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Video streaming problems: Who's to blame, ISP or computer?

Aug 23, 2012 9:59AM PDT

Video streaming problems: Who's to blame, ISP or computer?

I'm having a frustrating time watching video on my computer at home.
Whenever I go to watch a videos whether it's on YouTube, news site, or
some other Websites, my videos often gets stuck buffering after only a
few seconds of playing. When it seems like it's ready to go again, it
plays for a while then starts to buffer again. It can take over 5
minutes to get through a 30 second video, and that's after the video
starts playing! Is this an issue with my broadband provider or is it
my computer? How can I tell whose fault is it? Are there tests I can run
that help eliminate common problem areas, so I can nail down the cause of
my frustrations? Are there ways to make things better. Or should I
switch broadband companies? All this stop and go buffering is driving me
a bit loony! Thanks for any help.

-- Submitted by: Cindy W.

Note: This post was edited by its original author on 08/23/2012 at 4:59 PM PT

Discussion is locked

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I can't prove it but...
Aug 23, 2012 4:02PM PDT

I vote that the websites are the one at fault. You get what you pay for, hehe, as the old saying go.

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Google having a bandwidth issue? surely not!
Aug 24, 2012 6:05PM PDT

Sometimes it can be websites that aren't giving enough bandwidth to the end consumer, but as this person states they are having problems with Youtube aka Google Video (and numerous other sites) I hardly think Google is struggling with bandwidth - or else the internet is doomed!

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Its a long chain of possibilities...
Aug 24, 2012 9:25AM PDT

The fault belongs to either one, some or all of the below... good luck isolating the cause.

1) Your PC. Run all the diagnostics you can to see if your machine is up to snuff. If you have a PC, try to learn about free PC diagnostics and repair from Microsoft
2) Your home network. Eliminate everything here, including your router, wifi connections and long network wires. Connect your PC directly to your cable or DSL modem and try it again. If it works, then start replacing home network gear one by one.
3) Your connection from your modem to your ISP. is one way to check this. If that's good, then you can't blame your ISP.
4) The connection from your ISP to the supplier of the video. Its difficult for you to test this upstream leg. But be assured Youtube/Google/Hulu/Netflix is paying for the best pipes it can get. Only way to check is to try streaming videos from different sites. If its lousy on all of them, don't blame the content distribution system of your video source. Look elsewhere.

Good luck.

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Aug 26, 2012 11:30PM PDT

To determine if your Internet connection is good enough for Streaming video go to

This will measure packet loss, ping times and jitter.

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Aug 24, 2012 9:26AM PDT

Your problem is your ISP. Most video sites should have no problem with stuttering problem nowadays. If all of them you look at have same problem then it is your connection. Which level of service do you buy? If it is lite, then video watching probably is not recommended. I think sites like youtube will let you buffer a video before you download. But my experience with that is too good.

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Buffering problem
Aug 24, 2012 9:30AM PDT

I had that a lot when I first got Netflix. I was using a WII system and that seemed to be ok. Turned out after calling my provider (DSL-Qwest) they tested my setup and their speed was only half of what it should have been. They did some magic on their end and the speed increased to where it was supposed to more problems, although I still do have some website buffering going on. With that I find that if I let the video start, and then pause it, wait for 20 seconds or so to let it buffer ahead, then press play it will usually finish without another stall.
Good luck.

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Test your Internet connection for streaming video.
Aug 24, 2012 9:54AM PDT


Go to . This will tell you if your internet connection is good enough for streaming video without lag.

What is

Use to determine the quality of your broadband Internet connection. Streaming media, voice, video communications, and online gaming require more than just raw speed. Test your connection now to get your rating and share the result with others!!

Update your Flash from


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The Key Word here IS buffering
Aug 24, 2012 9:58AM PDT

Since you state that videos...even 30 second videos take up to 5 minutes buffering and stuttering to play through...I presume you ARE playing the videos in your Browser window NOT through Windows Media Player or another software player like apple quicktime or Real Player or VLC Media player These video players reside locally on your harddrive and you download the content and play it back through a local account ON YOUR MACHINE...if it's one of these local media players playing back content you already downloaded... it could be a software or hardware issue but you stated you were watching videos ONLINE...making me believe it's your connection having the issue.

IF you're playing the videos in your browsers Explorer, FireFox...or Chrome or another's going to be a bandwidth issue or a problem with your network interface card (NIC) and yes there are ways to check your speeds.

