Q. Sometimes when I’m watching Sling TV, the show stops and I get this spinning wheel in the middle of the picture. Is there anyway to get rid of that so the show doesn’t get interrupted? What causes it? — Vic, Chicago, Illinois.
Vic, the ‘spinning wheel’ is an occasional occurrence when watching any live streaming service, such as Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu Live and AT&T TV Now. You will be watching a movie or TV show when suddenly the picture will freeze and a small spinning wheel will appear in the middle of the screen.
It can be awfully frustrating, as this YouTube TV subscriber relates:
So YouTube TV increases their rates and there service is more horrible than ever. It’s buffering like its 2001. If you are gonna make us pay more, at least let us WATCH something other than a spinning wheel! 😡🤬#youtubetv #YouTubeDOWN
— Sara N (@farmgirlnelson) July 11, 2020
And here’s a Hulu subscriber who’s getting the spin:
@hulu_support what is going on with your Apple TV apps? All of my tvs have the same spinning wheel issue and I have already deleted and reinstalled. Only way around is to reboot ATV and then I’m logged out. 👎 pic.twitter.com/pq9nB2p0t8
— Wally (@norcalwally) July 12, 2020
The cause of the spinning wheel? The Internet, Vic. It’s not exactly an ideal infrastructure for delivering live video. If the speed of your home Internet network dips below the minimum requirement needed for a consistent picture, it can cause picture buffering (aka the dreaded spinning wheel). And if the streaming service has a temporary delay on one of its servers, that can cause it.
Fortunately, live streaming services have improved their delivery systems in recent years so it’s less noticeable than it used to be. (Home Internet services have also increased their speeds and efficiencies.) But it’s still a problem.
If your streaming picture is consistently marred by the spinning wheel, you can try the following steps to fix the issue:
1. Change the channel, and then go back to your original channel. This will sometimes allow your original channel to ‘catch up’ with the data (programming) that’s being delivered to your home.
2. Reset your home WiFi network. Your Internet service may be operating erratically, causing the dips in picture quality. You may also need to upgrade your Internet service plan to a faster speed.
3. Delete and reinstall the app. The live streaming app sometimes can get corrupted, creating a host of problems. A simple reinstall could eliminate the spinning wheel.
Vic, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann