The following troubleshooting guide is designed to provide you with brief suggestions that can help you if you are experiencing any difficulties viewing or listening to Shepherd's Chapel on the Internet. It is important to know that very few Internet sites are offering "live" video direct from a satellite because the technology of cramming the incredible amount of video and audio signal on a real time basis to you via a standard telephone line is formidable. It is much easier to provide only the audio signal which is why we do offer that option as well as video on the web site. To simply listen to the Shepherd's Chapel go back to our Home Page and then "arrow" down and press the "Hear Our One Hour Daily Bible Study." If you want to listen to a previous day's lecture then continue to "arrow" down and press the "Listen to Previous Broadcasts" button options. Five previous days of audio only Bible lectures are archived for your convenience.
Free Advice: Whatever happens, don't get discouraged or become too impatient. Many people say their personal computer is really a "personal confuser." It takes time to learn your way around both the computer and the Internet. If you don't give up you will eventually be surprised at the benefits you will realize, such as being able to study "live" with the Shepherd's Chapel daily. Remember too, that it is a lot easier to learn new concepts by having someone available locally who can help you learn. Don't be afraid to ask for help. A good place to start is often your local library where someone probably already works with computers on the Internet or who can recommend to you local options for learning.
Now, check out the problem areas below to see if one of them fits the problem you are presently having. You might also wish to print out this guide for ease of use.
1) First Time Accessing Chapel Site?: There are two ways to view the daily Bible study video. Either the RealPlayer or the Windows Media player is required and you must have the latest versions to see the video. The best way to find out which may work for you is to simply click on the appropriate Real Video or Windows Media links on our web site. You'll probably need an updated version if you get an error message from the RealPlayer or Windows Media software when clicking the appropriate underlined text found just below the "Watch Our 24 hr Satellite Signal, here" line. If you do get an error message, be sure to read the message carefully and perhaps jot it down as you may need it later. The most likely error cause for a new or first time viewer on the Internet is that you do not have the latest version of the RealPlayer or Windows Media. You will not be able to view the daily lectures without the latest version of the RealPlayer or Windows Media. Even though you may have a new computer it is possible the computer does not have the latest version of the RealPlayer or Windows Media. Note that if your operating system is Windows 95 or Windows NT you cannot utilize the Windows Media player as Microsoft does not support it and therefore your only option is to use the RealPlayer.
Obtaining the Latest RealPlayer or Windows Media Version: You will need to first download a free version of the RealPlayer or Windows Media by clicking on one of the two graphic icons just to the right of the Real Video or Windows Media links located just below Pastor Murray's picture. Clicking on one of these graphic icon buttons will take you to either the RealPlayer or Windows Media site where you can download a free version. The RealPlayer site will offer you a $30 RealPlayer Plus version but you do not need it to view the Chapel so keep looking until you locate the free version. RealPlayer changes their site often so you may have to look for some time to locate the free version. Clicking the "download" button will start the free download to your computer. The Windows Media version is only offered in a free version and is easier to find.
Downloading the RealPlayer or Windows Media: Both the RealPlayer and Windows Media downloads can take several minutes or longer depending upon your modem and Internet connect speed. While the download is taking place, be sure to write down the name of the download file and, if possible, the name of the subdirectory to which your computer is placing the file. When the download is completed you will need to use the Windows Explorer application to locate and "run" the downloaded file. "Running" the file will execute the Installation program for the RealPlayer or Windows Media. Once this operation is complete you can then use the RealPlayer or Windows Media player normally.
If you are a novice to either computers or the Internet you are wise to find an experienced local user to guide you. Many teenagers are experienced with how to install Internet "plug-ins" or you can locate an experienced adult to help you. As there are many variables as to how your particular configuration may store downloaded files it is not feasible for the Chapel to talk you through the installation. So it is better to be patient and find someone locally who can walk you through it. Don't feel bad, everyone goes through the same sort of problems when new to computers or the process of downloading files, but the end result is well worth the effort.