First go to and check your speeds for BOTH download AND upload...the tests they run show both...try several different servers to test by choosing to test one...let the tests run...then when finished...write down your speeds and then choose another server to test...the app lets you test as many times as you want.

This way you get a cross section of fast to slow connections across the country or globe! This will tell you IF your ISP's available bandwidth is what bandwidth you are supposed to be getting and what you ARE paying for!

For instance let's say you pay for 20 Mbps...this is the package you pay your ISP for and by using the tests from can see your download speeds and compare what YOU ARE ACTUALLY getting as compared to what you are paying for...that's why you test numerous times to see your average. I pay charter for (30 Mbps) and often times I see up to (66 Mbps)...average across numerous locations I use for testing at
Bandwidth availability across the internet is heavily dependent on the time of day I'm testing...(obviously late night is much faster than the middle of the day) mid afternoon is usually the slowest for me...when everybodies at work using the internet...but late night when most folks are asleep...I can blaze it across the yes time of use does matter!

One thing I want to throw in here as well could be....line level noise...static or intereference in the transmission lines for your phone lines, bad cable lines...a dslam not working correctly..that's a teleco issue...there's numerous reasons why your connection "COULD" be so slow...they ALL have to be investigated...but in todays' modern era of broadband...this shouldn't be your issue...I presume you have either DSL or CABLE for your broadband connection...if it's DSL...the phone lines and the DSLAM could be your issue...if it's's going to be your cable providers broadband side that has to be investigated...IF IT ISN'T THE VIDEO SITE SERVER HAVING need to use and then you have an idea of where to jump!

I would hesistate to state absolutely that the ISP isn't providing the appropriate amount of bandwidth until I ran those tests and I looked at what your SLA or service level agreement is with your ISP provider. The reason I say this is because a fair amount of the time...the bandwidth choke point isn't necessarily with the ISP...the servers HOSTING the videos you want to see may be overloaded for requests and are running very slowly...but the only way to tell is to verify your available speeds and comparing them to what your ISP is supposed to provide to you.


This area is extremely gray when it comes to SLA's...a lot of the time...all the ISP is actually responsible for is a "active" connection and bandwidth "AS AVAILABLE" meaning they do NOT GUARANTEE the entire bandwidth being available...just a live connection is guarantee!

So test your connection...then open a service ticket with your isp if what you are able to get is (a lot less) than what you are paying for has to be a lot less(this is dial-up speeds) if you can't even run a 30 sec video without five minutes of buffering.

Good luck and keep us in the loop..we techies are seriously interested in SLA's and actual speeds as well as how the ISP's respond to these types of service could even be helping by illuminating an issue they weren't aware of OR they could treat you very badly....the only way to find out is to test..test...test...then call and begin the process or reporting an issue with your ISP.

Bobby Ketcham

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Connection speed
Aug 24, 2012 10:04AM PDT

It's much more likely to be your broadband connection speed than your computer. You can test your connection speed by going to a website that can test it for you. Try going to, then choose the 'speed test' link and choose the closest city location to your home. It will test your upload and download speed. If your download speed is less than approx. 0.5 Mbps that is likely to be the cause of the problems you described.

If the speed is more than that (a healthy DSL should give you over 1 Mbps download and about 0.4 Mbps upload) the problem is more likely to be your computer. If it is your computer, there are many things that could be wrong, which would make it too lengthy to go through here but you could do some reseach by Googling 'slow computer' or something like that.

If your DSL speed is slow, I would suggest calling your ISP and complaining about it, but in the meantime, if you are watching a UTube video, try reducing the quality of the streaming by clicking the little gear icon in the bottom right of the video window and choosing a smaller resolution. 240p should do it.

Good luck!

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Re: Video streaming problems.
Aug 24, 2012 10:15AM PDT

As a school teacher, I often do video streaming. There are times when I notice a slowdown in streaming performance. I have found that the streaming is usually slow during the peak hours of internet usage or if a lot of people at the school are using the internet connection at the same time. Unfortunately, unless you subscribe for a faster connection, there is not much you can do about it unless you download web content to your hard drive first before you view it.

I sometimes download YouTube videos before viewing them offline. To download, I usually use a Firefox web browser plugin called Flash Got. It will allow you to download Flash videos to your hard drive very easily. To view the Flash videos offline, you will need a media player that is compatible with Flash videos. I would recommend using VLC Player. You can get that program from the internet free of charge.

