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 device - but that long wait is almost as unbearable as the video buffering problem itself.
Why is my Internet buffering?
The most common cause of buffering happens when you have other devices hooked into your network such as mobile phones, tablets, computers, gaming consoles or web-interactive televisions. They may be using a lot of your Internet bandwidth.
This may cause slower than normal connection speed for any other device trying to stream video. You could shut down the other devices, but that may not be a popular decision for others within the household. Go a step further and close any running programs on your device whether they use the Internet or not. Any interruption to your device's processing cycles may also cause video stuttering and buffering problems.
How to Fix Buffering Problems (Computers and Mobile Devices)
Here's easy steps to solve video buffering (with full instructions below)
- Set the resolution to "Auto" for Adaptive Streaming
- Turn Off Hardware Acceleration
- Update your Video Player App or Web Browser
- Scan for viruses or bandwidth stealing spyware
- Isolate the Video Streaming
- Use a Wired Connection instead of Wireless
For Windows PC Users: To solve buffering completely with YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and Twitch on my Windows laptop and desktop computers, I optimized all my PC & Internet settings with tuning software. This allowed for continual 4k video without buffering or resolution drops. See how I solved my video buffering problem below.
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.
In Google Chrome, I solved video buffering issues by disabling Hardware Acceleration.
Update your Video Player App or Web Browser
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.
If you are using a computer, 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 prevents any video stutter inducing conflicts. After updating my Nvidia video card driver, it helped the buffering problem a fair bit, but I didn't get it fully resolved until I optimized my entire PC and Internet with WC 365.
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 apps 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 apps 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.
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 apps running on your device or computer can waste bandwidth and cpu resources that the video player needs. Many times, other apps 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 apps. 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 apps 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.
Update (July 2020)
How I Completely Solved My Video Buffering Problem
For Windows Laptop and Desktop PC's: If the steps above did not work out for you, consider optimizing your Internet settings with the Best PC Optimizer of 2020 as discussed in my update below. it's the only method I found to boost my Internet speed for perfect playback of movies with absolutely no buffering at 4k resolution.
Well, one thing I learned from my video buffer problems... it really is intolerable. So much so that I became obsessed with finding a permanent fix to eliminate them completely or at least reduce them to a much more tolerable level.
The only way I was able to stop buffering problems was to optimize and repair my Windows Internet settings. Even though I have high speed Internet, this was still necessary.
Unfortunately, these are locked and hidden settings within Windows and can only be fully optimized through a downloadable program. Be careful though, there's more than a few malicious optimizers out there. I tried many, and this was the only Internet optimizer that ended my buffering lag. It stopped the video lag completely out of my movie buffering problem. It works on any service you are using because it changes the core settings on your PC, along with optimizing your browser for movies. Now I can watch my streaming videos, TV shows, and movies without any of those frustrating pauses and low buffer issues.
I have confirmed the WC 365 optimizing program works with Windows 7 (on my laptop) and on Windows 10 (my desktop gaming rig). Now I have perfect playback at the highest video quality on both systems. The stress reduction alone made it worth the few minutes for the one-time set up. Plus it also improved overall PC speed and even helped with gaming performance.
Software installs gone wrong or simply adding a toolbar to your browser can corrupt your Internet settings within the Windows' registry. Whatever does it, the corruption can stall your Internet speed and cause slow sluggish web surfing and video playback mayhem.
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 variable 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.
An Effective Solution for all of us;
So given these vast configuration differences, it's practically impossible to manually set our very unique computer to the most optimized state for the fastest and most stable Internet and computer performance. Unfortunately, it would only be mere luck if we were to stumble upon the exact settings needed, and that would be after many long boring days of research. It's becoming apparent, this is truly a job for Internet Optimizer software solutions that will be able to communicate with our computers on a byte by byte level.
My video buffering problem was solved thanks to Wise Care 365 Pro with its' built-in Internet & network optimization function. Now I can play full HD videos straight through while the buffering bar stays well ahead. A vast reduction in video stops and annoying buffering stutter. Just smooth perfect playback on just about every video. Best of all, there was a positive side effect, my entire PC is faster overall with quick responsive performance. Of course, my newly optimized Internet improved streaming video performance immensely, but it also helped with web pages loading faster, download speeds improving, and even my files upload faster when I update this web site.
A full PC and Internet optimization can automatically safely repair and adjust all of the relevant settings to the most positive state for your particular hardware and software setup. This includes the locked files on boot-up and others which can only be accessed and changed through software.
Learn to Fully Optimize your Unique PC Variables;
It only took me a few minutes to fully optimize my PC and Internet. It's been months of smooth performance ever since. Can't say I didn't have my doubts when I downloaded the optimizer - because I certainly did. Especially after testing various other ones that were shamefully inadequate.
I recently bought a new PC for 2020, and using Internet optimization software, I was able to eliminate any buffering pauses. Someone asked me if it's also needed on the newer computers, and the answer is a definite yes - the default PC settings are set for a wide range of uses including many services which most users never heard of. Software that includes both a PC and Internet optimizer will focus and improve on the important settings. It'll give you perfect playback of streaming movies and videos, faster web surfing, improved downloading speeds, and boost overall system speed.
The great thing is the optimization is continual and remains until your PC is retired for a new one. Which brings up a good point. My old PC was over 7 years old and with a good optimizer installed, it ran like a champ until I recently got a newer one. However, even the new one benefited greatly.
After trying many optimizer downloads, only Wise Care 365 Pro optimized my computer to a perfect state for perfect video and movie playback. So whether your PC is old or new, optimizing makes it much faster, more stable, and able to play videos and movies without buffering problems.