What is Buffering? How to Fix It + How to Prevent It

In streaming terminology, buffering is the term used for when a media stream (video or audio) pauses playback to re-fill the buffer.

What is the Buffer?

The buffer is a storage area on your device’s memory where data is temporarily “pre-loaded” to improve the playback experience by strategically keeping a minimum amount of stream data in the buffer.

Kodi Buffering Example Screenshots

 

How Do I Fix Buffering?

  • Choose a stream your device is capable of receiving
    • Lower-power devies such as the Amazon Firestick are not truly capable of playing extremely high quality video streams, such as 4K.  So choose a stream that your device can handle!
  • Choose a stream the server is capable of sending
    • If you’re streaming video from a video server that’s thousands of miles away, it may be difficult for that server to send data to you fast enough without interruptions.  So try to choose servers that respond quickly when you go to play them – this would indicate that the server is not too far away from you, or is just a fast server in general.

How Do I Prevent Buffering?

  • Prevent overheating
    • Place a fan next to your streaming device to give it air ventilation, since many devices overheat – which causes significant buffering.
  • Use paid stream sources (not just Kodi)
    • Paid streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and even some free ones like Crackle and Popcornflix can give you a much better playback experience (buffering-free).
    • Why?  The paid streaming services use your subscription money to pay for lots of high-bandwidth servers to minimize buffering.  If the $10/mo is worth the minimized buffering to you, then get Netflix.  Or better yet – get a VPN for about $4/mo to unblock all streaming TV channels & addons.