By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, we don’t have the best Internet service which makes streaming live sports a challenge sometimes. Do you have any advice on how we can improve our live streams, particularly with the Vikings-Eagles game on Amazon on Thursday night? — Maryann, St. Paul.
Maryann, live streaming can add convenience and entertainment to our lives but it sometimes comes with frustration, too, particularly when trying to watch sports. Depending upon various factors, including your Internet plan, your location and the streaming service’s infrastructure, the picture can buffer or freeze at times. I think most fans would say Amazon’s Thursday Night Football picture last season was consistently good, but some fans said they had issues from time to time. If you have trouble with your Vikings-Eagles TNF stream tonight (kickoff is 8:15 p.m. ET; pre-game activities on Amazon at 7 p.m. ET), or during any live streaming event, here are six actions you can try to fix the issue:
1. Change the channel.
Then, go back to your original channel or show. This will sometimes allow your original channel or show to ‘catch up’ with the data (programming) that’s being delivered to your home. In the case of Amazon’s TNF, just exit the live feed and then go back in.
2. Reset your home WiFi network.
You can do this by unplugging your modem and plugging it back in. Your Internet service may be operating erratically, causing the dips in picture quality. The reset can put it back on course.
3. Upgrade your Internet plan.
Every streaming service has a minimum speed requirement to watch it. For example, some streamers will say your home Internet service must consistently be at 25 Mbps or you will encounter buffering (yes, the dreaded spinning wheel). However, to be safe, I advise you get a plan with speed at least at 50 Mbps instead of one with 25 Mbps. That way, if your signal dips, you will still be above the required limit. I will note that some TNF complainers say they already have a fast Internet plan, but if you don’t, this would be a good time to upgrade.
4. Delete and reinstall the app.
The live streaming app sometimes can get corrupted, creating a host of problems. A simple reinstall could eliminate the buffering and ensure a more reliable stream.
5. Move your modem/router closer to the TV.
You may have trouble with your stream if your Internet modem is located in a different part of the house, particularly if it’s on a different floor. Vizio, the TV maker, recommends that your Smart TV (or another Smart TV device) be positioned no more than 30 feet away from your Internet modem. Otherwise, the signal could be blocked by the walls or other obstacles in the house. Try using a TV closer to the modem, or moving the modem to the TV, if possible. If that’s not practical, you might want to purchase a wireless range extender that will (hopefully) bring a strong WiFi signal to every room, nook and cranny of your home.
6. Get wired.
Connect your Smart TV (or device such as a Roku or Fire TV) directly to the modem with an Ethernet cable. That will bypass the WiFi network entirely and (hopefully, again) deliver a stronger signal to your set.
Maryann, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
If you have other ideas on how to improve the picture, please note them in the Comments section below.
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