In the last few years, the amount of people using the Internet for streaming has dramatically increased, and more often than not, especially on slower connections, buffering can be a major problem.
For those of you who don’t know, buffering is the annoying phenomenon where every so many seconds, the movie you’re watching, or music that you’re listening to, stops playing for a few seconds and loads the next bit, and keeps on doing this for the whole length of whatever you are watching or listening to.
Here are some good ways to speed up streaming on your machine:
* If possible, increase the speed of your Internet connection, especially if you are on a slow ADSL link.
It is worth noting here that some ISPs use what is known as traffic shaping at peak times to control congestion on their networks. If you have problems with streaming on a regular basis, it may well be worth looking for an alternative internet provider.
* Plug your PC into your router using an Ethernet cable rather than using a wireless connection (this can often speed up things dramatically when it comes to streaming)
* Try not to run other data-intensive applications in the background, i.e. downloads of large files, whilst you are streaming.
Sometimes this can happen without being immediate obvious, for example Windows Update often has a habit of downloading updates out-of-the-blue on systems where the settings for this have not been configured.
* Close any and all programs that you are not currently using, as this will reduce the likelihood of your machine freezing up when you are in the middle of watching or listening to online media.
* Download an alternative browser to Internet Explorer, i.e. Firefox and make sure that you have the latest version of Flash Player installed and update it regularly.
Note that there are separate versions of Flash for Internet Explorer and Firefox, meaning that you may have to re-install it.
* Run your anti-virus program and update it on a regular basis, it is well-known that viruses can slow down many processes on your computer as well as cause damage in some cases.
Finally, if you have quite an old PC, it may also be worth upgrading the memory and processor within it, although if your computer is beyond about 10 years old it would probably be more cost-effective to simply buy a new system than upgrade your existing computer.