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online video guide

Step 1: Downloading the videoEach video has 2 versions
Step 2: Watching the videoConcerns about privacy/anonymity

There are 2 distinct pieces of software needed in order to download and watch these movies. It is possible that you have one or both pieces of software installed but if not you will need to install whatever software is missing. The following is a general guide to downloading and playing; if you would rather read a quick and easy step-by-step guide to installing the necessary software to download and watch these videos please visit our guides for windows or mac os.

Step 1: Downloading the video

There are 3 links that accompany each video file. To download the video you will need to have software installed that can recognize at least 1 of these links. The first is "torrent" and can be downloaded with software including BitTorrent, Azureus, Shareaza, and others. The second is "magnet" and can be downloaded by programs recognizing a magnet link such as Shareaza, LimeWire, BearShare, Kazaa 2.6 (or greater), and others. The third is "ed2k" and can be downloaded using Shareaza, eMule, aMule and others.

Recomendations for windows users: If you are already using any of the software listed above (BitTorrent, Shareaza, eMule, LimeWire, BearShare, Kazaa 2.6 (or greater), or other compatible software) you are already capable of downloading from the appropriate link or links. If you are not running any of the above software we would recommend trying BitTorrent, Shareaza, or eMule. For more information visit the the windows video guide and its solutions to common problems.

Recomendations for mac os users: If you are already using any of the software listed above (BitTorrent, aMule, LimeWire, or other compatible software) you are already capable of downloading from the appropriate link or links. If you are not running any of the above software we would recommend that OS X users try BitTorrent and OS 8/9 users try LimeWire (Classic). For more information visit the mac video guide and its solutions to common problems.

Recomendations for linux/bsd users: If you are already using any of the software listed above (BitTorrent, aMule, LimeWire, or other compatible software) you are already capable of downloading from the appropriate link or links. If you are not running any of the above software we would recommend trying BitTorrent or aMule.

Step 2: Watching the video

Each video file has been encoded using the VP3 codec (compressor/decompressor) which must be installed in order to view the video. The various installers for windows and mac os can be downloaded from http://www.xiph.org/~mauricio/.

Note to QuickTime users: QuickTime Player versions 4 and above for windows and mac os should be able to automatically download and install the appropriate software to play back the video files. We have found the behavior to be somewhat inconsistent but people using QuickTime Player are welcome to download the videos and try playing them. If a problem is encountered the installation procedures given below can then be followed.

Installation on windows: If you are using any player other than QuickTime Player download and run the "VP3 Codec 3.2.6.1 for Video for Windows Installer" from http://www.xiph.org/~mauricio/VP3_VFW_Win.exe. If you are using QuickTime Player download and run the "VP3 Codec 3.2.6.1 for Quicktime Installer" from http://www.xiph.org/~mauricio/VP3_QT_Win.exe. For more information visit the windows video guide and its solutions to common problems.

Installation on mac os: If you are using mac os x download and run the "VP3 Codec 3.2.7.0 for Quicktime Installer + standalone codec" from http://www.xiph.org/~mauricio/VP3_OSX_3270_dmg.hqx. If you are using mac os 8 or 9 download the "VP3 Codec 3.2.7.0 for Quicktime standalone codec" from http://www.xiph.org/~mauricio/VP3_MacOS_Classic.sit and follow the instructions contained in the "readme" file. For more information visit the mac video guide and its solutions to common problems.

Installation on linux/bsd: Many players including xine, mplayer, vlc media player, and others support VP3 compressed video (xine, mplayer). However, depending on what version you are running you may need to update the program, its libraries, or its win32 codecs in order to achieve or improve playback.

Each video has 2 versions

Each video has been encoded to 2 distinct quality versions. Both versions have a resolution of 320x240 but the standard quality version has been optimized for download speed while the high quality version has been optimized for video and audio clarity and fidelity.

The standard quality (sq) version is intended for slower internet connections (like modems), slower computers, and those who are merely curious about the content of these videos. This version has been encoded so that each minute of video should take approximately 2.4MB. The frame rate is only about 15 frames per second so the motion is noticeably less smooth than the high quality version. The audio has been reduced to a 24kHz mono soundtrack.

The high quality (hq) version is intended for those with faster internet connections, those who want to see the videos with higher quality video and sound, and those who wish to show or further distribute these videos (through public or private video showings, vhs, dvd, cable access, or whatever people can imagine or envision). This version is encoded so that each minute of video takes approximately 11.5MB. The framte rate is full NTSC (29.97 frames per second). The audio is a 48kHz stereo soundtrack.

Concerns about privacy/anonymity

Many people are concerned with their online privacy and anonymity. The approach that has been taken to distribute these videos via peer-to-peer networks has the disadvantage of not being private nor anonymous. When downloading a file from a peer-to-peer network you are downloading from a peer and that peer can do whatever she, he, or they like with your ip address. However, since the advantages of sharing content in this way far exceeds the disadvantages it is important for people to be well educated.

For windows users, one tool to take advantage of is PeerGuardian (peerguardian.net, methlabs.org, xs.tech.nu). PeerGuardian blocks ip address connections from various organizations and features an easy update mechanism though it is resource intensive.