Playing our Media Files

Large videos, called Hi or Hi-bandwidth, play in a larger window, and may take longer to load. These work best with broadband connections.

Small videos, called Lo or Lo-bandwidth, play in a smaller window, but will load faster. These are especially suited for dial-up connections.

Most of our current video uses the Windows Media format and requires the Windows Media player. Our older video files use the Real Media format and require the Real Player. See below for help with each player.

Help with the Windows Media Player

Getting and Testing the Player

If you have a recent Microsoft computer, you're probably already set. If you would like to verify whether you have Windows Media Player installed, try this test stream. If it works, you shouldn't have a problem. If you are a Macintosh user and/or you don't have Windows Media Player installed, you will need to download some (free) software from Microsoft at:

Download the Free Windows Media Player

After you've downloaded the player, you should be ready for action. You can verify by trying to play the test stream.

Error Messages

Occasionally we have a network glitch and the stream gets disrupted, in which case you will get a error like this:

Windows Media Player error: The system cannot find the file specified.

If you see a message like this, please contact us. It's possible you have a network problem, but it's also likely we just need to restart our encoder.

Help with Real Media

If you click on a Real Media video link Real Media icon and you don't soon see a video clip begin playing, you may need a media player. Actually, you'll need a specific media player, one from Real Networks.

How do I get it?

The basic Real player is free for the download, but Real would rather you buy their subscription service so they make it hard to find. Go to's download page. On the right-hand side the page there is a section about the Basic player, and toward the bootom of that column, a link: "Download the Free RealPlayer." When you click on it a window that begins your download should pop up. Follow the directions for downloading and installing the player.

How long will it take to download the Real player?

It could take up to 25-30 minutes if you're using a dial-up modem to connect to the internet.

Do I need to pay for the RealOne player?

Only if you want to subscribe to content offered by Real and its partners.

I clicked on the "Free"/"Download Now" button and got a form that talks about the "RealOne SuperPass Trial." Will this get me the free player?

It could, but only if you give Real your credit card number first and then cancel the service before 14 days are up. It's much easier to just click on the "Free RealOne Player" link. No credit card required.

I already have Windows Media player or Quicktime. Do I have to use the Real player?

Unfortunately yes. Real, Windows Media, and Quicktime all use proprietary formats for their media files. Their players support the other formats grudgingly, if at all. Even independent players, like Musicmatch or Winamp, don't support all the media formats.

Will I be able to use the Real player on other sites?

Absolutely. Many public television sites use the Real format for their streaming media files. And lots of non-public TV sites do too.

I have an older computer and it doesn't meet the minimum system requirements for the RealOne player. What should I do?

Real makes older versions of their players available for just this situation. You can get to older player versions by clicking on this link: Basically, versions G2, 7 and 8 will work with Windows 9x/Pentium systems. Version 5 and lower will work with Windows 3x/486 systems.

Still need the Real player? Go to