Video Streaming: How to Fix Buffering

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Q. I love watching Netflix, Hulu and Amazon on my Smart TV with our WiFi network connected to it. But I am getting frustrated that the buffering warning comes up a lot. Is there anything at all that can fix this? Please?!! — Darleen, Durham, North Carolina. 

Darleen, the wireless home network is a great way to use the Internet in more than one place in the house. But the strength of the original signal will decline if you use a wireless network. That’s a fact.

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That’s not to say that the wireless network won’t deliver a consistent and top-quality picture. If you are subscribing to a high-speed Internet service, the wireless signal should still be strong enough to produce an equally strong streaming picture.

But if you notice the streaming picture has frequent hiccups, you might want to try connecting your Internet cable directly into whatever device you’re using to stream to your television. (Note: You can also do this with your computer.)

You can do that by running an Ethernet cable from your Internet modem to the streaming device.

So, how can you tell if the signal is stronger with the direct Ethernet connection? Most
streaming devices have a feature that allows you to test the speed of your Internet connection.

Go to the player’s Menu and look for a Internet Speed Test feature. Try it a few times with the wireless connection and then a few times with the direct, Ethernet connection. The higher the number, the faster the signal.

If there’s a dramatic difference in speed between the two, the direct connection may be the way to go, particularly if you notice that your Netflix picture seems more consistent. I won’t guarantee that it will end buffering for good, but the faster speed will certainly keep those annoying interruptions at a minimum.

Happy Viewing!

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— Phillip Swann
@swanniontv

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