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Kodi is an incredible tool. Hosting everything from Hulu and Netflix to the BBC iPlayer, and massive movie and live sports selections, it truly is an essential entertainment platform. But it’s not flawless.
In fact, one technical problem comes up again and again for Kodi users – buffering. If you’re struggling to stop buffering on Kodi, this blog is for you. We’ll try to explain the causes of the issue and, more importantly, set out three possible fixes. In no time, your movie night will be back on track.
What’s the big deal with Kodi buffering issues?
Buffering is a curse for movie and TV streaming fans, turning dramatic action scenes into an incomprehensible mess of out of synch audio and fuzzy, disjointed visuals. And it’s a nightmare for sports fans, causing delays in football and basketball feeds, and generally ruining the attraction of live broadcasts.
It’s also something that has become more common as Kodi use has increased. Kodi is a streaming platform, after all, so some buffering is inevitable.
Buffering happens when video providers transfer segments of content before video players start showing them. It’s a way of ensuring that users don’t need to download whole movies before they can watch them, and it’s absolutely essential when webcasting live events.
What causes Kodi buffering problems?
So where does this all start to fall apart? One reason could be your basic network speed. Generally speaking, networks averaging below 5 Mbps struggle to handle the demands of Kodi streaming, so if that’s the case, you’ll know where to start.
However, there could also be networking issues relating to your streaming device or router. And in some cases, security apps (or even malware) can suck up resources which Kodi requires.
And this can be hugely problematic for streamers. If data transfer is unreliable, streams can run into a brick wall, at which point they wait for the buffering to catch up – potentially causing long delays. This can sometimes happen again and again, ruining any chance of catching the game, or enjoying your movie.
So how can you handle Kodi buffering? Actually, there are a number of simple ways to stop buffering on Kodi. If one doesn’t work, experiment with the others. You’ll more than likely find a solution to your streaming problems.
Solution 1: Check that it’s not a video scaling issue
The first solution actually doesn’t deal directly with buffering. Instead, problems with scaling up low definition footage to high definition streams could be to blame.
Kodi automatically scales video in this way, and it takes up valuable bandwidth. If you set scaling too high, laggy streams can often result, and this is often wrongly attributed to buffering.
So how can you change this? It’s actually pretty simple:
- Load up Kodi and navigate to the Settings menu.
- Choose the “Player Settings” option.
- Toggle the bottom left “gear” icon until it shows “Expert.” Go to the “Videos” section.
- Now look for a menu setting called “Processing”, then “Enable HQ scalers for scaling above.”
- This should show a sliding scale. Try toning scaling down from 20% to 15% or 10%. If that smooths out your stream, HQ scaling was probably the culprit.
Solution 2: Try altering your video cache settings
If that doesn’t work as a Kodi buffering fix, then you’ve almost certainly got a buffering issue on your hands. But don’t fear, we’ve got a couple of reliable solutions here as well.
The first option is to increase the size of the Kodi video cache. The cache size determines how much of a video will be buffered before the stream begins. The more you store away, the more leeway your player has to resolve any interruptions before the stream starts to break up.
So we need to expand the Kodi cache. Here’s one way to do so:
1. The first thing to do is download and install a program called Ares Wizard. You can find this via the “http://ares-repo.eu/” repo, which you’ll have to add to the Kodi File Manager.
Go to the settings page:
Then click on File manager:
And finally on “Add source”:
Name your folder when the repo has been added and remember the folder name.
2. Go to the Add-Ons page, then “Add-on browser,” followed by “Install from zip file.”
3. Open the folder you named earlier, and choose the zip file
4. When the “Add-On installed” notification appears, you’re free to open Ares Wizard.
5. Go to the button marked “tweaks”, then “Advanced Settings Wizard.” Then press the blue “Next” button, followed by “Generate Settings.”
6. Now, choose mode 2 (the default buffering settings), then press “Apply These Settings.”
After that, your video cache will be expanded to the optimum determined by Ares Wizard (a popular Kodi settings tool). This might be the Kodi buffering fix you’ve needed, so give some streams a try.
However if you’re still left wondering how to stop buffering on Kodi, we’ll need to go further. It’s time to think about your ISP.
Solution 3: Think about adding VPN protection to work around ISP issues
Increasing the Kodi video cache often does the trick when you need to stop buffering on Kodi, but it’s not an infallible solution. Often, juddering and freezing will return straight away. So what do you do.
In this case, the problem might lie with your Internet Service Provider. ISPs can tell whether users are streaming from Kodi or Kodi repositories. Sometimes, they impose restrictions on these apps, hoping that users will reduce their data consumption. In other cases, legal issues mean that they try to keep Kodi off limits.
In both instances, the answer to how to stop buffering on Kodi is the same: install a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
With a VPN installed, your ISP won’t be able to tell whether you are using Kodi, so if they do operate “throttling” based on this information, their systems will be totally ineffective. On top of that, VPNs apply encryption and IP address anonymization. So whatever you stream from Kodi should remain confidential.
But beware: not all VPNs are capable of handling P2P downloads, and not all offer unlimited bandwidth. Some are just slow, and will clog up your connection, while others fail by offering sub-standard encryption.
Choose your provider carefully from elite providers like NordVPN, ExpressVPN or CyberGhost. Just try to avoid free apps as much as possible. To deal with ISP-related Kodi buffering issues, you need watertight VPN coverage, and only the best providers can offer it.
Check our full list of Best VPNs for Kodi
Explore every Kodi buffering fix to optimize your streams
Using Kodi is a trade-off between quality, reliability, and choice. However, as we’ve seen, there are ways to minimize disruption. With these buffering solutions, you should be able to smooth out any streams. And with a VPN on board, you’ll also create a more secure, private way to enjoy the content you love.
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Mikaela is an investigative journalist that likes to cover the ever-changing world of technology. She tries to keep her finger on the pulse of digital trends and share her insights on the most relevant topics, including big tech, security, privacy, and data breaches.