Q. My streaming picture on Netflix is generally pretty good. But sometimes it varies, gets a little worse. Is there any way to determine what resolution/speed I’m getting on Netflix from my Internet service? — Roger, Fairfax, Virginia.
Roger, you have a common concern. Many Netflix streamers report that their picture looks just dandy most of the time, but then all of a sudden, the High-Definition picture quality seems to morph into standard-definition. It may not last very long, but when it does, it sometimes requires you to re-start your movie or TV show to get the picture back to normal.
There’s a obvious reason for this problem. Your Internet service’s speed varies and sometimes it will dip below the minimum requirement for a HD picture. When this occurs, Netflix may post an on-screen message asking if you want to change the HD setting to SD. Most of the time, you should refrain from doing this; better to re-start the program to see if that will improve the speed. (And when I say, re-start, I mean just begin the show from the point where you stopped watching. You can do this by hitting Stop and then returning to the Menu and hit the Resume button. This will take you back to the scene you were watching.)
Now to your specific question, there are two things you can do to check the speed and resolution of your Netflix picture. First, you can go to Fast.com (Netflix’s proprietary speed measurement service) and do a test of your ISP’s speed.
Netflix says you need a minimum speed of 5 Megabits (Mbps) to watch high-def and 25 Megabits to watch 4K programming.
Besides online speed tests, there’s another way to check your Netflix streaming speed and it’s located right in your Netflix app. If you go to Netflix’s ‘Get Help’ section, there’s a feature called, ‘Check Your Network.’ Click on it and Netflix will measure your connection speed and the reliability of your connection to Netflix’s servers.
Roger, hope that helps. Happy viewing!
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— Phillip Swann
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