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I have been using vmcNetflix, an add-on for vista media center, that actually downloads a wmv for playback. I wonder what quality it uses?


This "hack" is pretty close to useless.
Locking in a bit stream will just cause the movies to stop or pause throughout. My devices automatically give me the best bitstream my connection can handle. If your connection can handle 2.2 mbps, you'll get it.
Still though, it is fun to play with.


This "hack" is pretty close to useless.
Locking in a bit stream will just cause the movies to stop or pause throughout. My devices automatically give me the best bitstream my connection can handle. If your connection can handle 2.2 mbps, you'll get it.
Still though, it is fun to play with.

Dr. Quasius

The Roku box automatically chooses the best stream for your connection. If you have a slower connection and choose the 2.2 stream you will have the problems Turbo mentioned.

Where this "hack" (undocumented features aren't hacks) does come in handy is to lower your quality in order to save on bandwidth.


Actually, this hack is critical for some users.

First, the PC player does a very poor job of calculating max bitrate for some connections. It always starts me off at 500kbps, even though I can sustain 1600 with absolutely no problem.

Second, some users would rather wait than watch a low quality image. I can understand why they would hide this from most ignorant consumers who don't understand the tradeoff, but all players should provide some method for allowing users to make an informed choice.

I, for one, passed on buying the Roku box because I wasn't sure there was going to be a way to lock in the bitrate.


Others said it before I could. This hack is useless to the average Joe. It will cause 4 Dot Quality SURE, but only for a few minutes, and it will begin buffering again if your connection is bad to begin with.

I know, because I was having so many problems with Low Quality on my high speed network, and my trouble was what prompted Roku to post this Debugger Tip on their forum.

In the end, the problem was just that the player was new, and Netflix didn't have enough servers to handle all of the additional streaming going on. So, the problem cleared itself up when a Technician at Roku told me that Netflix was adding new servers.


Matthew, there hasn't yet been a problem with Netflix's streaming servers being overloaded. (I know because I write the software they run.) The Internet is a fickle beast, but I'm glad it's been treating you well lately :)

Jeff from Knowzy

I wish someone knew of a similar hack for the PC.

In my case, I actually want to force LQ (low quality) streaming.

My current HTPC is 450Mhz. While I have no problem streaming at 1.6Mbps, my computer's CPU can't keep up with the decoding.

Watch Instantly becomes a slideshow: One frame every 10 seconds or so. The audio works fine.

My old 768Kbps DSL line worked wonderfully on the same PC. When I upgraded my Internet connection, my Netflix streaming effectively got downgraded.

This doesn't have to be a hack, it should be a feature. Netflix would benefit from reduced bandwidth costs.


They REALLY ought to make this type of hack available for PC browser streaming. My internet connection downloads from itunes and other sites at 10 MB/sec (yes, megabytes - I am on Stanford University's network and it's pretty darn quick) but for some reason my video often runs at med quality or worse.

Why would they NOT offer a manual bitrate control? Come on Netflix, make me happpy - I am your most important customer. Ever.

Player 1

All I got with this code was 99 lives...


The Roku player is apparently much better at recognizing the true average bitrate compared to the PC player, so this hack probably isn't as important as it is for the PC (which does have a hack to force the bitrate BTW).


"the PC (which does have a hack to force the bitrate BTW)."

Please share!!!!!!!!!


There are two hacks that I know of.

1) Shift-B will bring up the bitrate selector. The keyboard focus needs to be in the proper window when you press this, so left-click in the black area to the right of the controls and below the video box. The cursor should change to a vertical bar if you're in the right spot.

2) Control and right-click in the video box brings up a pop menu with monitoring options.

Isaac Church

This trick is VITAL if you want Quality of Service (QoS) to work right. The problem with the auto-detect mode on the Roku is it doesn't give QoS on my router a chance to react. By forcing the 2.2 Mbps (I have plenty of bandwidth) the QoS on the router sees the demand and has a chance to kick down the rest of the network correctly. It's all the more important for me, since I have two Roku's. Without this trick I can't get QoS to work right, so a big thanks to whoever shared this!

