Mediashout Crashing

Oct 21, 2018
Media wrote
We have very rarely been able to make it through a service without mediashout crashing. support has not been any help they just keep telling me to reinstall the codec pack even though I have done this multiple times. I have done everything I can think of I have reinstalled everything we even got a new computer i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, GTX 1050TI
with the last update it deleted a good portion of our lyrics database luckily I have backups. Now when it crashes it is getting stuck as a system possess and can't be killed without a hard reboot. Is anyone else having problems like this or am I just missing something? We are seriously considering moving to pro-presenter with these problems and the change of support policy which changed since we bought mediashout and where promised support now we when we have a problem before church we can't get any help and have to wait a day or 2 to get a response and I am not at church to try what they suggest and it makes it very difficult to troubleshoot and they closed my last ticket on me before we got it fixed because i hadn't had time to try their suggestions we are just filling fed up and we don't feel we can trust this company anymore.
8 Answers
Oct 23, 2018
MediaShout Support agent wrote
I'm so sorry about the trouble you're still having. Regarding tickets being closed, they systematically check in with you and close if there's not a response for a couple weeks. However, all you have to do is reply or send whatever response you were going to and they reopen. We don't look at it as a "case closed" meaning we're done dealing with the problem for you, but the system just has certain parameters to keep things organized and make sure they are followed up on by us as needed. What you're seeing from my experience dealing with issues day to day is extremely rare, assuming the things you mentioned like codecs are okay, along with video card drivers and screen setup. I've never seen where an update can alter any part of the lyric library, so maybe something deeper is going on, on your system. Honestly, there's only about 4 things that would cause crashing with the program at all:

1. Codecs need to be reinstalled after Windows update

2. Video Card Driver being outdated / System may not be properly configured (correct and matched resolutions for screens, no odd features like Windows scaling, all displays hooked into dedicated video card)

3. Instance of PPT or PPTX file in script (Powerpoint) that is not compatible due to Office updates (can use Import Slideshow to put them in as jpeg stills instead of plain Insert > Slideshow to avoid this)

4. Content inside the script or lyric library - for instance:

A. Corrupt/bad templates, maybe songs that have formatting from much older versions of MediaShout or have odd line returns, characters, text boxes outside the bounds of the page, backgrounds larger than 3000 pixels in size, etc.

B. There is only one program bug that we've found still existing that could cause a crash, and that would be the use of "section cues" heavily in a script. I'd recommend avoiding those and using "comments" instead to organize the script if that applies to you.

If you feel like any of those may still be unchecked, let me know and we can provide more details on any of that for you. Because those things are really the only thing we deal with that causes crashing 99% of the time, even our standard free support is more than enough for most users. That includes tickets, emails, and even our new live chat (I suggest to try that if you haven't, to get real-time support even if you aren't a Plus member). However, if you are hitting a wall and just can't get things where they need to be, which it sounds like may be the case here, you may consider just signing up for one month of the Plus Membership, for $17, which gives a whole 30 days of the most advanced support we have, for less than the cost of one call or "incident" in the IT support world. And we could schedule you with a senior tech who is qualified to go through your system with a fine-toothed comb by remoting in and seeing if we can get you all squared away. You'd also get a valuable background media pack that month as well for the $17 you paid, and you could cancel after you feel things are resolved.

I hear you on the frustrations and wanting to switch, and I am a sometimes user of ProPresenter myself, but I would caution against jumping before something like you're describing is resolved, because if it IS a configuration issue, chances are it's going to cause the same performance issues or worse on ProPresenter, and then you're out the money for buying both softwares. Again, I'm not trying to speak anything negative their way, but on a Windows system, in my experience, reliability has been much worse than MediaShout, and on Mac it's been about the same. Also, I may be wrong but at least in the past when I have reached out to them, ProPresenter's support options don't even measure up to the responsiveness of our free support, and they don't have anything at all that offers the level of support on our Plus Membership.

I'm just throwing all this out to give you my honest reaction and advice to the situation you're describing and I want you to know we're more than willing to help in any way we possibly can. Please let me know if I can help you proceed, or of course reach out to us on any of the other avenues that are available.
Oct 23, 2018
Media wrote
I do use sections in the scripts no one had mentioned that to me before. I will try removing those.

Thanks for the reply the problem with the live chat is it is never available when I can be at church. the is why I am so upset about the support that the support we where told we would have support available on weekends or phone support which got removed.

Windows stability has not been a problem as I said we even got at new computer and mediashout is crashing on both systems but we have not had problems with Windows or anything else crashing like this. Everything is configured correctly on the screens, codes, display drivers, ect. Everything is setup exactly as your documentation said.

The one problem that is the most frustrating thing for me is the since the last update when mediashout crashes it is stuck running as a system process in the background which requires a restart in the middle of service.

