13 Reasons why your Video Streaming is not working (that you haven’t thought of) and how to fix them

13 Reasons why your Video Streaming is not working (that you haven’t thought of) and how to fix them

Nothing is quite as frustrating as an unreliable, buffering video stream. All you want is just to put your legs up and enjoy a nice, quiet Friday night, watching your favorite show and it just keeps freezing. That kind of thing can drive the most patient person mad.

To say that there are a lot of reasons why your video stream isn’t working, could be the understatement of the century. Unfortunately these kinds of issues can stem from a host of different issues. From hardware problems, to your internet connection or corrupted video files, there are countless things that could potentially go wrong. So depending on what hardware, software and files you use, you definitely need to narrow down your search.

But as an extensive (but by no means comprehensive) guide of what could potentially not work, we have come up with 15 things that you probably wouldn’t even have considered. Again, this list is not going to be a substitute for specific troubleshoot, but it might give you an idea for potential problems, that you would otherwise not have considered at all.

1. The Ad-server is overloaded

This is a common problem, many people don’t seem to be aware of. This can potentially be a problem when watching content on video-streaming platforms, especially if they show ads. The gist of it is, that your content and the ads before, between and after the content don’t come from the same source (i.e. server).

In reality the ads come from different servers, that provide ads for a number of different sites and video platforms. If the same servers provides ads for different platforms during peak times, when a lot of people are watching, they can get overloaded.

How to fix it

The right fix very much depends on what service you use and what device/browser, so there are several fixes. But in general, you want to make sure that your IP adress is geographically right. That means, if you, for example, live in the south-east of Austin, you want to make sure that your ISP knows that and sends your content through servers close to that area.

If you are using the chrome browser, there is a tool called the chrome dev console which allows you to find the source server. Just use the shortcut Command+Option+J on a Mac or Control+Shift+J on a Windows computer. Here you can see if there is an obvious connection issues related to your location.

What happens often is that your location was not identified correctly and the ad was sent to you from a too distant location.

2. Problems in your Area

Sometimes real-life reasons can apply to your recording not showing up. For example Shows, movies or games could be subject to blackouts or regional availability restrictions and therefore, not be broadcasted live in your area. If a blackout happened, your content will not be recorded to your Cloud DVR.

3. Your Graphics Card is not powerful enough

So, that’s a tricky one. Because this might happened with a downloaded file, that you are streaming from your Laptop or PC to your TV. The picture is stuttering and you might think it’s a problem with the connection between your Laptop or PC and your TV. But really, the issue starts before that, with your Computer not being powerful enough to handle the video file. This will occur if you try playing a large (HD or 4K) video file, especially with older PCs or Laptops that have slow or built in Graphics Cards.

It’s easy to find out if the problems lies with your computer directly. Just stop the connection to your TV and try playing the video just from your computer. If it’s still stuttering, that’s probably why.

How to fix it:

You have a bunch of different possibilities here. Either try a smaller video file size, if you downloaded the video from a source where you can choose what quality file you want to download.

If that doesn’t work, you have to play the video from another source, other than your computer. If you have a Smart TV, you should be able to put the file on an USB stick and insert it directly into the TV. If the TV is powerful enough it should have no problem playing it from the USB stick.

4. It’s your Browser

Not all browsers are built equally. If you are using a browser for video streaming, it’s very well possible that the browser itself might not work. This can be for a myriad of different reasons.

How to fix it:

The fastest way to find out if it’s your browser is to use another browser and see if that’s working. If you have the same issue on another browser, it likely isn’t the browser’s fault. If it is working in another browser but you still want to make it work on your original browser you have several options. If you get an error code that’s a best case scenario, because you can just google it and find out more. If not, start by going through the most common fixes like restarting the computer and internet connection, making sure you have the latest software update installed etc.

If that’s still not working try deinstalling plugins. Browser plugins can have all sorts of unwanted side effects. A very common plugin, that will mess with your video streams are actually ad-blockers. With a lot of ad blockers you have the ability to unblock specific sites. So unblock the site, that runs your video and try and see if it works this time.

5. Your ISP is blocking you!

There are several reasons why your internet service provider might be blocking your content. One is, it’s a site providing content it doesn’t have the rights to or you obtained a file through illegal means. In that case your ISP might get contacted and informed that they are violating copyright law. If that happens, your ISP will either keep you from streaming that content or might drop you has a customer. So, in either case, it’s probably best to just leave that stuff alone.

If you are trying to stream content, that you know is legal or at least isn’t infringing on copyright law in any way that you are aware, it might be an issue your ISP is having. This can happen locally, in certain areas, for example.

Users of the game streaming website Twitch for example have noticed specific streams not working in specific areas.

How to fix it:

If you are not aware of any copyright violation but still think your ISP might be blocking your stream, your only solution is to call up the ISP. They will be able to tell you if this problem has been occurring to people other than you (in which case it most certainly is indeed something that has to do with your ISP). And if you are lucky, they might even offer you a solution or at least a timeframe, in which they will be able to solve the issue.

6. Too much data traffic

When streaming something locally from your computer to your TV you wouldn’t think that traffic could be an issue. After all, you are not actually using the internet. But still, you can very much overload your internal network. And often it’s stuff, you wouldn’t even think about, like scheduled backups or data transfers to a NAS product.

How to fix it:

In this case, knowing the problem is pretty much the fix. Just make sure, that you are not transferring or backing up too much data all at once or schedule your backup for another time, when you are not using your network for streaming. The best time for a backup is, when you are not sitting at your computer. So, if you typically go to bed at 11pm, just schedule your backups for after midnight and it will do all the heavy data lifting during the night, when you’re sound asleep, instead of streaming video to your TV.

