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Quick Tip: Change iTunes Buffer Size for Smoother Streaming

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When I moved in with my old roommate he already had a router…a router that did not play nice with my Macbook Air. Browsing the internet was almost as painful as being on dial up, and streaming media seemed like an impossible task.

After a while of watching videos play in stop motion through iTunes, I decided that there must be something I could do to remedy the situation. After a poking around in iTunes I found out you could change the streaming buffer size. Changing the buffer size to “Large” tells iTunes to load more of the movie/song/whatever before starting playback, that way you experience fewer (or even no) breaks in playback.

To change your buffer size for smoother streaming:

  1. Launch iTunes
  2. Go to Preferences
  3. Go to the “Advanced” tab
  4. Go to the “Streaming Buffer Size” pull down menu. If you have a slow internet connection choose the “Large” option. If you have a fast internet connection (DSL or cable modem) select the “Small” option to have streamed media playback faster.

After I switched my streaming buffer size from the default medium setting to large, my videos definitely streamed a lot smoother. As always, have fun and good luck!

4 Responses to “Quick Tip: Change iTunes Buffer Size for Smoother Streaming”

  1. I’ve been plagued with this problem for over a year! Wondering if it is because wirelessly connected to router with perhaps interference, but I have a 3 megabit connection, routinely download at 330+kilobytes per second but my I-tunes radio stations are really bad at streaming. I’m talking about over 80% of the ones I’ve tried. This does seem to work but the question is why with a fast DSL connection should the buffer need to be large?
    Anyway thanks for the quick result.

  2. After giving up on streaming through a Hughes Net satellite connection, I just thought for a minute: what is the problem here, why is it choppy? Ah, it must be the buffer cfg.

    One quick google search and I landed on your tip/trick page. The stream now works perfectly. Thank you so much!