There’s nothing more frustrating than watching a streamed film or video with constant interruptions for buffering. It can happen on any device you’re streaming on – PC, smart TV, tablet, smartphone. As long as you’re using an internet connection to watch your content – and most of us are – you can fall victim to buffering. We’ll go over the causes of frequent buffering, give you some tips for preventing it, and discuss how your broadband connection can make your streaming better.
What Causes Frequent Buffering?
What does it mean to “buffer” a video? When you’re streaming content, the device will download content ahead of what you’re currently viewing so that the video plays continuously. But sometimes, the video catches up to where the file is streaming and causes a delay. Your video pauses and doesn’t resume again until the stream catches up.
What causes video buffering? It’s usually one of the following problems:
- Too many devices connected to the network
- Technical problems from your internet service provider (ISP)
- Slow internet speed
In most cases, slow internet speed is to blame.
Will Increasing Internet Speed Stop Buffering?
Theoretically, faster internet should put an end to buffering. Your internet speed determines how much data can be sent from a source to your device – how quickly you can download and view content like photos, videos, and music. Watching videos in 4k or with 7.1 channel surround sound without a high-speed connection can slow down the delivery of your content.
What internet speed is required for streaming? You need at least 3Mbps (Megabytes per second) to stream videos. To stream in 4k, you need 25Mbps. Most ISPs provide internet download speeds of up to 50Mbps, which, logically, should be enough to stream your content without buffering. Unfortunately, however, you can still experience buffering with ISPs who offer this level of service.
Tips – How to Prevent Buffering
How can you stop or prevent buffering when you want to enjoy your films and videos? We’ve included seven tips for dealing with buffering.
- Quick solutions – Sometimes, a simple fix can stop buffering. Try closing all your other open applications and programs, as they consume resources and slow down your device. Another quick solution is pausing the stream for several minutes so the video can build a bigger buffer. Finally, you can try reducing the video quality. Higher-resolution videos are bigger files, which take longer to stream. If the 1080p version isn’t working, check your streaming platform’s options to see if you can drop it lower – especially if you’re watching on a smaller screen like a smartphone.
- Speed up internet – There are a few things you can try to make your connection faster, like setting your wireless router to 5GHz instead of 2.4GHz.
- Disconnect other devices – The more devices you have pinging your wireless router, the more bandwidth it takes up. If you’re not using these devices, disconnect them from Wi-Fi to see if it helps with buffering.
- Get the latest graphic card drivers – Playing videos requires good performance from your graphic card. The biggest manufacturers like Intel, Nvidia, and AMD are always pushing out updates for better driver performance. It’s worth checking if your graphic drivers are updated since this could help the quality of streaming and reduce buffering.
- Try Ethernet – Ethernet will provide better internet speed than wireless. If you’re using high-speed internet and still encountering buffering problems, try hooking up an Ethernet cable.
- Check your browser settings – Your web browser caches data from previously visited websites so when you visit these sites again, the browser can load from the cache instead of downloading. But your browser can be slowed down with too much cached data. A quick cleanup – clearing your cookies and browsing history – can help cut down buffering times.
- Test your VPN – If you’re using a VPN (virtual private network), every data packet you receive has to be encrypted and then decrypted at a remote server. Naturally, this process slows down your streaming connection. If you experience buffering with a VPN often, check the settings of your VPN.
How Does Your Broadband Connection Make Streaming Better?
If you’ve signed up for a full-fibre connection with download speeds up to 1,000Mbps, like the package offered by Vision Fibre Media, it can make a huge difference in your streaming! With such high connection speeds, you can easily stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, iPlayer, and others – without worrying about buffering.
Keep in mind that buffering could also result from technical problems or too many people on one network. Our above tips on preventing buffering can help you with that. But as far as connection speed goes, you have nothing to worry about if you choose Vision Fibre Media.