Netflix Bad Quality (This Fix Works!)

David Hughes
By David Hughes 14 Min Read

Have you ever sat down to watch your favorite show on Netflix, only to find that the picture looks blurry or just not as clear as you expected? If you’ve found yourself asking, “Why is Netflix quality bad?” then you’re not alone.

In this guide, we’re going to dive into the reasons why you might be experiencing poor picture quality on Netflix. But don’t worry, it’s not just about understanding the problem. I’ll also show you some handy tips on how to fix it. So, let’s get started and turn that blurry Netflix show into a crystal-clear viewing experience!

Why Is The Netflix Quality Bad?

1. Check Your Netflix Plan and Its Limits

First things first, the quality of your Netflix streaming largely depends on the type of subscription plan you have. Each Netflix plan allows for a certain maximum video quality:

  • Basic with ads & Basic Plans: These plans offer up to 720p (which is HD quality, but not the highest HD).
  • Standard Plan: This plan steps up to 1080p, which is Full HD and offers clearer, more detailed images.
  • Premium Plan: The top-tier plan, offering up to 2160p, also known as 4K, which is super clear and detailed.

So, if you’re on the Basic plan and wondering why your screen isn’t showing ultra-sharp 4K quality, well, that’s because your plan doesn’t support it.

2. The Internet Connection Puzzle

Even if you’re on the Premium plan, if your internet is slow, Netflix cleverly adjusts and reduces the video quality to ensure smoother streaming. This means a slow internet can lead to a drop in picture quality, making your videos look less sharp or even blurry.

  • Troubleshooting Tip: If Netflix works fine on your phone but not on your TV, it might be a sign that your home’s internet connection isn’t strong or stable enough in the area where your TV is located.

3. Stuttering and Pixelation: It’s Not Just About the Speed

  • Stuttering Issues: If Netflix videos are pausing and starting on their own (we call this stuttering), and the picture quality is poor, this is a big hint that your home internet might be the culprit.
  • Comparing with Other Platforms: Another way to check is by comparing Netflix with other streaming platforms. If other services stream well but Netflix videos look pixelated (like lots of tiny blocks), it might be due to the playback settings or the software configuration on your device.
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Understanding these factors can help you diagnose why the Netflix quality might be bad. But don’t worry, we’ll also look into ways to fix these issues so you can get back to enjoying your shows in the best quality possible!

How To Fix Netflix Video Quality Bad

Method 1: Improve Your Router Performance

If you’re facing issues with Netflix’s video quality, one of the simplest and most effective steps you can take is to restart your router. This can often fix the problem and improve your streaming experience.

Restarting Your Router: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Unplug Your Router: First, unplug your router from its power source. It’s as simple as pulling the plug out of the socket.
  2. Wait a Bit: Leave it unplugged for about 30 to 60 seconds. This short break is like giving your router a quick rest.
  3. Plug It Back In: After waiting, plug the router back in.

Why Does This Help?

  • New Server Connection: Restarting your router allows it to establish a new connection to your internet service provider. This often results in a more stable and faster internet connection.
  • Performance Boost: A reboot can clear out any minor glitches or bugs in the router that were causing it to slow down. Think of it like restarting your computer when it starts to lag.
  • Bandwidth Bottlenecks: If your router hasn’t been restarted in a while, it might struggle with managing bandwidth efficiently, especially if there are multiple devices connected. This can lead to Netflix not receiving enough bandwidth to stream in high quality.
  • Better Response Time: Regularly resetting your router can keep your internet speed and responsiveness in good shape, reducing the chances of a poor-quality picture on Netflix.

Once you’ve restarted your router, try streaming on Netflix again and see if there’s an improvement in the video quality. Often, this simple step can make a significant difference.

Method 2: Change Your Netflix Video Quality Playback Settings

Another effective way to improve your Netflix video quality is by adjusting the Netflix video playback settings. These settings control the picture quality of the content you’re streaming. If your picture is looking poor, the setting might be set too low. Let’s walk through how to change these settings.

How To Change Playback Settings: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Visit the Netflix Website: Start by going to the Netflix website on your computer or tablet.
  2. Access Your Profile: Look at the top right-hand corner of the screen and click on your profile image.
  3. Head to ‘Account’ Settings: In the dropdown menu that appears, select “Account”. This will take you to a page where you can manage various aspects of your Netflix account.
  4. Find ‘Profile & Parental Controls’: Here, you can also check under “PLAN DETAILS” to see which Netflix plan you’re currently subscribed to.
  5. Adjust Playback Settings: Now, look for an option named “Playback Settings”. This is where you can adjust the video quality.
  6. Select Your Data Usage Preference: In the Playback Settings, you’ll find different options for data usage. The higher the data usage setting you choose, the better the picture quality. This means you’re less likely to encounter poor picture quality on Netflix.
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Note on Data Usage: Keep in mind that higher picture quality means more data usage. So, if you have a data cap on your internet plan, you might want to balance quality with data usage.

