Q. I like to watch videos from Netflix on the Internet, but today I started getting a ‘buffering’ message while watching the new season of House of Cards. Is there anything I can do to prevent this? — George, Kansas City, Missouri.
There have been a few reports today of Netflix users getting ‘buffering’ messages on-screen during season four of House of Cards, which just debuted. It wouldn’t be a big surprise. When a show like House of Cards first premieres, the number of viewers trying to watch it at the same time can be so large that it can put strain on Netflix’s servers and cause picture interruptions for some.
That said, Netflix normally does a very good job of providing a reliable and consistent picture. If there are any glitches today, I would bet they will be short-lived.
However, depending upon the speed of your Internet service, or a host of other possible factors, your picture may occasionally be interrupted regardless of which video streaming service you are watching. Or which show. Unlike traditional pay TV channels, streaming video over the Internet is still relatively in its infancy and can be unreliable at times.
So what can you do to prevent frequent ‘bufferings?’ Netflix’s web site support page offers these three steps:
1. If you are on a work, school, public WiFi, cellular or satellite network, check with your network administrator or Internet Service Provider to make sure streaming services such as Netflix are supported, or try another network. If streaming is supported, your router manual, network administrator or service provider is the best resource for troubleshooting possible issues.
2. Powercycle your network: Turn off your Netflix-ready device (Smart TV, Blu-ray player, Roku, Apple TV, etc.) and unplug your router and modem for 20-30 seconds. Plug in your modem and let it fully power up, then turn your Netflix-ready device back on.
3. Improve your wireless signal strength: Walls and other electronic devices in your home, or other wireless networks in your immediate area, could be interfering with your router’s wireless signal.
Try moving your router to a new location to improve the signal strength. If that doesn’t help, change the wireless channel your router uses. And if that doesn’t work, plug your device directly into the router with an Ethernet cord, which offers the best connection.
If all of those steps do not improve your connection to Netflix, the company suggests you contact its Help Center.
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