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How to optimise video streaming performance at home

There’s nothing worse than getting to a critical scene in a TV show or movie you’re streaming only to have the moment ruined by buffering.

If this happens often, there are a few tricks and tips you can try to improve the performance of your favourite streaming websites.

1. Pay attention to background tasks

A common mistake people make is to leave other tasks and programs open while streaming. Whenever possible, you should make sure you’re not downloading files or leaving other programs running while watching your favorite show. This means closing down other tabs, exiting out of messenger programs and logging out of gaming platforms.

If you can’t pause a download for some reason, consider waiting until the download is finished before starting your streaming session.

2. Choose the best time of day

It may seem like common sense, but many people don’t think about the fact that certain times of day are more popular than others for video streaming. This is true of both your household and your geographic area.

With almost 90 percent of Australia using the internet for 6 to 18 hours per week, there’s a good chance that you and your neighbours are all trying to watch your favourite shows at the same time.

Pay attention to the times of day when your internet connection is most heavily used. For example, there will be more people on the web after work in the evenings, which can slow down the overall performance and speed of your internet.

3. Try updating your device

Regardless of what device you’re streaming on, if you’re running an out-of-date version of the technology, there’s a good chance that your video quality is suffering.

Some devices can be set to automatically check for software updates before launching your streaming service. If you can’t do this, you should do a quick check for updates whenever you think about it.

4. Reset your router

It’s common for people to go months or even years without ever resetting their home networks. If this sounds familiar, doing a brief reset could improve the quality of your video streaming. When you restart your router, it clears the cache of information stored in it.

You will have to reconnect your devices when you do this, but it can be helpful for limiting the number of connections it shares.

5. Switch to ethernet

Wireless connections are far more popular now, but even if you have the fastest connection possible, it might still be slowing down your streams. This is because wireless connections aren’t able to receive data as quickly as actual Ethernet connections.

Even if your router is top-notch, it may only be able to utilise as little as half of its potential via a wireless connection. When this happens, your media player will usually downgrade the quality of your video. By plugging your computer or smart TV directly into your router, you can significantly improve the speed of your stream.

6. Turn off hardware acceleration

“Hardware acceleration” is a feature that’s available on almost every Windows computer. When enabled, this setting forces all applications to use a list of universal resource requirements. This is fine for many things, but it can cause slow streams, continuous buffering and distorted graphics on some machines.

You can turn it off in the display section of your control panel. Once it’s turned off, it allows your streaming program to choose its own resource requirements, which ensures that there is adequate power being allocated to properly stream your video.

Streaming doesn’t have to be a hassle

If you’ve followed all of the tips above and are still struggling to optimise video performance, try contacting your telco provider or streaming service help centre. Streaming doesn’t have to be a hassle, and with the tips in this article, you’ll be able to enjoy your TV time that much more.