Vimeo videos are viewable in a variety of different qualities, ranging from 360p to 8K. In “Auto” mode, the Vimeo player switches between all available qualities to accommodate changes in the viewer’s Internet, processing speed, and player size.
The quality of your playback experience is largely dependent on how your ISP (Internet Service Provider) or mobile provider connects to Vimeo's playback servers. Keep in mind that your overall Internet speed can vary depending on many factors, including but not limited to: time of day, WiFi performance, other devices/users utilizing your connection, and the strength of the signal provided by your ISP.
The following table shows the minimum speeds required for each playback quality:
|Quality||Required Minimum Bandwidth|
|4K & up||22 Mbps|
When a video plays in lower than expected quality, it’s likely because the viewer’s Internet speed (bandwidth) or computer processing speed cannot support higher quality playback. Viewers can manually force a particular quality by selecting the gear icon in the lower right corner of the player. (This may result in frequent buffering if the bandwidth does not meet the required minimum outlined above.)
It’s also worth noting that if the video is available in Dolby Vision, only certain devices can playback Dolby Vision quality:
- Safari on macOS Big Sur
- See Mac devices listed here
- iPhone 8 and above
- iPad Pro 2nd generation and above
- See iOS devices listed here
- Apple 4K and above
Additionally, HDR formats such as Dolby Vision take longer to transcode and be fully available than their lower-resolution versions. Be sure to allow extra time for the full conversion process to complete in the background.
Here are some troubleshooting steps if you notice poor playback:
- Online Speed Tests
- Check your source file
- Frequent buffering during playback
- Dropped frames during playback
- Send debug results to Vimeo for analysis
Online Speed Tests
Speed tests can give you a general sense of the download speeds you’re receiving from your Internet provider, but it's important to note that the servers used in the speed test are different from those used by other services. The actual speeds being received by your device may differ. This is because speed tests are designed to ping the closest server to your location, while other servers may be further and more utilized.
As a best practice, we recommend avoiding Flash-based speed tests and using trusted HTML5 tests like https://testmy.net/download to get a general estimate of the speeds you're receiving from your Internet Provider. If you expect higher bandwidth than what's being reported, we recommend getting in touch with your Internet Provider for more information.
Check your source file
Quality problems can also arise when there is a problem with the source video file. If there are any quality issues visible in your source (minor compression artifacts, pixelation, etc), try re-exporting the file and re-uploading to Vimeo. Even small issues can become amplified during our compression process. The higher quality you can give us, the better your results.
Not seeing HDR or Dolby Vision after uploading? Please note that due to the many layers of transcoding that take place with HDR formats such as Dolby Vision, lower qualities of your video will be available first while additional transcoding takes place in the background. Be sure to allow extra time for your video to fully transcode to be available in Dolby Vision.
Frequent buffering during playback
Frequent buffering can occur when the viewer’s Internet bandwidth does not support playback of the selected video quality. Try switching to “Auto” in the quality menu (the default), if available. If “Auto” is not available, switch to one of the lower quality options. If your video still fails to start, check your estimated bandwidth here.
Dropped frames during playback
Dropped frames can occur if your machine/device’s processing is unable to keep up with the video data that’s being transferred. If your system cannot process a higher quality of video, frames of video may be skipped, which can cause audio to become out of sync as well. This tends to happen most when multiple programs are running while viewing the video. Try closing unused applications or browser tabs and/or update your browser and graphics card.
Send debug results to Vimeo for analysis
Want to know more about your playback performance? The debug log helps provide critical information related to your playback experience, which helps us diagnose streaming issues. This log includes the CDN (content delivery network), your video id, your bandwidth to that CDN, the rate of dropped frames, browser/OS, and embed size.
Follow the steps below to copy the debug key from either a desktop browser or mobile browser, which you'll need to paste into a message.
- Open any video you’re having trouble with.
- Press play and watch the video.
- Once the issue occurs, press “d” on your keyboard to open the debug panel
- Click the blue Copy Debug Key button to obtain the unique ID associated with your playback session*
*If you aren't seeing the option to copy a debug key, please make sure that your browser is not sending a "do not track" request (what's that?).
⚠️Note: This is only an option if the video's owner enabled the playbar in their settings. If the playbar does not appear when watching or tapping on the video in a mobile browser then unfortunately this step is not an option.
- Start watching the video and wait for the issue to occur.
- Tap the playbar settings gear icon.
- Tap the small (i) icon.
- Tap Copy Debug Payload to paste the debug ID to your device's clipboard.
Once you've copied the debug information, paste the entire key into your support ticket and send it our way for analysis. (Note: The debug key will be comprised of random characters which will then be used to access playback information in our system).
In addition to the debug panel log, we'll also need:
- A detailed description of the problem you’re experiencing (e.g. buffering, dropped frames)
- Your results from this speed test (https://testmy.net/download)
- The URL of the page where your videos are embedded, including any necessary login credentials (if applicable)
Once you’ve gathered this information, contact us and we’ll look into your issue ASAP.