Netflix Buffering Issue

I'm not the biggest wizz when it comes to technology, but if I can do my part to help, I usually do. Netflix Streaming blog reader John wrote me yesterday, commenting on a Netflix Instant problem he's noticed, and a solution to fix it. I'm posting the email in full here (with his permission) in hopes that others and/or authoritative minds at Netflix might get the message and be able to help as well:
I used to use Netflix streaming a fair amount until I had to switch to a lower Internet connection speed. It's actually adequate to watch some video, but can't handle Netflix streaming (stopping every few minutes to rebuffer for another few minutes), primarily because Netflix won't allow an adequate buffer size for slower connections.
One simple change -- allowing a larger buffer size (even as an option that might have to be manually enabled by viewers) -- could open up instant watching to a lot of people who can't currently stream for more than 5 minutes at a time. I thought maybe if your blog called some attention to the issue, it might reach someone at Netflix with the power to make the change. It's in their interest -- if they want customers to stream rather than rent a lot of DVDs, saving Netflix money in the process, it's in their best interests to adapt their technology so that the largest possible segment of their customer base can use it (Including those with slower Internet connections). -John
I can relate to this issue, as I've been in places where Internet speeds were not the greatest, and watching Netflix became a real chore. What do you think?

6 comments:

John said...

It is my understanding that the Roku boxes have *very* little storage for buffering (or anything else), so I am not sure this would work. On other interfaces though (specifically the PS3 and the 360) you would think they could make this happen.

Wrecks said...

This may be a limitation of Silverlight. In which case, Netflix can't do anything about it.

John said...

@TheOtherJohn: Could be implemented for PC and Mac, though (Assuming it's not a limitation of Silverlight). A lot of video sites -- i.e. youtube, etc. -- offer unlimited buffering to the point where you can actually buffer the entire video in advance if you want.

Kyle said...

There appears to be a difference when using a PC vs. Roku. I rarely see buffering issues when I watch through my media center PC, but it is common through the Roku player. What is most annoying is when video quality is reduced because of the buffering issue rather than bandwidth.

Bob said...

Do the ISP's have the ability to detect and limit Netflix? I have a Blu-Ray player with wireless , a computer with wireless to the same router and a 10MBs connection speed. Recently the Blu-Ray player started buffering constantly, so I pulled up the computer, did a speed check - 9 MBs and was able to log into the computer and watch the same Netflix show with no buffering. I have found this to be the case with more than one computer / Blu-Ray configuration. Do you have any idea what's going on?

Rebecca said...

There appears to be a difference when using a PC vs. Roku. I rarely see buffering issues when I watch through my media center PC, but it is common through the Roku player. What is most annoying is when video quality is reduced because of the buffering issue rather than bandwidth.

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