Help | Frequently Asked Questions
Because computers and operating systems are unique, we are not able to provide individualized tech support. Please see our tech support FAQ, which covers most common problems.
What is streaming video or audio?
Streaming video or audio is video (as on television) or sound (as on the radio) delivered over the Internet via a modem or broadband connection.
Why is it called "streaming"?
It's called "streaming" because the sound and picture data flow in a digital stream from a server computer to your computer, ready to hear or view in real time, without having to download all of the content before you can enjoy it. It comes to you in a stream of digital bits... hence the term "streaming."
What kinds of streaming audio or video are there?
There are 5 main streaming media companies (with their media streams):
- Microsoft (with Windows Media - audio and video)
- Real Networks (with RealMedia, RealVideo and RealAudio)
- Apple (with QuickTime)
- Macromedia (with Flash/Shockwave)
- Nullsoft Streaming Video (.nsv) and Shoutcast, IceCast (GNU GPL/Open Source version of Shoutcast), Live365 streaming audio
The first three provide streaming media players for the Mac and Windows platforms. All these companies provide "basic" free players. Some of them also have optional "plus" players that offer extra features - at extra cost.
What difference does it make if content is streamed, rather than downloaded?
Audio and video files can be very large. You would spend many minutes or even hours waiting for them to be downloaded to your computer if they weren't streamed. Streaming media technology allows you to see or hear the content in just a few seconds, instead of having to wait for it. Your only wait is a few seconds for a "buffer" to be built up that helps avoid interruptions caused by Internet traffic problems.
In the majority of cases streaming media is used to maintain control over the distribution of the media files (because it is difficult to capture streaming video and audio).
What special equipment do I need to watch streaming audio or video?
You only need a computer with a Web connection (minimum 28.8 Kbps modem) and capable of playing audio or video, plus player software that can receive and process audio/video streams. You may already have such software on your computer, but if not, it is available as a free download from RealOne, Windows Media Player, Quicktime Player and Winamp (FreeAmp, XMMS). The Creator Leadership Network stations use a proprietary player, which is accessible when you click one of the "Click to Listen" buttons found on every page of our website.
How can I tell if I have everything I need?
Most recent computers will have everything needed. If you have speakers/earphones for your computer and you've heard them play sound, chances are you're okay. The faster your online connection (modem, cable, DSL) and computer speed (in megahertz), the higher the quality of the streaming audio or video will be. A 56 Kbps modem is a practical minimum for video.
Can I receive streaming media via Web TV?
Earlier versions of Web TV can't receive streaming media, but some later versions can. You should check your manual or ask the Web TV folks to see if your model supports streaming video/audio.
If I need a player, how do I get one?
Chances are the Creator Leadership Network proprietary player will work for you. Just click one of the "Click to Listen" buttons found on every page of our website. But in isolated situations, you may need to use another player. Just download it using the links below! Remember, you only need the basic, free version of each player to enjoy streaming content. All of these companies sell upgraded versions with more features, but all supply a basic, free version too. They usually hide the free one, so don't buy the upgraded version unless you want to. Once you've downloaded the player, it will usually install itself. You may need to reset your browser preferences to use a new player.
Is there any downside to streaming?
There are some potential problems, but we'll tell you how to avoid or minimize them.
- Traffic jams. Streaming requires an Internet connection that's free of bottlenecks or "traffic jams." But the Internet isn't a direct pipeline from the source to you. Streamed content passes through many other computers on its way to your computer via your ISP. If any one of them is carrying too much other traffic, the streamed content may be interrupted and pause. Streamed content is "buffered" to help avoid this, but sometimes it's unavoidable. Usually the delay only lasts a few seconds, and the audio picks up where it stopped. Video is more sensitive to such interruptions.
- A slow computer. Even with a fast computer, if you have too many applications open, it could slow down your media streaming. If you notice things are sluggish, close all unnecessary applications and windows running on your computer. Just keep your Web browser and your media player open. (If you're just listening or watching, you can even close your browser.) In any case, speedy computers are better.
- Noisy phone lines. If you have a phone line that isn't free of noise (humming, crackling), that's not good for streaming (or Web browsing). Disconnect any phones that cause a buzz or hum. Have your phone company check your line to get rid of humming or other line noise. Of course, a cable modem or DSL connection is best for streaming media.