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Frequently Asked Video Questions

What software do I need to watch the videos?

The videos use the free QuickTime player, which we use to provide the widest degree of compatibility with computers and operating systems. You can download the player from Apple’s website. Before installing QuickTime, disable your antivirus and any ad-blocking software. These programs can prevent the player from installing correctly. Just reactivate them once the installation is complete.

How do I watch the videos?

To watch a video, click on the video page’s screen shot (it will have a “Play” triangle overlaid on top of the screen shot). The video will open in the page’s window and should start to play after a few seconds. The Play arrow in the bottom left-hand corner will let you pause the video, and there are additional controls for volume and fast forward/rewind along the bottom of the window. To close the video window, click the ‘x’ at the bottom right, or click anywhere outside the video.

I see the message “Windows Media Player cannot play this file.”

Sometimes even if you have QuickTime installed properly, you may need to manually set Windows to use it to play the “.mov” format that we use to produce our videos. Here’s how:

  1. Click the Start button, and then choose Default Programs
  2. Click Set your default programs
  3. In the Programs list, click QuickTime, and then click Choose defaults for this program
  4. Check the box next to the file type (.mov) and then click the Save box, and you should be all set

Google Chrome always says “QuickTime needs your permission to run.”

Google’s Chrome web browser blocks several plugins from working properly, and the “Always run on this site” button may not work, especially if you’re viewing one of our DVDs. There is an easy fix for this:

  1. In Google Chrome’s Address Bar (where you usually type website addresses), enter “chrome://plugins/” (without the quotes, no “www” or “http://” or anything before that phrase), and hit the “Enter” or “Return” key on your keyboard
  2. Scroll down the list that appears till you see “QuickTime
  3. Check the “Always allowed” box
  4. Close the tab and get back to watching videos uninterrupted!

Can I save the videos to my hard drive?

Just click the “Download this movie” link in the Downloads portion of the page. The video will automatically start downloading. When it’s done, you should find the file in whichever folder your web browser is set to save downloaded files (usually called “Downloads”).

To watch the videos, just double-click them; they’ll open either in the QuickTime Player or Windows Media Player, depending upon which program you’ve set to be your default movie player.

I don’t see any controls and part of the video is cut off.

This is usually an issue with the size of the window or your screen. If you’re using Firefox, Google Chrome or Internet Explorer, try clicking on the F11 key or choosing Full Screen from the browser’s menu. This will often fix the problem.

The alternative is to click on the link underneath the video screen shot that says, “Problems viewing this video? Try opening it in a new window.”

I hear sound but I don’t see any video. What gives?

This is usually due to an older version of the QuickTime software on your system. If you’re on a Mac, choose Software Update from the Apple menu and see if there’s a more recent version. On a PC, to check for updates, launch the QuickTime Player and choose Help > Update Existing Software. QuickTime will check to see if there is a more recent version of the software. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the update, if there is one. You can turn on the “Check for Updates Automatically” check box, if you’d like to make sure that you’ve always got the most recent version.

The other thing to check if you’re on a PC is to look at the Advanced tab in the QuickTime Preferences window. Try turning off the DirectDraw setting.

What if the audio in the video sounds choppy & garbled? (Windows)

This can be corrected in most cases by changing the “SoundOut” settings in QuickTime’s preferences. To do this, go to the Control Panel (through the Start menu) and click on the QuickTime logo, or open the QuickTime Player and choose Preferences. This will bring up the Quick Time Settings window. Select “SoundOut” from the list and then change the setting to “Wave Out.”

I click on the video, and all I get is a blank screen (Mac)

We’ve run into an odd issue with some subscribers who are viewing the PET website (or the videos on our DVDs) on their Macs with Firefox 6: Videos are taking forever to load, or aren’t loading at all. It appears to be a bug inside Firefox related to the QuickTime plug-in—and we’re only seeing this behavior on the Mac—but we do have a short-term fix:

Make sure Firefox isn’t running, then go to your Mac’s Applications folder, scroll down until you find the Firefox app. Click once on it and choose File > Get Info. In the Get Info box, click to select the “Open in 32-bit mode” option, then close the window and relaunch Firefox.

FireFox

You’re not going to see any real performance hits by running Firefox in 32-bit mode, so you can probably keep it like that. Note that we haven’t yet had a chance to test the new Firefox 7, which came out as we were putting this newsletter together, but if you do install it and run into problems playing the videos, try the same fix to see if it fixes it.

Nothing’s working. What do I do next?

We try hard to make sure that our videos work on all platforms and with most of the top web browsers (Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome); if you run into problems, you can always drop us a note via the form on our Contact page. If you do have problems, and want to report them, please make sure you include your computer type, operating system, and the web browser you’re using. If there’s a specific video (or videos) you’re having issues with, include the name(s), so we can try to see what might be happening.

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