There are few things more annoying than whatever you are watching stopping to buffer right when it is getting good. It is even more annoying when you aren’t sure why your Android TV box is failing to deliver.
In this article, we’ll take you through what you need to do to figure out where the weak point in your TV streaming setup is that is causing this problem, so you can find a solution.
For this, you will need apps that allow you to test your internet speed on an Android TV box. So we’ll also recommend the five best Android TV apps you can download today to measure your speeds.
Troubleshooting Your Buffering Android TV Box
If you are having buffering issues when streaming on your Android TV box, there are a variety of different factors that could be the issue.
- It could be that your internet speeds just aren’t to the task of streaming whatever you are watching, especially if it is in HD. If this is the case, it might be time to upgrade your internet package.
- If your Android TV box is connected via Wi-Fi, it could be that a weak signal is the problem. In this case, it might be time to move your router or connect your TV box directly to the router via ethernet.
- It might be that your VPN is significantly slowing down speeds. When this is the case, you may need to switch to a more streaming-friendly VPN. (And yes, you should definitely be using a VPN with your Android TV box; here’s why.)
- Perhaps it is a fault with your TV box that is causing the problem. It might have faulty hardware or an out-of-date firmware or operating system, which means it is not up to the task. When this is the problem, you may be able to just update your firmware, or it may be time to invest in a new Android TV box.
- The problem might not be your setup at all, but rather the site you are streaming from. If this is the case, it might be time to look for some different streaming services.
How do you know which of these problems is affecting you? You are going to want to test your Android TV box’s speed in a variety of different situations.
- First, you are going to want to test the speed of your router if you can, to see what kind of internet connection your provider is delivering and whether it matches what you pay for.
- Next, you will want to test the speed of your Android TV box when connected directly to your internet without a VPN.
- If the speeds are slow and you are connected via Wi-Fi, then you will also want to see if the connection speeds change when you connect your TV box directly via ethernet cable (if possible) and if you move your Android TV box closer to your router (or vice versa).
- If everything looks good at this point, it is time to check your speeds while connected to your VPN. Test with the settings you usually use first. If these speeds aren’t good, try connecting via a server that is closer to your location but still provides the service you want. As a general rule, connections are slower the further you bounce your connection.
- You should test your speeds with a variety of different services to determine whether it is your setup that is the problem or the streaming service you are using.
- If you go through all of these steps and you still haven’t found a reason for your buffering, then the chances are it is your TV box that is the problem.
If it seems like it is your TV box that is the problem, there are a variety of different things to consider:
How Much ROM Does Your TV Box Have?
Most TV boxes have between 2-4 GB of ROM, but smaller TV boxes, like the Amazon Fire Stick, and older TV boxes might have less. If you are low on ROM, look out for apps that might be running in the background and eating up your ROM without you knowing it and disable them.
What Operating System Is Your Android TV Box Using?
As Android constantly updates its operating system, older versions of the operating system are no longer supported and can’t run new and updated apps as well. At the moment, you shouldn’t have a problem as long as you are running Android 6.0 or later. But ideally, you should be running Android 9.0 or 10.0. Unfortunately, it is not possible to upgrade Android operating systems.
Is Your Firmware Up To Date?
Firmware is what tells the hardware of your Android TV box how to behave. Some manufacturers will regularly update their firmware to correct problems, which might be at the root of your buffering issues. However, not all manufacturers update their firmware, and it is not always easy to determine whether your firmware needs updating. You can read our complete guide on Android TV box firmware upgrades here.
Does Your TV Box Feature H.265 Decoding?
This is software that lets your Android TV box decode compressed files. Android TV boxes that run this software are around 10 times faster than other boxes. This is essential if you want to watch HD streams.
How Powerful Is Your Android TV Box Processor?
If your Android TV box is older or cheaper, look at your processor to see if it is up to the task. If you are streaming in HD, you probably want at least a quad-core processor to be able to do the heavy lifting.
Look at these elements to see whether there is anything you can do to help your existing Android TV box work faster, or whether it is time to upgrade and invest in a new box.
You will find our recommendations for the best Android TV boxes here.
5 Best Speed Test Apps For Android TV
To complete this troubleshooting process, you are going to need a way to be able to test what kind of internet speeds you are getting on your Android TV box.
There are a variety of apps that can do this effectively and fairly accurately, and here are our top five picks.
This app is available for both Android and iOS, but unlike some of the other apps that you will see on this list, it isn’t free. You can subscribe for one month for $1.99, one year for $7.99, or a lifetime for $14.99.
Why would you pay for this app when there are free apps available (see below)?
Well, this app not only tells you your download and upload speeds, both as a whole and for individual apps. It can also test Wi-Fi signal strength and suggest the best position for your device for better connectivity. This can be a lifesaver if you think that obstructions between your router and your Android TV box are part of your speed problems.
It is certainly worth the one-off payment for a month’s subscription to troubleshoot your problem and experiment with the best place to locate both your box and your router. And after that, you might become obsessed with checking the speeds on all of your devices.
If you are looking for a free alternative to SpeedTest Master, then Meteor is a decent free app available on both Android and iOS.
It can offer you details of both your download and upload speeds, and your ping response times. You can test speeds on your system as a whole and within individual applications.
You don’t get any other features with this app, but it functions well for a first pass. You might start with this app and upgrade to a more sophisticated app if necessary.
This app, available for Android and Fire TV, is for the connectivity nerds who want to deep dive into all the elements of their home network and connectivity.
Obviously, it does the simple speed tests that you need, but it can also help you analyze the Wi-Fi connectivity across your home, identifying strong zones and dark spots.
You can also dive into deep metrics such as RSSI stats and IEEE 802.11 beacon decoders. This makes it the ideal app if you have more than one Wi-Fi distribution node in your home.
There is actually a free version of this app available, but it has limited features and is ad-sponsored. You can remove ads for a one-off fee of $1.99. But there are also paid add ons for expert features, starting from $0.99 for 24 hours to $19.99 for life.
Fast was actually developed by Netflix, and it was conscious of the need for users to have sufficient speeds to enjoy their services.
This is a light and basic app that just tells you your current internet speed. But if you are just checking in before streaming, this is the perfect simple app that you need.
There are also options to dive into more detail, including unloaded and loaded latency, upload speed, and your public IP address.
Best of all, it is completely free.
This is among the oldest speed test apps on the market. It does just the basics, but sometimes that is all you need. Check your download and upload speeds as well as your ping response times.
There is a free, ad-supported version of the app, or you can pay $0.99 to remove those ads and use the app as much as you wish.
It can be incredibly frustrating when your streaming is constantly interrupted by buffering. But while it is understandable if you feel the urge to throw your remote at the TV, it would be more productive to take the time to determine the source of the problem.
This involved testing your internet speeds on your Android TV box in a variety of different ways to determine the weak link in your setup and decide how to fix it. Follow our complete list of instructions to troubleshoot your buffering issue.
For this, you will need an app that allows you to test the internet speeds on your Android TV box. We have recommended five great apps that can do that for you.
Do you use a speed testing app on Android TV? Which one would you recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.