Network Streaming Players

Why Does My Streaming Content Look Worse Sometimes?

It’s weird. You’ll be watching something on your streaming service and the quality will randomly lower. Sometimes it will last for a few moments, other times it will last for days or even weeks at a time. What’s going on? What causes your streaming content to look worse? Let’s discuss!

Short Quality Dips

You are probably aware that there are dips in your Internet service from time to time. It is very much like when you turn on the water in your house and it sputters from time to time. Your streaming service is likely encountering high service demands and is not able to give you the full bandwidth you normally enjoy. After a few moments, it comes back and you are up to the full quality streaming you expect.

Longer Quality Issues

While it seems unthinkable, the above explanation also fits longer quality drops. You can expect specific hours of the day (around 5 pm when people get home from work and 8-9 pm when people sit down to watch TV at the end of the day) to have your streaming content look worse. These are high-demand hours when lots of people are streaming all at the same time. With finite bandwidth, there will inevitably be some dips in service.

Maybe less intuitive are days and weeks of service dips. There are times of the year when more people tend to find themselves with idle time that they might spend on the Internet. The weeks around holidays (especially those popular for family gatherings) are prime examples. The end of December and beginning of January in the US see lots of people traveling to spend time with their families. They often gift electronics to their children and receive new electronics. This all adds up to lots of people online at the same time. Yes, it may seem like your ISP is throttling you, but it is much more likely that high demand is simply lowering the available bandwidth.

Is There a Fix?

Internet Service Providers are constantly trying to up the available bandwidth. As you’d expect, they don’t like service dips any more than you do. They have to deal with all the service calls and complaints. Signing up for higher bandwidth service might help (like fiber) but there is no guarantee that you’ll never again experience service dips.

One thing you should check is your equipment. If the modem/router your ISP provided you is older, it may be time to upgrade. They will likely do this for free. Of course, we always recommend using your own router as it will be much more stable and reliable than one of those modem/router combo units. It could be not only the dip in bandwidth but also your hardware causing your streaming content to look worse. Taking any hardware limitations out of the equation will ensure that you are getting the best possible streaming quality at any given time.

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