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What I’ve learned about Playstation Vue and Amazon Fire TV

Late this summer, our family “cut the cord”: we canceled our cable subscription, while also increasing our cable internet connection speeds (150Mbps down / 20 Mbps up). We actually see these speeds, thanks, in part to both a fast modem (SB6141) and router (NetGear r7000).

To replace cable, we went with Sony’s PlayStation Vue subscription service and bought an Amazon Fire TV box.

But we saw sporadic freezing, especially when we streamed live baseball. The show would just stop. Sometimes I had to restart the device to get things working again.

It took a bunch of troubleshooting, but here’s what resolved the problem for me.

1. Connect the Amazon Fire TV box ONLY to the 2.4GHz channel.

The Amazon Fire TV box doesn’t work with all 5GHz channels. And when I “locked” the device to one channel, I noticed our other devices didn’t connect optimally. So I connected the Fire TV ONLY to our 2.4GHz network.

2. For DNS, use OpenDNS settings on the router.

Typically, I use Google’s Public DNS servers. I find them more reliable than my cable provider’s — and they support DNSSEC. I tried configuring OpenDNS with settings on the Fire TV only, but we still saw buffering. When I changed the settings on the router, streaming worked. So we give up DNSSEC, but get a working solution. (Trade-offs. Welcome to real-world engineering. From my location in Ann Arbor, Michigan, OpenDNS ping times are around 18 ms, compared to 28 ms for Google’s DNS servers.)

I’m not claiming this will solve buffering for everyone. You’ll have a different ISP, modem, router, device, WiFi environment, etc.

But for me, these two tweaks made it so that PlayStation Vue consistently worked on our Amazon Fire TV box.

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