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YouTube html5 buffering issues
Posted on 03-03-2013 19:07:33 UTC | Updated on 07-27-2013 18:35:45 UTC
Section: /software/html/ | Permanent Link

UPDATE:So it looks like the primary issue was Verizon and their ISP peering point. The HTML5 fix below did fix the issue for a day or so, but it started back up again. Many other Verizon customers where having this same issue. Verizon finally fixed this a few months ago and I have been good ever since.

Let me start by saying I love loved YouTube's html5 trial. It was so great to be able to watch videos without using crappy Adobe flash. Being able to run videos at 1.5x and 2x was just amazing. I started my html5 trial in the middle of last year sometime. It was going fine until about 3 or 4 weeks ago.

The issue

I started having buffering issues with all my html5 videos. They would start to play and then would constantly stop to buffer for more data. Watching the bandwidth of my workstation it was going at a max of 60K/sec down. That was not cutting it at all. Usually YouTube gives you a big burst of data in the beginning of the video and then throttles it back to a few hundred KB a second.

Who's issue is this?

I started checking my download speeds at speed testing sites and it was working fine. Checked my firewall and it looked fine. I could not figure it out. About a week later I'm telling someone at work talking about my issue. He says "That's funny I'm having the same issue lately". Another guy pipes up and says he was having that issue also, but he had fixed it.

The fix

He tells me he finally narrowed it down to the html5 test beta. Once he dropped out of that the videos started playing with flash again and everything was back to normal. I told him I would try that when I got home. Sure enough turning off the html5 trial fixed the issue. I could hardly believe it so I decided to do a test.

The test

I used Calomel.org's fantastic YouTube download script for my test. I picked a video and downloaded it without being in the html5 trial. It downloaded an 85Meg video in about 5 seconds. I go back in to the browser and turn on html5. Then download the same video again. I'm back to being capped at ~65K/sec. It was taking forever to download. I killed that and turned off html5 again. Video downloaded in about 10 seconds this time. Much much faster than being in the trial. One other thing I checked was this cool YouTube speed test page. It said my avg bandwidth for the last month was 14Mbps. So I know it was not my connection to them that is the issue.

Conclusions

By using this wget script it eliminated the browser and flash as being the fix. Just by being marked as being in the html5 trial was the issue. It seems there is some issue with YouTube and html5 right now for a few friends and myself. If I had to venture a guess at the issue, I would say they have code that will throttle html5 people differently from everyone else and they have an issue with that code right now. I do hope it will be fixed. I know it worked fine for months before this, so it should be possible to fix.

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