Buffering is something that every Kodi user will encounter sooner or later. We’ve recently seen an influx of users complaining to our developers about buffering, when really this is something that’s entirely out of our hands.
Kodi add-ons interface with content already made available online, they have nothing to do with the distribution of content whatsoever, however we’ve put together an explanation of why it occurs and some potential remedies to lessen your buffering woes.
Please read until the very end as it’s important to understand the bigger picture and not just associate buffering with one particular cause or solution!
Causes of Buffering
- Stream Source Slowness – sources are powered by servers, servers are connected to networks. These sources are providing free service and sometimes have limitations set in place as a result.
- Peak Time Congestion – certain times of day are busier on the internet than others. If you’re talking about a Sunday or Monday night, those are probably busier times for internet use in general, meaning this could affect the source’s network speed, or even your internet connection locally.
- Geographical Location – Believe it or not, servers have physical locations and some places on Earth aren’t as well connected as others. Depending on where you’re located, your connection to the source’s servers could be impaired.
- Internet Connection Speed – your internet connection might just be too slow to support video streaming.
- Hardware Issues – your router might not have strong enough wireless power, the cheap no-name modem your service provider gave you might be defective, or your streaming device might not have the latest firmware installed.
- Addons ≠ Buffering – addons just interface with web sites, as soon as you see the spinning “Working” wheel, the add-on isn’t even running anymore. Buffering has absolutely nothing to do with what add-on you’re using.
- Web Browser Playback ≠ Kodi Playback – playback in Kodi is hard coded to timeout after 30 seconds if the playback doesn’t start, this is done to keep media player user experience consistent; web browers will wait all day as they aren’t designed with home entertainment in mind. This could sometimes be the cause of “Playback failed, one or more items failed to play” notices and is the reason why some videos will play in your web browser but not Kodi.
- Video Stuttering – choppy video doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with buffering, it might just mean your hardware device can’t handle the video quality or the encoding of the stream itself is corrupt.
- Advanced Settings XML – generally speaking, modifying this file will not solve buffering issues and will likely cause more trouble than anything, such as device crashing because the custom buffer size is larger than the device can handle (Kodi already allocates 300% of the memory to the buffer size). It is only useful in the rare event that you see the “Cache Full: Cache filled before reaching required amount for continuous playback” notification.
- Hardware Reboot – reboot your modem and router by unplugging them for five minutes or so, then do the same with your streaming device.
- Debrid Services – through a single paid subscription to Real-Debrid or Premiumize, these services allow you to take advantage of the premium services offered by dozens of sources. This will decrease buffering by giving you access to premium bandwith offered only to paid users.
- Update Kodi – if you’re using an older version of Kodi, it could likely result in less efficient streaming, it’s always a good idea to update to the latest stable version.
- Hardwired Ethernet – depending on the size of your home or building materials, you might experience wireless connection trouble, this can be fixed by hardwiring an ethernet cable from your router directly to your streaming device.
- Internet Connection Speed – call your internet service provider and upgrade your connection speeed, do your own speed test beforehand.
- Hardware Upgrades – if your streaming device is really old, you might want to consider purchasing a newer one. It might also be a good idea to look into a new, faster router, as those things aren’t built for life either.
- Modem Troubleshooting – if you’ve had your no-name modem for several years already, you might want to call your internet service provider and have them troubleshoot it, and if necessary replace it. It would be a good idea to do your own packet loss test beforehand.
Hopefully now that everyone’s aware of what causes buffering it will mean a little bit less finger pointing towards developers who have absolutely no control over this issue.