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Video playback quality and buffering issues

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Our videos are hosted on Vimeo and are viewable in a variety of different qualities, ranging from 360p to 4K. In “Auto” mode, the Vimeo player switches between all available qualities to accommodate changes in the viewer’s Internet, processing speed, and player size.

The quality of your playback experience is largely dependent on how your ISP (Internet Service Provider) or mobile provider connects to Vimeo’s playback servers. Keep in mind that your overall Internet speed can vary depending on many factors, including but not limited to: time of day, WiFi performance, other devices/ users utilizing your connection, and the strength of the signal provided by your ISP.

The following table shows the minimum speeds required for each playback quality:

QualityRequired Minimum Bandwidth
240p500 kbps
360p1 Mbps
720p3 Mbps
1080p7 Mbps
2K12 Mbps
4K & up22 Mbps

When a video plays in lower than expected quality, it’s likely because the viewer’s Internet speed (bandwidth) or computer processing speed cannot support higher quality playback. Viewers can manually force a particular quality by selecting the gear icon in the lower right corner of the player. (This may result in frequent buffering if the bandwidth does not meet the required minimum outlined above.)

Online Speed Tests 

Speed tests can give you a general sense of the download speeds you’re receiving from your Internet provider, but it’s important to note that the servers used in the speed test are different from those used by other services. The actual speeds being received by your device may differ. This is because speed tests are designed to ping the closest server to your location, while other servers may be further and more utilized.

As a best practice, we recommend avoiding Flash based speed tests and using trusted HTML5 tests like https://testmy.net/download to get a general estimate of the speeds you’re receiving from your Internet Provider. If you expect higher bandwidth than what’s being reported, we recommend getting in touch with your Internet Provider for more information. 

Frequent buffering during playback

Frequent buffering can occur when your Internet bandwidth does not support playback of the selected video quality. Try switching to “Auto” in the quality menu (the default), if available. If “Auto” is not available, switch to one of the lower quality options. If your video still fails to start, check your estimated bandwidth here.

Dropped frames during playback

Dropped frames can occur if your machine/device’s processing is unable to keep up with the video data that’s being transferred.  If your system cannot process a higher quality of video, frames of video may be skipped, which can cause audio to become out of sync as well. This tends to happen most when multiple programs are running while viewing video. Try closing unused applications or browser tabs and/or update your browser and graphics card.

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