buffering

Why does my video stream stutter sometimes?

Episode 1501

Louis from Santa Ana, CA
Ethernet Cable

Louis is watching baseball games streaming online and sometimes the feed stalls. Leo says that's called buffering, and sometimes a packet drops and the feed will wait to see if it shows up out of order. Then it will insert it and move on. Sometimes, though, it just gives up and continues. There are some causes of this, including congestion from a wireless connection. But Louis can get a dual band router and use the 5Ghz band, or just connect to the router with an ethernet connection. The stream will be more reliable that way.

Why can't I live stream TV?

Episode 1471

Neil from Phoenix, AZ
Ethernet cable

Neil has cable based internet with 300 Mbps down, which should be great for streaming. But when he tries to use live TV, he finds the buffering makes streaming unwatchable. It's not the same with video on demand, though. Leo says that 300 Mbps is the "ideal" rate and it's always "up to" that amount. Leo recommends running a speed test from SpeedTest.net to see what he's really getting. DSL Reports has a really accurate speed test as well.

Why is my internet buffering so much?

Episode 1385

Mike from Panama City, FL
Eero Routers

Mike is frustrated that his internet access is going through a lot of buffering, especially when he's streaming. Leo says a router needs to control his ethernet connection, not a modem. It's the one assigning IP addresses. Then he can put routers all over the house, but have them set in bridge mode so that they just pass the bandwidth along. Mike should try using different names for his routers, too. That way, he can join the nearest ones directly. Getting a mesh router is also be a good idea. They aren't cheap, but they definitely solve the problem.

Why does my tablet buffer when I stream?

Episode 1357

Bret from Wood-Ridge, NJ
TWiT YouTube Live

Bret says that watching the TWiT Stream on his tablet buffers while his desktop doesn't. Leo says that the tablet is likely not powerful enough and has to buffer. It fills up the memory with frames so he can stay ahead of the stream, and if he's watching a higher resolution stream, that takes up even more room. His PC has larger memory buffers to handle it with no hesitation, but it can buffer as well, depending on the network traffic. Both will also get dropped packets.

Why is my Roku buffering and rebooting?

Episode 1338

Mike from Tustin, CA
Roku Ultra

Mike recently "cut the cord" and streams only via Roku. Leo says that what's apparent is that cord cutting doesn't really save money. When you consider Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and Amazon Prime subscriptions, he's paying just as much, if not more. That's not the reason to cut the cord. The reason is to send a message that he's not going to take it anymore from the cable companies.

Why does my internet radio buffer so much?

Jim from Gaithersburg, MD

Episode 1297

Jim is legally blind and uses an internet radio. He doesn't understand how to use it, though, and it buffers a lot. Leo says that Wi-Fi has a distance issue where the greater the distance, the weaker the system, and the slower the bandwidth. That's why Leo recommends plugging it directly into his router and he won't see nearly as much buffering. Leo recommends hardwire connections for any streaming device.

How can I keep my stream from buffering?

Episode 1272

Joe from Knoxville, TN
Raspberry Pi 3

Joe picked up a Raspberry Pi 3. Leo says it's an amazing $35 computer which comes with ethernet and USB ports. It's very popular with hobbyists. Joe uses it to run XBMC with his Roku, but it buffers a lot. Leo says that a lot of things can cause buffering like a lack of bandwidth and lost packets. Leo has a hunch that the buffer in XBMC is larger than on the Roku. He'll also get less buffering with lower quality streams. He should check out adafruit.com

Why is video always buffering on my iPhone 4?

Joe from Florida

Episode 1214

Joe is frustrated because video is constantly buffering on his phone. Leo says it could be the phone. Older hardware has to work harder to play hi-res video. But more likely, it's Joe's carrier, which can have limited bandwidth. Since Joe is using Sprint, they've been late in coming to the LTE party, and it may be that LTE isn't available in Joe's area. An older phone, like an iPhone 4, won't even support LTE. A new phone will help, but Joe should make sure LTE is supported in his area.