5 Ways to Stop Buffering
Buffering is video streaming’s kryptonite. It is one of the hurdles that prevent you from having a smooth experience. That and geo-restriction; the latter is often another roadblock that blocks access to the complete library. However, you can address buffering issues with a few solutions.
What is Buffering and Why Does it Happen?
Buffering refers to fetching data and storing it in memory for execution. The ‘buffer’ is a part of memory that temporarily holds data. In the context of video streaming, buffering is loading the next scenes as you continue to watch the video. Ever noticed a gray bar escaping forward the red playback bar while playing a video on YouTube? That’s buffering. The next bits of data are loaded in the memory so that the video continues without any hiccups.
The experience will be smooth throughout if your internet connection can keep up. However, some factors may affect the performance, leading to slow internet speed, and consequently, buffering on videos. You could resort to some troubleshooting measures for a platform like YouTube, but to what extent?
How to Stop Buffering on Videos
Here are some of the factors that may be why you are unable to stream videos uninterrupted.
Check internet connection
The most obvious culprit could be your internet connection. It is possible that the current package isn’t fast enough to keep up with consumption. 4K video streaming is now mainstream more than ever, and cheap 4K TVs are pushing the adoption. So, if you just recently bought a 4K TV, then you need to upgrade your internet connection accordingly.
It is also possible that you simply have more devices in the home. Streaming videos simultaneously on multiple devices – especially large screens – can significantly impact the streaming experience.
Try lowering the video quality
Maybe the current video quality is more than what your internet connection can handle. We expect 1080p streaming to be achievable for most users, but perhaps lowering it down can help prevent buffering. Netflix automatically adjusts video resolution based on the quality of the connection. Platforms like YouTube allow you to pick a resolution regardless of the connection quality.
It is also possible that despite adequate bandwidth, there are multiple devices on your network streaming simultaneously, which is a challenging situation.
Move Closer to Wi-Fi
Wireless networks work best when you are in good proximity to the access point; the range decreases as you move farther from it. Coverage relies on the range the router can provide. Expensive routers typically offer better range and 5GHz frequency. The latter is important if you are planning to stream high-definition movies or play games online.
Sitting close in range will provide the wireless strength your device needs to stream smoothly. Consider investing in a router for your room if you live on a different floor or several rooms behind the router.
Turn off Background Downloads
Downloading while streaming will significantly hamper your streaming experience more than any other factor on the list. You can put a bandwidth limit on the download so that it does not consume the entire capacity of your internet connection or suspend/stop the download while you are streaming a video.
Windows 10 tends to start updates in the background. Check for active updates by going into Settings > Update & Security. It is best to schedule updates during inactive hours, such as when you are asleep.
On the iPhone and iPad, apps will auto-update when the phone is left inactive for a while. Pause the downloads by tapping on each app icon with the download circle.
Switch to a Different Server
Using a VPN to watch Netflix and such services is a popular way to stream movies and TV shows. It grants access to content that would be geo-restricted otherwise. Netflix’s content varies from region to region. The USA server hosts most of Netflix’s library, making it the best destination to connect to and watch Netflix online.
If you have a VPN turned on for privacy reasons, then try switching to the nearest server. It will improve performance by lowering the latency between you and the VPN server. If you are not specific about a region, connecting to the nearest server will give a better streaming experience.
Allow Buffering to Catch Up
This is the easiest way and requires only a few seconds on your part. Leave the video paused for a few seconds or a minute. It will allow the buffer to download and store the next parts of the video. You will then have enough headroom to watch the video without facing buffering every few seconds.
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