How Do I Stop Streaming Video Lag?

By Scott Shpak

It's all about data. Streaming video takes information from the source and plays it on your computer, and when things go wrong, your content pauses, stutters or fails. There are steps to reduce video lag and these work cumulatively. Each improvement contributes to turning your computer into a lean, mean video machine.

On-Hand Resources

As capable as contemporary computers are, inefficiencies and imperfections remain. If you're experiencing video lag after your computer has been running for an extended period, you may be suffering from memory leaks or an accumulation of minor coding problems. Rebooting your computer is a time-tested way to reset your system to a clean slate. Similarly, running your video viewer alone, with no other applications on the go, allows your computer to pay full attention to the demands of your video, devoting memory and disk-access resources exclusively.

Maxing Your Browser

As your operating system is a platform on which applications such as web browsers operate, web browsers too are a platform on which Flash, Quicktime and other media services run. Closing extra browser tabs and windows returns resources to the browser, as does deactivating plug-ins and extensions. Check also that you are running the most recent version of your browser to assure best performance and periodically clear the browser's cache. If you continue to have problems, try another browser to see if your performance changes.

Video Drivers

Updating drivers for your graphics card is another way to squeeze extra performance from your system to avoid lag. These updates keep your video chipset working with new operating systems, programs and applications. Drivers can be updated through Windows Update, either manually or through automatic updates. The graphics card manufacturer's support website may also provide current drivers in executable files that make updates a matter of downloading and clicking.

Internet Connections

While there isn't much you can do if your Internet service provider experiences a temporary slowdown, whether due to technical issues or network overload, you can ensure your side of the video stream is optimized. Periodically shutting down your modem and router and rebooting ensures an error-free state for your equipment. In extreme cases, some people have found that routing your Internet connection through a virtual private network speeds streaming and improves playback. When all else fails, pause your video a few seconds in to play and allow the content to fully buffer before sitting down to enjoy the show