Buckle Up for Your Broadband Tour

Wherever they are, how are you going to make the most out of them?

Most of the content requires either Microsoft's Windows Media Player or RealNetworks' RealPlayer G2. It's a good idea to download the latest version of both apps: Web media files are usually listed in both formats at 56 kbps, but sometimes there's only one available broadband link at 300 kbps.

You'll also want the latest versions of Macromedia's Flash and Shockwave animation plug-ins, and maybe Liquid Audio's Liquid Player for streaming music. (As always when downloading free beta plug-ins, beware. A beta of Liquid Player froze up my computer and I had to reenter in Safe mode to remove it.) Beyond those basic tools, you can try many more plug-ins available for video, videoconferencing, animation, music, and 3D navigation. Although Windows Media Player offers MPEG support, you'll want to have Apple's QuickTime for high-quality and full-length video viewing. Then, of course, there's the whole universe of MP3 apps.

If you have a slower connection of 128 to 256 kbps, you may want to limit yourself to music and animation. Streaming music sounds fine at 128 kbps, and now, rather than pop an audio CD into my drive, I'm more inclined to turn to an Internet radio network such as Live365.com. It doesn't sound quite as nice, but it offers more variety.

When it comes to video, the only time I'd watch anything encoded at less than 300 kbps is if it were absolutely necessary. A nicely encoded 200- or even 128-kbps clip could give you a happy surprise, but generally such slower files are reminiscent of early CD-ROM video.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Brown

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?