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Firefox not working with live TV and tips for improving your connection speed

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Posted: 14th Sep 2012

We just had a few emails from customers saying that they can watch the non-live BBC iplayer ok but the live does not work. Actually for me the live has never worked using Firefox, until just now!

Here is how I fixed it....BBC iplayer uses Adobe Flash, so I decided to upgrade to the latest version of Flash. To do this visit http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ and follow the instructions. After getting the latest Flash version the live broadcast on iplayer worked in Firefox just great. If you are having the same issue with a web browser and the message says that it can't play the content and try later - then try the above.

We also had a few emails saying that the live and non-live streaming was not continuous and the some buffering is happening. This is probably down to your internet connection speed. So I was thinking of a quick checklist for how you can improve your connection speed. So here goes...

MEASURE YOUR SPEED

First its worth measuring your speed. A measurement is not a constant, if you measure the speed many times you will get different results, this is because:

  • Other applications might or might not be using the connection at the same time
  • Other devices on your network might be using the connection
  • Other users with your internet provider will be using the service and this can impact your connection speed.

I suggest you use http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/diagnostics to check your speed, it will indicate if you have a fast enough connection or not. If not, do not give up, review the list below to see if you can improve your speed.

CLOSE OTHER APPLICATIONS

Close any programs running on your computer that connect to the internet. Example Skype, e-mail, download managers, etc. If another program is accessing the internet then it using up what available bandwidth you have, so closing these will make your iplayer better.

Some programs automatically start when your computer starts, so check the taskbar for any that you can close. Also try control alt delete to see if any non-system processes are running that you can close and that are not required.

RESET EVERYTHING

Try turning all modems and routers off and on, sometimes this can help. If your connection is slower than what you expect then you need to contact your internet supplier and get it resolved.

AUTOMATIC UPDATES

Check any of these settings. Example in XP Control panel > Automatic updates will show your settings. Try turning any automatic downloads off and set to just notify you to download.

DISK SPACE AND CACHE

Make sure your computer has plenty of free disk space. If your computer is old you might want to defragment your disk, see support.microsoft.com/kb/314848

TCP OPTIMIZATION

Try running the TCP Optimizer to get a more efficient connection and increase your speed, see http://www.speedguide.net/downloads.php/ and download the program, select your connection speed and select optimal and the program will adjust your connection parameters.

TIME OF DAY

Did you know that your internet connection can depend on the time of day. Where we are its really fast at 2am! But at 7pm to 11pm its really slow. Basically more people are active during our evening time. So one option is to time-shift when you use the internet. Or what you could do is use BBC iplayer desktop program to download your program to watch later.

DISCONNECT FROM THE PROXY

This is a trick we discovered but it will not really improve your connection speed but will allow you to see what its like with a direct connection to the BBC. Connect to iplayer and start a straem. While its playing remove the proxy from the browser - so its not configured for a proxy. The iplayer will carry on working as long as you are playing the program.

Hope this help.

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