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3 Tips for Improving Streaming Video

The following post is from Michelle of Mommy Misadventures:

My family said goodbye to cable more than two years ago, and we have never missed it! We get all of our shows via streaming video services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video on Demand. Streaming a majority of our entertainment means we search only for what we want to watch and don’t have to watch many commercials.

You can watch streaming video from a variety of different players, from Internet-connected HDTVs and dedicated set-top boxes to laptops and tablets. But no matter what device you use, the most important aspect of your streaming experience is your network connection.

For a smooth streaming video experience, you need a fast, reliable Internet connection as well as a stable home network connection. If not, you may run into issues like video stuttering, prolonged buffering or videos stopping mid-play. Luckily, there are three things that you can do to make sure that you have the best streaming experience possible.

Improve Your Internet Connection

Most streaming video providers require a minimum of 1 to 1.5 Megabits per second (Mbps) speed for low-quality streaming. For the average home user, anywhere from 1 ~ 5 Mbps per second is a decent Internet connection speed.

If you want higher quality streaming video (720p or higher), you should invest in higher Internet connectivity speeds. If you are a household with multiple devices — including computers, tablets, smart devices, gaming consoles and more — that all access the Internet at the same time, the higher, the better.

Improve Your Home Network Connections

While wireless network connections are quick and easy, you may want to consider using a physical (wired) connection if possible. Physical connections that use a traditional network cable are less prone to interference, making for a stable connection.

Some devices — like the iPad, Kindle Fire, and Roku — do not have a wired connection option. If this is the case, try to place your wireless router in an area that is free of obstructions for the best signal. Likewise, try to make sure that your device is in an area free of physical obstructions and interference-causing electronics, including microwaves and 2.4 GHz cordless phones. If you have a really large dwelling, a repeater can help boost the signal to areas of your home with poor WiFi reception.

Reduce Network Traffic

Networks are kind of like highways. When more cars are on the highway, the slower you can go; the same happens with computer networks.  The more things communicating on the network creates network congestion, resulting in slower network speeds. This can translate into poor streaming video quality. If you have a lot of devices at home — I counted as high as 18 on my home network! — try clearing as many devices off the network as you can. Avoid other high bandwidth activities — like online gaming or downloading/uploading large files — while watching streaming video.

Do you have other questions about improving your video streaming experience? Ask it here!

Michelle Mista is an IT professional, writer, and blogger with a love for all kinds of technology. She writes about tech tips and trends for work-at-home professionals on her portfolio blog and muses about motherhood at Mommy Misadventures. She is on a constant quest to balance life, work, and geekery.