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Streaming TV Tips: Troubleshoot Buffering

May 25, 2021

Buffering, Buffering, and More Buffering? There Might Be a Simple Solution.

Have you ever had problems with your computer and the IT person starts by asking you to restart it? When you’re frustrated and ready to throw your computer out the window (or go on an all-out Office Space style attack) such a simple fix can really grate on your nerves, but sometimes it is just that simple.


You may routinely power cycle your routers, computers, phones, and tablets, but it’s often not the first thing you think of when having trouble with a smart TV or streaming device. If you start to experience buffering while streaming your favorite show, take a deep breath before you lose your cool (because we’ve all been there with technology), and power cycle your equipment. It acts as a sort of reset for your device without losing all your settings and data.

Step 1: Unplug your smart TV or streaming device (Amazon Firestick, Roku Streaming Stick, Google Chromecast, etc.) from its electrical power source, i.e., electrical outlet or power strip, waiting 15-20 seconds.

Step 2: Plug it back in. Your TV or streaming device will completely reboot.

More Tips

Tip 1: Disconnecting Hard-to-Reach Devices

If your electrical outlet or power strip is hard to reach, you may be able to accomplish power cycling by disconnecting your smart TV or streaming device from its electrical power cord at the point where it goes into the device – say from the back of your TV or from the side of your Firestick or other streaming device.

Tip 2: Turning Off the TV Doesn’t Count

A reminder – simply turning your TV or streaming device off does not accomplish power cycling; they continue to run in the background, even when turned “off.” The correct way to power cycle a device is to completely remove it from its electrical power source for 15-20 seconds.

Tip 3: Set a Power Cycling Routine

To keep her Wi-Fi at home running well, SKT Customer Service Business Representative Michelle Snell power cycles her router every Sunday night right before bed.

“I choose Sunday nights, because everybody else is down for the night and nobody’s hollering about it if the router wants to take five to 10 minutes to come back up! The main reason for power cycling regularly is I am working from home, we have multiple TVs, my boys’ friends are in and out of the house (so they’re on and off our Wi-Fi) – a lot of stuff is going on. Now, is it necessary to reboot the router once a week? Maybe not, but for me, it’s just one of those maintenance-kind-of-things to keep the network working well.”

If you’re routinely having trouble with a certain device, you may want to set a weekly routine for power cycling it and take note if you see any improvements.

Tip 4: Check Your Streaming Services

Another good tip offered by Michelle is to check the streaming service itself. They can also have issues from time to time. She expands, “So, if you’re watching Hulu and you’re having an evening of buffering, switch over to Netflix and see – does Netflix buffer? If it does, then maybe it’s time to reboot the Firestick; if it doesn’t, then maybe it’s just Hulu. The company may have the problem fixed by the next day.” Although chats are available for the different streaming services, they’re not always helpful in pinpointing issues happening in your particular area. You may just have to choose another option that evening – or maybe even read a book!

Tip 5: Choose Your Devices Carefully

When it comes to technology, it’s important to do your research and invest in quality products. That doesn’t necessarily mean a higher price tag but be sure to check reviews. It could save you a lot of headaches down the road. For example, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of support calls where a Roku smart TV or streaming device is causing issues while other devices in the household are working just fine.

So, before assuming that your internet service is the culprit for that maddening buffering, first ask yourself when was the last time you power-cycled your router? Your smart TV? Your streaming device? It could be that the streaming service itself is experiencing issues. Try switching to one or more other streaming services to see if the buffering is also happening there. And finally, if you need help, give your friendly SKT Customer Service Representative a call. Depending on what’s going on, they may escalate the problem over to a capable SKT Customer Service Specialist to help you troubleshoot. If it’s after hours, call us at 888.758.8976. We are dedicated to bringing you the best internet experience possible – and that includes TV streaming satisfaction.