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Tech Helproom


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Reducing bitrate on BBC iPlayer


Phoenix21

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I run Windows XP. The download speed of my BT broadband is 1.62mbps due to living in a rural location. This means that the BBC iPlayer HD videos I want to watch are continually buffering which makes watching them almost impossible. By default BBC iPlayer TV programmes are streamed to my device at a high quality rate of 1500kbps (1.5 meg).

I have been on a number of help sites, including the BBC one, but have not been able to find out how I can reduce the bit rate to prevent this from happening.

One site said I can reduce the video quality from high to standard 800kbps quality video by tapping on the "HQ" option from the media player controls during live or on-demand TV playback. This will play a reduced bitrate video that can be used if my internet connection is not fast enough to play the high quality video. Unfortunately it did not say where I could find the "HQ" option.

Another site said that if I regularly experienced problems playing video, or would like to limit the amount of bandwidth that I would like BBC iPlayer to use, to select the low bandwidth option wherever I see the video player on the site. I cannot find a low bandwidth option on any of the videos I have tried to watch.

Any suggestions as to how I can sort this problem out would be most gratefully accepted.

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Nontek

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Start BBCiPlayer, any Program. Then look below the playing window to see the Controls, click on Download Options - you can then choose to try the different bitrates shown i.e. iPlayer Desktop at 314Mb, or Windows Media Player at 288Mb.

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Phoenix21

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Many thanks for your suggestion, Nontek. Unfortunately, it didn't work because the option to download the programme I particularly wanted to watch Casualty) in Windows Media Player was ghosted.

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john bunyan

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Casualty last night was postponed to another date due to Wimbledon. If you frequently need to do this, a DVD recorder is a good investment until you get faster broadband. For about £30 you could turn yout laptop or desktop into a DVD recorder with Media Center edition and a TV tuner card.

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Phoenix21

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I don't know about Wimbledon as I do not have a TV, but I can, and have, accessed yesterday's edition of Casualty. Only problem is that it keeps buffering about every 10 seconds which makes it impossible to watch. I don't really need a DVD player as I just use the BBC and ITV "Play Again" services. I use it for all BBC radio programmes, too.

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Nontek

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Hmm, sorry my suggestion did not work - it would appear that it does work but not on all Programs, as when I tried it, it worked fine with a different program but not with Casualty!

Although it may be because I have a fast broadband of 36.7Mb, compared to your 1.something Mb.

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difarn

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The lower bandwidth option appears towards the bottom left-hand corner just about the BBC logo if you are streaming rather than downloading in catch up.

I'm not sure whether the instruction about changing from HD to a lower definition on the iPlayer website by tapping on the HD whilst running the video just means clicking on the wording "watch in HD" - this then changes it to "SD".

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Phoenix21

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Hi difarn. No, I only use catch up as I don't have a TV licence, and the lower bandwidth option does not appear on that page. Also, it doesn't give the option to watch or not watch it in HD. It is already in HD and there seems no way to alter it. But thanks for your imput. You, too, Nontek.

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difarn

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I always use catch up as I don't have a tv set. The lower bandwidth option appears on mine and there is the option to watch some programmes in HD as an option. Do you have the latest iPlayer? Do you access iPlayer by just typing in iPlayer or do you have it downloaded already as a desktop version? I have a shortcut to BBC iPlayer so it is loaded afresh each time.

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