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Are you paying for a smooth Netflix movie and getting poor or slow video quality?

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Are you paying for a smooth Netflix movie and getting poor or slow video quality?

Are you paying for a smooth Netflix movie and getting poor or slow video quality?

 This is probably not Netflix’s fault.  Like the rest of you, I like to save money when I can.  When I discovered that I could lower my cable bill, my movie rental bill and my movie theatre bill by getting Netflix, I jumped on board. Of course, I now find myself going to the movies more, still renting movies and paying for Netflix as well…I might as well be honest. But that’s for another article….

I noticed the picture wasn’t the clearest and I was beginning to wonder if I was getting cataracts, but my wife said the picture wasn’t clear either so I ruled out the cataracts and now needed something else to blame.

I didn’t realize that one third of America’s Internet capacity is often running through Netflix at peak hours. Kim Komando "America’s Digital Goddess” says that some providers slow down their subscriber’s connection to Netflix.  I don’t believe that was the case here. 

1.     First step was to rule out cataracts. Check!

2.    Was my computer getting the speed I’m paying for?

For that, I looked at the Netflix USA ISP Speed Index. You can see it here. You may need to expand the results at the bottom of the page to see your ISP if it is a smaller one. This is a fancy way of Netflix saying, "This is how fast we are seeing from your ISP at prime time everyday”

3.    Now that I see how fast they are expecting, there is a simple way to check my incoming download speeds. 

a.    Go to speakeasy.net

b.     Click on "Go to Speed Test”

c.     Click the closest city to your location, on the left

d.    It will run a download speed test. Is the result close to what Netflix shows in their Speed Index?

4.    If it is within 80% then your speed is fine.  For example, my speed was 2.75Mbps and Netflix said it should be around 3… close enough.

5.    Now comes the tricky part.  Remember, my picture wasn’t super clear so I figured something must have been wrong with my connection speed.  Well, my connection speed was fine.

6.    In my mind, I automatically started blaming my ISP for throttling back my speed when Netflix was used at prime time.  Thank for putting that thought in my head Kim K. I talked with my ISP and asked them if that was possible…silly me, I don’t think they would tell me anyway.  But they said, "No chance of us slowing down your speed”

7.    My last stop was back at Netflix.  I found out that I had my play back quality set to LOW. 


Sheesh! It took a long time to get here but I learned quite a bit in the process and hopefully it will help someone else.


Here’s how to increase your playback quality.

A.    Log in to Netflix

B.    Click your name icon on the top right (you will see a drop down list appear)

C.    Click where it says, "Your Account”

D.   Look down the left side where it says "My Profile”

E.    Click "Playback Settings”

F.    Change to Medium or High


Congratulations!  You did it without blaming your ISP or investing time researching a conspiracy theory.


Have a Wicked good Day!

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