Thanks for the reply no one before had mentioned any known bugs that makes me hopeful that's the problem
Oct 23, 2018
MediaShout Support agent wrote
I'm with you. If any of the Windows/configuration settings are off, you wouldn't necessarily see performance issues or crashing in Windows itself-- it would indeed only be an issue when MediaShout is running on that setup. For instance, you never want to use any "scaling" (screen zoom) setting past 100% in the Windows display settings. It should not be set to 125% or 150%, even if that's the "recommended" setting in Windows. Because that will NOT run well with MediaShout. Those settings would be absolutely fine just using Windows. But when running MediaShout with those settings, it will cause major issues. So it's a good idea to double check settings according to for instance, just to be sure there's nothing like that which you're unaware of. Not saying that's for sure the issue, but just explaining how things build off each other.

Yes, unfortunately the sections issue is one that's not so common, but we do see it in a big way for those it affects. If you rebuild a new script without the sections, that will eliminate one major possible cause of the issue. One thing about scripts as well that is something to be aware of:

User Created Content/Formatting Issues (Old Scripts/Songs/Templates)

Other than that I would try creating a brand new fresh script as if a script gets reused week to week to week then it can get corrupt data built up. You should probably make a master script with common elements from scratch as you know it's clean, then save it somewhere to use as a master script. You then just open it and SAVE AS to make a new script before doing anything else, so you know you're always starting with a clean script, instead of saving as off the week before every week, as eventually it will build up some possibly corrupt data.

Also-- Look for orange warning triangles or dotted lines on the main or stage display side of your cues as that means they are designed in the wrong resolution for what you're presenting in currently, and you can fix that by going to File and Repaginate. Also look for any extra spacing or odd formatting inside text boxes, or cues where you have many layered media files (if you right click on the inline editor and go to Objects, you should only see basically one image or video on as BG and then just text boxes. If you see a bunch of media files, it means pictures or videos have been stacked on top of each other via the Insert Object and this will cause crashing. For songs that are really old or brought in from a previous version, always try going to the Templates tab and applying a default MediaShout 6 template to clear any formatting, and see if that helps too. These are all suggestions related to content formatting issues we've seen, which you'd dig into if the basic "boxes" are all checked that the system configuration is all good.
Oct 23, 2018
MediaShout Support agent wrote
Regarding support— I hear you and I appreciate what you have to say, and especially as someone who's used MediaShout awhile now.

I totally hear you on the weekend support. While it was something we had available for a while, when you purchased it seems, it's not something we ever could promise forever. To provide some behind the scenes info--With the way our company is now, most of our employees are in fact pastors, worship leaders, or tech directors or church volunteers ourselves. So it would be difficult to staff Sundays with our small team. And if we looked to staff folks that were NOT serving in their own churches, we'd miss the mark on having a team who understands the needs of ministry/technology and the blending of the two.

We have found after all though that with the software being very stable and not causing really any surprise issues in and of itself, most common issues can be prevented or prepared for during the days leading up to Sunday when support is available. When we did have Sunday support for instance, most issues were ones that involved or were caused by system configuration or other things that couldn't be dealt with in the short time leading up to or during Sunday morning service anyway, but rather we'd have to try a few things, and end up scheduling for the folks to connect with us when they were able to during the week.

We do also try to provide the training and resources to equip folks to know how to deal with situations that do arise that they can usually take care of themselves, even if not MediaShout related, through our excellent knowledge base. (Even issues that are not MediaShout exclusive, but deal more with Windows settings and issues). For example, there are only 3-4 things that would cause crashing to occur and most are related to settings or "codecs" for instance, so once those are learned and put into a user's "toolbox," they are able to be pretty self-sufficient.

Over the years even before I myself became part of the company (I have been a user since MediaShout 2 and came on staff about 2 years ago), the team here has gone above and beyond what any user agreement may have stated, or the standard for any software company. And the reason is because our heart as a company is for ministry, and still is. Again, our team is made up of pastors, worship leaders, church volunteers, etc. And it amazes me what all we accomplish with the small team of 3 support guys (not even all full time) and no more than 12 employees total. MediaShout has never even raised our base price for the software since the beginning almost 20 years ago.

With all of this taken into consideration, we needed to make a change to allow us to continue the level of support we have always offered and even more. We didn't want to raise the price of our software, and we didn't want to leave folks without the support they needed. But to be completely honest, we didn't have the resources to hire more help for support, and we weren't able to keep up with the demand. Some of this is because MOST of the questions we get are actually not even MediaShout exclusive-- They weren't really problems with MediaShout, but more "how do I set my projector for the right resolution", "how do I put my computer in extended display mode so MediaShout can use my second screen." or "how do I prevent Windows updates from coming through before services."

To maximize what we can do as a team and what we can offer to folks, we've found the Plus Member program to be the best option for our company and the many churches we serve. We will never leave anyone hanging, and are always here for folks when we are needed. Especially if there is a MediaShout issue where it's clearly the software's fault and it caused an issue for a user-- you can bet we're going to get on the phone and take care of what needs to be taken care of. For example, when a critical update that potentially affected users a few months ago, we opened the phones for a whole week and even were available on live chat on that Sunday morning. But logistically, some things had to change for us to meet the continuous demand and still devote resources to developing better software for the future, improving the existing builds of the software, and still offering the best deals we can to ministries who can't afford to pay more than what we charge now.

