ITS Service Desk

Video Streaming Troubleshooting Tips

If you're watching a video streaming service on campus (Netflix, Hulu, SpectrumU, YouTube, etc), you may occasionally encounter issues like buffering, stuttering, audio and video out of sync, etc. A good place to start for help is the web site of the provider. They're all very good at providing support information.

Keep in mind that streaming problems could exist at any point: the provider could be having issues, a fiber run might have been cut somewhere, there could be problems with network equipment on campus, your computer may not have enough resources or might be too slow, etc. All of these possibilities can make it difficult and frustrating to troubleshoot. But we want to offer some practical information to help you get through the most common situations. And the most common situation is that the issue can indeed be resolved on your device.

So, here are some tips to consider:

  • if using a laptop
    • check for malware or viruses
    • make sure you're using the latest version of a modern browser (we recommend Chrome)
    • make sure you have enough memory (consider shutting down other running apps)
    • check your firewall settings; consider turning off your firewall for testing purposes
    • close all programs, launch only a single browser window for your streaming service
  • if using a TV
    • check for system updates
    • if you're using a Roku or similar device, make sure it's plugged into the HDMI port properly
  • any device
    • move it to a different location in the room; often metal objects and room configuration can interfere with a WiFi signal
    • restart the device (to flush the memory and end stray processes)

By offering these tips, we're not suggesting that there can never be a situation where we should look at our network equipment or where a provider like Netflix should fix something on their end. But some very simple tests can help determine if those steps are needed. For example, if many students in many buildings on campus are having problems with various streaming services, then we should look at our campus network. Or if many students are only having a problem with Netflix but not other streaming services, then it stands to reason that our campus network is probably fine but maybe Netflix is having issues.

If you feel that there is something we can look into, please let us know. Also, feel free to bring your laptop or device to the Service Desk so we can troubleshoot with you.

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