If you have been wondering why your Fire TV Stick keeps buffering despite having the faster internet plan in the neighborhood, it’s time to delve deeper? Apparently, it isn’t the connection that has been troubling you all this while and it’s time to factor in the device-specific issues, to mitigate the impressionable problem, once and for all.
What is Buffering, actually?
Buffering itself isn’t an issue and comes across as more of a misquoted technical term. Buffering, as a concept, recurs every time you stream videos in real-time. This means, the video bits, before playing out, are downloaded in a reserved buffer and eventually played on the big or the small screen. However, the process is exceedingly fast and mostly unnoticeable, if you have a fast internet plan to help you out.
The only time you experience buffering or the content lagging a bit is when the content is played faster than it is being downloaded into the buffer. At this point, you might have to pause the video and play it after a while to mitigate the snags. Frustrating much!
Is it actually a lasting problem or a one-off?
Did you experience buffering once in the past week or is it a recurring issue that canopies every video you play on the Fire TV stick? Or, is buffering only experienced when you play videos in 4K or even 1080p at times?
You need to get these queries out of the way before getting straight to the Fire TV Stick, in an effort to solve the gadget-centric buffering issues. Also, before you contemplate putting the more technical strategies to use, test your internet connection by running videos concurrently on multiple devices, i.e. two smartphones, a smartphone, and a laptop, or even on a couple of tablets.
If you do not experience buffering on any of the mentioned gadgets, it might just be the time to shift attention to the Fire TV Stick, something I would be doing in the subsequent sections.
How to troubleshoot the Firestick for Buffering?
Now that you have established that internet connection and speeds aren’t the knots that require untying, you must move to Firestick troubleshooting to identify the actual problem and the eventually, the reason behind it.
Here are the most important points that need to be ascertained, before moving ahead with the fixes:
- You need to keep an eye on the overall bandwidth allocation if others are also tapping into the same network and playing videos simultaneously
- Also, it is important to check for the interference between the TV Stick and the router
- Check with the ISP if they have throttled the speed for any reason
- Analyze the existing RAM count of the Fire TV Stick as clogged up system memory can throttle speeds
- Confirm if the Fire TV OS has been updated or not
- Check for overheating and similar issues
- Check for malware and the number of devices that are paired with the Fire TV Stick
Once you troubleshoot the device for the mentioned issues, you can rely on these fixes to get videos up to speed with your preferences. Quite literally!
- A Quick Reboot
Rebooting the streaming device can fix many a problem, with incessant buffering being one of them. Plus, once you resort to buffering, you deliberately killoff all the applications that were eating into the memory and resources of the Fire TV Stick. But then, rebooting the Fire TV Stick isn’t about unplugging and plugging in the same. Instead, you need to head over to the Settings menu and select Restart.
- Veer around for Fixing the Wireless Strength
Even if the internet connection at your home is blazing fast, it being intercepted properly by the Fire TV Stick can either be a hardware-specific or an orientation-centric issue. Therefore, if you have plugged in the streaming device deep behind the television, it is advisable to bring it to the fore by using the HDMI extender.
This way, you can make the most of the dual-band wireless support and get the desired signal strength. Plus, you need to recognize the fact that a wireless router often transmits concurrently, with the 2.4GHz covering the devices located at a distance and the stronger 5GHz band only supplying internet to the gadgets placed in the shorter range.
Therefore, you might need to change the position of the Fire TV Stick to get the maximum bandwidth coverage.
- Get a VPN
Your ISP, despite showing up as, all too generous, isn’t always supportive of your online activities. Therefore, if you are into torrenting, 4K streaming, or even viewing IPTV content to experience cable TV channels over the internet, your ISP might end up throttling the internet connection to save bandwidth and limit your usage.
This is why getting a VPN helps as it allows you to divert the more demanding tasks over a secured network whilst using the standard private network for surfing the web, reading eBooks, or indulging in basic online activities.
Also, if you are using an IPTV app on the Fire TV Stick, you need to understand that these IPTV apps support a number of devices, and therefore, you shouldn’t be using them on any other device that doesn’t use a VPN. If you do, the ISP will still be able to gauge your usage and might end up throttling the speeds, thereby causing videos to lag and buffer.
- Turn Off Processes
As the Fire TV Stick is still a smart device, it is more than capable of running multiple processes and background apps, while you intend on streaming content. Therefore, to allocate additional bandwidth to the system and free off the existing RAM, you might need to manage the installed applications, and Force Stop them, if necessary.
- Free up Cache and Data
If you have quite a lot of apps installed on the Firestick, you might end up clogging the system and even the cache memory. Also, as the streaming device comes with finite space, it is advisable to keep clearing the cache memory and even the device data at times to put minimal stress on the device.
While this might cause the app to take some more time to load the next time, the benefits clearly outweigh the underlying issues.
Nothing speeds up a Fire TV Stick better than the updated ecosystem. But the concept of updating apps shouldn’t be limited to the TV Stick inclusion and must apply to the entire Fire OS ecosystem. As a rule of thumb, you must turn on auto-updates to avoid getting hassled every time you plan on streaming the content of choice.
- Avoid Heat Accumulation
You should prevent the Firestick from getting too worked up as throttling due to overheating is also a possibility. The best way to keep heating in control is by using the open HDMI port for connecting the Stick to the television or to use the extender for placing it in an open area.
- Opt for Lower Quality Resolution
If your videos are still buffering extensively, even after following each of the mentioned steps, you should lower the video resolution and retry streaming the same. As most apps automatically select video resolution at your behest, depending on the type of internet plan that you are currently on, you can also set the resolution manually to get rid of buffering and lower the bandwidth requirements.
Following each of the mentioned strategies, not necessarily in the same order, can help minimize video buffering and enhance the content viewing experience. However, if none of the mentioned tactics work, the only way forward is to ‘Factory Reset’ the device and get hold of a clean slate, thereby deleting every interfering file and app there is, to reclaim the app, in its prepackaged stage.