Several years ago, viewers solely depended on cinemas and satellite TV for entertainment. However, recent technological developments have made it easy to access entertainment on the go, such as Amazon’s Firestick.
From watching the Oscar Awards to accessing content from all over the world, you can keep up with the latest and greatest shows and movies with one simple device. To take it a step further, HP’s Tech Takes even demonstrates how to use your TV as a monitor for wireless PC gaming if your laptop screen is too small. However, slow buffering speeds can cause you to lose your game, which is even worse than streaming a laggy video. For live sporting events, in particular, lag can make or break your level of enjoyment as Fortune describes in their article on broadcast delays. To help you out, here are some tips to diagnose buffering issues on your Firestick and how to solve them:
How to check if you really have a buffering issue
Firstly, it’s important to determine whether you’re really experiencing a buffering issue or not. It can be difficult to tell what is responsible for causing your specific problem, so here are some ways to check:
1. Try watching a new stream
If you’re trying to stream something on your Firestick and it’s loading slowly, try watching something else to see if that loads equally slowly as well. Sometimes, lag can be attributed to a server problem with the current item you’re trying to watch as opposed to a general buffering issue.
2. Try using a different internet connection
To see if it’s your current internet connection that’s been resulting in slow buffering speeds, try going to your friend’s house or another location to compare buffering speeds. If there’s an obvious difference in quality, the culprit is likely to be on your end.
3. Try using a different device
Sometimes, buffering issues can be linked to the type of device you’re using. If it’s an outdated model or has some technical issues, slow buffering speeds may not be because of a slow internet connection.
How to solve buffering issues
1. Restart your Firestick
It may sound too good to be true, but restarting your Firestick can solve all your problems. Firstly, go to Firestick settings, click ‘My Fire TV’, then click ‘Restart’ and confirm. If you’re still experiencing buffering issues, then move on to the next step.
2. Check Internet speed
The most obvious cause of slow buffering is a slow internet speed or a bad connection. You can go to ‘Settings’ from the Firestick home screen, click ‘Network’ then click on your Wi-Fi address/name to check its status under ‘Signal Strength’. WFMY News 2 reports that some of the most common causes of slow Wi-Fi include thick walls that block the signal. They suggest installing a mesh satellite closer to the room’s entrance to improve the signal. Also, oddly enough, your kitchen fridge and your microwave can also mess with your signal so it’s a good idea to switch your device to the 5G band on your router if it’s available. Having a lot of neighbors can also cause signals to get congested, so switching to another Wi-Fi channel on your router could be the solution. To check your speed, you can also try the free web service Speedtest by Ookla to see if you’re getting your money’s worth. If not, maybe it’s time to switch providers, find a wired connection, or see if there’s anything wrong with your current setup.
3. Use a VPN for safer browsing
Sometimes, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can throttle your speed if you’re consuming too much data, impacting your viewing experience. If there’s high traffic in your neighborhood, you’re probably going to experience slow speeds. To combat this, you should find a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which results in faster speeds and hides your streaming activity from surveillance. It also safeguards your personal information and enables you to access content from all over the world. Depending on your needs and budget, Forbes recommends some VPN services such as NordVPN, Express VPN, and PureVPN to solve all your buffering issues.
4. Always make sure you install the latest Firestick updates
The Firestick operating system comes out with regular updates that may include new security features or changes to your interface. Although it may be a hassle for you to keep updating your Firestick, it can actually boost buffering speeds. To do so, go to the home menu, click ‘Settings’, scroll to the right and click ‘Device’, then click ‘Check for System Update’ and confirm in the next window. If there’s a new update, you’ll receive a prompt to download and install it.
5. Uninstall applications you don’t need
If you have a lot of apps that you’re not using, they can be slowing down your entire Firestick system. Third-party apps can often cause problems because they’re not perfectly optimized in terms of compatibility, so it’s best to uninstall any unwanted apps to see if they’re the reason behind your buffering issues.
At the end of the day, buffering issues definitely cause tons of frustration and can make it difficult for you to unwind at the end of a long day. To ensure that your Firestick operates at its optimal capacity in terms of speed, follow each of the steps above to see if any of them solve your buffering problems.