Watching CNN Videos on CloudBook: Good Quality, Long Wait

CNN on CloudBookI consider myself a huge geek so, when I think about the CloudBook and the Eee PC, sometimes I wonder if I’m the “typical user” that Asus and Everex are trying to reach. If the typical user is a mobile professional who wants something really light and thin to carry around town or bring into the conference room for meetings, then pushing the envelope and blogging in WordPress or editing photos in GIMP on these machines is important. But what about just the basics: surfing the Web, watching online videos, and checking e-mail? I sat down this morning and tried watching some online videos on both the CloudBook and on the Asus Eee PC 2G Surf. When I visited YouTube, both worked comparably well, loading videos quickly and playing them easily without skipping. However, when I went to CNN’s video channel to watch some news, I noticed a stark difference. When I clicked a link to open a new CNN video on the Eee PC, the video loaded and started playing almost immediately, though it stuttered for the first few seconds while it was buffering. On the CloudBook, however, it took 60 seconds or more for CNN videos to start playing and, after that, the clip still stuttered for a few seconds before playing smoothly. During those 60 seconds, it was difficult to tell if the video was going to load because, after I clicked on the link to launch a CNN video, the progress wheel in FireFox didn’t spin and I’d just sit there hoping that something was happening. Sometimes the status bar said “done” when the video hadn’t loaded yet and sometimes it sat there with the message “Transferring Data from …” for a a long, long time. I don’t think the lack of a clear progress indicator is gOS’s fault or even FireFox’s fault. I assume the progress wheel didn’t spin because of the way CNN built its page (using AJAX or embedded flash to load the video after the page loads). I bet if it took that long to start CNN videos on my Windows desktop, I’d have the same issues. However, the fact is that it doesn’t take over 60 seconds to load videos on the Eee PC or on my regular computer. The general slowness of loading these videos is very frustrating. Perhaps it’s just that the CloudBook doesn’t like CNN, but CNN is a site a lot of people would visit and its video technology is probably not that unique. Why YouTube videos load quickly CNN videos load slowly is a mystery.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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  1. Mike Cane Says:

    Hm. Could you try and Google Video too? If you’re feeling real adventurous (you should, he selfishly goaded!), try Veoh and Guba too.

    Thanks for these reports!

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