How to improve TV streaming quality on Netflix, Hulu and more
The popcorn’s ready, everyone’s settled, you’ve lined up the movie and… nothing. A rotating icon in the middle of the screen tells you to wait, and then wait some more Will the movie start in a moment, in a few minutes, never? There is no way to know. with buffering issues streaming Video is a common problem, and can cause unfortunate pauses in the middle of shows, significant drops in quality, and sometimes preventing you from watching a show or movie entirely.
This problem is exacerbated if multiple people are trying to watch different shows on different devices or someone is gaming zoom meetings, and so on.
Before slow loading and low resolution you have to switch back to cable (Seriously, don’t do it), try this simple solution. The faster the internet, the better your streaming quality, but there are many ways to make sure your device has the fastest internet connection. Our tips work whether you’re doing a streaming Xbox, play station, iPad, stop it, fire tv, Apple TV or your apps Adhu Nick TV. For more, here Settings to change on your streaming device And How to strategically cancel streaming services To save money.
Upgrade your internet speed for better streaming
This is probably the most obvious, but when was the last time you asked your provider how fast it offers? If it’s been a few years, it probably has new service (maybe even fiber) that can greatly increase your download speeds.
For this you need at least 15Mbps download speed 4K streaming, but really, you want a lot more than that. It’s also possible that there are new providers or services from other companies in your area. When I moved into my home, the phone company had the best option: a very fast DSL that was much better than the local cable provider. Now, cable companies say they have six times the speed at 60% of the price. I was able to save money and increase my internet speed quite dramatically.
This is definitely the first place to start. If you stay with the same provider, it will usually be able to flip the proverbial switch without sending a tech to your home. After that you will have fast internet. If you change providers from cable to fiber, for example, the new provider will likely need to send someone to your home to install it.
Read more: Best Internet Service Provider of 2022
Upgrade your Wi-Fi streaming hardware
The Wi-Fi router you get for free from your internet provider is probably terrible. I upgraded my router the day before my new internet service was installed and since then I have had 20% speed. Many providers even charge for their basic routers, so if your provider allows it, you can Save some money in the long run by buying a better one Directly and reduce your bill a little bit every month.
With an upgraded router you will likely get better range and a better signal in your home. So if you always have a bad connection at the back of the house, say, a good router can help with that.
A new or different router may also give you the option to connect via the 5GHz range (“normal” Wi-Fi is 2.4GHz). 5GHz is generally faster and less likely to interfere with other devices. However, it doesn’t go through walls either. Our favorite all-around budget option is the TP-Link Archer AX21.
Read more: The best Wi-Fi routers for 2022
If your house is particularly large, or the walls appear to be lined with lead, this should be considered Mesh Wi-Fi system. They use multiple devices spread around your home instead of a single device. CNET’s favorite mesh system TP-Link Deco W7200.
Read more: The best mesh routers for 2022
Switch to wired Ethernet
Although convenient, Wi-Fi can be quite slow on some networks, especially if multiple people are streaming at once. Wired Internet, aka Ethernet, is much faster and doesn’t have walls, interference, or distance issues (well, not at home, anyway). Although running cables can be annoying, it provides the most reliable connection, and may be worth doing at least to your main TV.
If you want to use a cable, check your device. Most streamers lack the Ethernet port required for a wired connection, but inexpensive $15 USB adapters are available. Chromecast with Google TV and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick. Most Roku devices don’t work with Ethernet, unfortunately. The exception is Roku Ultrawhich has a built-in Ethernet port and Roku Express 4K, Roku Express 4K PlusStreambar and Smart Soundbar Pro, all of which work with an optional Ethernet adapter.
Streamers with built-in Ethernet, no adapters required, are generally more expensive, but they may be worth it if you want an easy hookup or like Roku’s system. Here are our favorite streamers with built-in Ethernet Roku Ultra And Apple TV 4K.
Other options include: Roku Ultra LTvalue Apple TV And Nvidia Shield TV. Most smart TVs and game consoles also have Ethernet.
Move your router
Just changing the location of your Wi-Fi router can help a lot. If it’s on or near the ground, or in a closet or at the far end of your home, you may be limiting signal and speed without even realizing it. Wi-Fi can go through walls, but being taller and having fewer walls between the router and streamer will make a difference. If the router has an antenna, Positioning them correctly can help (one vertical and one horizontal).
Same thing at the other end. If you’ve got the streamer in a cabinet, that won’t help either. In a perfect world, the streamer would have direct line of sight to the router. It’s certainly not necessary, but anything you put between the two reduces the signal and potentially slows down the speed.
An alternative version of this is to get a Wi-Fi booster, or run Ethernet to a second Wi-Fi router (or the mesh option listed above). If your home is long or large, there are plenty of options beyond the scope of this guide.
Limit the number of people on your Wi-Fi
Think of your internet connection as a pipe full of water. There is only so much water to go around. If you’re trying to stream in the living room, but the rest of the family is also trying to stream in other rooms, there may not be enough “water” to go around. Everyone will have problems.
In that case, I will leave it up to you who will take priority. No way am I touching that one.
That said, making some devices wired instead of wireless can help that aspect of your overall home network performance. You can also try downloading your favorite shows and movies to the device the phone And tablets Look around the house when a bulky internet connection stops streaming.
Check your streaming speed results
a Internet Speed Tester choice Speed test or Netflix’s Fast.com It might give you an idea of what you are dealing with now. If you use Android or iOS version, make sure to place the phone or tablet near the streaming device to get the most accurate results. With each change you make, check back and see how it affected the signal.
Many streaming issues can be resolved with these steps I’ve outlined. The key is to connect the device to the fastest possible internet, by any means necessary.
For more, check out Roku tips and tricks to up your streaming game And How to get rid of your old TV.
In addition to covering TV and other display technology, Geoff takes photo tours of great museums and locations around the world, including nuclear submarines, giant aircraft carriers, medieval castles, epic 10,000-mile road trips, and more. Check out Tech Treks for all its tours and adventures.
He wrote a Bestselling sci-fi novel About submarines the size of cities, including one The sequel. You can follow his adventures Instagram and his YouTube channel.