TV Answer Man, I’ve tried two different streaming services and March Madness Live and I keep getting that little spinning wheel or some other thing that interrupts my picture. Am I doing something wrong? How can this be improved, please!? — Marshall, Evanston, Illinois. 

Marshall, you’re not alone. The ‘spinning wheel’ can be an occasional occurrence when watching any live streaming service, such as Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu Live, FuboTV and DIRECTV Stream. You will be watching a game or show when suddenly the picture will freeze and a small spinning wheel will appear in the middle of the screen. Or sometimes, the picture will just freeze or pixelate for several seconds or longer.

It can be awfully frustrating, as these YouTube TV subscribers relate:

And these Hulu Live subscribers:

And so on.

The cause of the problems?

The Internet. 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. (There are also viewer reports that CBS today is having trouble with its game streams so the problem could be their end.)

Welcome to the joys of streaming.

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.

Marshall, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann