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Why YouTube TV Might Be Buffering And Potential Fixes

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YouTube TV subscribers may occasionally encounter buffering issues when streaming live TV or on-demand videos. Although it can be annoying, buffering is a common streaming issue and there can be a number of factors causing the problem. However, there are also some basic checks that subscribers can perform to see if any of them reduce or even eliminate buffering.

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In general, YouTube TV is a popular live TV streaming solution. It is a more expensive option than some of the other live TV services, but the channel lineup and the premium features typically make up for the higher cost. In particular, it can be a good option for sports fan. Unfortunately, streaming live sports also tends to be one of the times when buffering is most commonly encountered.

For subscribers suddenly encountering a buffering issue when watching live TV or on-demand content through YouTube TV, it could simply be an issue with YouTube TV. If this is the case, YouTube TV is likely to be aware of the problem and working on resolving the issue soon. For those that are routinely encountering buffering, then one of the first things to check is another video app. This can quickly help to determine if there’s a major problem with the internet connection or whether the buffering is specific to YouTube TV. If all other apps work fine, there still might be an issue with the internet. The reason for this is the additional demands YouTube TV might be placing on the connection.

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Check for internet issues

All streaming apps have their own recommended speeds and YouTube TV is no different. Adding to this, if streaming live sports and/or in 4K, the demand will be even higher. For example, YouTube TV recommends an internet speed or at least 25 Mbps for 4K content. Even when only streaming in HD, YouTube TV recommends a minimum speed of 13 Mbps. If the network speed is not delivering what the service recommends, the subscriber is more likely to encounter buffering issues.

These figures are also further impacted by other users in the same home. As an example, YouTube TV suggests a minimum of 7 Mbps per HD stream. As YouTube TV allows a number of devices to stream at the same time, the overall Mbps required will be higher the more of those simultaneous streams are in use. Needles to say, significantly higher when multiple people in the same home are trying to watch YouTube TV in 4K.

Although checking the internet might sound like a basic thing to do, and it is, it is also a very common reason for buffering. However, it is not the only reason.

It could be the app

If buffering only affects YouTube TV, and the internet is not the issue, the problem could be the actual app. An easy check and possible fix here is to close the app, clear the cache for the app, and launch the app again. The exact way to clear the cache for the YouTube TV app will vary between devices, but the option is typically found under “YouTube TV” in the “Apps” section of the device’s settings.

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It is also worth checking if there are any available updates for the YouTube TV app. Companies routinely release updates and these are typically designed to help improve performance and even fix issues. Simply making sure the YouTube TV app is updated to the most recent version can help to clear a number of issues. If this does not improve buffering, it may be worth uninstalling the app and downloading it again.

A fresh install of an application can often clear a lot of performance-related issues, so it is worth trying. However, this should be done after clearing the cache and applying any available updates, as the user will need to log back in to the app using their YouTube TV account details after downloading the app again. While reinstalling the app and having to sign in again is an inconvenience, it’s worth doing if it helps to fix the issue.

If buffering is still proving to be a problem, it may just be the app on that device. Although other apps might work fine, not every YouTube TV app works exactly the same. In some instances, the same app on another supported YouTube TV device may perform better, even if other subscribers with the same device are not running into the same issues. Naturally, an easy check here is to visit the YouTube TV website or download YouTube TV on another device and see if the buffering issue is resolved. If it is, it might be worth considering using a difference device to watch YouTube TV.

YouTube TV buffering summary

YouTube TV subscribers might be encountering buffering for a variety of reasons, but there are some checks that can help to narrow down the issue. This includes checking the quality and consistency of the internet connection, emptying the app’s cache and restarting the app, as well as actually installing a fresh version of the app.

In cases where none of the above helps, it might be worth trying YouTube TV on a different device to see if that solves the problem. If not, then the issue may simply be with YouTube TV itself. In these instances, it might be worth considering trying an alternate live TV streaming service to see if a different one proves to be a more reliable solution for watching live TV channels and on-demand content.

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John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

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