Viewing Flash videos offline has its advantages. It allows you to view the videos without the interrupted playback. It also helps you avoid data charges on your phone or tablet. If you travel,you can view videos while riding in a train, bus, or plane.

I hope these suggestions help.

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Speed/throttling tests
Aug 24, 2012 10:43AM PDT
Internet Speed Test

"See if you are actually getting High Speed Broadband Access. More and more businesses and homes are moving away from dial-up internet access to some form of Broadband Internet access. Broadband Internet access is much faster than dial-up access, but it is also more expensive."

Four ways to test if your ISP is throttling your bandwidth

"Bandwidth throttling and traffic shaping happens when a network attempts to limit the amount of bandwidth that a given service or user may use. Many ISPs terms and conditions specify a maximum data download per month allowed but they are not too keen to tell you about it when you sign up with them."
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things to look at
Aug 24, 2012 10:47AM PDT

If you contact the site that is doing the streaming, ask them for the optimal requirements you need to view the streaming video.

Then check your hardware for compliance.

Next, ensure that you do not have junk programs running like messengers, reminders, etc, at the same time or extra tabs open.

Check for malware/spyware/etc and get rid of any.

Be sure you have the latest flash update and any other updates/drivers you might need.

Check to see if your hard drive is more than 50% full, and be sure it is properly defragmented (not needed for SSD drives).

Avoid using Norton or McAfee - those have been known to slow systems down to a crawl.

If necessary turn off any antivirus program you are running.

If after you make sure everything is OK, contact your ISP. If you are on a shared internet like Cable, the node you share could be overloaded. When they say speed of whatever gigabits or megabits you expect to get at least 80% of that as a bare minimum, NO LESS. Tell them no speed = no pay the bill.

Your modem could be old or your connection throttled.

Warner Cable has a BUNCH of bad servers in the NYC area. Some are even infected with bogus sites spoofing people. Usually paypal spoofs.

Try using a run from CD version of Linux (most are free). It doesn't make any changes to your computer unless you make it do it. PCLinuxOS is similar to Windows. Linux Mint is a bit bloated, but works OK. Puppy Linux runs entirely in your RAM. That is among the fastest versions of an OS out there. And if that is fast, then everything else should be fast too.

See if that improves the issue. If not, then it is either hardware related or ISP related.

Note: be sure your CPU heat sink, video card heat sink, and power supply aren't full of dust and dirt.
Heat can cause problems too.

You could try using a different browser. Firefox, google, or even opera. See if any of that shows improvement.

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Re: things to look..........................
Sep 4, 2012 10:18PM PDT
NEVER, EVER, EVER disable your anti virus programs! This is the best way to get malware, spyware, trojans, and viruses!!! AGAIN, let me reiterate NEVER, EVER, EVER disable your Anti malware/ virus programs to view ANY stupid video! The computer you save MIGHT just be your own!

I can't believe anyone would actually recommend turning off the protection of your machine. TOTALLY incomprehensible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Aug 24, 2012 11:29AM PDT

Just read first 11 post.
You have purchased from your ISP a certain transfer rate.
Here is what affects that data rate. (Some have already mentioned what I will mention again).
Number of devises going through your portal at same time.
Number of tool bars on your computer it has to go through.
number of ISP subscribers useing the same server as you are.
Amount of available vedio memory on your computer.
Remember your smart phone is a computer.

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Video streaming problems
Aug 24, 2012 11:49AM PDT

I had the same problem.The problem was my fault.I had built my own PC and I had went into the control panel for my video card.I had changed the setting that controls how the video card would act while streaming video.I was also frustrated like you. Here's how I fixed the problem.Go into the control panel in your video card.Once there click on "Let the video card decide how to stream videos."It worked for me,hopefully it will work for you too.If not try one of the other settings.I think that there are only two or three settings if I remember correctly.Good luck Bud.

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Video Streaming Problems
Aug 31, 2012 11:18AM PDT

How do I go to the control Panel in the video card?I'm using a Dell 4700 computer running the XP Pro operting system.

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Need more info to really provide an answer
Aug 24, 2012 11:54AM PDT

You do not provide any info about a couple of things that would be very helpful in identifying the source of the problem.

1. How fast is your ISP connection supposed to be? Have you measured it with a speed test application to see if it as fast as it is supposed? Is it cable or optical or DSL?

2. You have provided no information about your system's configuration, how much memory, how much disk space and what type, network connection - wired or Wi - Fi.

Without this info, everyone is just guessing.


