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Trouble Shooting Live Streaming Issues

Common Issues

Viewers Experience Buffering

If you receive emails or calls from viewers that the stream was buffering, these questions should be asked:

  1. How old is the computer you were viewing the stream on?
  2. Run this test: http://www.speedtest.net/. And note the upload and download speeds.

If a computer is several years old and/or Internet speeds are slow, there may not be an issue with the parish's live stream, but with the viewer's connection. If you receive multiple complaints from users with low bandwidth, we should discuss moving your parish live stream to a multi bit rate stream which would allow for a lower bit rate for slow connections and a higher one for faster connections.

If you believe the buffering is being experienced by all users, then move on to "Encoder is Stopping and Restarting."

**NOTE** When the stream is stopped at the end of a service, viewers will experience a degradation of video such as buffering or pixilation. This is normal.

Encoder is Stopping and Restarting

You may notice several stops and restarts in your encoding software. If this happens few and far between, it's may just be a small network hiccup and can be disregarded. Viewers can refresh to view.

If it happens a lot and is degrading the user experience:

  • Ensure Ethernet cables are properly plugged in. If WiFi, is the connection strong? If not, consider moving the computer or plugging in an Ethernet cable..
  • Is anyone using the internet (WiFi) during services? If parishioners have the WiFi password, their phones will probably be connecting to the network automatically. This can have a significant effect on the available bandwidth. Try changing the password and running a stream.
  • Check CPU usage to ensure usage is not above 75%.
    • If so, end programs that are not needed to reduce the percentage (Anti-virus software is a big culprit).
    • If this still does not help, they may need to consider getting a new computer.

Blank Screen

If users see a screen that says: "We are off-air."

  • The stream may not be running or may have just ended.
  • If this happens during a service, review:
    • "Viewers Experience Buffering
    • "Encoder is Stopping and Restarting"

iOS Device Issues

If viewers are expereincing issues while watching the stream on the iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV), check to ensure your encoder is using these settings:

  • Video should be H.264
  • Audio should be AAC.
  • If running an Windows machine, do you have an AAC plugin installed?

Primary or Backup Servers Cannot be Found

If, when trying to start your live stream, you receive an error indicating that the Primary and/or Backup servers cannot be found:

  1. Ensure information is inputted correctly. Are there any leading or trailing spaces? Have you copied the information exactly as given from Internet Ministries?

Reporting Issues

Live streaming issues come from a variety of sources. In order to properly diagnose issues, it's helpful to have some initial questions answered: What types of issues are being reported? Dropped connections? Buffering? Poor video/audio quality? The answers to those questions are very helpful. In addition to these answers, here are some things you can do to help us better troubleshoot and understand where exactly the issues are coming from:

  • Check log files. All software encoding software will keep log files that record stream drops and sometimes clues as to why. Please find these log files and send them to Internet Ministries.
  • Run a network speedtest while you’re streaming (http://www.speedtest.net/). This will let us know if the parish network is getting bogged down. (This could be because the stream’s bit rate is too high for the network, or maybe someone else is using the network during streaming).
  • Check the computer’s CPU while streaming. Usually anything higher than about 75%, will lead to issues.
  • If viewers are experiencing poor quality, it may be worth it to ask them how they’re watching the stream (desktop, TV, phone?) and what kind of network they’re on. Not everyone will be able to answer this, but it could give you important information about the demographic watching the stream. This is especially important if you’re streaming in HD or even a high SD. If you have a mixed demographic, I’ve started suggesting multi-bit rate streaming to parishes. Where you stream one low stream and one high. The new player detects the strength of the user’s network and automatically displays the best stream. This leads to less buffering and freezing.
  •  Sending a screenshot of the stream settings along with any log files or speed test information is very helpful as well.