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Nvidia Shield Keeps Pausing/Buffering/Freezing

If you’re a proud owner of an Nvidia Shield, you might have found yourself frustrated with the device randomly pausing, buffering, or freezing. I know I was! After doing some research and trying a few tips and tricks, I finally managed to get it working again. In this blog post, I’m going to share how I solved my issue, as well as other solutions I discovered during my research.

Nvidia Shield setups might show buffering problems due to common problems that relate to connectivity, software, or VPN. Plus, prolonged idling periods and mismatched frame rates can also disturb the playback.

In this post, we’ll go over the main causes you need to watch out for and how to fix them, so hang tight!

Why Nvidia Shield Keeps Pausing/Buffering/Freezing

Let’s start by taking a look at all the common reasons that could cause frequent pausing:

  • Unreliable internet connections that can’t keep up with high-resolution content
  • Resource-intensive VPN services
  • Missing updates or full app cache
  • Reloading patterns after an idling period
  • Hardware problems (due to dust accumulation or tech issues)

How to Deal With an Nvidia Shield That Keeps Buffering

If you can’t identify the cause, you can walk through the following steps till one of them fixes your freezing problem:

  1. Check Your Wi-Fi

The first step is to check the strength of the internet connection on the Nvidia Shield and at least one other device in the same roam.

You can try playing something on the Shield from a local source, like a USB, to eliminate hardware connectivity problems from your consideration. Then you can move on to replacing the weak Wi-Fi with something more reliable to speed up the buffering.

While using a powerline adapter is on the table, getting a traditional Ethernet hard-wire setup might be the best option here.

  1. Turn Off Your VPN

It’s nice to have your TV streaming protected with VPN services, but they might be the culprit behind the freezing. That’s because they often hurdle internet traffic.

So, if you use a VPN, try switching it off to test if this improves the buffering on the Nvidia Shield.

If that’s the case, then you don’t have to give up the security of the VPN entirely. Instead, you can take your time looking for alternative services that don’t slow down your connection as much.

  1. Don’t Leave the Shield Idle

You might want to consider the freezing pattern on your Nvidia Shield. Does it happen when you leave it idle for a while?

For one, it might reload the content all over again instead of jumping right back to where you left off, which takes longer to buffer.

In that case, restarting the Nvidia or refreshing the app might work as a temporary answer. However, it’ll get tedious after a few days if the issue persists.

To deal with this, you can either wait the buffering period out till it catches up to where you left off or just try your best not to leave the Shield idle/asleep for long. Just turn it off if you need to leave halfway.

  1. Confirm the Connected Display

It sounds so obvious, but you won’t believe how easy it is to miss a cable that’s hooked up to an unused monitor.

Some people might even opt to use an HDMI splitter to connect multiple displays to the same Shield. In that case, it could be a problem with the setup.

So, double-check the freezing isn’t because the Nvidia Shield is incorrectly connected to more than one display.

  1. Match the Frame Rate

If the live content you’re watching has a different refresh rate than the Nvidia Shield, this could be the culprit you’re looking for.

Mismatched frame rates might not cause direct freezing, but they might lead to micro stutters. Thankfully, you can customize the rates yourself in beta versions.

Just keep in mind that you don’t need to do this with PLEX and KODI and for the Shield TV since they’re already compatible.

  1. Clear the Cache

Just like any other TV setup, a full cache can cause irregular playback on the Nvidia Shield.

As it happens, the fix here is simple. You just need to select the lagging streaming platform on the Apps menus and click on Clear Cache.

If that doesn’t cut it, you might need to uninstall and reinstall the problematic apps, which can be a bit of a hassle.

  1. Clean the Nvidia Shield from the Inside Out

Sometimes, the problem could boil down to dust accumulating inside the Shield’s case itself, especially around the fan.

Clearing this dirt out with some compressed air might be enough to reduce the pausing during playback. Of course, you’ll need to crank the case open first.

That said, you might need to check if doing so nulls the warranty on your Nvidia Shield.

  1. Send Software Diagnostics

If all else fails and the freezing issue isn’t limited to one app, you might have no option but to resort to Nvidia for help.

That’s because sending a diagnostic log could come in handy when the developers are working on updates.

Once those updates are ready, make sure to get them as soon as possible!

Final Thoughts

Figuring out why Nvidia Shield keeps pausing/buffering/freezing is all about considering all the factors at play, from the internet connection to mismatched frame rates.

Once you identify the root cause, fixing it should be simple enough!