2) Web TV Users Only: If you get errors messages trying to view or listen to the Chapel's Internet site, sorry, but the makers of the Web TV did not provide for downloading new "plug-ins" such as the latest version of the RealPlayer. Due to the rapid growth of students on the Chapel's Internet site we have been forced to stay current with the latest versions of the RealPlayer, which can handle more concurrent users than previous versions. Presently, there is just no solution to upgrading the Web TV. Standard PCs have the ability to store downloaded files for later installation, which gives them the important ability to stay current with software changes as necessary.
3) Network Congestion Error Messages: If you frequently get "Network Congestion" error messages the problem can lie in any one of several areas. The Shepherd's Chapel Internet server (our computer) is generally capable of handling far more students than are likely to be using the Chapel Internet site concurrently. However, once the video/audio signal leaves our server then it proceeds on a maze of network circuit data paths before it arrives at your Internet Provider and then through another network circuit maze before it gets to your personal computer. It is not unusual for there to be 9 to 14 "hops" (network nodes) before our program reaches your home computer. Any weak link located anywhere in this path can slow the signal down so that it is unusable to your computer and then you will get the dreaded "Network Congestion" error message. If you don't do anything for several seconds you may find that this error frequently will go away and the program lecture resumes on its own. When the congestion is temporary it simply means the program resumed due to a temporary improvement in data flowing into the computer via your Internet connection. Sometimes, you can try to simply stop the RealPlayer or Windows Media and force it to reconnect and then experience a much improved signal because the re-connection path may be a better circuit with fewer "hops.". This is similar to re-dialing a poor long distance telephone call and finding you get a better connection. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. You can also try to listen later when the number of Internet users is lower. Generally, later at night or early in the morning the Internet is less busy.
It is important to know that even if you have the fastest computer and the fastest telephone modem that you still may still get a poor Internet connection for the purposes of seeing video and audio from the Chapel. If you live in a rural area or more than 3-5 miles from your local telephone company's digital switch center you may never achieve acceptable video from the Chapel due to higher than acceptable noise on your telephone line. It is worth a call to your local telephone service to ask them to check your lines to ensure you have the best quality service possible. Most local telephone companies are happy to do this circuit check for you.
It is also possible that your Internet provider does not have enough computer hardware to handle the number of concurrent users that may be on the Internet at the same time you are. Often, in a rural area where the Internet provider cannot afford the best equipment and data circuit configuration the local users suffer without any available option to switch to another Internet provider. If you do have the option to switch Internet providers ask around and seek the opinion of other Internet users before you decide to switch. Some Internet providers will offer you a brief trial period to try their service so as to determine if it better meets your needs.
If all else fails and you still are not satisfied with your video signal reliability then you may have no other option other than to choose the option to just listen to the Chapel's Internet audio only broadcast. A goodly percentage of Internet users just do not have the Internet connect quality necessary to receive a quality "live" video direct from a satellite because the technology of cramming the incredible amount of video and audio signal on a real time basis to you via a standard telephone line is formidable. That is why we recommend if you are not happy with the video broadcast quality then try the audio only broadcast. To simply listen to the Shepherd's Chapel go back to our Home Page and then "arrow" down and press the "Hear Our One Hour Daily Bible Study." If you want to listen to a previous day's lecture then continue to "arrow" down and press the "Listen to Previous Broadcasts" button options.
5) Server Unavailable Error Message: If the error message says the server is not available that simply means the RealPlayer software did not get through the first time and you might try again one or two more times. This forces your computer to try another access which sometimes results in a better path to the Chapel's server, and hence a better connection. Also, it is advisable to "refresh" your browser which generally means pushing the "Ctrl" and "R" keys simultaneously which forces your browser to actually contact our web site to ensure you have the correct computer server address.
If you consistently get the message that the server is not available, but you generally have no difficulty viewing the Chapel's Internet broadcast then between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Central time contact the Chapel at (800) 643-4645, and select option 4 to report the problem. If the Chapel's server is indeed "down" you will be so informed by a Chapel operator. If the Chapel's server is "up" then you may need to contact your Internet Provider's technical support number and make sure they can confirm their ability to get to the Chapel's Home Page.