Ugh! The never-ending, ugly battle between our wits and the streaming service buffering. Weíve all been there and are guilty of losing our cool. I myself have been seen shouting at my TV many a time. It is a nightmare when you sit down after a long day to watch that one movie youíve long-awaited and it just wonít stop buffering. After some time you lose patience and decide to cancel your service and switch to another streaming service and then another one and this keeps happening until you realize youíre just going around in circles.
Finding the Culprit
The real culprit here could be your internet connection. If you have a weak internet connection youíll never be able to solve the buffer problem no matter how many streaming services you change.
Here is a table to help you understand what kind of internet connection you need and the recommended internet speed by the streaming services themselves. Before reading any further, test your internet speed first so youíll know where you stand.
|Streaming Service||SD Videos||HD Videos||Ultra HD Videos||Streaming Library||Live Streams||4K Videos|
|Netflix||3 Mbps||5 Mbps||25 Mbps||–||–||–|
|Hulu||–||–||–||3 Mbps||8 Mbps||16 Mbps|
|Disney+||–||5 Mbps||–||–||–||25 Mbps|
Now that you know where your internet speed stands at least your mind can be at ease. However, keep in mind that these are just recommendations and are speeds required to stream on one device without any other device sucking the juice out of your internet connection.
So, if you think about it youíll probably need much more juice than the above-recommended speeds. Because címon who has only one device in the house anymore? I live alone and I have three, imagine a household of four or more people. Everyone has his or her phone, then there are computers, TVs, gaming consoles and whatnot.
All the devices connected to your internet simultaneously share the total bandwidth you signed up for. So if you get 100 Mbps and have four devices connected to it, the maximum capacity for each device is 25 Mbps and that also fluctuates through the day depending on the load on your providerís network, because youíre also sharing the cable system with other people in the neighborhood.
Ways to Improve your Streaming Experience
If your speed test confirmed that your internet connection is not the problem then try the following quick tips that may help you solve the buffering issue.
- It may seem obvious but many times we donít think about it. Restarting the streaming service and rebooting your devices may do the trick.
- Reset your Wi-Fi router. It may have too much temporary data stored up in its memory and resetting will help it delete those files and work normally again.
- Sometimes your routerís signals are blocked because of the many walls or doors in between. Try moving it to a central location free of obstructions.
- Try requesting others in the household to hold up on internet usage while you watch an episode of your favorite show. Of course, they may not be impressed by your Ďabsurdí idea.
- If you use a VPN, disabling it while you stream could help too. It can cause some lag because your connection is re-routed to a different proxy.
- Try changing from your default DNS server to a third-party DNS server which may be faster.
- If youíve been using your modem and router for a few years it may be time to upgrade them. Thereís a possibility theyíre too old a technology to function at par anymore.
- If you do not currently have fiber-optic then check the possibility of upgrading to it.
- Lastly, if you have an internet connection with a data cap try upgrading to the highest cap or even better, switch to an uncapped internet connection.
Netflix also publishes a list of top 10 providers that it tests for speeds during prime-time. You can go ahead check if your internet provider is included. I recently checked the list and boy was I relieved to find Spectrum Deals in the top 5.
If all else fails just call your ISPís customer service to see if they have a solution. If theyíre unable to help you then maybe itís time to say goodbye and move on to a company that can take better care of you.