When I switched from cable TV to streaming TV a problem arose that I didn’t have on cable. I was frequently getting those little circles with the arrow trying to catch its tail called “buffering”. Buffering is designed to store some of the streaming data before showing it to you. That’s why a slight delay when you start streaming. Buffering exists to give you an uninterrupted video stream. The usual reason for seeing the buffering is that your video streaming speed is not keeping up with the speed that is needed to continuously display the video.
If you think about the old days before streaming became popular, you might have done long downloads of movies to your hard drive before watching them. That was using your hard drive as a huge buffer so that the viewing is not interrupted.
The most common reasons for seeing buffering now are:
- The internet connection is too slow to stream videos in real time
- The speed that the TV is receiving video from the router is too slow to stream videos in real-time
- There are too many devices using the Internet at the same time
In my case, when I went from cable to streaming I was now connecting the TV over WiFi that couldn’t quite keep up with the speed necessary. As you likely already know, today’s WiFi should be able to easily stream videos. Even though 4K video resolution uses five times more data than HD video, any consistent WiFi speed of 25 Mbps (Megabits per second) should be enough to prevent buffering. Like me, you likely have an Internet connection of 25 Mbps or faster.
My Internet connection is a guaranteed 100 Mbps, so what was my problem? The problem was the distance from my wireless router to my TV. As you get further from the wireless router the bandwidth capability of WiFi goes down significantly. The ideal way to solve this problem would be to run an Ethernet cable from my wireless router to my streaming box (a Roku device). That would give me the full-speed capability of the router without the speed loss of going through WiFi.
Running an Ethernet cable from my wireless router to my streaming device was too difficult to seriously consider. What to do? To the rescue was Powerline Ethernet which instead of using an Ethernet cable uses the electrical wiring in your home for the connection between the router and streaming device.
I chose this TP-Link AV1000 device because it was plenty fast enough (1000 Mbps) and because it has a passthrough electrical outlet. Installation was a snap. It consisted of two devices, one plugged into an electrical outlet at the router and the other plugged into an electrical outlet at the TV. Then installation was just connecting a short Ethernet cable between the AV1000 and the TV and connecting a short Ethernet cable between the AV1000 and the router. Also, I installed the TP-Link Power Line Utility on my PC. There wasn’t much more to do. However, I had a serious problem where the AV1000 would spuriously shut down the connection. If this happens to you, it’s due to the Power Saving Mode defaulting to “ON”. I used the TP-Link Power Line Utility app to turn off the Power Saving Mode and it has worked flawlessly ever since. No more buffering.
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