How To Improve Netflix Streaming

Do you want to know how to improve Netflix streaming? Netflix is a great way to stream video to just about any network enabled device. Everything from movies to television series, at the touch of a button. Netflix is very dependent upon network speed to stream video and the software automatically adjusts the stream quality accordingly. The results are mixed and for most can result in lower quality video, making Netflix streaming less useful or even completely useless. Luckily there are a few steps that can be taken to improve Netflix streaming.

What you will need:

  • Active Netflix Account
  • Broadband Internet Connection
  • Computer or other device for Netflix streaming
  1. Determine your Internet speed. Using a computer connected to the Internet, navigate to a Website which offers free speed testing. Use one of the many Websites such as Speedtest. Internet speed determines which rate the software will stream video to your device. If your connection is less than three Mbps in download speed, contact your Internet Service Provider and upgrade to a higher speed service if available in your area, this will greatly improve Netflix streaming.  The ideal service speed for Netflix is five Mbps and above. Slower speeds will result in the Netflix streaming software automatically scaling down the video quality.
  2. Reduce network traffic. Reducing network traffic will free more bandwidth for Netflix to use. Stop all applications, especially bandwidth intensive applications such as downloads, torrents, other streaming video/music. Do not run these types of programs on any computer or device connected to the network while Netflix is streaming video, doing so will cause Netflix to automatically lower the quality.
  3. Only use a wired connection. Using a wireless connection can create minor latency or decrease connection speeds. Ensure that your device is connected to the Internet via a wired network connection when viewing Netflix, this can greatly improve Netflix streaming.
  4. Try a different device or browser. Switching devices used to view Netflix can improve Netflix streaming greatly. Certain devices do not work with Netflix streaming as well as others. When using a computer to view Netflix, try switching to a different Internet Browser.

Additional Information & Tips:

  • Netflix viewing software automatically adjusts the video quality based on real-time network conditions. Starting a download or another bandwidth intensive application while watching a Netflix stream can result in a drop in quality. The Official Netflix Blog states that for highest quality, a bandwidth of at-least 4760 Kbps is required.  
  • There is no to "trick" or "fool" the viewing software, it detects the actual download speed and latency during streaming.
  • Contracted Internet speed is not always the same as actual Internet speed. Internet Service Providers may offer a service plan with a maximum speed of five Mbps, however, the actual download speed may be as low as two Mbps in actuality. Upgrading to a faster plan will fix this problem.
  • Wireless routers and older wired routers may cause data transmission speeds to be reduced. While it is unlikely they will cause a quality drop with Netflix, it is not impossible. Netflix streaming video is incredibly bandwidth intensive.
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