Buffering: What is it? How can Matt Damon help us?

Solve your buffering woes like Matt Damon solved his buffering issues in The Martian

Buffering happens to even the best of us streamers.  Many people have theories about how to fix buffering, but we here at KFire TV have some scientific facts and researchin’ in this here article to show you how to stop jitters, lag, and buffering in your TV streams and movies.

The buffering explanations and solutions explained in this article are the real deal, Holyfield.  My experience in various tech jobs and decades of watching digital media have led me to write this tutorial on how to fix buffering on any device.

 

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Physical Factors Behind Buffering

  1. The physical integrity of the device on which you’re streaming is a factor of buffering.  If you’re streaming a movie on a FireStick that’s overheated hundreds of times, the device will most likely malfunction constantly – giving us the appearance of buffering caused by something else.  Read why computer chips overheat at stackexchange.
    1. The most common fix:  Stick a [easyazon_link identifier=”B00WM7TRTY” locale=”US” tag=”arizonacaorg-20″]USB fan[/easyazon_link] next to your streaming device / Fire TV stick.  This oughta cool that puppy down, even for streaming HD movies.  I overkill it and use a [easyazon_link identifier=”B000E5WAUO” locale=”US” tag=”arizonacaorg-20″]”tornado” fan[/easyazon_link] that’s intended for circulating air in the room.
  2. The network conditions on your end (the “streamer”) and the movie source end (the “server”) are a huge factor in why your device buffers unnecessarily.  Why?  Because the server you’re streaming from could be severely overloaded, allowing almost zero data to be sent to your device.
    1. The most common fix:  Do a network makeover for cheap.  Buy a highly-rated new inexpensive [easyazon_link identifier=”B001FWYGJS” locale=”US” tag=”arizonacaorg-20″]WiFi router[/easyazon_link] ($20), put your WiFi router in the center of the building at eye-level, make sure your [easyazon_link identifier=”B01C724GK8″ locale=”US” tag=”arizonacaorg-20″]streaming device[/easyazon_link] has a solid network connection, and make sure your router isn’t overheating.
    2. See the tutorial video below to see how to choose the right Kodi stream to minimize buffering ;)
VIDEO:  How to Choose the Best Kodi Stream

 

A Real-Life Analogy

Buffering is like a glass filling with water

Buffering: You Must Be Like Water

“You Must Be Like Water” – Bruce Lee

Here’s an analogy that may help explain buffering in more “human” terms:

The scenario:  Someone’s filling a glass up with water, and you drink the water as the glass becomes more full.  If the rate at which the water entering the glass slows down too much, you’ll have almost no water to drink – and you’ll get thirsty.

This is similar to how our buffer-full situation works.  A “chunk” of the stream that’s coming in is “downloaded” to your device so you can watch it jitter-free.  Then after a few seconds, the next chunk of the stream is downloaded to your device, and so on, and so on.  So if the speed at which the stream is being delivered to your device slows down significantly (or starts out slow), your device will have no data (no “water”) to display (to “drink”)!

How to Fix Buffering:

If buffering is essentially caused by not enough data being sent to the device quickly enough, we can “science the shit out of it” to minimize it away:

  • Use movie streams your network connection can handle
    • Slow Internet connections will buffer when playing 1080P movies no matter what.  Upgrade your Internet service speed to fix this.
  • Use streams your device can handle
    • Low-powered devices like the [easyazon_link identifier=”B00ZVJAF9G” locale=”US” tag=”arizonacaorg-20″]Firestick[/easyazon_link] sometimes have trouble playing 1080P streams
  • Avoid laggy streams altogether and stream your movies locally, from a Network Attached Storage device
    • Streaming your movies from your local network will correct most buffering by minimizing the distance between your streaming media player and the movie source
  • Make sure your device isn’t OVERHEATING!  This is the most common cause of buffering, at least for [easyazon_link identifier=”B00GDQ0RMG” locale=”US” tag=”arizonacaorg-20″]Fire TV Sticks[/easyazon_link], since they have no internal cooling mechanism and process a lot of data.
    • To fix overheating, place a small [easyazon_link identifier=”B00WM7TRTY” locale=”US” tag=”arizonacaorg-20″]USB fan[/easyazon_link] next to your media device!
  • Your streaming media device may be cluttered and/or out of storage space, causing it to buffer.
    • Reset your device to factory default settings and/or reinstall Kodi.

 

Buffering Fix #1:  Use Streams Your Network Can Handle

Some people have slow Internet connections (less than 15mbps).  For those people, HD streams may not be a realistic option.  If you have slow Internet, you may be best off watching SD (Standard Definition) quality streams to reduce buffering and jittering.  Watch our video (above) to see how to choose the best stream in Kodi.

Buffering Fix #2:  Use Streams Your Device Can Handle

Buffering screenshot

Select an SD stream to minimize buffering

This buffering fix is more particular to [easyazon_link identifier=”B00ZVJAF9G” locale=”US” tag=”arizonacaorg-20″]FireSticks[/easyazon_link], since they are prone to overheating.  I strongly recommend you [easyazon_link identifier=”B01GPHO0XY” locale=”US” tag=”arizonacaorg-20″]place a small USB fan[/easyazon_link] next to your FireStick, pointing at it, to dissipate the heat.  Otherwise, what seems to be buffering caused by slow Internet or something else is actually being caused by the malfunctions that happen when any electronics overheat.

Buffering Fix #3:  Stream Your Movies From A Local Source

This once only applies to people who have a collection of movies stored on a [easyazon_link identifier=”B00W8XXRPM” locale=”US” tag=”arizonacaorg-20″]hard drive[/easyazon_link] or a [easyazon_link identifier=”B00EVVGAD0″ locale=”US” tag=”arizonacaorg-20″]Network Attached Storage[/easyazon_link] location.  You basically download your movies ahead of time, stick them on your [easyazon_link identifier=”B00EVVGAD0″ locale=”US” tag=”arizonacaorg-20″]Network Attached Storage[/easyazon_link] (NAS) device, and watch them with any device in the house (particularly any Kodi-enabled device).  This usually eliminates all buffering altogether, since the source is local and not X-thousand miles away from you (which is the presumed distance from any given person to a random video stream on the Internet).

 

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KFireTV Wrap-Up:

Whether you stream German football from the USA or watch American football from Germany, buffering can really slow things down.  So get out there and perform the fixes in this article to minimize buffering in your home theater system!

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