Fix Slow Loading Frozen Pictures MAG Set Top Box

How to Fix Slow Loading or Frozen Pictures on MAG 250/254/322/410 Set Top Boxes

If you own an IPTV set top box such as the popular MAG 250, MAG 254, MAG 322 or the MAG 410, you may be one of the users who frequently experiences picture freezing or slow channel loading.

It’s a nuisance as it can spoil your television entertainment viewing pleasure and if persistent, makes watching TV shows and movies practically impossible.

Constant freezing and slow loading breaks up the show and you end up switching off.

But don’t give up as there’s usually a few simple check you can do to resolve this problem, and get your MAG box working to optimum performance and view shows with seamless streaming and zero freezing.

MAG 322 Set Top Box

In this article, we’re going to take you through all the necessary steps required to fully diagnose why your MAG box is freezing and what you can do to rectify the problem.

Read on to find out how to fix this issue or choose from one of the following chapters that’s suits your needs.

Speedtest by Ookla

Check Your Internet Speed

In many cases, slow loading, constant channel buffering or freezing is caused by a poor quality or slow intent connection speed.

So it’s recommended that you check the internet connection in your home first to make sure you have sufficient bandwidth to stream live IPTV pictures to your MAG box.

If you don’t, there’s no point in running any further diagnostics on your MAG box if your broadband is simply unsuitable for streaming.

So firstly, if you have a desktop PC or Mac connected to your home Wi-Fi network or directly via ethernet, use an online speed check tool such as Speedtest.net

If you only have mobile devices such as a phone or tablet, then download and install a suitable app to your device such as the SpeedTest app by Ookla.

Once you are ready to run a speed test on a desktop PC or Mac, laptop or mobile device, let’s get started.

Run the test and see what the resulting report tells you.

Ideally, you need a “Download Speed” of at least 2-4 Mbps, but in an ideal world, we would recommend a download speed of 5 Mbps or above to be able to stream pictures smoothly and without interruption.

If the results of your speed test are poor, we recommend that you speak to your internet service provider about improving your broadband connection or alternatively, upgrade to a better package or change broadband provider altogether.

If however your internet connection speed seems to be good, let’s move on to the next step.

Wi-Fi Interference

Reduce Wi-Fi Interference

Many people do not realise that Wi-Fi is transmitted over simple radio frequencies.

These frequencies are very susceptible to interference, especially if there are lots of other Wi-Fi signals in close proximity that may be running on the same frequency or frequencies close to yours.

People who live in apartment blocks for example, tend to suffer from Wi-Fi signal interference very often.

With dozens of neighbours all running their own personal Wi-Fi networks, you could potentially be living in a sea of Wi-Fi networks all battling with each other for signals clarity.

So it’s no surprise that signal interference can be a real nuisance.

Thankfully, there’s a few things you can try to improve your situation.

Netgear Change Wi-Fi Channel

Change Wi-Fi Channel

If you have direct administrator access to your Wi-Fi router, you can change the Wi-fi channel your network uses.

By doing so, you could select a channel that experience far less interference and get a better quality signal to your MAG box.

Most Wi-Fi routers allow admin access via a browser.

If you are unsure how to do this, check with your router manufacturers user manual and follow the instructions.

Switching Wi-Fi channels is actually a lot easier than it sounds and may help improve Wi-Fi speeds in your home.

You may have to experiment with a few new channels to see which works best.

Many Wi-Fi admin system actually show you the local interference, so should give you a good idea of which channel to switch to.

But in many cases, most Wi-Fi routers automatically select the best channel to use so this may not resolve your buffering problems.

TP-Link TL-WR940N

Upgrade Your Wi-Fi Router

If your Wi-Fi router is an older model, it may not be up to the job.

Older models tend to transmit at slower rates whilst newer models offer far better strength signals using transmission rates of around 450Mbps or above.

Newer models will feature more antennas to help produce a stronger signal, whilst older models may only have a single transmitter that struggles to do the job.

