How to Make Streaming Videos Work in Windows
Streaming video is probably the best new thing to happen to computers in years. You can actually watch your favorite TV shows and movies without having to shell out a fortune for cable or satellite TV. You can also get the videos you want without having to pay for 500 channels of stuff you would never look at. Unfortunately, getting streaming video to work or at least getting a video stream that an actual human being might want to watch can be difficult.
In the real world, you will probably have to do some work and experience some frustration if you want streaming video to work. You will probably need more than Windows Media Player. Media Player only plays videos. It does not actually stream or create them.
There are some programs that can convert video from one format to another. If you’re downloading video’s you may need to do this, even if you are using YouTube.
WMV File Converter claims that it will convert any video to a format that will actually run in Windows. You can get it for free here:
Streaming Video from a Web Page
Now many of us see streaming videos on various Web pages we would like to keep. This can be harder than it should be, but it isn’t impossible. The best way to do this is to go to YouTube. 99% of all streaming videos are on YouTube somewhere. Unfortunately, YouTube can be pretty clunky.
Make sure you have YouTube membership and that you are plugged in. Also, try to get a good version of the video. If possible, download from YouTube and not a Web Page. A lot of the videos posted on a Web page are bad. You should be able to add it to your playlist or favorites by clicking add to favorites. Try to get the latest version because older versions can be corrupt.
If you’ve got a good version of Windows Media Player on your computer, YouTube videos should play. So should videos from most of the streaming services such as NetFlix.
Media Flash Players
If you are using Windows Media Player, make sure you have the latest version of it. That would be Media Player 12 for Vista and Windows 7 and Media Player 11 for Windows XP. You can get it here:
If videos still do not work, make sure that Adobe Flash Player is installed on your computer. If you have Flash Player, upgrading to the latest version is always a good idea. The latest version is available here. You may have to turn off your antivirus to download it. Make sure you turn it back on when you’re done downloading.
If a video does not work, it could be a QuickTime video. This means it has to be played in Apple’s QuickTime video player. Even though it is an Apple program, QuickTime will supposedly work in XP, Vista and Windows 7, 10. You can download QuickTime Player for free here:
Make sure that you have the latest version and be prepared for lots of advertising. It may take awhile to install and it could try downloading ads you don’t want onto your system. You can get some other cool stuff here including iPad apps. One bothersome feature of QuickTime is that it will turn on Windows Explorer even if you are not using it as your default browser.
A good thing about QuickTime is that if you have an iPod but don’t have a Mac, you can download Apps and iTunes through QuickTime. Other than that, I haven’t figured out what this program is good for.
Putting Streaming Video on Your TV Set
The worst thing about streaming video is probably the size of the picture. Unless you want to hurt your eyes, you probably want it on a screen that is big enough to actually watch. It is also more fun to watch video from the couch or the easy chair with a cold drink in your hand than hunched over your laptop.
Fortunately, there are some ways to get streaming video on your TV screen. All you will need is an Ethernet cable. Most video game systems and most digital TVs are compatible with Ethernet. Some DVD players give you this capability as well. Just look for the Ethernet connection and connect the device to the computer.
If your video player is working, whatever video you are running should automatically come up on your TV screen. You should be able to control it just like you would a DVD with your remote control. You may also have to run through the channels to find what channel your video is coming in on.
Something else: make sure videos have fully downloaded before you run them on your TV. Despite what the video services tell us, getting a large file like a movie or TV episode to download fully can be tough. You may need to do it two or three times especially if you are using a wireless connection.
Another piece of advice: if you want video that you can actually see, use a hard connection such as DSL. This will be faster than wireless and you are more likely to get your video to come in.
Finally, avoid video from questionable sources such as BitTorrent. There’s a good chance it could be illegal and an even stronger chance that it is being used as a Malware delivery system. Even though some of us don’t like it, it is always a good idea to pay for video content. Yes, Netflix does charge but it is still cheaper than cable.