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Why do Videos Buffer?

There’s been a bit of You Tube bashing this week, and it was interesting to see the mild hysteria that ensued when the channel platform went down very temporarily – just shows how many of us are watching and using You Tube each second, but there will no doubt be some who say, what is she going on about!

Whether we’re glued to the web and You Tube or just occasional users, most of us will admit there are things about You Tube that we don’t like or are irritating, such as the adverts they keep trying to add to things and sometimes that spinner that appears whilst they’re trying to find an appropriate file format of the video you’ve requested.

BUT, let’s not forget that You Tube is an amazing facility which can be used for FREE! The amount of innovation and forward thinking that has gone into making this such a worldwide, and generally reliable platform is staggering; somewhere along the line they presumably have to make some money too so the odd bit of advertising is probably a necessity unless we want to start paying for the service?

Anyway, found this bit of video on the REELSEO website recently; apparently it was originated on the Computerfile Channel on You Tube and it’s quite interesting because it gives a bit of insight into what happens to your video when it’s uploaded to You Tube.

Did you know, for instance, that when you upload a video the file is then converted in a number of different formats for you? The reason for this is so that You Tube can try to give potential viewers the best possible viewing experience – for instance if you are watching on a mobile phone you don’t need a massive HD file, it would probably crash your phone without ever getting to the ‘spinner’ symbol.

However, with luck You Tube will be able to present your chosen video in the best format for your viewing device – very clever stuff really, and I think with the ever growing and changing marketplace, You Tube can be forgiven for sometimes having to think awhile before it delivers.

Have a look at the video, it includes comments from You Tube workers about how they view things from the inside and may make you smile:

In a similar way, when we make web videos for clients, we always ask for the frame and file size that is going to be optimal for the host delivery platform – which is usually on a website and often on You Tube at the moment. We sometimes get told that the file needs to be really high quality HD, and to supply it as big as possible.

Well that’s okay of course, assuming the material has been shot in HD to start with, but it’s also important to consider the experience and capabilities of an average viewer – they want good quality, yes but they also don’t want to see that little ‘spinner’ – so best to go for a balance between quality and speed because this is one of those occasions where size does make a big difference.

If you want to keep your audience it’s best to give them the best chance of viewing your video without buffering or crashing their devices!




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