If you suspect your Wi-Fi router may be obsolete, it might be time to trade it in for a newer model.

Tenda USB Wi-FI Dongle

Change Wi-Fi Dongle

If you’re totally convinced that your home Wi-Fi network is stable and solid, then the issues may be with the Wi-Fi dongle connected to the USB port on your MAG box.

Firstly, make sure it is seated correctly and fully into the USB pot either at the front or rear of our MAG box.

But also, make sure that the dongle is compatible with your Wi-Fi network speed and radio frequencies.

If it’s an older Wi-Fi dongle, it might be wise to upgrade it to a better model that can handle a wider range of Wi-Fi signals and speeds.

Any incompatibilities will undoubtedly cause lag.

MAG Box Rear Panel

Switch to an Ethernet Connection

If you want to completely eliminate issues with a poor Wi-Fi router or signal interference whilst dramatically improving network speeds, then a direct ethernet connection is the best solution by far.

There’s no compensation for good old fashioned cables when it comes to a solid, fast and reliable network connection.

Wi-Fi may be very convenient when using mobile devices but for set top boxes like the MAG 250, 254, 322 or 410, it’s just going to sit on your media centre.

So why use a Wi-Fi connection when a direct ethernet connection will be far more reliable, faster and not suffer from any interference?

If you have any doubts about the quality of your home Wi-Fi network, we recommend switching to ethernet to completely eliminate these concerns.

Ethernet is far more stable and reliable than any kind of Wi-Fi connection – period.

Many people do not like trailing cables around their home, but if you want the very best performance from your MAG box, use ethernet!

Here’s what you need to do…

Firstly, you’ll need a good quality RJ45 cable that is long enough to run from the back of your MAG box to your Wi-Fi router.

The closer the router is to the MAG box, the better as this will mean shorter cables and less mess.

Your first step is to connect one end of the RJ45 cable to the rear Ethernet port at the back of your MAG set top box.

Then connect the other end of the cable to a spare Ethernet port on the back of the router.

Once connected at both ends, switch on your TV set and the MAG set top box.

Wait for the MAG box to fully boot and then, go to the Home screen and carry out the following steps:

  • press the left arrow button on your remote control, scroll across to “Settings” and press “OK”
  • then press the down arrow button on your remote to highlight “Network” and press “OK”
  • on the next screen select “Wired (Ethernet)” and press “OK”
  • the select “Auto (DHCP)” and press “OK”

Once you’ve complete these steps, restart your MAG set top box for the changes to fully take effect.

After your MAG box has fully rebooted, try watching a channel which had previously been susceptible to freezing or slow loading and see if the situation has improved.

In most cases, changing to an ethernet connection should show a marked improvement.

If not, there could be a few other outstanding issues to resolve.

MAG Advanced Settings Buffer Screen

Changing Buffer Size

If you’ve ran all the above tests, made changes to your Wi-Fi set up and have even switched to ethernet and are still not seeing any marked improvements, then the only outstanding issue that will be causing picture freezing or buffering is the settings on your MAG box itself.

It’s quite common for users to fiddle with buffer settings without really understanding the implications and actually make the situation worse.

On slower internet connection speeds for example, MAG boxes will understandably need to buffer more data before playing pictures.

Whilst on faster connections, buffering or pre-loading data really isn’t necessary.

If these settings are wrongly configured, it will greatly affect your MAG boxes ability to play content quickly, smoothly and consistently.

So depending on your Wi-Fi or ethernet network and broadband connection speeds, you may need to change your settings.

If your network is fast, you don’t need to buffer much data, if any at all.

But if your network is sluggish, you may need to buffer more data.

Freezing occurs because the MAG set top box hasn’t managed to buffer sufficient data in order to playback the content smoothly.

So we need to make a change to the MAG box buffer size.

If slow channel loading is occurring yet your network speed is fast, then your buffer is clearly set far too high and needs reducing.

