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  1. #1
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    Why do video downloads require so much memory?

    I downloaded Götterdämmerung from the Wiener Staatsoper overnight. Starting shortly after midnight, I watched it for some time, before switching off the monitor and going to bed.

    When the monitor was switched on this morning, there was a message that Firefox had crashed. There was an icon for it in the download folder, showing a running time of 5 hrs 28 minutes as schedulled, and a size of 6.29GB, so it looked as though FF had crashed after completing the download.
    Playing to see how much had been downloaded presented some problems – VLC would not play it, nor FF, but WMP was ok, although I noticed it was labelled VLC, as originally selected.

    Not having time to watch it today, I looked regularly to see how it was progressing. Siegfried’s murder occurred around the 4.5 hour mark, on my next visit there was an orchestral overture or interlude – the sound was turned off – glancing at the running time it was about 4 mins 40 seconds, so presumably it had begun again from the beginning.

    Deciding to rewind to where it went wrong – a tedious business when fast rewind takes about 16-18 seconds per minute of playing time – I soon encountered a pop up saying memory was running out, close some apps. It was impossible to get beyond that point.

    The download is marked as 6.29 GB, although my ISP shows overnight usage as 11.83 GB. Presumably the download started all over again when memory became insufficient, and continued until FF crashed.

    This PC only has 4 GB RAM, but I am puzzled as to why memory is required at all when something is being downloaded to the HDD. Admittedly, there are not many works which exceed 4.5 hours with intervals, but there are some, and it would be helpful to know whether I would be wasting my time trying to d/l any of them.

    Also, does this apply to both live broadcasts and streaming audio? And how about watching a live broadcast on the PC without downloading?
    Last edited by georgelee; 2015-07-12 at 19:52. Reason: Spacing

  2. #2
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    There's something else going on as far as memory usage goes, memory leak maybe, the actual download would only occupy a fairly small amount of memory and then it would be written to disk at regular intervals.

    Same with streaming, just enough to have a buffer to keep playback smooth, the rest is either removed or saved to temporary Internet files.

    You are probably downloading without resume protection wherein the downloader can pick up downloading where it left off in case of interruption; the incomplete file is treated as corrupted and the download has to begin again.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I doubt it has anything to do with your RAM. More likely the download got corrupted somewhere along the way.
    Try using a video downloading application, or even BT (bittorrent) if available.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by F.U.N. downtown View Post
    You are probably downloading without resume protection wherein the downloader can pick up downloading where it left off in case of interruption; the incomplete file is treated as corrupted and the download has to begin again.
    Is ‘resume protection’ something one manually switches on or off?

    Still interested in discovering where the download terminated, and if possible why, this morning I thought it might be worth moving it from the d/l folder to the empty video folder. Sure enough, after the move there was a slider at the bottom of the screen, and it was a matter of moments to reach the 4.5 hour mark.

    I had forgotten that Siegfried’s death is followed by an orchestral interlude whilst the stage is prepared for the final scene – which I had assumed was the d/l beginning again. It was during this that I noticed, or thought I did, the running time was again somewhere between 4.5 and 5 minutes. Not having noticed any break, I turned on the sound and scrolled back to the murder. From there it played continuously until the end, the lengthy curtain calls and adverts for watching opera an d ballet at home. I was also watching the playing time, and there was no sign of 4.5 mins, so I had twice failed to notice it was showing, hours, minutes and seconds.

    So, the download is fine, and my carelessness in reading the running time led to unnecessary anxiety and a lot of wasted time. The only unresolved issue is why, when playing back from the d/l folder yesterday, the pop up about running short of memory, followed by almost immediate termination appeared. With hindsight, it clearly related to playing the d/l at that time, rather than during the download itself. That must remain a mystery.

    I thank you gentlemen for putting my mind at rest regarding RAM.

    George

  5. #5
    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgelee View Post
    Is ‘resume protection’ something one manually switches on or off?
    It is a feature of whatever software you are using to download. Browsers have such a feature, and download managers certainly should have it, so its absence would be unusual.

    This article How to Resume a Download After a Lost Connection isn't informative, but has the browser basics.

    Memory isn't a factor, that error/message had some other cause. Main factors are:
    1. Does the target location [where it's downloading to, on your HD] have enough space? HDs can get finicky once they're ~80% full.
    2. Your internet connection--if it suffers frequent short connection drops ["dropped packets"], that could corrupt things.

    You're fine for streaming. My connection is only about twice as good as yours [I get 2gigs download per hour], and I often watch Netflix while something is downloading at the same time. The only effect is Netflix buffers more due to lower bandwidth available, so the stream is slower to start--but fine from there.

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  7. #6
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    Thanks for the link and the useful information. Knowing that RAM isn’t going to restrict any downloads is reassuring, but it seems I would need to be present to resume an interrupted d/l.

    A couple of mysteries remain. The opera was recorded using VLC or FF download helper – not sure which – and has the VLC icon, but will only play with Windows Media Player, which I understand is being discontinued in Win 10.

    The PC says it is 6.29 gig, but the overnight usage shown by ISP is almost 12 gig. By the time I woke up and went to the PC it had been online for c 8.5 hours, and there is no way of knowing when FF crashed, but it seems that my ISP charges for all the time connected to the internet, regardless of whether any data is being down or uploaded. In this instance it doesn’t matter, total usage for the month was 50 GB, but only 11.4 during the chargeable hours.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgelee View Post
    ... but will only play with Windows Media Player, which I understand is being discontinued in Win 10.
    No, Windows Media Player is in Windows 10; Windows Media Center (e.g. live TV/DVR) is discontinued.
    Last edited by BruceR; 2015-07-22 at 16:54.

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