Rapid channel change is commonly considered a critical factor that improves subscriber quality of experience. One of the major contributors to increased channel change time is the delay due to buffering a newly-acquired media stream before the stream is presented to the user. When the decoder operates at a constant playback rate, this initial buffering avoids playback stalls. An initial buffering delay on the order of seconds or more is not uncommon, especially with advanced video compression standards such as H.264 or H.265. This article presents a novel approach, which manages audio and video decoder clocks independently and reduces the initial buffering delay significantly. The method is low-cost and can be easily implemented in software to run on most modern media processors. The method has been deployed and verified in various IPTV networks. Experiments carried out in the field show that the presented technique can provide up to 62& x0025; reduction in overall channel change time compared to conventional methods.