In order to make changes to your buffer size, follow these steps:

  • press the left arrow button on your remote and scroll to “Settings” and press “OK”
  • then press the down arrow button to highlight “Advanced Settings” and press “OK”
  • with the left or right arrow buttons, change the buffer length in seconds to suit
  • when done, press “OK” to save your changes

Choosing the correct buffer size is not an exact science, so some experimentation and common sense may be required.

If for example your buffer was set to zero seconds and your internet connection is slow and pictures were freezing, you may have to increase it significantly.

Whilst if your buffer was set high and your internet connection is fairly fast, it probably needs reducing by quite some margin or eliminating altogether.

Experiment with a few options until you find the right balance.

Conclusion

With these fixes you should be able to resolve slow loading or frozen pictures on your MAG set top box.

These fixes can be used on all models including MAG 250, 254, 322 and 410.

There is no way to tell which option will work out best for you, but in most cases one or all of the above fixes should be able to solve your problems.

From then on, you should hopefully be able to watch your favourite programmes without freezing, or without having to wait ages until the channel completes loading.

Should you not manage to solve the issue after having tried all of the above fixes, you may wish to seek expert advice from the manufacturer or product seller.

How to Fix Now TV Max Simultaneous Streams

How to Fix Now TV “Maximum Number of Simultaneous Streams”

Now TV is a great option when it comes to being able to watch TV shows, movies and sports on various devices, just as long as you have a broadband internet connection.

However, while it is a very convenient method of watching TV, at times you end up with error messages which may confuse you.

For instance, every now and then it is common to get the following message on the screen:

“You’ve reached the maximum number of simultaneous streams on your account. To watch Now TV on this device, please stop watching on one of the other devices.”

In order to understand why this message comes up, and how to fix it, it is important to be aware of certain things.

There are some key restrictions which you might not be aware of:

Now TV Error Messages

1. Maximum Number of Simultaneous Streams

Now TV can only stream simultaneously on a maximum of two separate devices.

So at any given time you can watch a show on your TV, and someone else in your household can also watch a show on a tablet, for instance.

2. Maximum Number of Registered Devices

There is also a limit to the number of devices that you can add to a single Now TV account.

You should note that the limit is a total of four different devices.

Understandably, you might wish to change one or more of these devices, such as when a new device is bought to replace an old one, such as a laptop or tablet.

3. Maximum Number of Device Changes

It’s also important to note that once you’ve added four devices to a NOW TV account, it is only possible to make one device change per month.

So make sure to choose your devices wisely as it is not possible to chop and change as you like.

Now TV Manage Devices Screen

What Does This Message Mean?

When you see the above message, it basically means that you are trying to watch the same stream on more than one device.

As a result, you are exceeding what the permitted limits as highlighted above.

It could also be that since you recently added a new device to your Now TV account, this has taken you above the permissible amount, and so the above message will display on screen.

How Can I Fix This?

In order to resolve the problem and be able to watch the desired show or movie, you will need to stop watching on one of the other devices first.

Generally, apart from that, users who experienced this problem said that they had to wait around 10 minutes before they could continue watching on the other devices.

During that time the message could refresh.

Manage Your Now TV Devices

In order to solve this problem, it is good to know how to manage devices on your NOW TV account.

In order to either add or remove a device from your Now TV account, you will need to log into your account online and go to “My Account”.

Once there, you will then have to select “Manage Devices.

Here, you will then see the list of the devices that you have, and which you may wish to remove any one or more from.

Simply choose the device you wish to add or remove and then save.

You should then be ready to watch Now TV on your desired devices once again.

How to Watch UK TV Abroad

How to watch UK TV abroad

One of the most common concerns of frequent travellers is whilst being abroad, they’ll miss their favourite TV shows and programmes.

However, this does not have to be the case.

You can still watch UK TV abroad, and you can do this on a laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Some service providers allow you to download content whilst you’re still in the UK, and this can watched through their app whenever you want, wherever you are.

Moreover, now EU roaming charges are no longer a problem, you can use mobile data wherever you are, as long as the TV app you use is not region locked.

