Stability is everything and more

The article focuses on how to fix stability problems by helping you interpret error codes.

This article will help you fix instability issues so you can live stream events without worrying about system failures. Live streaming uses a lot of system resources and it is therefore crucial that you have stress-tested your livestreaming encoder thoroughly. Copenhagen Streaming's tips for a stable live encoder can be used regardless of whether you use Wirecast, vMix, OBS or hardware with solutions from Digital Rapids, Imagine Communication or ATEME. To fully benefit fron this article, it can be a good idea to team up with a tech savvy friend.

In the previous article "How to test encoder stability" we looked at how to identify instability issues on a live encoder running Wirecast or similar encoding software. In this follow-up post, we look at how to use the errors to identify the underlying issues and how to fix them.

We start with errors reported in Memtest86. If you are presented with red lines with address errors in your MemTest86, your RAM is either configured incorrectly or one or more modules are defective. You can change the RAM settings in the system BIOS/UEFI. You should also check if the RAM in your system is compatible with the motherboard. Most manufacturers have a Qualified Vendor List (QVL) that you can use as a reference.

When you stress test using Prime95 you may encounter error messages like these:

"rounding was 0.5 less than 0.4"

"hardware failure detected consult stress.txt file"

It is most often associated with a misconfigured CPU (too high frequency or too low voltage) or RAM that is not configured correctly. It can also be caused by an actual hardware failure of the CPU or RAM, in which case it must be replaced.

How to troubleshoot a "Blue Screen Of Death" (BSOD) error.

If you get a blue screen (BSOD)  when testing in Prime95 or AIDA64, the error source is most likely still a CPU e/RAM. If, on the other hand, you can successfully run MemTest86, Prime95 and AIDA64 for about 24 hours each time, but get an error in FurMark or Dota 2, this indicates a fault with the graphics card or its driver.

If a BSOD occurs in more general use of the live encoder, it is necessary to see the error code as an indication of what the problem is. For example, an error code might look like this:

  • BSOD 0x00007B
  • BSOD 0x000001
  • BSOD 0x000024
  • BSOD 0x000000116

Unfortunately, Windows is set to restart automatically after a BSOD, which doens't allow you to troubleshoot without futher investigation. To turn this off, you can follow this procedure in Windows, which is more or less the same for Windows 7 - 10:

  1. Click on the menu Start.
  2. Right-click on Computer. Choose the Features.
  3. Select Advanced system settings in the left pane.
  4. On the tab Advanced and then under Booting and restoring click on Settings.
  5. On System error you must uncheck the Automatic restart .

Now is the time to write down the error code and the driver that may be mentioned along with code. A Google search for the error code and driver will often help you figure out what's causing the problem and what you need to do to fix it. If your system is a closed system like a pre-built computer or laptop, there may be others with the exact same hardware that have had the same problem. Combine the error code with the laptop model e.g. "0x0000007B dell inspiron 2200" and see what others have done to solve a similar problem.

Poor live encoder performance may be due to limited heat dissipation

If you find that the speed of your CPU or GPU is consistently slowed down, also known as throttlingit is often a sign that the cooling solution of the system's components is insufficient. If the live encoder generates more heat than it can dissipate, the speed will automatically slow down. This can be a significant problem if, for example, you have only been testing the execution of a Wirecast project for a short time. After a longer period of time, you may find that the encoder's speed slows down and the CPU load increases dramatically. It is not recommended to attempt to bypass CPU throttling. Instead, the problem should be solved by providing better cooling for the actual components. This can be difficult in a laptop, but in a desktop computer there are plenty of opportunities to install better cooling profiles and fans.

By ensuring adequate cooling, you don't risk Wirecast suddenly going from 50 % CPU load to 80 % CPU load due to fewer available resources in the middle of live streaming an event.

Copenhagen Streaming is ready to help with your live encoder

We have years of experience building stable live encoders and stability testing hardware. If you would like us to help you test or build live streaming encoders, get in touch and send us a message below.


Livestreaming on Facebook - Creating a live event

An example of an error in MemTest86. The red lines show the faulty addresses in the RAM modules.


Livestreaming on Facebook - Creating a live event

An example of a FATAL ERROR in Prime95.


Livestreaming on Facebook - Creating a live event

The black, blue and brownish squares and triangles are graphics errors in Furmark. They are also called artifacts. In this case, the graphics card manufacturer has overclocked the graphics card so that it basically runs at too high a frequency from the factory.

Dota 2

Livestreaming on Facebook - Creating a live event

Livestreaming on Facebook - Creating a live event

Games can be an excellent way to test the stability of a system and in particular the graphics card.

In this case, Dota 2 has been a great tool for detecting graphics card-related driver errors. The BSOD error above relates to nvlddmkm.sys. A Google search shows that this file is from the Nvidia Geforce driver package. A further search shows that version 353.30 is causing this error and that the earlier driver 350.12 is more stable.


Livestreaming on Facebook - Creating a live event

When Windows starts after a BlueScreen, you will get a message similar to the above.

About live streaming

Read more about livestreaming in general here and how companies use it for communication.