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STOP Slow Video Buffering for Perfect Streaming

Last Updated: June 12, 2021

Video buffering while streaming movies can be frustrating. Here's 6 easy steps to solve video buffering on your Windows computer. Full instructions are further below.

  1. Set the resolution to "Auto" for Adaptive Streaming.
  2. Turn Off Hardware Acceleration.
  3. Update your Video Player App, Web Browser, and Video Card.
  4. Scan for viruses or bandwidth stealing spyware.
  5. Isolate the Video Streaming.
  6. Use a Wired Connection instead of Wireless.

How to Fix Video Streaming & Movie Buffering Problems

You are trying to enjoy a YouTube, Netflix, or any streaming movie / TV show service, but the video streaming's slow buffering lag is beginning to drive you mad. Of course, we all know the simple solution is to press pause and let the video finish buffering until it is fully loaded onto your Windows computer. Well, I don't know about you, but that long wait is almost as unbearable as the video stuttering problems.

Here is a list of 5 things you can try to improve streaming video playback problems. Of course, you will usually have video stops and pauses if you're on an Internet plan which provides less than 2 Mbps of bandwidth - in such cases, you may want to consider upgrading your ISP's plan. Regardless, you should try all of the steps below, as you may improve your video playback enough to stop the annoyances.


Set the resolution to "Auto" for Adaptive Streaming

Simply open up the options within your video player. There you should be able to choose the resolution of your video or movie. Choose "Auto" to initiate Adaptive Bit-Rate streaming. This allows the reduction of the resolution without any pauses or annoying buffering lags. While the picture quality will temporarily reduce, it will not be very noticeable.

The basic principle is the lower resolution, even if temporary, puts less stress on your Internet connection to pull in the data, and that means less video stuttering and stopping.

Of course, this may not an ideal solution for those with large 4K monitors, since you probably bought the large screen to enjoy 4K video at full glory. However, if your screen is 42 inches or under, you probably will not be able to see much difference with a temporary 720p feed compared to 4K.

If you're watching videos and movies on a small mobile device like a phone or tablet, the resolution should always be set to "Auto" for adaptive streaming. On these small screens, you will barely notice when the Adaptive Bit-Rate streaming temporarily reduces the resolution to prevent buffering.


Turn Off Hardware Acceleration

This option may only give improvements if you have slower hardware that actually hinders the display of the video. In these cases, the software acceleration may provide less video stutter and fix buffering problems. Definitely turn off hardware acceleration If you do have a low performance computer, phone, or tablet. Even high speed devices can benefit from it - if there's a hardware conflict problem. You will find Hardware Acceleration options within the advanced settings of your web browser or video player app.

Disable Hardware Acceleration in Google Chrome

In Google Chrome, I solved video buffering issues by disabling Hardware Acceleration.


Update your Video Player App, Web Browser, and Video Card

Update your Video Player App or Web Browser (Google Chrome, Edge, Firefox, etc) in your device whether it's a Windows computer, Android phone or tablet, iPhone, iPad, or even web-enabled TV's. Make sure you have the latest version of your video app or web browser - if it's not set on auto-updates already, consider doing that.

Just as important, you must have your most recent video card driver. It works in conjunction with your video streaming software to allocate resources on your PC, and you certainly do not want any video stutter inducing conflicts between them. After updating my Nvidia 1080ti driver, it helped the buffering problem a fair bit.


Scan for viruses or bandwidth stealing spyware

All of us are surprised when we find malware on our system. It's not our fault because today's malware is so cleverly cloaked, even the most experienced Internet user can fall victim.

There are many free anti-virus app's available for mobile devices available at their marketplaces. If you don't have one installed, you should check the reviews of users to make a decision on one. Install it and run a complete scan to find any malware. Be patient, it may take a while. At the very least, you'll eliminate this as the possible cause of your buffering issues.

Many app's contain "legal" spyware that's part of the agreement for using their app. These background tasks will continuously run on your system and access the Internet at the most in-opportune times - such as when you're watching a movie. This can steal your bandwidth and device's processing power causing buffering problems, While these are not going to be detected as malware, it's up to you to decide if an app is really needed on your device. If you don't ever use an App, uninstall it, instead of letting it continually steal away bandwidth and processing power from your device.

Scan for malware that causes video buffering problems

Microsoft Windows Defender makes it easy to scan for malware that may causing video buffering problems by stealing away system resources.

For Windows PC users, I recommend using the built-in Microsoft Windows Defender which is free for every Windows 10 computer. For most systems it is on by default and should be able to thwart any malware that tries to waste resources. In the Start Menu, simply go to "Update & Security" and click on "Windows Security" in the left pane. Then click "Virus & threat protection" in the left pane. Go to "Scan options" and select "Full scan". It may take anywhere fro a few minutes to a few hours - depending on the amount of data on your system. When finished, I also recommend selecting the "Windows Defender Offline scan" at the bottom of the Scan options. This will find and remove more "well hidden" malicious threats.


Isolate the Video Streaming

Having other app's running on your device or computer can waste bandwidth and cpu resources that the video player needs. Many times, other app's will interrupt a video with notifications and even be the cause of buffering when it auto-updates an App.

If you can isolate your video player as the main program, it won't have to compete with other app's. This will greatly increase your chances of preventing video buffering problems.

When watching video, try to refrain from any other Internet activity such as downloading games or files, keeping web pages and app's open that may be continually updating information such as sports scores, etc. Close any Internet messaging, video conferencing, or other programs that may be dominating your Internet bandwidth.


Use a Wired Connection instead of Wireless

You will usually get better streaming video performance from a direct wired connection as opposed through WiFi. Of course, due to location circumstances, that is simply not always possible.

If you have to use wireless, try to locate the streaming device as close as possible to the wireless signal source because walls, floors, and other obstacles can greatly reduce the signal strength. You can also try adjusting the channel number within your wireless router settings to achieve a better connect.

The latest modems also have various bandwidth options such as 2.4 GHz (up to 600 Mbps) and 5 GHz (up to 1300 Mbps). While 5G is faster, it can struggle the further away you get from the modem, making 2G the better WiFi choice that's more reliable over longer distances. The longer band waves of 2G will also go through walls more easily.

What Causes Buffering?

Video buffering is caused by the device's inability to receive enough data bits to display the video signal. The reasons for a low bit-rate include a lower-end ISP plan lacking enough Internet speed. Another common problem is the user's computer network settings have become corrupted or are not optimized to their full potential. This results in a very annoying disruption or pause to the video.

After researching the problem, one thing became clear, well many things actually. There are so many different configuration combinations for all of the Internet variables that it is almost impossible to manually find solutions for one specific PC.

Researching the Configuration Variables;
Take into account these variables when trying to eliminate video stuttering. Let's start with the different web browsers. If you've ever designed a web site, you know the tremendous task it is to make your site look similar in all of the popular web browsers. It took me a month just to adjust the code for this web site to work properly with the popular 5; Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Opera. The web browser you are currently using is just one of the variables that affects streaming video performance.

Other variables include your type of Internet connection (Cable, DSL, Dialup, etc.) and which ISP plan you are using. Then there's the hardware and its' settings. Varying differences in modems, routers, and Network Interface Cards (NIC). Add in the different Windows Editions and various versions, different Windows service configurations, and completely unique settings per user. There are no identical computers on the planet once we start installing, adjusting, and using our PCs. They are fingerprint unique after an alarmingly short period of time.

Hope you enjoyed this article on improving your video buffering problems. Have a good day..

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