When streaming video stutters and stops

Fred langa By Fred Langa

Watching streaming video on your PC is great — until poor computer performance or a slow network turns it into an unwatchable mess.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Frequent pauses, video breakup, stutters, and hangs can often be eliminated with some simple fixes.

Unplugging streaming video bottlenecks

Reader Charles ran into a problem that we all encounter from time to time.
  • “When I attempt to play streaming news or television videos, my computer pauses every few seconds. This is continuous through the end of the video. How can I go about correcting this problem?”
I’ll answer in a sec, Charles, but first … buffering … buffering … buffering …

OK, I’ll be serious. There are usually two reasons for erratic video playback: simple system overload or Internet connection problems — sometimes both.

When a PC is juggling too many things at once, it may no longer support the high demands of video playback. Your video then pauses, stutters, breaks up, or drops to a lower resolution.

That fix is simple: shut down all unneeded apps while you’re watching streaming videos. Especially avoid any software that makes heavy use of the PC’s Internet connection, CPU, or hard drive.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2010-04-08:

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.