TV Answer Man, I watched Thursday Night Football tonight (Thursday night) and the picture was great. No problems with the stream and the colors were very bright. But a friend of mine e-mailed me and said his picture was terrible. Lots of buffering. How can that be? — Gino, Jacksonville, Florida.

Gino, Amazon last night streamed its second exclusive Thursday Night Football game (Steelers vs. Browns) and the audience reaction was mixed, to say the least. Many fans on social media said the picture was terrific with vivid colors and no interruptions while many others said the picture was a buffering mess with the dreaded spinning wheel constantly on display in the center of the image.

And when I say ‘many,’ I mean many. Twitter last night was overflowing with both positive and negative comments:

How is it possible that a single stream can cause so many different reactions?

Welcome to live streaming. The picture quality can, and often does, vary depending upon everything from your Internet service provider to the streamer’s servers to your device to your location to…well, about 20 other factors. This is not like cable and satellite which both have a more consistent and reliable delivery. Live streaming can be a joy to watch, or the most frustrating thing ever, and there’s not much you can do about it either way.

Sure, you can employ some of the usual tricks such as upgrading your Internet service or using a wired connection instead of WiFi. But even those actions may not help. Some fans last night who had streaming issues noted that they have the fastest Internet service available on the market.

Since the streaming companies are flush with cash these days, they will get more and more live sports exclusives. (By example, the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge may break Roger Maris’ HR record tonight and you will only be able to see it on Apple TV+.)

Our only hope is that the technology improves — and fast.

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

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— Phillip Swann