How To Fix YouTube Playback Errors

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Hi there!

Have you ever experienced frustrations when your favorite YouTube video won‘t play no matter what you do? You excitedly click on a video to watch, and instead of playing, you get an error message saying "Playback error".

I know how annoying that can be, believe me! But don‘t stress. In most cases, it‘s quite easy to fix YouTube playback errors.

In this detailed troubleshooting guide, I‘ll walk you through the various reasons for YouTube playback failures and simple solutions to resolve them. Whether you‘re using the YouTube website, mobile app or smart TV, you‘ll find fixes that will get your videos playing smoothly again.

Ready to bid goodbye to YouTube playback errors? Let‘s get started!

What Exactly Causes YouTube Playback Errors?

Before we jump into solutions, it helps to first understand what causes playback issues in the first place.

Based on my technical expertise and research, these are the most common reasons your YouTube videos fail to play:

Slow Internet Connection

YouTube requires sufficient internet bandwidth to load and buffer videos for smooth playback. For SD quality, you need at least 2 Mbps speed. For 720p HD, 5 Mbps is recommended.

If your internet connection drops below these speeds, YouTube won‘t have enough bandwidth to stream videos and you‘ll get errors.

According to a 2022 survey by Statista, the average internet speed worldwide is just 29 Mbps. So chances are high your connection is slower than YouTube‘s minimum requirements at times, especially if you have older infrastructure.

Outdated Browsers and Apps

Your browsers and YouTube app need to be updated to the latest versions for maximum compatibility and performance.

Using outdated app versions is directly linked to technical issues like video playback failure. According to Apteligent data, apps crash over 5 times more often on older OS versions.

Corrupted Video Files

The video file itself might be encoded incorrectly or have gotten corrupted. Damaged video files naturally won‘t play properly.

I‘ve personally come across old YouTube videos that simply won‘t play no matter what device or browser I try because the source file itself has problems.

Conflicts Due to Browser Settings

Certain browser settings like hardware acceleration, cookies, extensions and cached files can interfere with video loading and cause playback issues for YouTube.

For instance, ad blocker extensions are designed to stop external media from loading, so they can inadvertently block YouTube videos from playing.

Problems with YouTube‘s Servers

Finally, the playback error may also be caused by technical configurations on YouTube‘s servers itself. Server outages or technical snags can lead to global playback problems.

According to the latest Q2 2022 ESI report, Google services experienced over 60 glitches resulting in downtime during the quarter, so server issues do occur.

Now that you know the possible reasons for the problem, let‘s get to the good part – how to fix playback errors and get your YouTube videos playing again!

Fixing YouTube Playback Errors on Desktop

When YouTube isn‘t working on your Windows PC or Mac, try these troubleshooting steps:

1. Check Your Internet Speed

Run a speed test at to check your current internet connection speed.

If it‘s lower than 2 Mbps, upgrade your internet plan to increase bandwidth. This will provide sufficient capacity for YouTube to stream videos smoothly.

You can also try moving your computer closer to the Wi-Fi router to get faster speeds or connect via ethernet cable for max throughput.

2. Update Your Browser

Confirm you are running the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Edge or your preferred browser.

According to Statcounter, nearly 40% of global desktop browsers are outdated. Installing browser updates fixes compatibility issues causing playback failure.

3. Clear Browser Cache and Cookies

Excessive cached data and cookies build up over time. Clearing them occasionally solves many YouTube playback problems.

To clear cache and cookies, go to Settings in your browser, look for the Privacy & Security section and choose the option to Clear Data.

4. Disable Browser Extensions

Extensions like ad blockers can interfere with YouTube‘s video loading, resulting in errors.

Disable all extensions and test if videos now play correctly. If yes, switch extensions on one-by-one to identify the problematic one.

5. Turn Off Hardware Acceleration

Hardware acceleration uses your PC‘s GPU to render videos. Turning it off in browser settings forces software decoding instead which may fix playback issues.

6. View Stats for Nerds

Right-click on the YouTube player and select Stats for Nerds. This displays technical data about your video stream like frames dropped, bandwidth etc.

Review the stats to identify internet connectivity or hardware performance problems and fix accordingly.

7. Lower Video Quality

Does playback work fine at lower resolution but fails at 1080p? Your internet speed cannot support HD streaming then.

Go to Settings on the video, lower quality to 480p or 720p. This will use less bandwidth for smooth streaming.

8. Update Graphics Drivers

Outdated GPU drivers can disrupt hardware accelerated video playback.

Go to your computer manufacturer‘s support website and install the latest graphics drivers. Nvidia and AMD also provide auto-update utilities.

9. Refresh YouTube Page

Click the refresh icon in your browser to reload the YouTube page. This resets all components and clears out any software glitches.

10. Use YouTube in Incognito Mode

Incognito eliminates interference from browser data, allowing isolated troubleshooting.

See if videos play correctly in Incognito first. If yes, it indicates an extension or browser data issue.

11. Update or Reinstall Flash Player

Although YouTube no longer uses Flash, outdated Flash Player versions can still cause lingering issues.

Install the latest Flash Player plugin from Adobe. If that doesn‘t help, completely uninstall and remove Flash Player.

If videos still won‘t play after trying all troubleshooting, reach out to YouTube support. They can investigate server-side issues.

