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There’s nothing more frustrating than the constant pausing, starting, and stopping, or a screen that reads “loading” as you enjoy your stream on your smart TV, smart Blu-ray player, or a media streamer.
This constant pausing or “loading” page screen is known as buffering and commonly happens to TV users when the internet offered by the ISP doesn’t supply data fast enough for the playback device. Having poor internet will wreck your streaming experience even if you have the best TV in the market.
So, why does a TV keep buffering? Well, there are several reasons. Fortunately for you, we have highlighted some of the key issues around buffering.
All streaming devices will buffer at one point or another. Ideally, your smart TV streams the video displayed ahead of time so that it’s constantly playing without pause. When the video played catches up to where the file hasn’t been streaming, there will be a delay. Remember, this is different than why your TV flickers.
The video will pause, and your streaming device will display a rotating circle, spinning arrow, or loading message on the TV screen—This is called buffering. When the video stream catches up, the video will continue playing.
This might take a few seconds or several minutes. Depending on the length of the video, the TV user will experience several buffering sessions.
Your smart TV may experience buffering issues due to two main factors:
It’s essential to note that while buffering can be annoying and frustrating, it’s unavoidable. Let’s face it, even with the highest internet speed and top-of-the-range TV models, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) might still experience temporary slowdowns or technical hitches that might not necessarily be in the consumer’s control.
Some internet providers will also schedule updates at midnight that might affect the internet speeds, leading to buffering.
It’s also easy to overlook the number of devices connected to your internet router. These devices are low-key internet vampires and can significantly affect your internet speeds leading to buffering.
While the two main factors leading to buffering are your internet speeds and equipment quality, other underlying factors might also contribute.
As simple as it may seem, rebooting your streaming devices refreshes the system, which is quite beneficial in case of a glitch.
Your TV’s software/firmware version can affect its performance streaming videos, causing it to lag and buffer. Updating the firmware could help improve your experience. Check on your owner’s manual for instructions on how to update your firmware. Firmware issues may also cause you to keep wondering ‘why does my tv make popping noises?’
Regardless of the quality and capability of your smart TV, obsolete firmware will make a high-quality TV run poorly. Your TV’s software/firmware version can affect its performance streaming videos, causing it to lag and buffer. Updating the firmware could help improve your experience. Check on your owner’s manual for instructions on how to update your firmware. Firmware issues may also cause you to keep wondering ‘why does my tv make popping noises?’.
Sometimes, service providers experience technical glitches that could unintentionally lead to buffering on the subscriber’s end. Streaming providers like Spotify, Hulu, and Netflix have hotlines dedicated to helping subscribers solve streaming-related issues. If the buffering is only experienced with one provider, call them for troubleshooting assistance.
Avoid running secondary apps in the background while streaming your favorite show. Also, make sure no downloads are running in the background. Close all other apps or programs while streaming to prevent TV buffering.
Don’t run multiple devices while streaming videos on your TV. Make sure all other smart TVs, tablets, smartphones, and computers are disconnected from your network. While small and not in use, these devices could be using up your bandwidth, affecting your stream.
What is buffering?
Buffering is the constant pausing, start, and stopping or “loading” page screen displayed on your screen when the internet offered by the ISP doesn’t supply data fast enough for the playback device.
What causes buffering on Smart TVs?
Your smart TV may experience buffering issues due to two main factors; Internet speed
and quality of equipment.
Is it possible to prevent buffering completely?
No. even with the highest internet speed and top-of-the-range devices, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) might still experience temporary slowdowns or technical hitches leading to buffering that might not necessarily be in the consumer’s control.
How can ISPs cause TV buffering?
STAT: According to surveys, Samsung was the most popular Smart TV brand among U.S households in 2020. Samsung had a 30% market share while TCL and Vizio had 14% and 13%, respectively. (source)