TV Answer Man, I keep trying to watch Godzilla vs. Kong on HBO Max, but the picture keeps buffering and glitching. Do you know how to fix this? Is it happening with other people? — Eddie, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Eddie, you’re not alone. Hundreds of HBO Max subscribers stormed the social media sites last night to report a glitchy picture while trying to watch the streamer’s new blockbuster, Godzilla vs. Kong. It’s unclear what caused (causing?) the problem, but it’s triggering a monster-like meltdown by frustrated viewers.
“Attempting to watch #GodzillaVsKong on HBO MAX is a nightmare. The buffering is taking us out of the mood. I miss movie theaters,” wrote ‘Venisia’ on Twitter last night at 10:01 p.m. ET.
“So apparently HBO Max has buffering issues. I wish I had known that ahead of time before making an account to watch GvK. Because that’s exactly what a huge blockbuster movie like this needs: stuttering every 3 seconds,” tweeted ‘Da Bonsk’ at 2:54 a.m. today.
“I would very much like the HBO Max app to stop having so many buffering issues so that I can enjoy watching Godzilla vs Kong,” added ‘Chance Farmer.’
And the complaints went on until early this morning. HBO Max’s Twitter customer service never acknowledged there was a widespread system issue. @HBOMaxHelp urged complaining customers to send it a direct message so the problem could be addressed privately. But it was clear that the buffering issue was affecting a large number of subscribers.
Don't think Godzilla vs. Kong is happening tonight – HBO Max hasn't figured out its buffering issues with the movie yet.
— Phil Friend (@Phil_Friend) April 2, 2021
If the problem is on HBO Max’s side, there’s not much you can do until it fixes it; it could be that more people than expected are trying to watch the monster movie, overloading the servers and causing picture problems.
But HBO Max does offer some tips at its web site on how to handle general buffering issues and it’s worth giving them a try.
1. Update the App
Online programmers frequently issue software upgrades so you want to be sure your app has the latest update. If you’re using an app that’s not been updated, it can trigger numerous performance issues. You can check if an update has been posted for HBO Max at the Play store on your Android device, or the iTunes store on your Apple device.
2. Get a Better Internet Service
Some cost-conscious consumers use their mobile Hotspots to stream video rather than pay for Internet service from a cable or telco company. However, a Hotspot’s speed can vary greatly depending on how much data you’ve used (companies reduce your speed if you exceed pre-set limits) or the number of people using the Hotspot. If your streaming picture consistently freezes or stutters, you might want to upgrade to a better Internet service. And if you already have a cable or telco Internet plan, you might need to upgrade to a faster one.
3. Test Your Internet Speed
Which brings us to step #3. HBO Max says you need a minimum download speed of 5 Mbps to get a consistent picture. That doesn’t mean your Internet plan delivers speeds up to 5 Mbps; it means that it averages 5 Mbps and above. You can test your service’s speed at numerous sites, such as Netflix’s Fast.com.
4. Restart Your Device
Whether it’s a mobile device, or a streaming set-top such as Roku, technology products sometimes stall based on data overloads or other issues. Try re-setting your device by turning it off and/or unplugging it for 30 seconds. Then, turn it back on and wait for it to reconnect to the Internet. A simple reset will often resolve any buffering issues.
5. Try Another Device
If the reset didn’t resolve the problem, try watching HBO Max on a different device in your household to see it it buffers as well. If it does, the problem is probably with your Internet, or HBO Max’s servers. If it doesn’t, the problem is probably with the first device.
Eddie, hope these steps help. 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