So make sure there’s are no caps on your mobile data usage, as that could be problematic.

Is UK TV blocked overseas?

The biggest common problem watching UK TV abroad is most providers region lock the content.

The provider will detect you have a non-UK IP address, and as a result you’ll not be allowed to access the content.

However, there are ways around this.

You can resolve this problem by using a VPN service.

A VPN masks your physical IP address, and replaces it with one from the UK.

Once you connect to a UK VPN server, you’ll be able to watch whatever UK TV you like online, regardless of your location.

BBC iPlayer Logo

BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer is a free service for UK TV licence holders and can be watch online or via an an app where you can watch TV programmes broadcast on the BBC over the past seven days.

Some of the most popular TV shows you can watch on BBC includes Eastenders, Holby City, Silent Witness, Call the Midwife, Luther and Dr Who among many others.

If you download and save a programme to your device, you have 30 days to watch it until it expires.

Alternatively, you can stream content live and watch it instantly, although in most cases, if you view live content from overseas it will be IP blocked.

Solution: install a VPN app or manual VPN (Virtual private Network) configuration on your device to mask your actual IP with a UK-based IP. This will then allow you to watch BBC iPlayer abroad.

ITV Hub Graphic

ITV Hub

ITV Hub, formally known as ITV Player, is another live video and on demand streaming service found online.

It allows you to watch a wide variety of programmes from various ITV channels including ITV, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, ITVBe, and CITV.

Programmes can be watched within a 30-day period since broadcast on television.

Some of the most popular shows on ITV include Coronation Street, Britain’s Got Talent, X Factor, Emmerdale, Dancing on Ice, Love Island and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

To watch programmes on ITV Hub, you need to register a free account using an active email address that you can verify.

Once activated, you can stream content live or watch your favourite shows from a wide selection in the library.

Like BBC iPlayer however, ITV Hub uses geolocation detection. So any attempts to connect outside the UK without IP masking will be blocked.

Solution: A reliable VPN service should be used to allocate your device a UK-based IP address. This will then allow you to watch all content available on the ITV Hub.

All 4 Channel Logos

All 4

All 4, formerly known as 4OD, is a free service that allows you to watch Channel 4’s shows on your PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet.

Like all other services, you need to register first but this is a very straightforward process and only takes a minute or so, once your have fully verified your email address and activated your account.

Once registered, you can download and watch your favourite programmes whenever you wish.

Programmes include a wide range of entertainment and comedy shows, as well as documentaries, such as, Catastrophe, Made in Chelsea, Celebrity Coach Trip and Friday Night Dinner.

All4 is another service that uses geo-detection software, so any attempts to watch it abroad will not be successful.

Solution: Install a UK-based VPN app or configuration on your devices and the entire All4 catalogue will become available to watch.

Demand 5 Logo

Demand 5

Demand 5, which is now being branded My5, is Channel 5’s on-demand service.

It allows you to watch TV programmes that are broadcast on the Channel 5 family of channels, which includes Channel 5, 5USA and 5 Star.

The app is available on most smart TVs, as well as smartphones and tablets, allowing you to watch a wide variety of shows at home or on the go.

Simply register a free account and you can watch the past seven days’ shows.

Unlike BBC iPlayer, Demand 5 does not allow you to download shows. Only live streaming is possible and if you attempt to access any live streams oversea, they will be blocked due to geo-IP detection systems built into their service.

Solution: a good quality VPN service will make watching all content on Demand 5 easy. You can get a VPN via an app or a manual configuration. Either way will work fine.

Sky Go Devices

Sky Go

Sky Go is a service exclusively available to all existing Sky TV customers.

With Sky Go you can watch TV shows on a laptop, tablet or smartphone.

As a bonus, it can be used in the EU at no extra cost, allowing you to enjoy a wide variety of shows on Sky TV, both live and on demand.

Some of the most popular programmes include A League of Teir Own, Magnum P.I., Chicago Fire, and Tin Star.

In most cases, Sky Go is available as a bolt-on for standard Sky satellite customers however, there are providers out there who can offer just the Sky Go account in isolation.

And just like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4 and Demand 5, it is geo-locked. So attempts to watch overseas will fail unless you install a VPN system on your devices.

Solution: purchase a standalone Sky Go account if you do not already have one and then, install a top quality VPN service on your devices to unlock content overseas.

BT Sport Logo

BT Sport App

The BT Sport app allows you to download live streaming of your favourite sports programmes and games.

It also includes a catch-up library for those who missed anything and would like to watch it later.

BT Sport app is a godsend for BT sport channels subscribers.

Users are able to watch it all while on the move or on the go, thanks to the app on their smartphone or tablet.

The BT sport app is available solely on BT Broadband packages.

It is free for the first three months and then you need to pay monthly thereafter.

Much like the competition, it is blocked from view outside the UK so you’ll need a VPN to unlock the content.

Solution: purchase a reliable VPN service to unlock the content and enjoy BT Sports abroad.

Netflix Logo

Netflix

Netflix is many TV lovers’ favourite when it comes to watching movies as well as TV shows online.

One can stream directly to a smart TV, computer, gaming console, tablet or smartphone.

Many popular TV shows are available on Netflix, and these are updated regularly.

Some include TV series such as Breaking Bad, Stranger Things, The Office and Friends.

A wide range of movies is made available and gets updated on a regular basis too.

These include both recent releases as well as older movies.

With Netflix, you simply need to pay a monthly subscription. Then everything is available for free.

The first month from registration is also free of charge.

Amazon Prime Video Logo

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video comes with a 30 day free trial period.

Subscribers benefit from thousands of TV shows and movies, unlimited streaming, as well as download and go.

There are also various services you can sign up for, such as music streaming.

It is an interesting package which appeals to many.

OpenVPN Logo

VPNs

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network.

And as the name implies, you can access websites more privately and safely when you route your connection through a VPN.

It effectively hides your online activities as everything is encrypted.

Your IP address is replaced with a new one, thus masking your location whilst maximising your privacy and security.

Consequently, you can access sites which might be geo-restricted, such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, 4OD, Demand 5 and Sky Go.

As a result, you can unlock a ton of UK TV content even if you are not located in the UK, whether traveling, living abroad or relocating.

VPN services can be found from various providers including UKTV2GO.

VPN Advantages

Improved online security
Web data gets protected. Due to peer-to-peer encryption, your privacy and security is assured.

Geo-restrictions are a thing of the past
There is no need to worry anymore about such restrictions as with a VPN, you can access any website, regardless of whether it is geo-blocked or not.

This is perfect especially when you want to watch TV shows and is aren’t based in that particular country.

Download anonymously and safely
Getting access to media files and software via Torrents can thus be done safely.

Safe to Use Public Wi-Fi
Use public internet connections in places such as cafes, bars and libraries more safely.

VPN Disadvantages

Reliable VPNs come with a price
Even though there are various free VPN services, a paid subscription is always better and more reliable. Paid VPNs tend to have better connection speeds too.

VPN IP addresses are not unique
This may lead to problems like IP spoofing and, IP address blacklisting. That is why you should opt for a paid VPN subscription.

If you want to unlock UK TV content whilst abroad, you should opt for a reliable VPN service, which will allow you to watch your favourite channels with far less hassles and problems.

If the VPN IP address you’re assigned gets banned by the streaming service, you do not have to worry. It is highly likely the IP will be replaced quickly and seamlessly.

That is why using a reliable VPN service provider makes more sense.

Smart DNS

Similar to VPNs, Smart DNS is the technology that enables users to go beyond geo restrictions.

There are many websites that contain content that is regionally restricted, especially online TV streaming services.

Smart DNS re-routes all data through a proxy server which is located in the target country where you want to access online content.

This is done by replacing the DNS address assigned to your network by your ISP. This is all done instantaneously.

