What is buffering?
When you click the play button on Netflix, it begins to download some of what you are about to watch. Once enough has been downloaded to start playing the video smoothly, you are able to start watching the video. The space between where you are in the video – in this case the beginning – and how much has been downloaded is considered the buffer. It does this so that if your internet connection slows down or is interrupted, the video should still be able to play without stopping. If your Internet connection is already slower, these tips may help you reduce Netflix buffering. You may already recognize some of them from 17 Netflix Tips Everyone Needs to Know.
Follow these 4 steps to reduce Netflix buffering:
#1 Stop Everything
If you are downloading anything else while you are trying to stream Netflix, you will likely run into some buffering issues. What you are downloading may be taking priority over your streaming, or at least be hogging half of the bandwidth allowance. The simplest way to free bandwidth is by disconnecting all of your other devices from your wi-fi. This includes your family’s cell phones, tablets, video game consoles, and any other computers or laptops. By only streaming Netflix on one device, you should be able to reduce Netflix buffering.
#2 Hardwire It
Wi-fi is a blessing that makes the ugly sight of tangled cords vanish. Unfortunately, it also causes some of the signal to be lost if your device is far away from the router. This results in buffering and grainy video caused by lower resolutions. By connecting your device directly to the router, you should see an increase in your download speed. Of course, not every device can be plugged into a router, and most of the time it doesn’t make sense to reorganize your furniture just so you can watch something on Netflix. This step should be effective at reducing Netflix buffering.
#3 Lower the Resolution
Netflix allows you to choose how much data is used for streaming. Netflix will do its best to automatically adjust the data being used, but sometimes manually adjusting the resolution is enough to reduce Netflix buffering. The lowest option is basic video quality (below 480i) and uses up to 0.3 GB per hour. The highest option is full HD (1080p) and uses up to 3 GB per hour. If you want to watch Netflix on the lowest setting, you will need at least 500 Kbps, but Netflix still recommends having 1.5 Mbps. You can reach this setting by going to “Your Account” and then clicking on “Playback settings.”
#4 Wait Until Midnight
Netflix generally streams more quickly for everyone during off-peak hours. There are fewer people in your area using the same Internet connection, so there is less data travelling through your lines or beam. Less Internet traffic means faster downloading speeds, so being a night owl may just reduce Netflix buffering.
Only if needed: #5 Manually Lower the Resolution
This step should only be taken as a last resort, and only if you’ve followed all of the above steps but you are still experiencing too much buffering. Choose what you want to play and press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S. This will open a menu to change the bitrate for video and audio. Keep in mind that doing this will affect your overall enjoyment of Netflix because it will greatly degrade the video and audio quality, but it should allow you to stream Netflix. Keep reading… because there is an alternative solution that will let you to skip all of these steps and still get the Netflix experience you deserve.
The NightShift Revolution
This is the easiest way to end Netflix buffering for good. With this solution, you will not have to tell your family to disconnect their phones from your wi-fi or change the feng shui of your living room. NightShift pre-loads up to 60 hours of the TV shows and movies that you select ahead of time, so when you are ready to watch them, they are ready to play buffer-free. That’s enough content to last you the month! You won’t need change the data consumed, lower the video or audio quality, and best of all, you won’t need to become a night owl. It even streams to up to 3 screens, so everyone in your family can enjoy Netflix the way they deserve to.
1 Easy Step to End Netflix Buffering
Never sacrifice video and audio quality again. Just because you have a slower Internet connection doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to have the ultimate Netflix experience.