Netflix lag is just the worst, and Verizon customers have had it especially bad of late. CNN Money reports that Netflix Streaming speeds for Verizon FiOS customers dropped by 14% between December and January.
Whether you're a Verizon Internet customer or not, you probably want the best possible Netflix speed and quality. Here are five quick tips for increasing your Netflix speed right now.
1. Try Using a VPN to Increase Netflix Speeds
Ars Technica recently ran an interesting article about Verizon and Comcast customers using a VPN to get their Netflix speeds back to normal. A VPN, or virtual private network, is usually used by people who want to protect their privacy online. Ars Technica explains why a VPN might be helping frustrated Netflix fans:
"VPN services route an Internet user's traffic through data centers in different locations and are usually sold to people who seek anonymity or to evade country-specific blocks (such as video content blocked in certain countries).
As a side effect, a VPN may route your traffic away from congested servers and links that would normally serve up video to your home. Netflix and YouTube store video caches in many locations, and data can take multiple paths to its final destination."
If you aren't familiar with how a VPN works, this article on Lifehacker can help you pick the best one for your needs and budget.
2. Adjust Your Netflix Settings For Better Quality
What does everyone think about throttling bandwidth that you payed for?... http://t.co/uanZ665xTR
— Clintsweb (@ClintNelson2) February 21, 2014
Netflix has a help page that's dedicated to troubleshooting poor video quality. Netflix states:
"If our video quality looks a little blocky, blurry, or pixelated, it typically means that we're unable to deliver our highest video quality due to bandwidth constraints on your home network or Internet connection...
If your Internet service provider is already providing a reliably fast connection, the problem may be caused by your Netflix settings or your home network configuration. The troubleshooting steps below resolve many underlying issues that impact video quality, but if you're still experiencing the problem after trying our steps, rest assured that we constantly monitor streaming performance and make frequent improvements to the Netflix service."
The steps that Netflix suggests to improve picture quality include rebooting your computer/streaming device, adjusting your Playback Setting to High (under the Your Account menu), or simply trying a different title in the Netflix library.
3. Change Your Viewing Habits For a Better Netflix Experience
How Verizon interferes with Netflix while claiming that they are not. By dropping packets, not throttling bandwidth http://t.co/J3BQkodHMc
— Robert DeLaurentis (@bobdel) February 21, 2014
Digital Trends recently put together an in-depth article about how to improve your Netflix viewing experience. Their main finding? The time of day you watch Netflix will dramatically affect your picture quality. They write:
"As we experimented with Netflix quality, we discovered that the biggest factor influencing stream quality is time of day, and whether that time falls under typical peak hours for watching. Getting HD at 9 in the evening, for example is next to impossible, let alone 1080p Super HD. With that said, the numbers we gathered spell things out much more clearly, so here are the details...
At the 4:30 p.m. time slot, when most viewers were likely busy cursing rush-hour traffic or wrapping up their TPS reports, the videos took an average of 15.88 seconds to load. In two instances, the stream came in at 1080p right out of the gate; for the remainder, streams started out at 720p and took an average of 12.74 seconds to buffer up to 1080p...
At 9:30 pm...things changed … dramatically. Running the same tests, we never achieved 1080p resolution (save one fleeting moment on a laptop). On three occasions we did manage to spool up to 720p, but in each of those cases it took over four minutes to get there. For the most part, we were stuck with 480p – essentially standard definition."
4. Make Some Minor Internet Tweaks
— Tubefilter (@tubefilter) February 21, 2014
Digital Landing has a great guide that lays out exactly what minor tweaks you should make to your home environment to improve Netflix. They recommend configuring your router to make sure you're getting at least 5 mbps, moving your router to minimize Wi-Fi signal degradation, and using a "wired" connection instead of a Wi-Fi connection on your device.
5. Change Your ISP to Boost Netflix Speeds
If your personal Netflix speed is just abysmal, you might want to investigate your options. You could consider either "the next step up" on your ISP's Internet plans, or possibly even change providers entirely. Calling your ISP to complain and telling them that you plan to take your business elsewhere if Netflix speeds continue to get throttled may make an impact. Investigate the other ISP options in your area, and see if another company might pay you to make the switch.