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June 15, 2021
Netflix is a television and movie streaming service with over 208 million subscribers worldwide, up from 204 their previous quarter. Those numbers more than double the subscriber base of the Disney Plus app, and more than quadruple monthly Amazon Firestick users.
It’s happened to all of us. We’re knee deep in the exhilaration of the latest Daredevil, we’re all getting a little hot for Simon Bassett, or sobbing through “A Monster Calls” (no? Just me? Okay), and then BAM! The Netflix “buffering” logo appears, and your day is effectively ruined.
Despite it’s incredible success, Netflix isn’t immune from our beloved buffer. Often though, it’s not the fault of the server. The more common issue is… well. You. Ah, the ol’ “it’s not me, it’s you,” bit. However in this case, your iffy internet is more likely the culprit the than the multi-million dollar monolith you keep streaming.
To attack video buffering before it strikes, here are three tips on getting back to the action:
Check the Basics
According to the official Netflix support page, the first thing you should do for continual buffering is check the basic settings.
- If you have private internet access – check your connection. If you’re using a wireless connection (or other devices aren’t also WiFi buffering), make sure the signal is strong.
- Check how many devices are connected – multiple devices might cause low bandwidth throttling.
To watch Netflix in standard definition (SD), you need a minimum of 3 megabits per second (Mbps). A single device streaming High Definition (HD) requires 7 Mbps, and simultaneous connections of HD require 13 Mbps. A free Internet speed test can also be helpful in getting the most out of your high speed internet.*
If the connection seems fine, turn off and then reboot your computer or video game console. On a desktop, turn off any unnecessary background applications, games, or other streaming platforms that may be hogging resources. On a console, make sure there are no competing downloads taking place while you’re trying to watch a movie.
If your buffering problems still persist, reset your home network or move your consoles closer to your server locations. Finally, connect your devices directly to a modem or router with an ethernet cable, rather than relying on your wireless.
You can also try visiting the app store to delete and redownload the app. A factory reset or resorting back to factory defaults might also help.
Change Your Video Quality
For many reasons, some Internet Service Providers (ISP) cannot support the level of constant bandwidth needed in streaming video. Net neutrality has made ISP throttling extremely common (when too many users in the area access wireless at the same time). However all video content should have the option to stream at different qualities.
To adjust these video settings, head to the Netflix App or website. Select the “Internet Connection Speed Recommendations” page, and then click on the link to “Video Quality” to adjust your settings. Again, use the internet speed to find out what your ISP supports.
If you’re streaming above 13 Mbps select any video quality above 4000 kilobytes per second (Kbps) or “4K.” If you’re between 13 and 7 Mbps, choose “High,” or any bitrate from 1200-4000 Kbps. If you’re running between 7-3 Mbps, select “Medium,” or 800-1200 Kbps. And if you’re under 3 Mbps select “Low,” or anything below 800 Kbps.
To manage installed applications, simply repeat this process on each given media server. Most live streaming platforms will auto-correct video streaming qualities.
Adjust Streaming Options
If your Netflix App problems still aren’t resolved, try changing the service’s streaming options. While the service automatically adjusts your buffer rate, it can’t always keep up with fluctuations in download speed.
- On a desktop
Press Shift+Alt+Left Click (or Shift+Option+Click on a Mac).
- On a Playstation or Xbox
Press up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, up, up, up to access the diagnostics menu. Here, you can adjust the buffering rate from 1750 down to 1050, 750, or lower. While lowering the stream rate means shows and movies will take longer to load, they should also be almost entirely free of buffering.
If you’re using a free vpn, or any other type of VPN service, contact the host for adjustments. These suggestions may also help to help resolve Youtube buffering, Firestick buffering, Disney Plus buffering, tv buffering, plex buffering, etc.
Constant buffering can make watching youtube videos annoying, a half-hour Netflix sitcom an effort, and any movie almost impossible. If you’re having this problem, start with troubleshooting basics, adjust your video quality, and, if necessary, lower your streaming rate. If your problems still persist, contact customer support–or try your luck with a video on youtube.
*Netflix has multiple streaming plans to diversify the number of sharable devices, as well as the resolution of streaming for each. To learn more or upgrade your current Netflix account, you can visit https://help.netflix.com/en/node/24926