Why Your Streaming Experience Is Slow
Jacques du Rand 2021-07-15
Ever visit a friend and feel like they have better internet than you, but you're on exactly the same package? The issue might lie in what you're watching, or more accurately where you're watching it from.
Slow Internet vs Slow Streaming
We know that internet speeds might be dependent on your ISP and network. There are a number of things you can test to see why your internet might be slow.
Your streaming experience might be slow depending on the device being streamed from, how you're streaming, and any possible interference in the airwaves.
But what if you and a friend are on the same network, ISP and package and they still get a better experience (ie no buffering) and we assume there are no interfering devices and you both have great WiFi routers and use the same devices?
It might very well be the sites you're watching your movies from.
Choose Wisely or Make Peace
The internet is a wonderful place that allows you to find nearly anything and everything somewhere online. This is a blessing in many ways, however when it comes to movies, only official channels are legal.
Official channels like YouTube, Netflix, Prime, Apple and Showmax have the infrastructure on their side to cater for multiple users (in the hundreds of thousands/millions) to watch movies (stream) simultaneously. When a new title is added to their service and that notification bubble pops up in your app, they've made very sure their servers can handle the load of multiple people logging on to watch that title.
It's like when a few years ago Takealot, or any big commerce store, ran those Black Friday promotions and you couldn't load the site. Or when you wanted to buy a ticket for an international show off Computicket (pre Covid when we could still go to live music!) and you login, but the site is not available?
That is pretty much what happens when you watch a movie or try to stream from an unofficial source. Too many people are logged on, and their infrastructures aren't geared up to cater for the load. (You're not paying for it after all.) You experience this as buffering.
Unfortunately, just because you're paying for a service also doesn't necessarily make it legitimate.
How Do You Know You're Using A Legal Streaming Service
It's sometimes blatantly obvious that a site is illegal, especially when they put no effort in concealing it. But what if you're still unsure?
Here are some easy ways to spot whether a streaming site is illegal and unsafe.
- Hosts Other's Original Content. You won't find a Netflix, HBO or Prime original series on any other platform than on their own. If the site you're on displays any such content, it's possibly illegal.
- Displays Questionable Ads. This is possibly the most obvious tell. If you're seeing unsavoury ads, or being blasted with ads and pop-ups, it should be a warning sign.
- Warning Signs. Messages from your browser, or messages once you've opened the site warning you of the content. You should probably reconsider being there.
- Downloadable Content. Some legal streaming services might give you the option to watch their content offline, but they usually don't allow you to download the file. Downloading such files is illegal, and called 'pirating'.
- No Contact Details. Legit sites don't have anything to hide, and will have their contact details available to customers.
- No App. Google and Apple are very strict on what type of apps they allow in their stores, you can be sure that a streaming app that enables piracy will not be listed in their app stores.
More and more streaming sites are popping up all the time. Legal and illegal. Use our tips above to make sure you stay safe online.
If you're finding that you are buffering quite frequently when watching movies, first check to see that you are on a legal site. If not, well, there is nothing you can do about the buffering.
If you are on a legal streaming site and experiencing problems, it could very well be your ISP/network.