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The help bit..

Sorry you are here. Are you having difficulties with video or with the terminology? No problem, the info below should hopefully make it easier.

If you think internet video is confusing please note that this is still a relatively new technology, and standards aren't well established yet. Like the internet itself, there are still problems to fix and some patience required.

You would have noticed that the students and staff of the multimedia studio have made nine versions of each video. Why nine??? We have programmed for 3 different media players, and 3 different sizes for each media player.

What is a media player?

Just a software program that allows you to view the video (ie if you clicked on one of the 9 links and got nothing - you need to do some downloading as you either don't have a player installed, or it is an early version, or your current version needs reinstallation). The 3 players are introduced below:

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What does this symbol - - mean?

Its just the corporate logo for Real Network's "Real Player". This company supplies a wide range of media players and are arguably the more advanced software supplier. You can download new versions (if you want or need to) at http://www.real.com

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What does this symbol - - mean?

The corporate logo for Apple's "Quicktime Media Player". This player is popular with MacIntosh users though there are of course versions available for Windows users as well. You can download new versions (if you want or need to) at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/

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What does this symbol - - mean?

The corporate logo for Microsoft's "Windows Media Player". If you are using a Windows OS, it is likely that this will be already bundled onto your computer. You can download new versions (if you want or need to) at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/

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What does "28K" mean???

"28K" is an abbreviation of 28000 bits per second/28kbps (or thereabouts). Your connection speed may actually be a lot lower or higher than this - depending on where you are, or how many users are using the internet. The "28K version" of each video is the lightest and smallest clip. Why is it light? Because we reduce the image size to 160 by 120 pixels (5.64 x 4.23 centimeters or 2.222 x 1.667 inches) and then also strip out some of the frames to reduce the number of frames supplied per second. This makes the video a little jerky, and the picture quality less, but combined with the photographs and other images on the website the video should still enable you to get a pretty good idea of the facilities and environment in Okazaki. If you have a relatively slow connection, then this is probably the least frustrating to use. If you have a faster connection, then you can still view this light version of course, but would be receiving picture quality less than your system and connection environment is able to support.

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What does "ISDN" mean???

An acronym for Integrated Services Digital Network, this is a type of all-digital telephone service that can transmit digital data (including video of course) without a modem. The speed on an ISDN line could of course be anything from 28kbps to 56kbps - with some further variation probable/possible. The "ISDN version" of each video is still fairly light as the image size is still 160 by 120 pixels (5.64 x 4.23 centimeters or 2.222 x 1.667 inches), but as the number of frames per second is much higher, the picture quality is better - ie "small but clearer" picture. If you have a cable or LAN connection, then all other factors being equal this should give you a smooth "no buffering" view.

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What does LAN mean???

LAN is an acronym for Local Area Network. A LAN is a network connecting several computers in the same room, building or in Yamasa's case - campus. We use the term LAN - but the "LAN version" of each clip will suit any viewer with reasonably stable high speed access (a minimum of say 200kbps for example). Cable modems, ADSL, T1 lines of course should easily be fast enough to allow viewing with no (or minimal) buffering. Picture quality is fairly good as we can send more frames per second, image size is also much larger at 320 pixels by 240 pixels (11.29 x 8.47 centimeters or 4.444 x 3.333 inches), so you should be able to see more detail as well.

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What does "streaming" mean???

Stripped of all the hype, all it means is making audio and video (and sometimes other multimedia) available in real-time via the Internet. The idea is that there is no download wait or need to store data on your hard disk. Using this technology, you can start listening or watching to the beginning of a file immediately - alas you also need to know about buffering (see below).

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What does "buffering" mean???

Buffering is to the internet what traffic jams are to your local road system. Just as car designers and advertizers sell the image of speed and freedom, and cars that can accelerate to 100km/hr in a few seconds, so do media player developers chant the mantra of "bandwidth".

Reality of course is a little different. Too many cars, poorly designed roads, congestion, heavy trucks travelling down side roads etc. On the internet, the mixture of high speed pipes, fast and not so fast cables, optical and copper wires, few standards, poor coordination etc means that consistent, uninterrupted speeds are not yet widely and consistently available. Our video leaves a high speed server in a very big fat fast pipe, but we don't know where you are, which cables will carry our video to you, or how many other users will be online in your area (or in between) clogging things up.

Some hints for smooth video playing:

Remember that everything really depends on your connection speed. Online services and ISP's vary in connection speeds anywhere from 24,000 to 56,000 (24-56kbps). In rural areas it may well be less. In periods of high net congestion, it can be slow even in well wired cities. When you get connected, your modem or LAN will tell you how fast you are connected. If you aren't sure, start with one of the "28K" versions first and see if there is any interuptions caused by buffering (or net congestion). If there is, then the interruptions will be worse for the heavier versions "ISDN" or "LAN". If there is no interruption when viewing "28K", try the "ISDN" version next and so on.

Buffering can be adjusted:

Even on a slower connection, you can view the heavier but better quality ISDN or LAN versions if you adjust the buffering. If you set your player to buffer the whole clip, not just the first few seconds, or set buffering to 30 or 45 seconds, then you should be able to see the entire clip without buffering. You will need to wait a little longer for the clip to play, so if you are on a expensive telephone line you should think about this carefully first , but it does give a better view. A simpler option is just to use the "Rewind" button or drag the "Clip position" to the left a few times.

Here's how you can do it:

Real Networks "Realplayer":

    1. Click "28K" next to the icon.
    2. Pause the player as soon as it starts playing the video clip.
    3. Make sure VIEW> NORMAL is checked with a black dot.
    4. Go to OPTIONS> PREFERENCES.
    5. Where it says CONNECTIONS tab, under "Buffered Play" click the first radio button and buffer at least 30 seconds.
    6. Click "OK".
    7. Play the video clip.

Microsoft's "Windows Media Player":

    1. Click "28K" next to the icon.
    2. Pause the player as soon as it starts playing the video clip.
    3. On the player, go to VIEW>OPTIONS and click the ADVANCED tab.
    4. Click the CHANGE button.
    5. In the "Buffering" field, type in 30 seconds.
    6. Click "OK".
    7. Play the video clip.


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