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 Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started/Installation:

  1. What software do I need to view the Semizone webcasts?
  2. On which operating systems can Semizone webcast be used?
  3. What are the system requirements?
  4. Will the Media Player work with Netscape Navigator/Communicator?

Viewing the Videos:

  1. How do I view the Semizone videos?
  2. What do the digitized lecture videos look like?
  3. How are lectures set-up?
  4. How do I control the video?
  5. Why arent Semizone videos larger?
  6. Can I enlarge the video window?
  7. What's the difference between the "28.8 kbps" and "128 kbps" videos?
  8. Are logins required to access the videos?
  9. Who can receive logins?

Troubleshooting:

  1. Why wont the video play?
  2. Checking Media Player/NetShow Player version:
  3. Setting up the Media Player/NetShow Player as a helper application in Netscape:
  4. Setting the protocols within the Media Player/NetShow Player:
  5. Setting up a proxy in the Media Player/NetShow Player:
  6. The video is playing but there is no audio:
  7. The sound volume level is too low even if the volume level on the streaming window is turned to it's maximum level:

Getting Started/Installation:

  1. What software do I need to view the Semizone webcasts?

    Semizone videos utilize Microsofts Windows Media streaming technology. Therefore, prior to viewing Semizone videos you will need to install Microsoft's Media Player/NetShow Player and either Internet Explorer 3.0+ or Netscape Navigator/Communicator 3.0+. For optimal viewing use the most current version of the Media Player (including Beta versions) and the latest version of your browser of choice. For software and installation information please visit the Semizone Software page.

  2. On which operating systems can Semizone webcast be used?

    Semizone webcast can be used on a variety of operating systems provided that the Media Player is supported on it. Currently, Microsoft's Media Player is available for:

    • Windows XP
    • Windows 95/98/NT (version 6.4 and 7)
    • Macintosh (version 6.3)
    • Solaris (version 6.3)


  3. What are the system requirements?

    The system requirements vary by operating system:



  4. Will the Media Player work with Netscape Navigator/Communicator?

    Yes. However you will need a Netscape version of 3.0 or greater; the more current the version the better. In addition, if you are on the Windows platform you will need to download the version of the Windows Media Player that is specific for Netscape because it includes a plugin for the Netscape browser.

Viewing the Videos:

  1. How do I view the Semizone videos?

    Click on the "View My Webcast" link located in "MySemizone". All courses that were purchased a should be listed on the page. The page also provides information on the expiration date of the viewing license and the lengths of the individual modules. Select the lecture that you want and the bandwidth (28kbps or 128kbps) at which you want to view the lecture.

    • For Windows: This will launch a page with an embedded video player and the video should begin.

    • Other Platforms: On all non-Windows platforms a "Click Anywhere on this Page" page will open. Upon clicking this page a stand-alone Media Player will launch and the video will begin.

  2. What do the digitized lecture videos look like?

    Lectures are typically around 30 minutes in length, but can vary from 10 minutes to 60 minutes. On the Windows platform the players are embedded into the web-page and the video window is 200x150 pixels for both bandwidths (28,8 kbps and 128kbps). However, on all other platforms there is a stand-alone player for both bandwidths and the size of the video screen for the 28.8kbps video lectures is 176x144 and the size of the video screen for the 128kbps videos is 320x240. The frame rates of the videos are 8fps for the low bandwidth videos and 15fps for the high bandwidth videos.

  3. How are lectures set-up?

    Because the majority of our users are working professionals, most do not have the time to sit through an entire lecture. Therefore, Semizone videos are indexed by keywords or topics; allowing users to jump to specific points within a given lecture. To navigate through the videos, a pull-down menu appears below the video screen allowing the student to jump to specific topics within the lecture. Selecting any of these links will jump the video to that portion of the video- allowing for a non-linear viewing experience.

    In addition to indexing, a PowerPoint slide presentation is synchronized with the video. The slide presentation provides the students with a larger version of the visuals seen in the video. As the professor flips his slides or writes on the chalkboard or notepad, these enlarged images appear to the right of the video in the flipper frame. Although synchronized, the slides are also independent, enabling the user to navigate through the slides for reviewing without affecting the video.

