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If you hit shift-b during playback, you will see a little selection box in the lower corner where you can select which quality stream you want to watch/buffer. Using this technique, you won't always have to watch at the quality netflix chooses during auto-detection!

Tom V.

I would absolutely love to have the ability to control the buffering of Netflix streaming video, because right when playing Netflix video my Sony Z-Series TV has to pause every 1-2 minutes to download the video.


If we were able to extend the buffer and control the quality I might actually use Instant Watch.


I'd love this functionality on my xbox360.


Yes. The way Netflix buffers is the biggest problem I have with WI playback. I think they're right not to prominently feature such options but if there were a reasonable way that a power user might change the default it would be great.


i actually have zero complaints... thru my xbox, it auto changes the quality without stopping... both up and down...

on my lappy, well, i guess an option like hulu's 480p/360p would be an easier addition... just allow me to say, hey my interwebz is being crappy today, so no high def for me right now...


Yes, I've wished for this feature, Basically, I don't want quality to drop below a certain level. If netflix could determine that it needs to pre-buffer for x-minutes to assure me that quality, I'd like it to give me the option of waiting. There could be some kind of global preference, with the ability to over-ride that preference when actually clicking to watch something. Meanwhile, I'll have to check out Prost's tip and see if that helps.

Chase Rief

I need this for my tivo. It stops every 8-10 minutes to re-buffer.

Matt Jones

I have no complaints, but i do agree. I'd rather wait a little longer and guarantee the HD version than get my connection downgraded. This is how the Apple tv works. It won't start the movie until you have x% done or your speed is going at a certain bit-rate so they can guarantee you don't have a connection drop or pause due to buffer. You can continue to use their software, add and buy stuff, etc.. until the buffer is ready, then it prompts you and tells you it's ready, you can then click to watch or keep using the software and start it up later, meanwhile it's downloading the entire time.


I wish I could choose the quality on my Roku player. It often starts at full-quality (4 dots) then downgrades several times during the playback. I would be fine with watching it on 2 dots if it would play all the way through.


I use my Xbox and it measures quality in bars (1-4). My movie usually starts at either 3 or 4 bars but almost always stops and drops by one bar. Often it will stop and go back up again. The delay is very short but the thing I hate is that I usually miss about 2-3 seconds of video every time this happens. I would definitely opt to let the buffer fill up before I watch. I do the same thing with Hulu all the time.


I think this feature is great for people who have bad connections, which seems like most of the people commenting here.

I very rarely have a problem with buffering from my Xbox or blu-ray player. But that may be because I don't have them connected via Wifi. Physical Ethernet has far more through put than even the new wireless n standard.


Charter seems unable to maintain a steady connection. I have fin short burst internet, but when streaming a movie, it'll usually crap out after about 15 minutes. (I've called, complained, and gotten the run around). So I would this open at the least to combat charter.


Uninterrupted playback at a decent quality level is the only way Netflix streaming will be worth paying for (clearly their end strategy). Since you can't rely on internet service providers (my broadband speeds on TW are wildly inconsistent, even though TW claims there's nothing wrong with the lines), the only reasonable option is to allow buffering large portions of a program - or even the entire program - before playback.

I've said before I would be willing to subscribe to a virtual version of Netflix's physical offering, where I could download X movies at high quality for uninterrupted playback based on the number of "discs at home" my subscription allows. When I'm done with a movie I mark it for deletion and the next movie in my queue starts to download. The wait times would be considerably less than snail mail.


As a newcomer to streaming, my PC and Roku (attached via ethernet cable) have never had a problem. Once time when watching a movie on my PC it wanted to scale down, but I just went back to the menu and back again to the movie and was back in at full quality.

I've never had to wait for the buffer except for maybe 5-20 seconds at the very start.


I would love this since I have trouble streaming HD content to my Tivo HD wirelessly. Wired, it works fine. I'd like to be able let it buffer for a few minutes to watch it in HD. Alternatively, it would be nice if you could choose the quality if you don't want to wait.

Steven Hoober

YES. If the wife is watching on her computer, and I am on the TV (insignia BD player), it reduces quality notably. I'd be happy to let it spend a few minutes buffering to get a better PQ.

Sometimes goes to mobile-phone-loaded-to-youtube quality. It makes me sad.


YES PLEASE. I have no issues with waiting longer for it to start if I can control how much buffering i'd want it to do.
Watching an HD quality stream on my TivoHD is nearly impossible. Any non-HD streams work flawlessly. If I can't set the buffer size, at least let me choose if I want HD or not, don't make that decision for me.


Yes! I hate being interrupted when the speed changes up or down. I wouldn't mind letting it buffer for awhile first.


Needed on TiVo!!!

Someone Withabrain

Every single person complaining of rebuffering errors DO NOT HAVE AN INTERNET CONNECTION THAT IS ABLE TO SUSTAIN THE STREAM.

When your internet speed FLUXUATES and drops down after a few minutes of initial streaming, the movie needs to pause to catch up.

It's really not that difficult to understand, and if watching instantly is important to you, PAY TO UPGRADE YOUR INTERNET SERVICE or stop complaining.


I am not complaining, but I also would like to adjust the buffer for consistant playback and better quality. My internet connection is fine for everything else that I need and I do not want to spend any more just for the movies. I do not mind waiting longer for the buffer to load. It would still be faster than having to go to the video store or recieving the movies in the mail. I do not believe this is an unreasonable request.

Just Sayin'

It should be VERY easy for the Netflix developers to incorporate a call to the IncreaseQuotaTo method in the SLPlayer app. This will allow the user to select more than 1Mb of buffer storage (the default). I believe this will solve the vast majority of buffer problems people are reporting.

Jim Willis


Not avalilable or I would do so

I haven't bothered to try the streaming because I KNOW my internet connection isn't fast enough to really support this sort of thing. The only reason I can watch youtube is because I can start it, and then come back once it's finished loading.


I tried to stream something last night for the first time in a long time. I have a premium internet subscription but it was still having to buffer every fifteen minutes. I would have paused it and let it buffer the whole thing just to not have a few minute lag every fifteen minutes. I am one of those that starts a movie and can't be stopped or the experience is ruined. I would definitely want the option of how to stream and buffer.

Keith Neeley

I have a laptop running XP, a two year old desktop running XP and a new desktop running W7. The screen on the new computer is a flat screen with much higher defintion that the other two. The laptop and older desktop have no problems streaming a movie while the new computer has to buffer every two minutes - big pain in the neck. If I read stuff right, the first post says I can control the output by hitting shift-b during playback. Has anyone ever tried that?


I know this post is kinda old but here it is May 2010 (almost June) and problem still exist. I like other people have a connection that does fine with everything else EXCEPT Netflix streaming. Why pay for more expensive internet service just to be able to watch movies at a decent speed. My connection is a portable, wireless modem which I love because I can take it anywhere and get the internet on any computer. The solution is pretty simple but probably Netflix does not want to offer it. All they would really have to do is let us buffer a whole lot more (I prefer to buffer the whole movie first) before we watch. Additionally, I cannot rewind it without it re-buffering. Seems to me that what ever their streaming method is, it is purposely done that way for monetary reasons.


I am having this problem still as of today. for 15 min. of buffering i get to watch 5 min. of the movie and then get to buffer again. I have this problem on the PS3, WII, and the PC. I would get a faster connection but they dont offer it where I live. the only way to get faster is to go satalite and they all have download caps which i would fill easialy and then will start being billed by the kb...

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