While specifically *phone* support is now a benefit of the Plus membership, we are definitely not taking away support. We are actually ADDING support options, like our new Live Chat. This only helps us be more efficient to serve the number of churches we serve (there's almost 80,000 and we do this with the small team I mentioned above!) And for those who want more premium levels of support over the phone, remote computer control sessions, etc, we have it available for a small fee that's within reach of almost any church or ministry.

For $17 a month or $149 a year, users can get the Plus Membership which includes weekday phone support, weekend ticket support, all standard support options like tickets/live chat, AND monthly media packs valued at over $35, as well as media ministry webinar training events, and even a $100 discount on future versions of MediaShout. With us, you don't have to pay a high fee every time you need support. You still have great free support, and then the option of advanced support with a subscription. (A whole month of it is only $17, which is MUCH lower than the cost of one "incident" call by an IT company for instance, plus comes with the bonuses of a media pack, etc). This also helps us cover what all it takes to provide the support-- for instance even the remote software we use to connect to users computers is VERY expensive for us to pay for.

If users are NOT interested in that, they STILL have phone support up until 30 days after purchasing, as we've found this is the time it normally takes to get any kinks worked out and get going. They also have the new Live Chat which is answered by our same phone support agents. Also tickets, emails, social media, and our ever growing and improving Knowledge Base and Community Portal.

All that to say-- I definitely understand where you're coming from. I just want you to know the heart behind every decision that we make is still the church. It is always with much thought and prayer. We try our hardest to do what's best for everyone as we grow and continue to serve the church with the software. I hope this makes sense. I'm glad to continue to help on here as much as I can for you, if you let me know if it works/doesn't work and keep me posted!
Feb 17, 2019
Bart wrote
I completely agree! We have had nothing but issues since upgrading to Version 6. We haven’t made it through a service yet. We have also upgraded our computers to exceed requirements. Everyone here is a volunteer we can’t spend hours each week trying to chase some mysterious problem. As for reinstalling codecs after every Windows update that is ridiculous! I don’t have reinstall pieces of other software every time windows updates. Plus, we did not do that with version 5.
Mediashout is fast becoming the best promo for Pro-presenter!
Feb 21, 2019
MediaShout Support agent wrote
I definitely hear you and apologize for the trouble you're having. At the same time though, I don't believe it's a representation of most people's experience with V6. Video codecs were a thing in V5 as well, and from my time in customer support, the problems were worse with codecs in V5 than now. We are working on ways to use native codecs in future updates, which would take them out of the equation. But for now, they do affect any Windows environment. I believe even ProPresenter Windows relies on them, just different ones such as MediaLooks, instead of LAV Splitter. It's just the nature of how Windows processes and plays video files. We are doing everything we can to circumvent that and I believe we are close. I'm a user of MediaShout of course working here, and used it before for many years, but also used ProPresenter in my time as a worship leader. I appreciated it and enjoyed it, but I'd question if you've actually used ProPresenter for Windows on the statement about us being a promo for them. Because honestly MediaShout 6 for Windows has been WAY more stable and has far less glitches than the ProPresenter offering. I've seen all kinds of crashes that were unexplained, even when I applied my experience in tech support to optimizing the computer (and it was a computer built from the ground up for presentation and even touring production with the best CPU and video cards available). In the Mac world, performance may be about the same, but then again-- on a Mac there are no codecs, no Windows updates, etc. In a Windows environment, MediaShout is the leader hands down, and most find that out if they move to ProP and encounter the same or worse issues because there was something that needed to be dealt with on the system or in Windows or even something like codecs, and it was just chalked up to MediaShout's fault. MediaShout isn't perfect and we're always trying to get better, but I just want to present the facts to advocate and make sure folks understand.
Feb 21, 2019
Bart wrote
We did not need to reinstall codecs with every Windows update on version 5 as is indicated above. Maybe we were just lucky.
I don’t think say ProPresenter is just as bad as Mediashout is the right approach. We can go through a presentation 3-4 times in practice only to have it fail during critical service times. I have used many very graphic intense programs for design and animation. I have never experienced anything as unstable as Mediashout. At this point I would even consider going back to PowerPoint if I could just guarantee getting through a service.
Feb 22, 2019
MediaShout Support agent wrote
Hey Bart, I hear you. And I'm definitely not saying problems are acceptable just because they are present in other software like ProP, but I just wanted to point out that it's not a perfect solution since you mentioned it was like MediaShout is like an ad for ProP or something like that. Because the tables turn the other way many times as well. We all are striving to provide the best system we possibly can. Honestly, in most cases we don't see issues like this. I know that doesn't make it better for what you're dealing with, but it's just not a common thing to have crashing for no reason, etc. on our recent builds. But yes, that is dependent on things like making sure codecs are reinstalled periodically. Windows 10 can just have a lot of nuances with codecs and Win updates. But along those lines of not just approaching it with the "it's ok because others have the same problem," we ARE taking every action we can to reduce dependency on external elements like codecs, and we have completely new framework in development to try and improve stability. It's just not quite done yet, but I expect some good things soon.