  4. How do I control the video?

    Upon clicking on the appropriate video link, the Media Player should launch and automatically start the video. There are also VCR-style controls that allow the user to Play, Stop, Pause, Forward, and Rewind*. The video can also be navigated by using the pull-down table of contents.
    * These features vary by Operating System.

  5. Why arent Semizone videos larger?

    Note: This information pertains when viewing the videos with the embedded player.
    The embedded videos were formatted at 200x150 pixels for both the 28.8kbps and 128kbps bandwidths to allow for a more uniform look.

    Note: This information pertains when viewing the videos with the stand-alone versions of the player.
    The videos encoded for 28.8kbps are 176x144 and the 128kbps encoded videos are 320x240. The 176x144 and 320x240 pixel sizes are standards used by many vendors offering streaming video. These video sizes are optimal for 28.8kbps and 128kbps encoded videos respectively. Larger screen sizes would result in a degradation of the video quality. Consider setting your screen to display 800x600 pixels. The Semizone site was optimized for screens of this size. If you are currently viewing the site at a greater resolution, setting your screen to display 800x600 pixels will increase the size of the video screen.

  6. Can I enlarge the video window?

    If the player is not embedded into the web page you can increase the size of the video screen by clicking on the bottom right corner of the player and dragging it to the desired size. On the player you can also go to "View", select Zoom, then choose from the pre-defined settings. However, because the players default at the size that provides the best video quality for the bit-rate at which they are encoded, increasing the size of the video will degrade the quality of the picture.

  7. What's the difference between the "28.8 kbps" and "128 kbps" videos?

    Semizone videos are encoded at two different bandwidths to allow users with different network connections to view the videos. The videos encoded for 28.8kbps require a minimum connection of 28.8kbps and the videos encoded for 128kbps require a connection of at least a dual ISDN. Also the 28.8kbps videos are 8 frames per second and the 128kbps videos are 15 frames per second. Overall, the videos encoded for the higher bandwidth will have better video quality and be larger in size (unless the player is embedded).

  8. Are logins required to access the videos?

    Yes. The majority of Semizone media is password protected and is intended for viewing by only by the registered user. However, there are several seminars and demos that can be accessed without a login.

  9. Who can receive logins?

    Students who have registered specifically for Semizone courses, and registered corporate students can receive logins for the courses in which they are enrolled. See the Help Page



Troubleshooting:

  1. Why wont the video play?

    1. Be sure that you have downloaded and installed the Microsoft Media Player.
    2. Ensure that you have the latest version of the player installed.
    3. If you are using Netscape ensure that the Media Player has been set-up as a helper application.
    4. Ensure that the HTTP protocol is enabled.
    5. If you are behind a firewall ensure that you have correctly set-up the proxy within the Media Player.
    6. Determine whether it is Semizone or the set-up of your player by visiting another site. If you are able to play videos with the Media Player at another site send us a Trouble Ticket


  2. Checking Media Player/NetShow Player version:

    • Windows:

      1. Launch the Media Player
      2. Select "Help" --> "About Windows Media Player"


    • Macintosh:

      1. Launch the Media Player
      2. Click the Apple icon in the upper-left corner of the computer screen
      3. Select "About Microsoft Media Player"


    • Sun Solaris, Sun OS, HP-UX:

      1. Launch the NetShow Player
      2. Select"Help" --> "About NetShow"


  3. Setting up the Media Player/NetShow Player as a helper application in Netscape:

    • Windows:

      1. Open Netscape
      2. Click "Edit" --> "Preferences" --> "Navigator" (you may need to click the "+" to extend the menu) --> "Applications" --> the right portion of the window will become an Applications menu
      3. Under "Description" look for either an "Media Files" or "Mplayer2 File" entry with the following "File type details":

        • Extension: ASF ASX
        • MIME Type: video/x-ms-asf
        • Handled By: MPLAYER2 (or plugin)


      4. If such an entry does not exist you will have to create one:

        • Click "New Type"
        • Enter "Mplayer2 File" for "Description of type"
        • Enter "ASF ASX" for "File extension"
        • Enter "video/x-ms-asf" for "MIME Type"
        • For "Application to use" click "Browse" and find the Media Player:
          • "C" --> "Program Files" --> "Windows Media Player" --> "mplayer2" --> "OK" --> "OK"


    • Macintosh:

      1. Open Netscape
      2. Click "Edit" --> "Preferences" --> "Navigator" (you may need to click the "+" to extend the menu) --> "Applications" --> the right portion of the window will become an Applications menu
      3. Under "Description" look for "video/x-ms-asf" with the default "Handled By" as "Microsoft Media Player"
      4. If such an entry does not exist you will have to create one:

        • Click "New"
        • Enter "video/x-ms-asf" for "Description" and "MIME Type"
        • Enter "ASF ASX" for "Suffixes"
        • Under "Handled By" click the radio button to the left of "Application" then click "Choose" and find the Media Player:
        • "Macintosh HD" --> "Microsoft Media Player" --> "Microsoft Media Player" --> "Open"
        • Click "OK"


    • Sun Solaris, Sun OS, HP-UX

      1. Refer to the section of the "Read-me" Installation files that relate to "Setting NetShow up as a Helper Application"



  4. Setting the protocols within the Media Player/NetShow Player:

    • Windows:

      1. Launch the Media Player
      2. Click "View" --> "Options" --> "Advanced" --> double-click "Streaming Media (Windows Media)"
      3. Under "Protocols" select only "HTTP" and the correct "Proxy/No Proxy" option


    • Macintosh:

      1. Launch the Media Player
      2. Click "Edit" --> "Preferences" --> "Advanced" --> double-click "Streaming Media (NetShow)"
      3. Under "Protocols" select only "HTTP" and the correct "Proxy/No Proxy" option


    • Sun Solaris, Sun OS, HP-UX:

      1. Launch the NetShow Player
      2. Click "File" --> "Properties" --> "Advanced"
      3. Under "Protocols" select only "HTTP" and the correct "Proxy/No Proxy" option


  5. Setting up a proxy in the Media Player/NetShow Player:

    You will need to set-up the Media Player to work with a proxy if you access the Internet through a proxy server. Before setting up a proxy to bypass your firewall you will need to obtain the proxy hostname from your Systems or Network Administrator. The port being used is "80"

    • Windows:

      1. Launch the Media Player
      2. Click "View" --> "Options" --> "Advanced" --> double-click "Streaming Media (Windows Media)"
      3. Under "Protocols" select "HTTP" --> check "Use proxy" --> click "Configure Proxy Settings" --> enter proxy hostname and port -->"OK" --> "OK" --> "OK"


    • Macintosh:

      1. Launch the Media Player
      2. Click "Edit" --> "Preferences" --> "Advanced" --> double-click "Streaming Media (NetShow)"
      3. Under "Protocols" select "HTTP" --> select "Use a proxy" --> enter proxy hostname under "server" and port --> "OK" --> "OK"


    • Sun Solaris, Sun OS, HP-UX:

      1. Launch the NetShow Player
      2. Click "File" --> "Properties" --> "Advanced"
      3. Under "Protocols" select "HTTP" --> select "Use Proxy" --> enter proxy hostname under and port --> "OK"


  6. The video is playing but there is no audio:

    Ensure that it is not just that particular video that has no audio by trying to view another video. If there is no audio for any of the videos there may be a problem with the Media Player.

    1. Make sure that "Mute" is not enabled on your system or on the Media Player.

      1. On the stand-alone version of the Media Player there should be a yellow speaker icon in the lower right portion of the player. Ensure that it is enabled and does not have a red line through it.
      2. On your machine check to make sure your machines sound is not muted


    2. Make sure the volume on your machine is turned up.

      1. Check the audio settings on your machine or speakers


    3. Make sure that it is not your machine that does not have audio

      1. Ensure that your machine has an audio card
      2. If you have a cd-rom drive/dvd player on your machine, insert a music cd and play it.
      3. On the Windows platform, access a .wav file
      4. On the Macintosh, enable "Apple Talk"


    4. Make sure the codecs are installed:

      1. Play the video
      2. Right-click on the video screen or click "File"
      3. Choose "Properties" --> "Advanced"
      4. Under "Codecs in use" ensure that "ACELP.net" is installed
      5. If the codec is not installed, uninstall the Media Player that you currently have then redownload and reinstall the player. If the codec is installed click "Close" and make sure that your machine is audio enabled


  7. The sound volume level is too low even if the volume level on the streaming window is turned on to it's maximum level:

    Adjust the system volume control to the appropriate level. The system volume control can be accessed from "Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Sounds and Multimedia".

Source: Stanford Center for Professional Development