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Video problems
Aug 24, 2012 1:04PM PDT

The problem can be anything that runs the video. The list is:

Broadband connection 1) Speed, 2) response time.

The computer itself, speed, and memory.

The video card and codex.

So troubleshooting to isolate the problem.

First go to Look at the bandwidth and the "ping" time. If the bandwidth is lower than 3 MB or the ping time is above 50ms, you may want to look at talking with the broadband provider to see what it will take to raise the speed and decrease the ping time.

If this those are OK, then download a video. (so it is local) Then play it in your media player. See if it performs well there. If that is OK, it is likely your computer and video card are adequate. Then I would try other video providers to see if I get different results .

If it is not OK when you run the video locally, then start looking at what resources are being maxed out using the task manager while running the video. That would point you to what the most likely cause.

Hope this helps.


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Things to test
Aug 24, 2012 2:06PM PDT

Things to test.

1. Your internet speed (are you getting what you're paying for?)
2 Are you hardwired (using an Ethernet cord) or are you connecting wirelessly?
If it's the later, look at how many other networks are in range. If there's a lot of networks for your wifi, it's like trying to hold a conversation at a crowded dinner party or even a stadium sporting event.
3. Clear the browser cache and cookies. How to do it varies depending on the browser.
4. Hard drive space. As computers get older the hard drives get filled up over time. Windows machines use free space on the hard drive to swap data out of memory. A full or very fragmented drive will slow things down since it has to search around for areas to put that data.
5 Physical memory. How much ram you have installed along with how much stuff you have running at the same time. If you leave multiple browser windows or even tabs open to multiple web sites that cuts in on your physical memory causing the system to access the hard drive again to move things around. Unless you have an solid state drive (an overgrown flash drive) drive access can be a choke point. On a different note I would NOT use an SSD for swap file space since it has a much more limited read write life than a conventional hard drive.

6. Hardware (other than the drives or memory) Here's where it gets a bit sticky. Easiest test would be bring another computer or laptop in and try viewing on it. If it works fine and everything else

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I cannot play a you tube video or any video on firefox
Sep 2, 2012 3:15AM PDT

I can play videos when I log into Internet explore but canno play videos on Firefox. Anyone know why?

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Most common? Flash not installed for Firefox.
Sep 2, 2012 3:17AM PDT

Please start a new discussion if need be.

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(NT) If installed, try disabling AdBlock on
Sep 2, 2012 7:17AM PDT
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Same with No Script...
Sep 6, 2012 5:09PM PDT

be sure No Script is not blocking the video. However, not having the non-windows flash version is the most common mistake. The Windows Internet Explorer version will be active x. If their is only one flash version in the program list, and it has an "x" some where in the name, that one is for Windows IE only.

The other version will have "plug-in" as part of the name.

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Ports 80 and 443 seem to be blocked.
Sep 3, 2012 10:46AM PDT

These ports appear to be blocked and my ISP swears it is not them. I have turned off my anti-virus, firewall and deleted any programs that I did not need. But I still have the same problem. Netflix won't stream, Itunes won't update my devices or restore, and Webex does not work. They all use these ports. Any ideas?

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It's very probably your TCP buffer
Aug 24, 2012 3:10PM PDT

Assuming that you don't have the problems the other people listed (anti-virus interference, disk drive not defragged, machine clogged up with blotware), that is, in every other respect the computer operates as it should but stutters on the video downloads, then your problem is likely how your TCP buffer is setup.

If you have a broadband cable, then your download speeds could be above 12 Megabits per second. This is very fast and it is unlikely you would have stuttering at this speed. If you are more like me (AT&T DSL) with a maximum download speed of 1.2 Megabits per second, then stuttering is the norm. You will have to make this speed test yourself.

The problem you're having is related to how TCP/IP works - the video server downloads a few packets to your computer and then waits for your computer to reply (acknowledge) to see if your computer did indeed receive the packets in good condition. Well, if your TCP buffer is set too large, your computer is going to wait until it is filled up before it replies back to the video server. This is the cause of the stuttering - waiting a long time to fill up the TCP buffer before letting the video server know the packets were received correctly or not.

You can set the TCP buffer, but you didn't say if it was Windows XP or Vista/7. XP must be set manually and the instructions can be found in detail at

Windows Vista and 7 are a little more automated, but I've found the default buffer is too big for a relatively slow Internet connection. In this case, the buffer should be restricted to a smaller size. What this does is allow the TCP buffer to fill up sooner, which then tells the video server it's OK to send more data more frequently (thus keeping the video server pushing data out to you). The instructions for setting Vista and 7 can be found by Googling 'adjust TCP buffer in windows 7'.

