My home broadband is very bursty at the moment. Bandwidth fluctuates wildly. Not a problem for, say, downloading stuff but a real pain for any streaming media like youtube video etc.
Today, I filed the following very effective technique under "Doh! Why didn't I think of this before?".
Start the video playback. Then pause it and go get a coffee. The stream gets buffered under the hood (you will most likely see a progress meter indicating how far ahead of the curent position has now been buffered.). Return with coffee, hit play and the stream will stream smoothly.
Darn I feel stoopid to have suffered this for a while now without realising I could just buffer up stuff.