Jittery Silent C-SPAN videos

Skip to first unread message


Nov 21, 2022, 3:55:18 AM11/21/22
to Video DownloadHelper Q&A
Dear VDH Help Community,

Why does my Video Download Helper no longer work?
Two years old 2020 Macbook Air running OS Catalina 10.15.7; Firefox 106.0.5 trying to playback on VLC Version Vetinari (tried all of their help files too).

This used to be such a great and SIMPLE product. I do not want to have to understand the complexities of video codexes and other complications. Until this year it was easy and straightforward.

Any video from C-Span appears herky jerky and without any sound.
Here is one page (typical) that I have problems with: https://www.c-span.org/video/?522972-1/survival-richest

I have tried all the help file suggestions about tweaking the advanced controls and NONE of them make a bit of difference. I do not want to have to know how to ‘re-encode MP4 (h264+aac)   … WHAT???

YouTube does not even succeed with video (it gives error messages about missing files).

Has DLH been obsolesced so that I can no longer use the free version? Would it be money back guaranteed to improve if I pay the 30 dollars?

I did get one news video to download and play so it does work in some places (sorry it is behind a pay wall) — just not the ones that matter most to me.

Also a few curiosities:
Why are there so MANY MP2T “files” listed? These began to be listed around the time my problems started.

 And more appear in the drop down list of them as each minute of video ticks by? It did not used to show any of these types of … (?) files.
Can I eliminate the list and only show full videos (at different resolutions)?

What are they and why would I want any of them?
If they are fragments how would I know how long each one is (where in the recording does it begin and end and how long is each one?) if I did want just some part of the whole video?

Thank You,


Nov 21, 2022, 4:23:52 AM11/21/22
to Video DownloadHelper Q&A

And you should enable the setting HLS as M2TS , this makes downloaded videos from hls streams to play smoother and no stutter.
Ignore the MP2T files they're irrelevant , all you have to do is follow what is shown in the link I've given.
A vdh user

Wild Willy

Nov 21, 2022, 7:03:31 AM11/21/22
to Video Download Helper Google Group
It is sad but true that the Internet is rather chaotic. There is no international
standard that forces web sites to present their multimedia content according to a
standard. Everybody cooks their own. Not only that, web sites regularly change the way
they do things. I suppose it's all in the name of progress, but it does mean that things
that used to work no longer work as they did. The old tools no longer work simply &
there are tweaks you must make in order to continue to use the old tools. Specifically,
VDH continues to work, but there are minor, quasi-manual interventions that you must
apply. Either that or go find another tool that works more to your liking.

As for not wanting to learn this or that, I have to say that it is a contradiction in
terms for a Luddite to own a computer. A computer is not like a car. You don't need a
license to use a computer. And you pretty much have to teach yourself how to use it.
But here are some facts. You got a computer. You installed Firefox on it. You
installed VDH. You figured out how to post here. Those facts all conspire to tell me
that you do have sufficient technical skill to understand what we go to great pains to
explain in this forum. Think of us as the auxiliary arm of VDH support. The auxiliary
VOLUNTEER arm of VDH support. We aren't paid anything to be here. We aren't employees
of VDH. We're doing this to try to improve your skills in the absence of a computer ed.
course (the equivalent of driver ed.) & a licensing arm of the government. Don't be so
quick to reject the thought that you might need to grasp at least the rudiments of what
codecs are (that's how the word it spelled, by the way, codec) yet not be able to write
one. A codec is a tool that is buried inside the software you use. You don't need to
know how it works, just that it's there & video playback software uses codecs. That, by
the way, is about all I, the smartypants knowitall, know about codecs.

As for the presence of fragmentary MP2T variants in your VDH menu, that's the way the web
site in question works. Their choice, not yours, not mine, not VDH's. We're at the
mercy of what the web site does. It should not be beyond your abilities to ignore such
noise on the VDH menu. However, if you are seeing those, my suspicion, my hunch, my
wildass stab in the dark guess is that you have HLS as M2TS enabled in the VDH settings.
The recommendation is to run with that setting disabled. It is disabled by default, so
if it's on, you must have turned it on yourself. Only when you encounter the VDH error
message that mention MP2T should you enable the setting, reload the page, & try again to
download the item that caused the error. And after you do get a successful download, go
back & disable HLS as M2TS.

