You have the popcorn, chips, snacks and drinks all set up. A marathon viewing session of your favorite show online is about to begin, but there could not be a worse time for your video streaming experience to be ruined by the constant buffering of the video you are trying to watch.

Here are a few things you can do to optimize your Internet for video streaming.

Check your Internet speed

If you have a lousy Internet connection, it only makes sense that any attempts to watch streaming video is going to be a challenge. Check the speed of your Internet connection by using an online Internet speed test.

The recommended connection to watch videos on Netflix, is at least 5 Mbps . To watch videos on, they recommend a downstream bandwidth of at least 1.5 Mbps for a smooth playback experience. The requirements for watching video on Hulu Plus on your TV is download speed of at least 3 Mbps for High Definition videos and 1 Mbps for Standard Definition videos. If your connection doesn’t match these requirements, then you may need to consider an upgrade in service.


Adjust your settings

On Netflix and Hulu you can adjust the video quality settings which may be helpful if you have a slower Internet connection. Adjusting this setting to a lower video quality or choosing the best or auto setting for your connection speed may help prevent the videos from freezing up or buffering during play.

Check your bandwidth usage

Another thing to check is the amount of data you are using while watching a movie or TV show online. If you are watching a movie on a computer or laptop and simultaneously downloading large files, this could put a strain on your bandwidth connection. In addition, if you have multiple devices connected to your Internet connection, and all are consuming large amounts of bandwidth, this can slow down your video streaming process. You may want to consider closing down some of these devices while watching a movie.

Get wired, checking interference

If all else fails and you are sick of video quality that reminds you of Internet speeds from the era of dial-up, you should consider using a direct Ethernet cable connection. If that’s not an option, keep an eye out for devices that may cause interference with your WiFi connection, such as cordless phones or using a microwave. (If that’s the case, maybe you should save the popcorn for later.)

Hopefully some of these tips will improve your online viewing experience and help with those buffering blues.