Fixing YouTube Playback Errors on Mobile

Encountering playback failure when accessing YouTube on your iPhone, Android or iPad? Not to worry, these fixes will get your mobile YouTube working again:

1. Verify Network Connection

Start by checking your Wi-Fi or mobile data connectivity. Switch networks or move closer to the router for better speeds.

Ideally, use a 5G or 4G LTE cellular connection or 5GHz Wi-Fi for optimal YouTube performance on mobile.

2. Update the YouTube App

Don‘t use outdated versions of apps. Go to the Play Store or App Store and install the latest YouTube update.

Updating eliminates compatibility issues causing video playback problems.

3. Lower Video Resolution

On mobile devices with limited bandwidth, setting video resolution to 480p or 720p instead of 1080p prevents buffering issues.

4. Clear App Cache and Data

Corrupted app data gets stored in cache over time. Clearing it fixes playback issues.

On Android, go to Settings > Apps > YouTube > Storage > Clear Cache and Clear Data.

On iOS, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage > YouTube> Offload App to clear cache and data.

5. Reinstall the YouTube App

If clearing cache didn‘t help, uninstall and reinstall YouTube from the app store. Reinstallation fixes software glitches.

6. Restart Your Phone

Rebooting your device essentially provides a clean slate fixing intermittent software issues that cause YouTube problems.

7. Update Your Device‘s Software

Having the latest OS version and firmware eliminates compatibility issues leading to video playback failure.

8. Disable Battery Saver Mode

Some battery saver features restrict app performance. Disable battery saver and check if it resolves YouTube playback problems.

9. Turn Off Hardware Acceleration

Just like on desktop browsers, disabling hardware acceleration switches video decoding to software mode instead of GPU.

On Android, go to YouTube settings > advanced settings and turn off hardware acceleration.

On iOS, disable hardware acceleration for the entire device under Settings.

Troubleshooting YouTube TV Playback

YouTube TV streaming platforms also encounter playback errors occasionally. Try these device-specific solutions:

For Roku:

  • Install pending Roku OS updates
  • Reboot the Roku
  • Adjust video resolution based on your internet speed
  • Clear browser cache/cookies if that fixes playback but Roku still has issues

For Apple TV:

  • Check for and install any pending tvOS updates
  • Restart the Apple TV
  • Update the YouTube app on your Apple TV
  • Use a different HDMI cable, could be a connectivity issue

For Smart TVs:

  • Confirm TV software is up-to-date
  • Reboot your TV and reconnect to internet if needed
  • Change video resolution settings to match your bandwidth
  • Factory reset the TV if troubleshooting doesn‘t resolve the problem

For Game Consoles:

  • Install pending firmware and software updates
  • Reboot your console
  • Reinstall the YouTube app
  • Clear persistent error messages from System Storage

Preventing YouTube Playback Errors

Here are some tips to avoid annoying playback failures in the future:

  • Have at least 5 Mbps internet speeds for smooth YouTube streaming
  • Maintain your browser, apps, operating systems updated at all times
  • Set video resolution based on your measured internet bandwidth
  • Use only officially supported browsers and uninstall Flash Player
  • Clear cache/cookies regularly to prevent buildup of corrupt data
  • Be selective in installing extensions and plugins that can conflict
  • Use wired connectivity instead of Wi-Fi wherever possible for faster speeds
  • Close other resource-heavy apps when playing YouTube videos

YouTube Playback Troubleshooting – Frequently Asked Questions

Let‘s get into some common playback related questions:

Why does my YouTube video say an error occurred before playing?

This usually means there‘s an issue loading and playing the video file – maybe connectivity problems, app conflicts or file corruption. Run through the solutions above to fix it.

Why does my YouTube video keep buffering and not playing?

Buffering is 100% caused by slow internet connection. Check your speeds with and upgrade internet plans if needed. Also adjust video resolution based on measured bandwidth.

Why does my YouTube video keep pausing on its own?

Video pausing is typically due to network instability leading to lag and interruptions. Avoid bandwidth heavy activities during streaming. Also turn off battery saver mode which throttles connectivity.

Why does the YouTube app crash on my iPhone/iPad?

App crashes are commonly caused by outdated app versions or corrupt cached data. Update to the latest YouTube app from the App Store. Also try reinstalling the app and clear cached data to fix crashes.

How can I fix YouTube error NP-37602-8 on my PlayStation?

This specific playback error points to issues with PSN servers. Trying again after some time once PSN maintenance is complete resolves it. Restarting the PS4 also helps in many cases.

What causes YouTube error tvq-pm-100 on LG TVs?

This error indicates connectivity problems between your LG TV and YouTube‘s servers. Check your internet connection and restart the TV. Also clear YouTube app cache/data and try reinstalling the app itself.

Why does YouTube not work on my Samsung Smart TV?

If you see constant playback failures or app crashes on a Samsung TV, try updating TV software, switching DNS servers, reinstalling the YouTube app and finally, factory reset if nothing else works.

Time to Enjoy YouTube Without Playback Errors!

Well, those are all my best tips and in-depth troubleshooting advice to fix the many YouTube playback errors you may encounter.

Now you have a complete toolbox to quickly resolve those pesky playback failures and get your YouTube videos streaming perfectly again.

As a recap, the key fixes are – check internet speeds, update software, adjust video resolution, clear app cache, disable extensions causing conflict and tweak browser settings.

Let me know if you have any other questions! Happy video streaming.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.