Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Streaming audio over the Internet is an easy way to enjoy music and other programs. Streaming audio can, however, expose flaws in some media players.
I stream a radio station all day. I use Internet Explorer 8. I have an E-Machine that is 1 year old. Everything works fine for about 8-9 hours, then without warning it stops streaming. Any idea what causes this?
I do the same from time to time - stream a radio station on one of my computers, sometimes for days at a time.
And yes, it used to stop after some amount of time.
I'll describe what was going on, what I did to fix my situation, and the kinds of things you should be looking at for yours.
As you know your computer has a certain amount of memory in it. The amount of RAM you have installed, and the size of the paging file define how much memory is available to all the running programs on your machine.
When a program runs, it requires memory, not only for the program instructions but for any data on which it might operate.
Windows manages the memory in your system by handing it out to running programs as they request it, and then returning it to the pool of available memory when they're done with it.
A program "uses" memory by asking Windows "could I have X amount of memory to use, please", and assuming there's X amount free and available Windows responds with "sure, here it is, it's yours until you say otherwise". When the program is done using that memory it tells Windows "here's that memory you gave me to use, I'm done with it now".
A memory leak happens when a program asks for memory repeatedly, but forgets to tell Windows it's done with the memory. It asks for more and more memory to use for itself until there's no more to be had.
No matter how much memory you have installed, or how big your paging file, a memory leak will eventually use it all.
Media players are notorious for memory leaks.
Actually, let me be clearer: media players are notorious for having their memory leaks exposed.
Lots of programs may well have memory leaks, but it's immaterial because when the program exits Windows cleans up everything that they had asked for, whether they released it or not.
And even in media players, if the memory leak happens while playing a song ... well, you may never notice since the memory might well be released when the song is over. Even if the leak happens across an entire album or playlist, the fact is that the album or playlist will typically end in some defined amount of time.
And then there came streaming media; especially radio stations.
Streams where the audio never ends.
Now, even a small memory leak that happens, perhaps, each time the media player gathers the next chunk of digital music to be played, adds up. And up and up and up as the media player just keeps running and keeps playing and... keeps using more and more memory.
Until there's no more to be had.
And it stops.
It's important to realize that memory leaks are programming errors; i.e. it's not something you can fix, per se. It's a problem with the media playing software you're using.
That little fact defines your options:
the best thing you can do is to make sure you have the latest version of the media player that you're using.
in fact, many media players make use of common components that are part of Windows; make sure that Windows is up to date.
many internet audio stations and sites make their streams available in more than one format; try another one.
Hopefully the media player vendor will get reports of the problem and the first item - keeping the player up to date - will easily resolve the issue.
It did for me.
Memory leaks are by far the most common cause for what you describe, but they're not the only reason that playback can stop after a lengthy period of time.
Other Resource Leaks: there are other resources that programs use on your computer besides memory that are handled in much the same way as memory: they're requested from the operating system when needed and returned to the operating system when done. If they're not released, then they can also 'leak' in the same way that memory can. The solutions are much the same as that for memory leaks.
Connectivity Issues: different streaming protocols have different tolerances to connection problems. One protocol might just drop at the first hiccup; others might automatically reconnect without your even noticing much more than a stutter. Once again, trying a different format is one possible solution.
Intentional Disconnects: many streaming stations simply kick you off after a certain amount of time. The reason is simple: having lots of connected listeners costs them, so they want to make sure that there's actually someone listening - someone who'll restart the stream if it's interrupted.
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