Entertainment / Gaming / Movies / PlayStation / Xbox

6 ways to avoid buffering on your game systems or smartphones

Buffering issues can quickly turn that convenience into frustration. These six tips will keep your streams frustration-free.

Most modern game systems come with the ability to stream content such as movies and television shows. However, buffering issues can make some content almost unwatchable. These six tips can help you avoid buffering issues on your game systems.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

1. Close other apps

Modern game systems can handle a lot of tasks simultaneously, but if you are having issues with buffering, it is best to close everything other than the app you are streaming your content on. If you have a game downloading in the background or you are looking up information on how solar energy works on the web browser, shut those down until you are done streaming. The extra resources that even background applications consume can make a buffering problem worse. 

2. Reduce Video Quality

Not being able to watch your video at the highest available resolution can be a bummer, but getting that crystal clear 4K won’t do you much good if your content stops to buffer every few seconds. Lower resolution video comes with a smaller file size that is easier and faster to download, making buffering less of an issue. Some apps, such as Netflix and YouTube, provide an option to adjust the quality to match download speed automatically. Additionally, because the resolution is not as important on small screens or when you are sitting close to your device, lowering the resolution is a particularly good option when watching content on a TV or monitor that is 32″ or smaller. 

3. Pause the stream

If your content keeps pausing to buffer every few seconds, instead of immediately restarting it, let it download for a few minutes first. The more time you give it to download, the less likely you will run into future buffering issues. Obviously, this won’t help you much if you are trying to watch a live sporting event, but for anything that you can give some time to download, it’s a good option to help avoid buffering.

4. Improve your internet connection

Many internet service providers offer different tiers of service. If you are on the lowest tier and are experiencing buffering problems, consider paying for more bandwidth and faster download speeds. If you aren’t sure what kind of speed you are getting, check your speed on a site such as Speedtest. If you aren’t getting the speed you should be getting, try taking steps to make your connection work faster.

Linksys-WRT32X-review-03
A new router, like the Linksys WRT32X gaming router, can help improve your connection.

Power cycle your modem and router by unplugging them for ten seconds and then reconnecting them. If your router offers more than one band, choose the 5GHz over the 2.4 GHz. Check your account with your ISP to ensure you haven’t exceeded your data cap for the month. Many ISPs throttle speeds when customers hit their caps. Try using a different DNS server. Run a virus and malware scan. Malware can use up a lot of resources without you realizing it. If you are still using your preferred console’s previous generation, consider upgrading to a newer version. Apps are likely to be better supported, and the hardware is beefier.

5. Try a wired connection

Wireless connections are a lot more convenient, but there is almost always some speed loss when you use them. Many hardcore competitive gamers prefer wired connections for online gaming for this reason. Using a wired connection can also help with buffering issues by increasing your speed. You can use up to a 50-foot cable without losing connection speed. 

6. Reduce the number of devices on your network

Even when you aren’t actively using them, the other devices connected to your network can use resources. Disconnect everything you don’t have to have connected.

Being able to get on-demand content whenever you want it on all your devices is one of the great conveniences of the modern era. However, buffering issues can quickly turn that convenience into frustration. These six tips will keep your streams frustration-free.

What do you think about these tips to avoid buffering on your game systems? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook, or MeWe.

To Top