Programming/Judging Precheck Page

We want to make sure your screening experience is as trouble free as possible. Please test your playback capabilities on this page.

STEP ONE: Check Playback

From the playlist below, attempt to play one or more films:

  1. Click a title from the playlist index
  2. Wait for the "Play" button to appear on the screen (this may take from 2 to 10 seconds depending on your Internet speed)
  3. Click the Play button
  4. Optionally click Full Screen (lower right button) to run full screen.

If the playback is unsatisfactory, scroll down for troubleshooting steps.


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    Step Two: Troubleshooting

    If you see "Video Forbidden,"

    This is usually caused by double-clicking the video. or by clicking inside the video window while it is playing. With either event, the browser tries to open the film in directly from our video source. All our films are "domain protected" to prevent downloading (per SAG rules), so they will only run from this website. Use your "back" button to return to the playlist, then always single-click either the big or small play button, and it will play normally.

    We've seen reports where the "Video Forbidden" pops up unexpectedly. That is caused by an unstable Internet connection. If the connection is dropped at the wrong moment, the browser attempts to reconnect the running stream without reloading this Website. This brings up the "Video Forbidden" message. Resetting your modem and router and restarting your computer usually repairs the Internet connection. See below for details.

    If you are annoyed by color bars and tone

    Most films were submitted with bars/tone and slate at the beginning.  With Adobe Flash, we are able to start at the 30 second mark when the program begins. The more modern HTML5 browsers do not support that feature. If your browser does not support Adobe Flash (as is increasingly the case), you can skip bars and tone by moving the play indicator.

    If video stops/starts

    An occasional stop/start is normal. The system uses a responsive download that senses your Internet connection and changes stream quality based on your current speed. Your download speed may vary due to a number of factors, including background tasks on your computer, other people with computers on your network using the Internet, or even your neighbors. Occasionally there may be a pause as it analyzes the stream.

    Consistent start/stop issues are caused by one of 3 factors: unstable Internet connection, lack of Internet speed or an internal computer issue.

    You may be able to view with stability by clicking the gear or "HD" icon on the player and choosing a lower resolution. However to get high quality playback, here are troubleshooting steps to take:

    1. To re-stabilize your Internet connection:

    To rule out unstable Internet, it's best to restart your entire network infrastructure. Pull power cords from your cable/DSL modem, router (if you use one), and shut down your computer. Reconnect power to first the Cable/DSL modem, then to the router. Then restart your computer. Give everything a few minutes to stabilize.

    (We've seen some cable/DSL modems that have internal batteries. If you remove power and the lights stay on, it doesn't restart. Locate the battery cover and remove the battery for 10 seconds. We do not recommend using a reset button on a router because you could reset the unit to factory default and have to reconfigure it.)

    If you don't have access to network infrastructure, just restarting your computer may suffice.

    2. To check your connection speed:

    To successfully play videos in high quality you need a download speed of at least 4Mbps. Download speeds around 2Mbps may be adequate for low quality video, but speeds less than 1.5Mbps will likely not provide satisfactory results. ​We're assuming your ADVERTISED Internet speed from your cable/DSL provider is at least that fast. If not contact them about increasing your speed, or find a faster connection to use for screening purposes. To test your connection:

    1. Go to (works on non-Flash browsers such as iOS)
    2. Click "Start Test"
    3. You will see it calculate a Download speed and an Upload speed. We're primarily concerned with Download.
    4. Compare the speed you get with the advertised speed of the connection you purchased. If it is significantly slower:
        1. Be sure other computers on your network are not also streaming video or radio or doing maintenance. (Turn them off to be sure.)
        2. Restart your computer
        3. Restart your modem/router combination (see above)
        4. Contact your ISP to report an issue with your connection
          NOTE: If you are connecting with WiFi, test on a wired connection prior to calling your ISP.
          ALSO: If you use a cable modem, your network speed is shared with your neighbors. If enough people near you are streaming video or doing major downloads, it will cause your speed to slow significantly. Test at a time when neighbors are not home to be sure. You may wish to switch providers to DSL or Fiber-To-The-Neighborhood (e.g. U-verse).

    If connection speed on WiFi is slow:

        1. Be sure your signal strength is strong. Check the bars on your signal strength indicator and move closer to the WiFi antennae.
        2. If increasing signal strength does not help, reset the WiFi connection in your computer (turn WiFi off then on - AND be sure it's connected to your WiFi and not a neighbor's - we've seen computers switch by themselves).
        3. Be sure your wireless router is SECURE. If you do not need a passcode to connect, other people may be using your bandwidth without your knowledge. Refer to your router's instructions to establish a passcode.
        4. If you have access to the WiFi access point/router, reset it by turning it off, then on. (This usually involves removing the power plug, waiting 10 seconds, then plugging it back in.  DON'T use a reset button.)
        5. If you still cannot get enough speed or you cannot reset the WiFi router, either use a different WiFi connection or a wired connection.

    3. To Analyze Possible Computer Issues:

    If your connection speed is fast enough, very likely something is going on inside your computer that's keeping video from playing smoothly.

    • The first thing to do is restart your computer. Make sure it is a full restart, not a switch to standby or hibernate. To be sure, click the Shutdown command rather than touching a button or closing the lid.
    • The second thing to try is to use a different browser. If you are using Safari or Internet Explorer, try using Firefox or Chrome. While our testing shows it works with the latest versions of all of these, there could be an issue with your installation.

    If the problem persists after a restart, you can investigate further:


    1. Right click the taskbar

    2. Choose Task Manager

    3. Click “Performance”

    a. Observe if anything is taking CPU cycles. At idle the machine should report less than 1% usage.

    b. If something is consuming lots of CPU power, click “Processes,” then click the “CPU” header. The program using all the power will rise to the top. If it is a running program, go to it and close it. If it is a "hung" program, restart your computer or right click the item and choose “end process” to kill it. Or if it is a maintenance activity (virus scan or update download) wait until the process is finished.

    4. Under Performance, choose “Ethernet”

    a. Observe if any network activity is going on when the machine is idle. It should be near zero.

    b. If something is consuming lots of Ethernet activity, your machine may be downloading updates or performing other maintenance. Wait until the maintenance is done. If it is NOT doing maintenance, you may have a virus, worm or rootkit that has turned your machine into a bot on a botnet (meaning it is spewing spam filled with malware). In that case you need to see a computer maintenance professional.


    1. Go to Apps and choose “Activity Monitor.”

    2. Click “CPU”

    3. At the bottom is a “CPU Load” graph. With the machine idle it should be practically zero. If it is not, click “CPU%” header in the list above the graph and the most active programs will rise to the top. If it is a running program, switch to it and close it. If it is an unresponsive "hung" program, restart your computer. If it is a maintenance activity (update download or virus scan), wait for the maintenance to finish.

    4. Click “Network.”

    5. At the bottom is a network activity graph. If at idle there is a lot of activity, your machine may be downloading updates. Wait until the maintenance is done. If it is NOT doing maintenance, you may have a rare, but possible Apple virus, and you need to get to the Genius bar.

    About Background Maintenance

    If your machine has been turned off for a while, it will check for updates from the Microsoft or Apple update service as soon as you restart it. For critical updates (especially on Wednesday for Windows), it will begin downloading those updates immediately, and sometimes they take quite a while to download and install. Your antivirus program will also probably start a virus scan. These background activities will seriously degrade video streaming performance, and may ask for a restart when the maintenance is finished. It's best to turn your computer on and let it sit for an hour or so to allow background maintenance to complete prior to critical viewing.