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. When a video plays in lower than expected quality, it’s likely because your Internet speed (bandwidth) or computer processing speed cannot support higher quality playback. 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.
Here are some troubleshooting steps if you notice poor playback:
- Basic troubleshooting
- Switch to “Auto” in the quality menu
- Online Speed Tests
- Check your source file
- Frequent buffering during playback
- Dropped frames during playback
- Send debug results to Vimeo for analysis
- Disable any browser extensions, plugins, or add ons
Third-party programs can sometimes cause issues during playback— including blocked video segments, dropped frames, buffering, etc. If you're having trouble, try disabling any active extensions one by one to find the culprit. You can also open your video within an incognito or private window of your browser for testing.
- Restart your router and modem
Resetting your router or modem can help to refresh your connection and improve playback performance. Try disconnecting the power cord and then reconnecting to perform a hard reboot.
- Update your browser
Browser software is constantly being improved upon. Make sure you are using the latest version of your browser for peak performance. The latest version of each browser can be found here.
- Close excess browser tabs or applications
Keeping too many applications open can make everything run slower, including video playback. Especially on a mobile device, it’s easy to forget which apps are running. Make sure that you completely close or disable apps instead of just minimizing their windows.
- Clear your browser’s cache
Refreshing your browser's cache can help with different audio and video issues, including playback.
- Disable/Enable Hardware acceleration
Hardware acceleration makes resource-hungry operations run more efficiently but sometimes doesn’t work well with older graphics cards. Try disabling or enabling this option within your browser settings.
Switch to “Auto” in the quality menu
You 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.)
When it is in Auto mode, the Vimeo player will switch between all available qualities to accommodate changes in the viewer’s Internet, processing speed, and player size. Auto mode automatically adjusts to the best quality of video for your current Internet connection and processing speed. We recommend using this default setting to avoid buffering delays. (If “Auto” is not available, switch to one of the lower quality options.)
Check bandwidth with 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.
We require network speeds of 500 kbps or higher in order to stream our lowest playback quality (240p). You can use a speed test to get a general sense of your Internet speed during the time of the issue. Keep in mind that bandwidth can fluctuate, especially on Wifi or cellular networks. 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.
Check your source file
Quality problems can also arise when there is a problem with the source video file. If there are any quality issues visible in your source (minor compression artifacts, pixelation, etc), try re-exporting the file and re-uploading to Vimeo. Even small issues can become amplified during our compression process. The higher quality you can give us, the better your results.
Not seeing HDR or Dolby Vision after uploading? Please note that due to the many layers of transcoding that take place with HDR formats such as Dolby Vision, lower qualities of your video will be available first while additional transcoding takes place in the background. Be sure to allow extra time for your video to fully transcode to be available in Dolby Vision.
Frequent buffering during playback
Frequent buffering can occur when the viewer’s 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 playback options. If your video still fails to start, check your estimated bandwidth for the network you're connected to.
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 the video. Try closing unused applications or browser tabs and/or update your browser and graphics card.
Send debug results to Vimeo for analysis
Want to know more about your playback performance? The debug log helps provide critical information related to your playback experience, which helps us diagnose streaming issues. This log includes the CDN (content delivery network), your video id, your bandwidth to that CDN, the rate of dropped frames, browser/OS, and embed size.
Follow the steps below to copy the debug key from either a desktop browser or mobile browser, which you'll need to paste into a message.
- Open any video you’re having trouble with.
- Press play and watch the video.
- Once the issue occurs, press “d” on your keyboard to open the debug panel
- Click the blue Copy Debug Key button to obtain the unique ID associated with your playback session*
*If you aren't seeing the option to copy a debug key, please make sure that your browser is not sending a "do not track" request (what's that?).
⚠️Note: This is only an option if the video's owner enabled the playbar in their settings. If the playbar does not appear when watching or tapping on the video in a mobile browser then unfortunately this step is not an option.
- Start watching the video and wait for the issue to occur.
- Tap the playbar settings gear icon.
- Tap the small (i) icon.
- Tap Copy Debug Payload to paste the debug ID to your device's clipboard.
Once you've copied the debug information, paste the entire key into your support ticket and send it our way for analysis. (Note: The debug key will be comprised of random characters which will then be used to access playback information in our system).
In addition to the debug panel log, we'll also need:
- A detailed description of the problem you’re experiencing (e.g. buffering, dropped frames)
- Your results from this speed test (https://testmy.net/download)
- The URL of the page where your videos are embedded, including any necessary login credentials (if applicable)
Once you’ve gathered this information, contact us and we’ll look into your issue ASAP.