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Common asked questions about PC Week Video

What software and hardware components do I need to play PC Week video clips?

Currently, you need a Intel-based PC (IBM PC-compatible) running Windows 3.1 or Windows 95, or a Power Macintosh running System 7.5.2 or higher or MacOS.

Memory and hard disk requirements are the same as those needed to run Netscape Navigator 2.0 (or higher) or Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0. You also need to download and install the VivoActive player, which facilitates video playback over the Internet. You can download this software from the Vivo Software web site.


What is the VivoActive player?

The VivoActive player is plug-in software for Netscape Navigator 2.0 (or higher) and an ActiveX control for Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0. It runs under Windows 3.1, Windows 95, and Power Macintosh. You need this software in order to view our video clips.

For more information on the VivoActive player and instructions on how to download it, visit the Vivo Software web site.


I don't have Netscape Navigator 2.0 (or higher) or Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0. Why can't I watch the video clips?

The current version of the VivoActive player only supports Netscape Navigator 2.0 (or higher) and Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0. Earlier versions of Navigator or Internet Explorer will not support the VivoActive player. Other browsers from other vendors will not support playback of our video clips.

If you have all the needed components, you can download the VivoActive player and watch our video clips. Go to the Vivo Software site to get the player and more information on how to use it.


When I click on a PC Week Video graphic, my browser reports a Javascript error.

This is a common problem for users of our E-mail based PC Week Direct service, which delivers a formatted Web page to readers via the Netscape Navigator E-mail client. If you receive the error "function not defined," you have attempted to launch a video clip from with Netscape Navigator's E-mail client. Unfortunately, Navigator's E-mail client does not support Javascript. Javascript is used to publish our video clips.

To properly view our video clips, you must access our home page -- or any page that contains links to video clips -- using the Web browser portion of Netscape Navigator.


During video playback, why are there long start times and pauses?

From the Vivo Software web site: This occurs when you are connected to the Internet at a lower rate than the bitrate of the file you are viewing (for example, if you are connected with a 28.8 Kbps modem and the file was recorded at 56 Kbps). The lower connection cannot handle the large amount of information being transferred, so some information must be stored in memory before the video can start playing. This accounts for the extended waiting time.

If you are viewing a long video, interruptions occur when more information is being transferred into memory. You may also experience problems with longer start times and interruptions if you have a bad connection to the Internet. If you notice that pages are coming up slowly in general, try reconnecting to the Internet to get a better connection.


Power Macintosh problem: Why can't Netscape Navigator load the plug-in?

From the Vivo Software web site: If you get a message that Netscape is unable to load the plug-in for MIME type video/, there may be a number of reasons.

  • Make sure you are you running System 7.5.2 or higher or MacOS.
  • Make sure you are using a 32-bit version of Netscape 2.0 or higher. Vivo currently does not support a 16-bit Macintosh version.
  • If you have multiple copies of Netscape, you may have installed the VivoActive Player into a different folder than the copy of Netscape you use. Make sure that the VivoActive Player resides in the Plug-ins folder of the Netscape folder you use.
  • Verify that you are running the copy of Netscape where the plug-in is installed.
  • Check to see if you can use other plug-ins in Netscape. If not, you may need to reinstall Netscape or even System 7.5.2 or MacOS.


Power Macintosh problem: Why do the colors look grainy?

From the Vivo Software web site: You are probably running your system using 256 colors (8 bits). To get better results whenviewing VivoActive videos, increase the number of colors used by your system to 16 bits. (The maximum number of colors you can set depends on your display adapter.)

  • From Apple menu select Control Panels
  • Select Monitors
  • In the Monitor control panels, make sure the Color radio button is selected.
  • If 256 is selected, choose thousands. If there is no "thousands" setting, your monitor is not capable of displaying more than 256 colors.
  • Click the close button on the control panel.
  • Restart your Macintosh (Choose Restart from the Specials menu) to have your settings take effect


Why do I need a Javascript-enabled browser?

We use Javascript-driven pop-up windows to display our video clips. Without Javascript enabled, you will be unable to view the pop-up windows containing video clips.

When using the supported web browsers under Windows 3.1, you may experience difficulty. Javascript may not be implmented fully under Windows 3.1. Check your web browser documentation for more information.


There are other video formats that work over the Internet, like Quicktime. Why not use them?

Quicktime, Video for Windows (AVI) and MPEG are commonly used file formats for video clips that run from local computer systems. Creating video using Quicktime, MPEG, and other file formats can result in enormous file sizes (often 2-5 megabytes per minute, in best case situations). On the Internet, these large files must be downloaded to your local computer system before they can be viewed. On slow Internet connections, we concluded the waiting time was too extreme for most people. The video quality is much better using these other formats, however.

Streaming video technologies such as VivoActive provide an advantage over the other video file formats -- The video plays as it is downloaded. There are streaming technologies in development for Quicktime and MPEG. We may offer such technologies in the future.

PC Week Online understands that video delivery over the Internet, as a technology, is in its infancy and picture quality is still an issue. We believe the technology will improve quickly in the short term.


Is there a specific time when you post new video clips?

At this time, our production schedule is entirely driven by content. If we think we have an interesting video clip to make available to our web readers, we will put it up right away.


How can I contact PC Week Online to suggest a topic for a video news story?

Contact Sam Whitmore at or Steve Kovsky at You can reach them by phone at (617) 393-3700 (in the USA).


Who do I call when something doesn't work?

Use the E-mail link at the bottom of this page to send a message to us. We cannot promise to answer all questions. If the question is related to the content of our video clips, we will get back to you as soon as we can.

If you have problems installing or configuring Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Internet Explorer, or the VicoActive player, you must contact Technical Support at those companies.


Copyright(c) 1996 Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Reproductionin whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permissionof Ziff-Davis Publishing Company is prohibited. PC Week and the PC Weeklogo are trademarks of Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. PC Week Online andthe PC Week Online logo are trademarks of Ziff-Davis Publishing Company.

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