What Is Buffering?

Buffering takes place when a video requires a loading period before it can resume playback. When a video is streamed, data is temporarily stored in a buffer before playback begins. This allows for the preloading of a segment of content, compensating for variations in network speed and preventing interruptions during playback. However, buffering comes with certain drawbacks that can impact the overall user experience. One significant negative aspect is the potential for user frustration caused by buffering pauses, especially in situations where the buffer is unable to compensate for significant fluctuations in network speed. Buffering can lead to interruptions in the flow of content, disrupting the immersive nature of the viewing experience and diminishing user satisfaction. Additionally, long buffering times can test the patience of your users, leading to a potential increase in subscription churn rates. 

However, not all buffering is equal. In cases of real-time events or live streaming where every second counts, buffering delays may result in your viewers missing critical moments. In contrast, your users binging classic TV shows on a video on demand (VoD) service may be more tolerant. The need for sufficient bandwidth during the buffering process may pose challenges for your users with slower or unreliable internet connections, limiting accessibility to high-quality streaming. As app and video streaming services continually strive to optimize the user experience, addressing and minimizing the negative aspects of video buffering remains a key focus area in the industry. Conviva’s unparalleled Operational Data Platform gives you insight into exactly how buffering impacts each segment’s quality of experience (QoE) by monitoring every user interaction in real-time.