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Viewing Video
Posted by pattydancer.Kolv80
12/3/2013  8:32:00 AM
I went to West Coast Swing and tried to view the very beginning steps as I only have a basic memebership. It took me to the video screen which was obviously not working....it was all black with a little grey line where you could see just part of the buttons. I clicked on the play button, but still nothing happened. Tried this several times. I have viewed other videos in the past. Seems like some work and some don't. What is the issue? I sure would not want to upgrade to a Premium membership only to have this kind of trouble. Let me know.
Thanks
Re: Viewing Video
Posted by Administrator
12/4/2013  12:47:00 AM
Hi Patty,

What you're describing -- the black box with the faint gray bar -- is a very specific issue that is normally indicative of (1) a broken link, something we would normally have to fix on our end, or (2) a problem with the connection, which usually has to do with the configuration of the computer being used to view the videos. The gray bar means that the computer can play "Flash Video", but the Flash player is not able to load an play the stream.

To rule out #1, I simply check the videos from another computer and make sure they're all working as expected. You mentioned beginning bronze West Coast Swing, so I checked them all and they're functioning normally. There are no broken links, at least as far as I could tell. But to be absolutely sure, you might want to send me the names of a couple of specific steps that gave you trouble, and I'll check them out.

In the meantime, the most likely scenario is something about your computer that's preventing the video from loading into the Flash player, so I will give you a few tips on how to troubleshoot.

I always recommend using the process of elimination to narrow down the culprit, starting with the computer as a whole. If you have access to a second computer, try viewing the same video(s) that gave you trouble with your main computer. Assuming that works, go back to the main computer and try a different browser (e.g. if your main browser is Internet Explorer, try Firefox or Chrome). Often the problem can be narrowed down to the way the browser is configured, sometimes with respect to the Flash plug-in, and sometimes with security settings. Internet Explorer is notoriously problematic in this regard, so if it turns out to be the culprit, you may want to consider another browser. Plenty of people use IE successfully with our videos, but if yours has a setting somewhere that's causing problems, it's often less trouble just to use another browser than it is to find and fix the problem with IE.

We do provide alternative video viewing solutions as well. One of them is "Quicktime", which is an alternative to Flash video. Many people prefer Quicktime because it has the added advantage of being able to pause and advance the video frame by frame, allowing you to analyze the steps in detail. Quicktime is also the video format you would use if you wanted to view our videos on your iPad or iPhone. Quicktime is not as ubiquitous as Flash, so if you're using a PC (as opposed to a Macintosh computer), chances are you may need to install it. But it provides a decent and fairly dependable alternative when Flash just isn't working on a particular computer. To watch our videos using Quicktime, log in to your user account, click on the custom settings tab, change the video settings to Quicktime, and click the save settings button.

A third method is to use our mobile website with your mobile device, such as an iPhone, iPad, or an Android-based phone or tablet device. The address is http://mobile.ballroomdancers.com/. The mobile site is very simple to navigate, and videos play flawlessly on all iOS devices, as well as most modern Android devices.

Let me know what you find out, and if you're still having trouble, I'll be happy to assist further.

Regards,
Jonathan Atkinson
www.ballroomdancers.com
Re: Viewing Video
Posted by ericauerbach
12/17/2013  12:00:00 PM
Wow! The third method did not work for my iPad, but the Quicktime approach works great! I've been trying to figure out how to do this for a year.
Re: Viewing Video
Posted by Administrator
12/17/2013  4:54:00 PM
Perhaps you didn't type the URL correctly?
Try tapping on this link instead:

http://mobile.ballroomdancers.com/

Unlike the plethora of possible issues with PC's, all iOS devices (iPods, iPhones and iPads) work consistently and flawlessly with our mobile site, because from a software architecture standpoint, there is very little difference between any of them. I've never heard of an iPad that couldn't play our videos.

Once you get the mobile site pulled up in Safari on your iPad, you can create an icon on your home screen that'll make it function more like an app than a website. While you're viewing the mobile site, look for an icon at the top or bottom of the screen that looks like a box with an arrow coming out of it. In iOS 6 it was a curved arrow; Now in iOS 7 it's an arrow pointing straight up. Tap on the icon and select "Add to Home Screen". From that point forward, you'll be able to access our mobile site just like you would any other app.

Oh and by the way, speaking of apps, we do have a real app coming in just a couple of weeks. I was hoping to have it ready by the holiday season, but the developers got backlogged. So now we're looking at the first week of January or so, depending on how quickly the Apple reviewers approve it. I'll post an announcement soon!

Regards,
Jonathan
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