I got an email from a friend who wasn't able to pull up the movie I mentioned, http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2666529, and I'm afraid other people will be having the same problem, so here are some pointers. That link will send you to ifilm's summary page for the film, at which point you'd normally click "Watch Now!" and everything would be hunky-dory. But don't do that unless your browser is already set up properly with ifilm.com.

Instead, scroll down to the fine print at the bottom of the page, and you'll see the topic "Video Preferences". Ifilm will query your browser as to what video players are installed (I don't know how it does that, hmmm, but it seems to work) and you select one by clicking in the little radio button next to the name. If you have Windows Media Player 9, that will, in my experience, be the best bet. It gives you some bandwidth options; with WMP9 the options are 56, 200, and 300 Kbits. If you have dialup, you're stuck of course with 56, and even then keep your fingers crossed. DSL subscribers with a 256 bitrate can use 200, and broadband and premium DSL subscribers can use 300. Most public libraries should be able to support the highest bitrate as long as you get there when few people are using the internet.

OK, now you're set up, close that window and click on "Watch Now!" in the other window. You'll see it buffering, and once it's 100% buffered, in WMP9 you can right-click on the "movie screen" and select "Zoom", and go to full screen. I haven't found a way to do that reliably with QuickTime or RealPlayer, but you may know those softwares better. Anyway, you might see an ad for another movie or for something else first, but the full-screen mode should remain for the movie following; if it jumps back to a small screen, as it sometimes does, just right-click and zoom again. Enjoy the movie!

Sometimes, the movie never starts to buffer, though the right-hand side of the screen shows "playing". In that case the "movie screen" is all black, with no "control buttons" (play, stop, rewind etc.) at the bottom. To cure that, just click where it says "playing" off to the right, and you should see the controls appear and it start to buffer momentarily. Another possible problem is that it will blow past your movie altogether and show you one of its own top selections. As far as I know, you're screwed at that point. Try another movie, or come back to it later.

If you want to get out of full-screen, I've found that double-clicking anywhere on the screen works, also Alt-Tab. No doubt other methods exist.

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last updated 2013-01-10 20:36:08. served from tektonic.jcomeau.com