Why does a picture “tear” while watching television?

This is a common problem that many subscribers encounter during peak hours, for example, in the evening, when they “tear” not only a picture, but also a sound. This is sometimes called a “frozen picture” or “freezing.” The so-called “freezing” occurs when it is not enough bandwidth (speed, quality) of the network and the signal arrives late or does not reach at all. In this article, we will explain in more detail why this happens and how you can improve the quality of the broadcast signal.

The Internet is like a highway full of PCs …

As a rule, the Internet signal is broadcast over many networks, so tracking where exactly it “walks” can be very difficult. It’s like keeping track of a car rushing along a busy highway. Therefore, it is not possible to determine at what point the signal is interrupted or to monitor it.

The quality of the video signal depends on many factors, but the speed and quality of the Internet, perhaps, are determining. If you understand how the network should work, that will shed light on such a problem as “torn” sound and picture.

Internet Weaknesses

In simple terms, the Internet is a huge number of networks, for example, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Cablevision and Time Warner together form a global network. The points where the networks are connected together are called ‘Internet weak points’ or ‘Internet Exchanges’ (sometimes you can find the name ‘Internet Exchange Points’). As the level of traffic grows, these points become weak, vulnerable. This leads to the fact that there is a delay in signal transmission, and as a result, the picture begins to “tear”. This can be compared with traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge during rush hours: everyone tries to drive through the bridge and eventually gets stuck in traffic. So it is with television: when the signal “travels” on the Internet, it must go through a huge number of “bottlenecks”, in other words, “weak points.” It should be borne in mind that any picture and any sound are very sensitive to such points, which is why a “torn” picture happens.

Overloaded Internet Service Provider

All Internet service providers (Cablevision, Time Warner, and others) use the same method to provide Internet access throughout the state or country. Therefore, when everyone goes to the Internet in the evening or starts watching TV, it automatically lowers the Internet signal. Usually this happens from 19 to 23 pm and “works” according to this algorithm:

  •       Internet traffic is increasing
  •       Internet is loading
  •       Significantly reduced Internet speed
  •       Signal quality is significantly reduced

A good example is a water pipe in a high-rise building. If all tenants turn on the water at the same time, the water pressure will drop, and as a result, no one will get water.

How to deal with a “torn” picture?

You can do the following:

  •       Improve your connection and/or
  •       Set up your device (box).

Here is the algorithm to follow in order to improve the video signal:

Improve your home internet connection:

   1. Switch from wireless Internet to LAN.

If you were wondering, “Does it make any difference?”, Then know: it does. The wireless connection is less stable, it is better not to use it to broadcast video (to watch TV). Therefore, we always recommend using a LAN. If you do not want to pull the cable from another floor or from another room, get a Powerline adapter – this is a great solution. The device costs only $ 70 and allows you to use the Internet via cable, while you do not have to drill holes in the walls.

   2. Do not use the Internet on other devices

Disconnect your phone, tablet, and other devices from the Internet, and turn off the computer. Do not use the computer while watching television.

   3Upgrade your device to DOCSIS 3

You can request an update to your modem from your Internet service provider. DOCSIS 3 modems have a separate channel for video broadcasting (compared to older firmwares that do not have a separate channel).

  4. Sign up for another Internet package

Sometimes it happens that you simply do not have enough Internet speed. So consider signing up for another package (at a higher speed).

Settings on the device

1. Increase device buffering

It doesn’t matter if you are watching the broadcast in recordings or online broadcasting, you can increase the buffering time. Time ranges from 3 to 15 seconds. The more “tears” the picture, the more seconds you should set for buffering.

2. Change the server on the device

We have several servers in different places and by default, we will connect you to the closest server to you. In the evening, more and more people watch their TVs, so the number of connections usually increases. That creates a high load on the server and in combination with the low speed of the Internet leads to the fact that the picture will “tear”. If you have problems with the ‘US East Coast’ server during peak hours, try switching to another server (for example, Southern Europe). Thus, temporarily switching to another server (where there is currently no peak airtime) will allow you to solve the issue of poor broadcast quality. However, remember that you may need to return to your “standard” server in order to avoid a “torn” picture on a temporary server.

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