Why does my Fire Stick keep freezing? Better yet, how do I fix constant buffering issues?
In this post, I’m going to show you a few reasons why your streaming device may be freezing during playback. I’m also going to share a few tips that could possibly put an end to constant buffering and fix this annoying issue for good.
What is buffering?
To truly understand why your streams keep freezing, you should probably have a basic understanding of how your device works.
Memory – Your Device Has A Reserved Area For Storage
When you stream audio and video frames from the internet, the data is preloaded into a reserved area of storage on your device. By design, your streaming device wants to give you a smooth and flawless stream. Therefore, your device will download a certain amount of data into the reserved storage before it actually starts to stream your audio or video. After the reserved area stores enough data, it will begin to play your stream. Having this advanced supply of audio and video data in the device’s memory at all times creates a buffer that prevents disruptions if there are momentary delays in transmission during the stream’s playback.
If the network is fast enough this process will happen flawlessly. However, if there’s anything interfering and slowing down your internet speed, then you will most likely experience constant buffering issues. Your stream will freeze while waiting for the reserved storage area to collect enough data to resume playback.
Why does my device keep buffering?
Having a slow internet connection is the number one reason for excessive buffering. However, there are several factors that can cause your connection to become too slow to handle audio and video streams. Here are some of the most common reasons why buffering happens on Fire TV devices:
- Hardware Limitations – Constant buffering issues can be a result of problems with your modem, router, Ethernet cable, or even the streaming device’s hardware.
- Distance Between The Fire TV Device & WiFi Router/Modem – Check for interference between your Fire TV device and the Wi-Fi router. Interference can be due to the distance between the two devices, the presence of thick walls between the two, and interference from other connected devices.
- Multiple Devices Connected to The Router – How many devices in your home are sharing the available Internet? There’s a possibility that other connected devices on your network can be hogging your bandwidth and slowing down your Fire TV devices.
- Fire TV Device Needs An Update – Your device’s operating system needs frequent updates to avoid software conflicts and keep the system secure.
- Too Many Apps Running In The Background – Your Firestick could be running several apps or processes in the background. This can use up a lot of your device’s RAM (Random Access Memory). RAM is where your device stores data that it will need to access soon. Since your Firestick only has a small amount of RAM, it can be used up quickly. Moreover, some apps continue to use your device’s RAM even after you’ve closed the application.
- Fire TV Device Is Low On Memory – Fire TV devices don’t have a lot of storage space to begin with. To make matters worse, a portion of this internal memory is used by preloaded apps and by the device’s operating system. As a result, it will not take long to fill up the rest of the device’s memory. Especially once you start installing your own applications.
- Content Sources Server Is Slow – It’s possible that the server hosting your audio and/or video content is experiencing high network traffic at the moment. Or simply malfunctioning. You can have the fastest internet service available and still experience buffering issues if the source that’s delivering your content is bogged down and moving slow.
- ISP (Internet Service Provider) Throttling – Your internet service provider (ISP) might be throttling (Slowing down) your internet speeds on purpose. It’s common practice for ISPs to slow down your internet speeds when they detect torrents and/or they feel that you’re streaming too much content.
- Video Resolution – The type of video resolution you choose to stream will also contribute to the amount of buffering you will experience. For example, a 240p video will smoothly stream on an Internet connection with a maximum speed of 5 Mbps. But if you try to stream a 4K or Full HD 1080p video via the same Internet speed be prepared to experience intermittent buffering and interruptions during playback.
- Fire TV Device Overheating – You are likely to experience buffering issues if your Fire TV device is overheating.
Recommendations on How To Fix Buffering
#1 – Clear Applications Cache and/or Data
A cache (pronounced cash) can be described as a temporary data file that is downloaded on your device whenever you visit a website or open an application. This stored information reduces load time and helps that particular app or website to open and function faster.
For example, a website may have a logo image that loads on each page. Storing the logo in the cache file will basically eliminate the need to reload the image on every page that you visit while on the site. Thus improving the overall performance of the site by reducing your bandwidth consumption and helping pages to load faster.
Generally speaking, Caching data will improve the user’s experience while using an application or website. However, storing this data on your device may contribute to excessive buffering over time. Therefore, I highly recommend that you clear out your application’s cache file regularly. Moreover, this is generally the first step for me whenever I’m experiencing constant buffering issues while using an application.
Clear Cache Vs. Clear Data
Clearing the cache will simply delete the temporary data that is stored on the device in the app’s cache file while keeping the rest of your information and settings. However, Clearing data will reset the app to factory defaults and clear all the app-related data, including your login information.
*Clearing Data on apps like Kodi will delete any builds or individual add-ons that you have installed inside the app.
#2 – Restart your Fire TV device And Close Background Applications
Sometimes fixing constant buffering issues can be as easy as restarting your device! Sounds simple, I know; however, restarting your device will shut down most of the services and applications that are currently using up its resources.
In most situations, clearing the cache and restarting your device will fix most buffering issues. However, there may still be applications and processes running in the background. Even after you restart your device. You can find out which apps are running in the background by installing a task killer app like the Background Apps and Process List app. The application is free and it’s available in the Amazon App Store.
The Background Apps and Process List app will help you quickly identify and force close apps that are still running in the background on your device.
#3 – Check Your Internet Speed
Having a slow internet connection is one of the most common reasons for excessive buffering issues. Therefore it’s important to know that your network is reaching its full potential and hitting maximum speeds.
There are several internet speed checkers available to test the current speed of your connection. One of the easiest and most effective speed checkers is fast.com.
To access fast.com, go to your Firestick browser. In most cases, the Amazon Silk Browser is preinstalled on your device. But it’s also available on the Amazon App Store
Click the search bar to launch the virtual keyboard.
Enter https://fast.com then select Go.
The speed test will run automatically.
The Fast.com speed test will begin automatically as soon as the page opens. You will see your results on the screen after the test is complete. You might notice that FAST.com focuses primarily on download speed. Because download speed is typically the most relevant issue for people who are consuming content on the Internet
Running a speed test will help you decide if your Internet speed is causing buffering issues or not.
Assume that your internet is not being used by any other devices:
- The absolute bare minimum required to stream a standard video is between 3 and 4 Mbps.
- You’ll need at least 10 Mbps for 1080 high definition video streaming
- 20 to 25 Mbps for 4K video streams.
If you determine that your internet speed is too slow try the following:
- Reboot Your Router/Modem: A simple reboot will often resolve connectivity issues quickly and get you back to your normal browsing or load times in a matter of minutes.
- Too Many Devices Connected To The Router: Older routers may not be able to handle the speed requirements of multiple connected devices. Find out which device(s) are hogging the bandwidth.
- Look For Unauthorized Devices: In addition to limiting bandwidth to specific devices, check your router for any unrecognized devices.
Contact Your Internet Service Provider
Here’s the bottom line. Yes, you may be spending a pretty penny each month for high-speed internet service. But that doesn’t mean that you’re actually getting what you pay for. There are several factors that may be preventing your network from reaching its full potential. Like having an old, outdated router that’s not capable of delivering the fastest internet speeds possible.
If this is the case, I recommend you reach out to your internet service provider for assistance. The buffering issue fix may be as simple as configuring a few settings on your router, changing your service plan, or upgrading your router.
No “One Size Fits All” Fix For Constant Buffering.
In conclusion, there’s no “one size fits all” fix for constant buffering issues. Each situation will be uniquely different. Your buffering issues can be caused by any one of the factors listed in this article, a combination of factors, or none at all. However, using the tips that I’ve outlined in this article will help you troubleshoot and fix most buffering issues.