You may or may not know about the way most web sites present their content for viewing on
their site in their video player. The web site sends a chunk of the video. It's of some
fairly short duration, maybe 15 or 20 seconds. While the current chunk is playing, the
web site sends the next chunk. And so on for as long as you watch the thing. But how
long is that? Do you watch it to the end? Or do you decide at some point to quit & go
look at something else? Do you watch it in one continuous sitting? Or do you pause it
in the middle because you want to go make yourself a sandwich or you want to answer your
phone? That is why web sites send multimedia content in chunks. They send only as much
as you're likely to actually watch in the next few moments. They don't waste Internet
bandwidth nor disk space & CPU power on your computer on the off chance you're going to
watch the whole thing in one go. Chunks. That's what the little MP2T things are. They
are the chunks. The longer you watch, the more of them that come in. I say you probably
have HLS as M2TS enabled because when that setting is disabled, the VDH menu will fill up
with (typically) little MP4 chunks. They can't be played. At least, not by you. The
web player embedded in the page can play them as it receives them. But they are not
useful in any other way.

Speaking of playing content, most web sites are concerned with presenting their content
so it can be played in the player on their web pages. Downloading? What's that?
They're not concerned with that. Only sites that show a button clearly labelled as
"Download this content" are at all concerned with downloading. And will they do anything
to accommodate any third-party downloader, like VDH? You know they won't. So any place
where VDH works is more in spite of than because of anything about the way the web site
works. It's actually a miracle VDH works on as many sites as it does.

When it comes to YouTube, I have no trouble getting YouTube content with VDH. You should
tell us at least one & perhaps a few URLs of YouTube content that is failing to download.
One possibility. Log out of your Google account before you try to download with VDH from
YouTube. That is quite illogical but a number of our fellow users have reported that's
cured their problem. But once again, I put that forward as a guess. You should post
some links to videos for us to try.

As for getting a VDH license, I recommend it as a way to support Michel in his work on
VDH. It will not cure a single problem you are observing. Why? I explain all of that
elsewhere. Click here:


That will likely be useful to you over time, if you make the effort to read it. For the
time being, do a string search for "philosophy" within the text on that web page. That
will reposition the page on a reference that contains a link. Click the link & read
about what a VDH license does & does not do.

Reading. That is a time-consuming activity you will have to break down & accept that you
have to do it. We can probably solve your problems. But they are, after all, your
problems. If you expect me or anybody else to put in any effort to help you solve your
problems -- I say again, your problems -- then you need to be willing to at least match
if not exceed any effort anybody here puts in. If you're not willing to do that, then so
long, have a nice life. But if you are willing to do that, I think you'll find we're
quite tenacious about getting to the bottom of problems & solving them.


Nov 29, 2022, 9:50:44 PM11/29/22
to Video DownloadHelper Q&A
Hi Willy,
Thank you for a long an thoughtful reply. Sorry for the delay in reply.

Using your analogy with a car this seems to me like suggesting I need to be a fully licensed mechanic to operate my car. But if it won’t start or the check-engine light comes on I am not going to try to fix it; my only recourse is to take it to someone who knows what they are doing. I just want it to get me from place to place, I don’t care exactly how.

I am totally OK with checking or unchecking boxes in settings (iff someone will tell me which boxes need to be changed). But MEGO when you start with ffmpeg and other (to me) overly complex programming work arounds to align audio and video. That is more work than I want to do.

I gather you are working in Windows (an ideal system for the “mechanically inclined”). I bought a Mac because I don’t want to have to know tech details like path names and such. I just want plug and play so I can engage with the material on the web.

Up until about a year ago VDH was just such a plug and play. It worked smoothly on every video site I wanted to copy from. Lately not so much.

Tho I take your point that websites (especially YouTube) don’t necessarily care if we can download their content. I appreciated it when I could but I guess I should not be surprised they put a stop to it if they can (or don’t go out of their way to make it easy). I cannot download any YouTube videos. The only thing that downloads is the ads preceding the video.

I appreciated you tutorial about MP2T files. That makes sense now why I started seeing them. I can get the files from C-SPAN now without jitters but they still have no sound. Perhaps there is an audio only file available?

I will consider a license to support Michel’s good works when my finances stabilize hopefully this spring.
Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages