How To Watch Internet Videos - What Do You Need
A Guide to Internet Video Players & Viewers
Feb 10, 2010 - by Mark Shapiro
You need the latest Internet video players and viewers. Some are for video, some are for animations. Most of these are free.- see below for free downloads. You should have the latest versions of your operating systems and associated multimedia applications. For Windows, this means latest versions of Internet Explorer, for the Mac, Safari.
In addition, you should have a fast connection to the Internet - cable or DSL - 300 kbps or faster.
When you visit some video web sites, you have to choose which bandwidth stream you want to use - 56K or slower is for dial-up users (those using regular phone lines), 100 Kbps for those using ISDN or slow business DSL, and 300 Kbps for those with a fast DSL or cable modem connection. Many also offer a choice of standard or High Definition video streams.
Try the high quality you can. If it works without stuttering or stopping, stay with it. Otherwise, drop down a quality level. Watch the download bar at the bottom of the video frame. If you notice that the play indicator is creeping close or overtaking the download, you know you have problems. You might want to wait until the video is fully downloaded before hitting PLAY.
Some sites also offer you a choice of what video player you want to use - much of this is personal choice and experience. The big three - Windows Media Player, Real Player and QuickTime, all work well. You may also find some proprietary video formats.
Most big sites however are using a standard flash player. Not only does it regulate the video stream that you are seeing to ensure a smooth video playback experience, it also handles other features such as size of the video, advertisements, and offering a variety of options for saving and sharing the video.
You may want to be a bit cautious about some video and multimedia sites, especially those that offer free video players to watch adult and porn movies as the viewing programs can also convey various spyware, worms and other malicious programs embedded in the software package. Be careful.
In addition to streaming video solutions, you may also find that some sites provide downloadable videos in AVI, MPEG and MOV formats. These can be compressed (ZIP or STUFFED). You first download these to your computer, uncompress them if needed, and then open them up with your video viewer. Be VERY careful. This is where you may accidently download and open a virus or malware package.
By the way, if you have QuickTime Pro (and if allowed by the content author), you can save a downloaded (not streaming) movie viewed in your Web browser to your hard disk. Then you can watch it later when you're not connected to the Internet. If it's a streaming movie, QuickTime Pro will save a small "reference movie" that points to the stream.
Technically, you need at least a computer with a 300+ MHz processor, 32 MB RAM and 256-color video card. As usual, with most things associated with computers, the faster and more powerful your computer, the better your Internet video experience will be. You also need lots of spare space on your hard drive to store all the video files that you may end up downloading to watch later.
You should also have the latest versions of your computer's operating system as many older OS versions don't support the newest Internet browsers or media players.
FREE SOFTWARE: (click below to download the latest version) (also check our free video tools section for additional video and graphics tools, utilities and resources)
Four Great (and free) Internet Browsers
Microsoft Internet Explorer
For Windows 98 (or higher)
Mac OS 9 (or higher) and:
Safari for Windows machines
Any PC running Windows XP, Windows 7 or Windows Vista
500-MHz Pentium-class processor or better
256MB of RAM
Top Sites and Cover Flow require a compatible DirectX 9.0 video card with 64MB of video RAM. More details
Mozilla - great FREE Internet browser for Windows, Mac and Linux. Includes image blocking, pop-up blocking, and now has junk-mail filtering (AKA "spam controls"). Mozilla 1.3 also offers image auto-sizing, an API for rich text editing in webpages, newsgroup filters, dynamic profile switching, nearly 2000 bug fixes, and much more.
Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.
Download Players Here
The Flash Player is probably the most important and regularly calls for updates.
Adobe Flash Player - This is the direct link for the Windows versions. You can access versions for other operating systems here as well.
Microsoft Windows Media Player
Learn About WMV HD - Experience high-definition video on your computer with Windows Media High Definition Video (WMV HD).
Macromedia Flash Player for Windows - check link for other operating systems (Mac. Linux, PocketPC, etc.)
Divx Player (More About DivX- including minimum tech specs)
Do more with your media player: RealPlayer SP is free and easy to use, helps you download and works quickly and easily with your Blackberry, iPod, or game system? Check out RealPlayerŽ SP. It even lets you share video with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter.
All about the New RealPlayer SP Media Player: Download & Share Internet Videos
Apple QuickTime - QuickTime 7 Player takes advantage of the latest video compression technology. It's called H.264, and it's an important new industry standard that's quickly garnered widespread support. Chosen as the industry-standard codec for 3GPP (mobile multimedia), MPEG-4 HD-DVD and Blu-ray, H.264 represents the next generation of video for everything from mobile multimedia to high-definition playback. H.264 icon.
You may also want to have these - just in case
Download the latest version of Adobe Reader
StuffIt ExpanderŽ 2009 - here is the Free Version.
Easily expand video and other files you download from the Web or receive in your email.
WinZip - The top-rated file-compression program lets users compress files, extract archives, create easy backups, and manage downloaded files from the Internet. A full range of encryption options ensures that your valuable data stays safe.