Adjusting the TCP buffer is not a trival task, so don't be shy about asking for technical help - many people can't do it either. When it is done correctly, you will get streaming video without any stutter at all. I know it can be done because I did it on a Hughes/Dish Network satellite connection which is probably the slowest Internet connection/latency around, but it works well.

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Testing is the key
Aug 24, 2012 3:28PM PDT

BUT, you haven't mentioned any info about what your computer is like, or who's/what level of service you are using.

My preference would be to test it all!

See to test both as a unit, but get individual answers.


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Video streaming problems
Aug 24, 2012 3:40PM PDT

Here's what I did to solve the same problem.I've never had this problem since I done this fix.Go into your video card control panel.There should be two or three choices to choose from.I simply choose " let video card choose what's best".This fixed the problem of buffering,that was two years ago. I don't know any other way too explain how to fix your problem.You should go into programs and search for video card,or go to computer hardware and you should be able to find your video card there.

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If it's buffering the problem is the connection..
Aug 24, 2012 5:55PM PDT

On Youtube or any of the others if you are getting a buffering message then the problem is with your computers connection to the internet.

Now this may be due to the speed of your ISP, or a problem with your router.

Without knowing more about your ISP and network configuration it would be hard to put the finger on who is to blame.

If you live in a rural area and are still using a copper wire connection instead of either fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) or fibre to the home (FTTH) the problem is most certainly going to be your ISP just can't give you anywhere near enough speed. I live in a rural area and face the same problem and at times it's a pain in the backside because even trying to listen to music on Grooveshark can be troublesome.

Do you know what speed your ISP claims to give you - some ISP's will say we will give you "upto 20mbps" but if you ask them properly they will then say well the maximum your line can support is 2mbps. If your in the UK Ofcom have tried to stop this by forcing companies to tell people exactly what speed they are likely to achieve before signing a contract. Remember if they say "upto" then that is not the real speed, and if you ask them to do a line check they should be able to tell you the real speed you can acheive.

Now if your getting buffering issues I'm going to assume that you are either on ADSL (copper wire broadband), or there is an issue with your router.

If your on ADSL there are a few more things that can slow your internet down and that can be controlled by you.

At some point your router or modem goes into the phone socket. Do you know which phone socket it goes into. If you have more than one phone socket in your house try and ensure that your router or modem is plugged into the master socket. This is the one that is connected directly to the outside, and not an extension as extension cable is nowhere near as good as the copper wire outside and can severely affect speeds.

In addition to this ensure that you have a filter on the socket, and also place a filter on every other phone socket in your house. An ADSL filter is a little white box, with two sockets one labelled DSL and the other labelled Phone (or symbols to indicate the two). The way ADSL broadband works is that it sends the internet signal on a high frequency, this reduces the amount of frequency available for talking on the phone, but on a phone system your hardly going to be using it for sending down high quality audio so as long as you can hear the person at the other end the slight loss of quality really doesn't matter, plus the frequency that is used is usually higher than what some people can hear anyway. Now the filter is just a simple low-pass audio filter. It removes any high frequency sounds that may interfere with the internet connection. It also removes the high frequency internet noise from your conversation as well, which is why if your filter isn't working properly, or you forgot to install one you can sometimes hear high pitched noises over the top of your conversations on the phone, what you are hearing is the internet and as annoying as it is for you it is worse for the computer, because you know you can ignore those tones, where as the computer can't determine what is tone and what is speech. Not putting filters in will severely reduce your internet speed, and ensure you put a filter in on every phone, because normally on extensions if they're wired inside the master socket they'll be wired so that they're after the filter which is why an additional filter is required.

Ok so we've done that - router/modem plugged into master socket, and filters fitted to all phone sockets.

Now what else could be causing slow internet...

Internet sharing - This is one that is getting more and more of a problem with the increase in devices that use the internet. You have both internal and external sharing. External sharing there is very little you can do anything about, unless you look for an ISP with a low contention ratio e.g. a contention ratio of 50:1 means 50 people are all connected to that original connection so that speed has to be dished out to 49 other homes as well as yours, where as a contention ratio of 20:1 means only 20 people are sharing your connection (nb. if your speed is 2mbps and your on a 20:1 line you'll probably find that the start of the line has a speed of about 20mbps based on the fact that they assume about half the people wont be using the internet all at the same time except at peak times when you may notice the internet slow down to 1mbps). Of course other than choosing an ISP with a low contention ratio or moving house to a place with very few properties there is little you can do about the external sharing.

