Watching TV shows found on the internet

This weekend, mostly out of boredom, we hooked a PC with WiFi into a TV and watched, or started to watch, several past TV episodes.

Some had pauses of 1-2 seconds so frequent as to make watching unsatisfactory.

Some had similar pauses mostly clustered at the beginning of the program but not too much worse than a bad night on Dish Network.

Some were quite viewable.

Most of the internet sites I found on internet TV were pandering some service or product and were rather short on explanations of what to expect. Can you refer us to some place that might explain these various experiences?

No need: the explanation is simple. You aren’t getting a high enough bandwidth connection. The videos with problems every few seconds are likely using a really small buffer. The ones that load, and then pause near the beginning also have a too small buffer, but are increasing it when it realizes it isn’t big enough. The ones that work are just lower bandwidth or can establish a higher bandwidth connection to your computer.

If you don’t know what buffering is–it’s preloading the video, so that any irregularities in bandwidth (aka Internet speed) do not cause problems. It used to also be used for when bandwidth was just too low.

I find that YouTube has the best platform for videos, and does the best graceful degrading. If you are having problems there, it is likely a problem with your ISP. However, a program called Speedbit Video Accelerator can help with some websites.

ETA: I missed that you were using wi-fi. That’s almost certainly a problem with the consistency of your signal between your Wireless router and the PC hooked to your TV. You are probably having a high packet loss, and so your connection appears “faster” than it really.

About all you can do about that is to try changing wifi channels, getting a better wifi router or at least a signal amplifier , or, well, replacing it with a wired connection of some sort.

In discussions I find mbps discussed in relation to quality of picture but it isn’t obvious if mbps is related to buffering pauses.

If one increases mbps can one decrease the frequency and duration of buffering pauses?

Is mbps what is being refrenced in the last few paragraphs of the response immediately above?

mbps, Mega-Bits-Per-Second, i.e. how much data that is delivered in a second.

If the video is encoded at 2 mbps, but you can only transmit 1.5 mbps to your PC, there will be pauses for buffering. The PC will read and store video for a the next, say, 10 seconds and then start playing. Since it only receives 1.5 mbps, the buffer will soon run out and the video freezes again until the buffer has data in it.

With adequate bandwidth you will only buffer once, before the video starts. There will be no pauses during playback.