The term buffering in relation to streaming was never considered back in the days when video streaming became mainstream back in 2005. Since then the quality of video has grown exponentially yearly making it rather more of a concern for users today. While Youtube started the video streaming revolution with a very simple low quality video known as Me at the zoo it went on to become a multi million dollar industry and evolved from simple user videos to actual high quality content from movie streaming sites.
Household names across, the US, UK, Europe and many other countries around the world such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime Instant, Redbox and more are now common services that many users subscribe to and enjoy the benefits of. With increased internet speeds ever growing and becoming more widely available to the masses the quality of video streaming available has developed in tandem.
Improved quality of video streaming websites has improved the end user experience with examples of this from services such as Netflix who introduced what they title SuperHD (1080p) back in September 2013 for all users. However now that extremely good video quality is available to the mass market in many countries unfortunately the actual viewing situation for many is left lacking.
The two tier internet
The debate around net neutrality exploded at the beginning of 2014 in the United States with the FCC proposing a new system that would allow some of the biggest ISPs to charge providers of content such as Netflix, Hulu Plus etc. for supplying services at a higher rate than other data. In effect this would introduce a two tier internet of those who have and those who have not. Sadly this was never the premise of the internet but where money is to be made those that control the avenues of availability will always look to exploit for monetary gain.
So how does this affect the end user such as yourself? Well, now that ISPs are no longer bound to provide certain types of data at an unfettered rate it allows them to prioritise certain types of data or at the very least data from certain sources. This means if you’re a user of Netflix then you may find that you’re unable to stream in the highest quality or are subject to buffering. This may seem odd for even the most inexperienced internet user because regardless of the speed of your internet connection you can still suffer video streaming buffering. 4 – 9 Mb/s is recommended for high definition video streaming with 4K requiring a minimum of 15 Mb/s with 25Mb/s recommend.
With many home internet providers providing way over that capacity it is somewhat of a conundrum for users to understand why they still suffer from Netflix buffering or poor quality playback. One of the biggest US ISPs claimed that Netflix was to blame for buffering although such claims are highly debatable when Netflix themselves have been forced to make payment to both Comcast and Verizon to improve peering thus improving the user experience.
One of the problems with such systems is providers such as Netflix are required to make payment to every Tom, Dick and Harry who holds them to ransom for providing quality video streams at speeds which don’t deteriorate the end user experience. Thankfully one way to remove yourself from such restrictions and fix Netflix buffering in particular is to employ the services of LiquidVPN who can help bypass any such throttling. As many of you know a VPN service will obfuscate the type of data or traffic you are accessing, so when making connection to Netflix or one of the other providers via VPN your ISP is unable to know exactly what type of data you’re accessing or at the very least what type of service.
So if for example one of the major or even minor ISPs introduced a two tier system or a system which reduces the speed of video streaming services such as Netflix then by using the service of LiquidVPN you would be able to bypass those speed reducing measures. The upshot of this means no more buffering, no more quality reduction and basically a far superior watching experience for yourself without any interruptions.
The issue of Netflix buffering is exasperated in the United States especially due to the low level of ISP competition in the various states. Whereas in European countries there can be up to 10 or more ISPs all available within a specific area (and rather easy to switch between) the same can not be said in the US which in turn allows any such restrictions to be more easily enforced keeping the users held by the short and curlies.
While payment by Netflix to the various big ISPs may seem like an ideal solution for end users it however has not alleviated the issue for many users with complaints as recent as July 2014 reporting that Netflix buffering on Verizon and other ISPs is still rife. Colin Nederkoorn, CEO of a New York company recently found that although he had a 75Mb/s FiOS connection he was receiving a lowly 375kbps when streaming via Netflix. Once a VPN service such as LiquidVPN was employed this rocketed to 3,000kbps which in turn reduced any buffering and also allowed an increase in the quality of the stream.
Snail image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net