Thursday, 3 April 2014

Why do my Hangouts On Air keep crashing?

"I tried hangouts On Air - but they just don't work, they crash out, the quality is awful"
"Tried that and was rubbish - not using them again"
"They are FREE no wonder the quality is rubbish!"

Does this resonate with you?   Have you tried hangouts On Air and had problems with the quality, which you have automatically decided is all down to Google?  I know people that have and in almost all cases where they are having less than great experiences with Hangouts On Air, the problem doesn't lie with the platform but with their own resources.

People are telling you to make sure you are using a wired connection for best results.

People are telling you how to adjust the Bandwidth settings to help if you are using lower quality internet connections

What very few people are sharing is the importance of checking the actual Internet quality - whether it is wired or wireless, and that is very important to do (especially if you are having connection problems and quality issues with your video stream).

Because you see, not all internet providers are equal and not all wired connection is equal.

Google Hangouts On Air are run through the internet and need to use resources to stream live for you - if you are trying to do this on a very low quality Internet connection, then the quality of your hangout On Air is going to be affected and low quality too.

So if you are finding you are having issues with your Hangouts and the quality of your Live Streams, do a check on the Internet connectivity you have....

You can do this by using http://www.speedtest.net/

This will show you the upload and download speeds you are getting.  The image below shows you the result of a test I did on my own computer.  Guess what?  I have great quality video, audio and hangouts...

Many people have nothing like this kind of speed though (and you don't need it as high as mine!) but it is good to test your Internet provision before you start to blame problems with Hangouts on Google!

Whilst quality will also depend on:

  • Your webcam
  • Your speakers
  • Your microphone
  • Your lighting

Your internet provision is a big factor that will give you a great or not so great experience and quality on your Hangouts On Air.  The better your up/download speed is the better your quality will be.

Google suggest:

The bandwidth used by Hangouts is adaptive and will vary to provide the best experience for the given conditions of the participants’ network. Here is a guide for the minimum and maximum bandwidth requirements and expectations:
Minimum bandwidth required:
  • Outbound from the participant: 256 kbps
  • Inbound to the participant: 512 kbps
Ideal bandwidth for the best experience:
  • Outbound from the participant: 1 mbps
  • Inbound to the participant: 2.5 mbps
With group video calls of more than 2 people you can expect bandwidth usage in ideal situations to be:
  • Outbound from the participant in all situations: 900kbps
  • Inbound to the participant with 5 participants: 2mbps
  • Inbound to the participant with 10 participants: 3mbps
So if you are having problems with:

  • Hangouts crashing
  • Bad video - pixelated images
  • Choppy audio quality
  • If you freeze whilst live on the hangout

Don't automatically think it is because Hangouts are not stable, remember to check your Internet as well as your equipment.

If you would like to learn more about hangouts, work with a Google Plus Top Contributor who uses and teaches them everyday - why not come and join us in the exclusive GPlus Hangout Success membership