Dr. Quasius

Check out the Roku forums for tricks like this. I found there a couple of months ago. Also you can a heads up on software updates, ect.


Dr. Quasius

This board needs to have basic HTML turned on. Grrrrrrrr.


The Shift-B option is useful for those of us that want quality. However, I notice that the player setting does not change the maximum bandwidth allotted. The download is limited to about 35Kb even though my connection can routinely handle 150Kb sustained. I am guessing that server selection and max download rate are determined by the check to speedtest.ehub.netflix.com. There would be a lot less waiting involved if the rate limit was influenced by the manual quality setting.


Disregard my previous post about rate limit. I was looking at the wrong thing.



Shift-B works great, I'm not stuck with a 500 kb stream any more! How did you know about that? I read this forum daily and I've never seen anyone mention that.

Shift-B should be a headline on this site.


I think I first became aware of the PC hacks from:


although I could no longer find the post with that info when I looked a few days ago.


Another secret screen:

Press Home 5x, Forward 3x, Reverse 2x.....

Get a secret screen with various bits of info and the ability to trigger unstable, hourly, beta, and testing software updates. Also a factory reset option.

Cool. Found this because I mis-remembered the sequence to get the other screen. LoL


Can someone explain to me why it is that I can obtain 4 dots on any TV show you wish to name over the Roku, but any movie I choose will revert to 2 or 3? I can switch back and forth, one right after the other - TV show, movie - multiple times and reproduce this 100%.

That's just plain odd. It's as if the server is throttling you down based on the length of the content chosen, not your connection (I have steady 3.0 DSL with low latency). Netflix speed tests always peg me at "high quality" yet 1/2 the movies I choose are 2 dot affairs -- unwatchable on a 32" LCD.


This is great! Thanks.

I can download at just over 800KB/sec, but my Roku never goes to the 2.2Mbps. Now I watch in the best mode and never get a glitch. I think the Roku logic is flawed in determining the correct speed. Or, maybe netflix is near capisity and wants to slow things down some?

Again, thanks for the tip.


FWIW, the PC trick for bringing up status windows is not Control-Right Click it's Shift-Right Click.


After being forced into the silver.light "opt-in", now that's funny, Watch Instantly is now unwatchable. What worked perfectly with the old player is now worthless. Thanks NF.
Anyone else have this problem, because NF support's only response is, oh well, it works for most, you're just unlucky in this case - just paraphrasing of course, but that was the gist of it.


Hi, I can't watch instant movies on my PC. When I press play, it looks like it's going to work, then just stops - page done loading. I tried: uninstall/reinstall Silverlight, windows uninstaller, registry fixes, etc., all no good. Netflix and MS support were absurdlynon-responsive. Thanks for any suggestions. -Val


Is there a hack similar to this for the Xbox streaming service?


I am watching Friday Night Lights on my ROKU - on a 4 MB dsl pipe. It is supposed to be HD and in general looks great, unless the particular frame I am watching is dark. Then it looks like hell - grossly pixelated. Then when the show gets back to light or midrange values, the quality is great. I don't know if other content has this same problem. I don't know if forcing it to go 2.2 mb rather than auto would have any effect.

I picked FNL because it was available in HD - it turns out that we really like the show.


Does the Roku player use Silverlight? I was hoping for big things from Silverlight 3, but it drops as many frames as 2.0, typically drops about 60% to 40% rendered on my PC, which isn't very old. Netflix is just unwatchable now. Movies showed more frames per second in the 1920s.

Thomas D.

Any way you can do this hack on an LG BD390 ? I have to keep reloading my instant plays over and over again until netflix decides "oh yeah, you do have high speed internet..." It is pretty annoying


# On Mac, hold OPTION and SHIFT, and click in the middle of the video player.
# This should bring up a dialog box showing "AV Stats, Logging, Player info, and Stream Manager".
# You're going to want to click "Stream Manager".
# When you've opened Stream manager, if you have bad quality, your Buffering and Playing rates will be at 500 each. Even if they're at 1000, you can still make things higher quality.

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