you’re trying to stream while on battery power, try plugging into an AC source to see if things improve.

Also, anything that’s plugged into the USB ports can draw power or cause performance issues on Netbooks, so try removing everything from them to see if things change.

If you added any third party memory or if you have anything in any card slots, try reseating or removing those items as well to see if they are causing erratic video performance.

If, after trying all of these possible solutions, you still get choppy video, you are most likely trying to tow a boat with a Smart Car!

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on January 6, 2010