On top of that you have internal sharing, remember that at the box on the wall the internet may come in at say for example 6mbps, but then it again is split between numerous devices, you may have a PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Laptop, Tablet, Smartphone all connected and each of these are going to try and grab a bit of that 6mbps which means that if shared equally each device is left with only 1mbps to play with, of course it doesn't exactly work like that, each device can be given different amounts of internet speed depending on how much it's demanding that speed. so one PC that has a torrent program running might be taking 4mbps leaving just 2mbps to be shared between the other 5 devices.

Then as well as all the above if your on a wireless network this can also slow the connection down. Depending on whether your using 802.11B, G or N. 802.11N will give you the best speed and best connection between your router and your PC apart from changing to Ethernet cabling. But all radio frequencies can have various amounts of interference due to other devices producing EMF (electro-magnetic fields). An EMF is an invisible magnetic field that surrounds all electrical devices, and this can interfere with other devices. Sometimes you may be able to pinpoint the exact thing that is causing you problems but quite often it can be either a number of things all combined, or totally unexplainable. I know in our house we have a immersion heater due to not being on gas, and at night when that turns on it can severely weaken the internet signal, but also we sometimes get some radio interference from the radar station that is on the hill near us. So that can also affect your speeds and cause buffering

Then finally it can be down to what you have running in the background of your PC whilst trying to watch the video. If you have something like uTorrent running in the background downloading loads of files, whilst trying to watch a video, or if your PC has a virus, adware or spyware, all these can be borrowing your bandwidth and slowing your internet down and causing video buffering.

So there are a few checks to find out if the fault is internally.

Firstly quit all the extra programs that you have running - ensuring they do quit and don't just sit in the taskbar near the clock - right click on any that do that in the task bar and select quit from there, or an even better way is to download a linux live CD like puppy linux ( boot from that and see if the buffering happens with that (bear in mind that you'll need it to connect to the network, and possibly install flash to play a video). If it does then you know the problem isn't with any programs you have running.

Next thing to try is to turn off all other devices where possible that are also connected to your internet - this includes smartphones, smart-tvs, games consoles, blu-ray players, etc. and see if that makes a difference. If it does then you have too many devices on your internet.

And finally if possible move your PC to the router and connect directly with ethernet to the router. If you still get buffering at this stage, then the problem is most likely to be on your ISP's side and other than change your ISP to a better one there is very little you can do about that.

One other thing I forgot to mention above is to try and reduce the video quality.

sometimes Youtube will assume your internet connection can handle 720p resolution, if you click the cog on the bottom it brings up a list of resolutions, try 240p or 320p, the video may not look as good, but it shouldn't buffer as much, plus pause the video for a few minutes before starting to play it to give it chance to buffer a bit, you can see the buffer location in the bottom it's the bit where the play bar has gone from black to grey.

Note: This post was edited by its original author to merge two posts into one. on 08/31/2012 at 11:08 AM PT

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Video streaming speed.
Aug 24, 2012 6:58PM PDT

Hi the first thing to do would be to measure your internet speed using one of the sites that provide such facilities such as once you have done this you can compare the results with the speed that your isp says that they provide.
The other thing is to check your router and restart it and also clear you browser cache, after that you are left with your house cabling how you check this will depend on where you are in the world and then does the speed vary with the time of day if it does this is moss likely a contention ratio issue and down to your isp.
I live in the UK and am at the end of a long length of copper wire (about 3 miles of it) so I have a bad time with video on the web I always have to select a low standard if that option is available and or download the video to watch it, just recently google and youtube have put a block on this which makes it very hard to watch.

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Definitely check broadband/internet speed with
Aug 26, 2012 2:47AM PDT

I found that when I travel and have to hook up to the internet through my hotel, I have the same buffering issue. At home generally my streaming is fine. I have broadband that is supposed to be up to 24 mbps but at times when my general computer responsiveness is slow, I receive speeds under 4 and sometimes as low as 1-2 mbps. But this is intermittent and generally streaming works fine. Netflix states that you need at least 4 mbps speed to stream their movies so that speed is a general guideline you can work with.

Broadband is like a party line, the more people are on it, the slower your connection gets. I also find that if my son is gaming with Xbox, my internet responsiveness slows considerably. I hope this helps