Smart DNS Advantages

Unblock geo-locked websites
Just like a VPN, it unlocks geographically restricted content according to the geographical DNS address you are assigned.

Unrestricted Speed
Loss of speed is minimalized as your connection is not re-routed like a VPN tunnel.

Smart DNS Disadvantages

Not Secure Like VPNs
Unlike VPNs, smart DNS connections are not encrypted, so your data use can be tracked and monitored. It is not recommended for downloading torrents or copyrighted material. Connections over public Wi-Fi access are also not protected.

Manual Set Up
Most smart DNS configurations are done within a devices system software control panels and not via software. So it takes more technical know-how to get up and running.

IP address Not Hidden
Your actual IP address is never masked so it is easy for host websites and service providers to track where you are located.

Satellite Dish

Satellite Dish

Watching TV via a satellite dish is now considered old fashioned and one of the more traditional ways of accessing more TV channels.

The dish-shaped antennas receive all transmitted information via satellite broadcasting, and connect to a receiver in your home which is hooked up to your TV.

You can watch a multitude of TV channels from numerous countries using a satellite dish.

Satellite Dish Advantages

Cost
Satellite dished are fairly affordable when considering how many channels you can access.

Stable
Television signals via satellite TV are by and large very stable and do not experience buffering issues, like those accessed online.

Satellite Dish Disadvantages

Investment
The initial cost if installing satellite TV is fairly high

Installation
The installation process is not that straightforward and will involve erecting a dish onto your home, plus cabling and wiring.

Location
Satellite TV signals are never the quality same in every location and may degrade depending where you are. Some parts of southern and Eastern Europe for example, struggle to receive all Sky TV channels.

Big Ugly Dish
For some installations in southern Europe, the dish needs to be considerably large (over 1.5 meters) and for some it is an eye sore sat on the roof or taking up room in the garden or patio area.

Weather Dependent
Bad weather may cause reception interruptions and degraded picture quality.

Website Malware Alert Message

Illegal Streaming Sites

It is a known fact that there are a myriad of illegal streaming websites available online.

Accessing these sites allows you to browse through various programmes and movies, and you will then stream your desired show or movie.

Since these kinds of sites are available online, you just need a decent internet connection.

Other than that, you will be able to watch programmes and movies without paying anything. However, it’s not all good news.

While this may seem like the best option for those wanting to save money, there are various pitfalls to consider.

Firstly, use of these sites is illegal and secondly, many are troubled by the countless adverts and pop-ups that obscure your viewing and can be malicious.

Many of the pop-ups showing on these sites can contain Trojan horses, spyware and viruses designed to access and hijack your computer. Use of these sites carries huge risk.

Virus threats are rampant on these kinds of websites as well as phishing.

In an age where ransom ware, data and identity theft is rampant, is it really worth the risk using these sites to save a few pennies?

Popular Devices

Nowadays there’s a whole world of devices you can use to watch TV content.

Gone are the days when you were limited to a TV set and nothing else.

Now you can choose from a wide variety of devices according to your convenience, including:

  • desktop computers
  • laptops
  • tablets
  • smartphones

You may also opt for digital media players or IPTV, also commonly known as a set-top boxes, which receive data through Wi-Fi or a wired connections.

Some of the most popular ones include the Roku player, and the MAG 250/254 boxes.

Conclusions

After considering these various options, we can conclude that unlike a decade or so ago, anyone can choose from a variety of options according to their needs.

Being aware of the various ways to watch UK TV wherever you are will enable you to make a well-informed choice.

It’s important to be aware of the various pros and cons of the numerous options, so as to choose wisely.

While VPN and Smart DNS are more recent options, there are still people who prefer to stick to more traditional methods like set-top boxes and satellite dishes.

Others seem to go for the more affordable option of illegal streaming sites despite the various disadvantages and low quality.

However, regardless of your choice, what is most important is that there is really no limitation or restriction when it comes to enjoying some truly great TV shows wherever you go!