7. You have Mobile Data turned on

A gentle reminder to always turn of the WIFI and turn off data on your phone, when you’re at home. 🙂

You’d think, this one is a given, but you’d be surprised how many people constantly forget to switch networks when they’re home or at another place with WIFI connection.

8. Content Scanning through iTunes and other Software is slowing you Down!

Whenever new media is on the way to your computer, it will likely be scanned by your anti-cirus software. But something you might not have known: When you stream media, there is still content scanning going on. If you use DLNA servers with software like iTunes Server, Twonky DLNA, Plex and so on it will like scan everything that is being streamed.

How to fix it:

All you need to do, to not be slowed down by content scanning is to make sure that those operations don’t occur while you are streaming. This will help you avoid unwanted buffering etc.

9. Your Livestream Encoder isn’t set up right

Encoding live streaming is extremely important as the variety of viewers’ devices is pretty big. The chosen data processing protocol impacts on compatibility with devices and capability to play video. Streaming protocol is designed to optimize delivery method to avoid video crashing. Choosing a wrong streaming protocol can make watchers baffling as they are having playing mistakes.

How to fix it:

Make sure you are using the correct streaming protocol and encoding and also updated the streaming app you are using to the newest software.

10. Your Plugins are messing up your video streaming

Popular internet browsers like Firefox, Safari and Chrome are great and very versatile thanks to a host of different plugins, that can add incredible functionality. However some plugins also slow down the performance considerably and can even cause video streaming to not work at all.

How to fix it

The easiest way is to look at what plugins you already have installed and weed out the stuff you don’t really need.

There are different ways to speed up browsing. One easy way is to cut back on your plug-ins.

In Chrome that’s pretty easy: You can just type chrome://plugins into the adress bar to open all of your plugins and deactivate the ones you don’t need.

If you don’t want to say goodbye to your plugins, there is a nice second solution: Make them only load on your command, by going to your settings –> “Show advanced settings” and Privacy. Under plugins you can click on “Let me chose when to run plug-in content”. This gives you full control over when plugins will activate.

One of the plugins that will kill your video stream the most is actually your ad-blocker. A lot of sites these days use software that detects ad-blockers and will not show you the content unless you deactivate the ad-blocker beforehand. Fortunately most ad-blockers allow you to manually deactivate the blocking on specific sites. So that you can still block ads on other sites, that don’t force you to deactivate it.

Just go to the settings of your ad-blocker and you should find an option like “activate on this page”. Once that’s unchecked, you will get ads on the specific page but it will also load the video.

11. Your DNS Server isn’t set up correctly

Basically, any time you try to visit a website, your computer will look up the IP address using what’s called a DNS server. However, sometimes these servers could, for different reasons, not be working right. For example, it’s possible that your ISP is not sending you to the right DNS server which considerably slows down your experience and can cause laggy video streaming.

How to fix it:

What you can do to fix this problem is bypass your DNS server by typing an IP address into your browser. If the page loads properly, you will have to change your DNS server. That sounds more difficult than it is and Google provides a really easy step-by-step guide for both windows and mac users.

12. The site you are streaming video off has changed servers

You might have heard the term DNS before, but never knew what it means. Basically, whenever you are typing in an URL into the address bar in your browser it has to look up the address on a Domain Name System (DNS) server. The DNS server then does ahead and matches the URL with an IP address. And the IP address is what actually tells your computer, where to find the website.

Basically it is kind of like if you were setting up a date and they only tell you to meet at ‘Uptown Steakhouse’. If you don’t know where that is, you’d have a problem. If, however, they tell you the address, you can just look it up and you’re good to go.

If the place is somewhere you’re going to more frequently (like, say, your dentist or a friend’s place) you would probably safe that address for later, so you don’t have to look it up every time. That’s basically what your computer does with websites you have visited before. It caches the adress, so it can find it more easily in the future. But, if that address changes, for example when the website owner changes server hosts, then your browser could get confused and not find the content you’re looking for.

How to fix it

You can fix this relatively easily by flushing your DNS cache. As the name suggests this is similar to clearing your browser cache and should be done if that didn’t work. We will tell you how you can do this on both Windows and Mac without much hassle.

Flushing your DNS cache on Windows

Click the Start menu and type “cmd.” Right-click on the Command Prompt option and choose “Run as Administrator.” In the Command Prompt window that appears, type the following command:

ipconfig /flushdns

Now, visit the site your content is on again see if it works.

Flushing your DNS cache on Mac

Press Command+Space to open Spotlight and search for “Terminal.” Press Enter to open it.

If you have a modern macOS starting with OS X Lion or higher, type in:

sudo dscacheutil -flushcache;sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

If you’re on an older OS X ( 10.10.3 or lower) type in:

sudo discoveryutil udnsflushcaches;sudo discoveryutil mdnsflushcaches

Now, visit the site your content is on again see if it works.

13. Hardware acceleration

Hardware-Accelerated Streaming can be a really good choice, thanks to several advantages. Your videos tend to stream faster and buffer less often and especially videos with a high bitrate and high quality wills stream way more smoothly. More videos can often stream at the same time.
Videos can start streaming faster and buffer less often.
However there are also several disadvantages: Hardware-accelerated videos tend to run faster but also cut down on quality, which will be noticable especially when you stream videos that aren’t full HD or 4K.

Also, there can be different bugs and issues related to hardware-accelertion.

How to fix it

Turn off the hardware acceleration and see if the video runs more smoothly without it. How you can turn it off, depends on what software you are using, but since flash player is the most used player we have a quick guide for you.

First, Navigate to the Flash Player Help page. Go to No.5 Verify whether Flash Player is installed. Right click the tree animation and then choose Settings.

Ensure Enable hardware acceleration is unchecked. And then Close.

After you disabled it, you reload the video and see if it works.

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