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How to reduce lag in streaming video

Updated April 17, 2017

You can reduce the amount of lag experienced while streaming video content by increasing your media player's buffer size. Video buffering occurs when your media player downloads video content ahead of the time in which it is being viewed. The content is stored in a cache so that lag will not hinder playback. By increasing the buffer size within Windows Media Player, you'll ensure that once your system is configured correctly for media playback, you will have no more interruptions. Minimising the amount of resources your computer is using will also help reduce lag.

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  1. Minimise the resources being used by your computer. Close any programs that are not essential for running your operating system by clicking the "X" at the top-right corner of the application's user interface screen. The fewer resources being used by your computer, the more that will be reserved for your media player when it streams video content.

  2. Launch Windows Media Player by clicking "Start," "All Programs" and then selecting "Windows Media Player" from the list of applications installed on your machine. Press the "Alt," "T," and "O" keys at the same time in order to be directed to the "Options" menu screen. Choose the "Performance" tab from the multiple tabs that appear.

  3. Click the "Buffer" radio button from under "Network Buffering." Enter a higher value in seconds for the buffer to adhere to. Sixty seconds is the maximum number of seconds allowed in Windows Media Player. Keep in mind that a larger amount of resources must be utilised by your computer in order to increase the number of seconds.

  4. Double-click a video file to play within Windows Media Player in order to verify that the lag issue has been resolved. If necessary, keep adjusting the buffer size within Windows Media Player in order to find the perfect balance between buffering, minimal lag and hardware/software resources being used.

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About the Author

Based in Florida, Robert Ceville has been writing electronics-based articles since 2009. He has experience as a professional electronic instrument technician and writes primarily online, focusing on topics in electronics, sound design and herbal alternatives to modern medicine. He is pursuing an Associate of Science in information technology from Florida State College of Jacksonville.

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