How to Fix Playback Error on Firestick?

Getting a Firestick is one of the best ways to convert your regular TV to smart. Amazon Firestick allows you to install OTT apps on your TV and stream online content on it.

A prominent issue that one may encounter with the Firestick is the Playback error. This issue is common when trying to play some content on the Firestick. But why did this issue occur in the first place and how do I fix it?

This issue can occur due to various reasons, such as slow internet, bugs with the app/firestick, outdated Firestick software, etc. You need not worry about anything as this article lists all the working solutions to help fix Playback errors on Firestick.

1. Restart App

Sometimes the fix to this issue can be as simple as relaunching the app that you are facing issues with. Oftentimes, bugs and glitches within the app cause this issue. Apart from that, you may encounter the Playback error on Firestick if the app fails to start a problem or runs without utilizing the essential background services.

To fix this issue all you have to do is close the app and then wait for some time. Wait for a minute then relaunch the app. Play the content again and the issue will be long gone.

2. Reboot Firestick

Not only the glitch with the app but with the Firestick can also cause the playback error. If you are not able to play some content on the Firestick even after restarting the app then you can try rebooting your Firestick. What this does is, it will refresh the Firestick and all of the services running in the background. 

Here’s how you can restart your Firestick-

  • On your Firestick controller, press the Home button. 
  • Navigate to the Settings (Gear) icon and select it. 
  • Next, select the My Fire TV option. 
  • After this select Restart, and then confirm your choice by selecting Restart again. 

3. Turn Off VPN

Using VPN when streaming on Firestick? That’s a common thing to do and many people do the same while streaming content on OTT platforms to access content not available in their region. 

Many OTT platforms block content to specific regions only and you may not be able to access it outside that particular region. To overcome this, many people use VPNs while streaming. 

However, these OTT platforms detect any data packages coming from the VPN network and block that connection, thus causing the Playback error. Well, this generally happens with the free VPN services that are easily detectable. 

We recommend disconnecting from the VPN service when streaming content on Firestick. If you still want to use VPN then you must use a paid and reputable one. 

4. Check your Internet Connection

You need a strong internet connection if you want to stream content on Firestick, especially in good quality. If your internet is weak and fluctuating for some reason then the Firestick may start throwing the playback error. 

Before we can move ahead, you must know your internet speed. You can check the speed by using SpeedTest on your phone or PC. Just ensure that the device you will be using for the speed test is connected to the same network that is being used by Firestick.

If you see fluctuating or slow speed after the SpeedTest results, here’s what you can do to fix it-

  • Bring your router close to your TV. If it is another room then bring it to the same room where your TV is. 
  • If there’s some obstacle between your router and your TV then consider removing it. 
  • Ensure the antennas on your router are upright. 
  • Make sure the wires connected to your router are not tangled. 
  • If your router supports the 5GHz band, then switch to the 5GHz band for stable internet. 
  • Disconnect all the other devices that are connected to your router while you are streaming on Firestick. 

5. Check Amazon Servers

The next thing to do is check the Amazon Servers. The Amazon servers must be up and running if you want to stream without any issues Firestick. If the servers are down due to a technical outage or due to routine maintenance then you may face the Playback error on Firestick. 

You can check the Amazon servers from the DownDetector. Simply visit the Amazon page on Downdetector on the browser on your phone or PC. The site will report current issues as well as the issues reported by users in the past 24 hours. 

If the servers are up and running then something else is causing the issue and you can move to the next step in this article. In case, the servers are down, then wait for some time and the issue will be resolved once the server issue is fixed. 

6. Clear App’s Cache

Firestick stores the cache data of the apps that are used. For instance, if you use Prime Video, then it will store data like your login info, video preference, subtitles data, thumbnails of the content, etc., to make the experience seamless. 

In the long run, users must clear the app cache on the Firestick. If not cleared for too long, the cache may get corrupted and can cause issues like Playback Error. 

To fix the issue, you can simply clear the app’s cache you are facing the problem with. Here’s how-

  • Press the Home button that you see on your controller. 
  • Select the Settings icon from the home screen of the Firestick. 
  • After this, navigate to the Applications and select it. 
  • Next, select Manage Installed Applications
  • Select the OTT platform you are facing issues with. 
  • After this select the Clear Cache option to clear the cache of the app. 

Note– Do this for all the apps you are facing issues with. If clearing the cache didn’t help solve this error, then clear the data instead by selecting the Clear Data option. 

7. Update Firestick’s Firmware

If you want your Firestick to run in optimal state then you must keep it updated. Developers release firmware updates for the Firestick now and then to fix bugs and introduce new features. If you are getting the playback error on Firestick then probably updating the firmware should help fix it. You can update the Firestick’s firmware by following the steps given below-

  • Head to the Home screen on your Firestick by pressing the Home button. 
  • Next, head to the Firestick’s Settings
  • Select the option that goes by the name My Fire TV and then select About
  • Next, select the Check for Updates option to start checking for updates. 
  • If any new update is available then install it on your device. 

8. Try Playing Some Other Content

Sometimes the issue may be limited to a particular movie or web series on the OTT platform. If you doubt that, then you can try playing some other content.

For instance, if you use Prime Video, then play some other movie or TV show on it. If possible, go for content from any other genre on the same app. If the content plays without the playback error, then the issue is limited to that particular movie or TV show.  

9. Reset Firestick

What to do if the issue is still not fixed? If you have reached this far by trying all the steps that we have listed but seem to have no progress in solving the issue then the last step that you are left with is resetting the Firestick. 

Resetting the device is the one-stop solution to fix almost all the issues that you face with it. When you reset your Firestick, all the settings will be reverted to the factory default, all the apps will be deleted and the software will be as good as new. 

It can be a bit of a hassle to reset the Firestick as you will have to get all the apps back and sign into your account on all of them. But it is worth a shot if it fixes the playback error. Given below are the steps to reset Firestick-

  • Press the Home button on the Firestick controller and then select the Settings icon. 
  • Now, select My Fire TV
  • From the next screen, select Reset to Factory Defaults
  • Confirm resetting the Firestick, by selecting the Reset button.
  • Once done, install all the apps and sign into your account. 

Bottom Line

Stuck with the Playback Error on Firestick? Many users have reported facing this issue with their Firestick. It gets quite frustrating when you are in the mood to watch your favorite movie or TV show. We have discussed all the working solutions in this article that you can follow to fix the Firestick Playback error. 

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