Amazon Prime Video has over 25,000 movies and 2,500 TV shows, making it one of the largest streaming platforms on Earth.
And with millions of paying customers, Amazon has worked hard to ensure their platform is as smooth as enjoyable as possible.
However, occasionally people experience issues, such as the video stopping to buffer, freezing, or even skipping ahead.
What causes Amazon Prime to experience these problems, and how can they be fixed? Thankfully, it all comes down to a few simple issues, that only take a moment to sort out.
In this article, we’ll cover everything that you need to know!
1. Troubleshoot Your Low Internet Speed
The overwhelming majority of the time, all issues related to the video buffering, freezing, or skipping ahead are caused by a low internet speed.
This is true even if other apps like Netflix, Hulu or Disney+ have been working fine!
See, there are a few misconceptions when it comes to your internet speed.
Many people don’t realize that internet connection speeds can vary dramatically, even within the same hour. This especially true if you live in a rural area, or use wireless internet services from a WISP.
Additionally, the total bandwidth available to you is also dependent on the number of devices utilizing internet from within the house.
For example, if another person in your household is downloading something or streaming video in a different room, this effectively cuts your available bandwidth for streaming in half. For large families, it’s certainly possible you’re maxing out your available bandwidth before you even turn the TV on to stream something from Amazon Prime.
Therefore, when you throw in another device and start streaming video, there simply isn’t enough bandwidth available for it to play smoothly without stopping to buffer.
The easiest solution to this is to upgrade your internet speed, or ensure other devices aren’t using your internet connection for bandwidth-heavy tasks, such as streaming or downloading.
1080p video uses about 8 mbps of bandwidth, and 4K HDR video can use up to 60 mbps worth of bandwidth.
You can test your current internet speed by using a service like SpeedTest.net.
2. Update The Prime Video App
If you’re sure your internet isn’t experiencing any issues yet Prime Video is still freezing, you should check to see if there are any updates available for the Prime Video app.
Note that on many devices (such as on many smart TVs), Prime Video and other apps will update automatically.
However on mobile phones or tablets, you may need to check your device’s app store to see if any new updates are available.
App updates may introduce new features as well as fix any bugs that users are currently experiencing. Typically, you should always aim to keep your apps up to date when possible.
After updating the app, relaunch your movie or show to see if you are still experiencing any issues affecting playback.
3. Lower Your Streaming Quality
Even if your internet should be fast enough to stream HD or 4K video, you can save a lot of bandwidth by lowering the quality of your stream.
This will use significantly less data, and decrease the likelihood that the video has to stop to buffer. It should also fix any skipping issues that are caused by a slow internet speed.
As mentioned earlier, going from 4K to 1080p for example can cut your data usage by over 75%. Because there is significantly less data to download while streaming, it decreases the likelihood the video will need to buffer in order to catch up.
For many films and television shows (especially if they’re animated), there isn’t that big of a difference in picture quality. So, you may wish to trade some of the fidelity for smoother playback, and less interruptions.
4. Restart Your Router / Modem
If you’re paying for an internet package that should make streaming possible without interruptions, you may be experiencing temporary issues with your router or modem.
Often times, these will sort themselves out on their own. However, you can take matters into your own hands by restarting / unplugging the modem and router for 30 seconds, then plugging them back in and letting them fully reboot.
In fact, this should be considered a standard troubleshooting technique when you experience internet issues.
Note however that this will disconnect all devices utilizing Wi-Fi or ethernet in your house. Therefore, you should speak with others and ensure you don’t have any important downloads going on when you disconnect the internet.
If files are being downloaded and the internet connection is lost (even for just a moment), the download may fail and you may have to start over from the beginning. This can be very frustrating, so a little communication with others in your household goes a long way!
Once both the modem and the router reboot, try to reload the video to see if Amazon Prime still has any issues.
Note: If you don’t have a separate modem and router, don’t worry! Many companies (such as Comcast / Xfinity) offer devices that are both a modem and router, all-in-one.
5. Contact Support
If you have tried each of the fixes listed above, then the last thing you should do is to contact Amazon customer support.
This is particularly a good idea if you have already verified that the issues are related to Amazon Prime Video specifically, and not just a problem with your internet connection. One way to test is to try using a different streaming service like Netflix, and seeing if there are any buffering issues.
After contacting Amazon customer service to explain the issue, they should be able to help give further advice that is unique to your situation. Additionally, if there are any widespread issues that are affecting a large number of people, they will let you know.
Typically, the issues are completely fixed within a matter of minutes. So, you shouldn’t have to wait long!
As you can see, there are quite a few things that can cause Amazon Prime to buffer, freeze or skip. However, most of the time these issues can be solved by carrying out the fixes above.
If you still experience issues, contact Amazon support for assistance. They have experience helping even those that live in rural areas with very slow internet, and will do they can to ensure your enjoyment of the service is unaffected.
I hope that you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any questions about Amazon Prime Video, please ask them using the comment from below.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister