How do I force Netflix to buffer?
September 7, 2008 9:31 AM   Subscribe

How do I choose a higher streaming rate when I'm using Netflix's "Watch Now" feature? Right now I'm using a 768 connection, and it's fine for everyday life, except that I can't watch netflix watch now movies in a decent quality. I don't mind waiting for my computer to buffer the entire thing before I watch it, but I can't find a way to choose the stream that I want.

I've seen the greasemonkey script hack from rorta, but the forum says that this doesn't work anymore. (Also seen on lifehacker)

Are there any other options? I don't want to rip the movie or copy it to another computer, or even play it in another player (although I will do any of those if need be). All I want to do is just choose a higher bitrate.

Is there some kind of cookie variable I can change to start the download in high, and then press the pause button to let it buffer? I've tried looking in the source for the page, and downloading a stream manually in Windows Media Player, but although it downloaded a license, the movie never played.
posted by jsmith77 to Technology (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Dunno if this helps, but I get high-speed downloads and I note that my cookie for netflix contains the string "NetflixHiSpeed"
posted by meta_eli at 4:37 PM on September 7, 2008

Best answer: Netflix runs a quick speed test to determine the bitrate of your stream right before it starts to load the film. That's the "determining your video quality" part after you hit the "Play" button. Once the movie loads, if you press Shift-B on your keyboard (you may have to click in the black area around the movie display first), you should get a small dropdown menu in the bottom right of the browser window, showing bitrates for the different streams available for that title. You'll be able to manually select the stream you want from that list, and the title will reload at that bitrate.

Caveat: I am not Netflix tech support, but I do walk past their desks on my way to the bathroom.
posted by maqsarian at 7:51 PM on September 12, 2008 [6 favorites]

Wow, thanks maqsarian!

That really works!
posted by dyslexictraveler at 9:39 AM on September 13, 2008

Response by poster: This is perfect--thanks maqsarian!
posted by jsmith77 at 7:13 PM on September 16, 2008

Bravo...Excellent tip.
posted by mmascolino at 9:00 PM on September 25, 2008

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