Method 3: Restart Your Streaming Device Or Web Browser

If Netflix’s quality is still not up to the mark, consider restarting your streaming device or web browser.

  • For Streaming Devices: Unplug your device (like a Roku, Firestick, or Smart TV) from its power source, wait for about 60 seconds, and then plug it back in. This reboot allows any pending updates to install and clears the system cache, which can often resolve streaming issues.
  • For Web Browsers: If you’re watching Netflix on a browser, try closing all tabs. Then, right-click on your browser icon and select “Quit” or “Exit.” Reopening the browser can refresh the connection and often improves streaming quality.

Method 4: Update Your Netflix App

  • Device-Specific Apps: If you’re using Netflix on devices like a Firestick or a Smart TV, make sure the Netflix app is updated to the latest version. Sometimes, older versions of the app can have bugs or issues that affect video quality.

Method 5: Disconnect Other Devices In Your Home From The Internet

  • Disconnect Non-Essential Devices: The more devices connected to your home internet, the more your bandwidth is divided, which can affect streaming quality. By disconnecting devices that aren’t in use (like smartphones, tablets, other smart devices), you can free up bandwidth for a smoother Netflix experience.
  • Manage Household Internet Use: If others in your household are downloading large files, streaming, or gaming online, this can hog the internet bandwidth, leading to lower video quality on Netflix. If possible, try streaming during times when internet use is lower in your household.

Method 6: Close Some Apps

Reducing the number of running applications, particularly those using the internet, can help improve Netflix’s video quality.

  • Impact of Open Apps: Having multiple apps open, especially those that require internet connectivity, can strain both your system and your internet performance. This can lead to pixelated or lower quality video playback on Netflix.
  • Action Step: Before streaming on Netflix, close any unnecessary applications on your device. This frees up system resources and bandwidth, potentially leading to smoother and clearer video playback.

Method 7: Use An Ethernet Cable Rather Than Wi-Fi

Using a wired Ethernet connection instead of Wi-Fi can enhance your Netflix streaming quality.

  • Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet: Wi-Fi connections can be slower and more prone to interference, especially if the device is far from the router. An Ethernet cable provides a more stable and faster internet connection.
  • Action Step: If possible, connect your streaming device directly to your router using an Ethernet cable. This could provide a more consistent and higher-speed internet connection, which is beneficial for streaming high-quality videos.
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Method 8: Disable Ad Blockers And VPNs

Ad blockers and VPNs, while useful for privacy and blocking ads, can sometimes interfere with Netflix’s streaming performance.

  • Effect on Streaming: These tools can slow down your connection or lead to issues with video playback quality.
  • Action Step: Try turning off any ad blockers or VPNs when streaming on Netflix. Check if this leads to an improvement in video quality. Keep in mind that disabling VPNs might affect your privacy settings, so weigh your options based on your priorities.

Method 9: Upgrade Your Internet Connection

If you’ve tried the previous methods and still face issues, your internet speed might be the bottleneck. Upgrading your internet connection could be the solution.

  • Internet Speed Requirements: For streaming high-definition content like 4K videos on Netflix, you need a robust internet connection. In many parts of North America, high-speed internet options are available that can support 4K streaming.
  • Action Step: Consider checking with your internet service provider to see if a faster internet plan is available and suitable for your needs. Upgrading your internet can provide the bandwidth necessary for high-quality streaming.

Method 10: Check The Netflix Servers

Sometimes the problem might not be on your end but with Netflix’s servers.

  • Using Down Detector: Websites like Down Detector can be handy for checking if there are any ongoing issues or outages with the Netflix service.
  • Action Step: Visit the Down Detector website and check for any reported problems with Netflix. This can help you understand if the issue is widespread and not just limited to your connection.

Method 11: Contact Netflix Support

If all else fails, contacting Netflix support can be your best bet.

  • Getting Professional Help: Netflix’s support team can provide more personalized troubleshooting based on your specific situation.
  • Action Step: Visit the Netflix help center or use their contact options to get in touch with their support team. Be ready to describe the issue you’re facing in detail, along with any steps you’ve already taken to resolve it.

Conclusion: Solving Your Netflix Quality Woes

Experiencing bad quality on Netflix can be frustrating, but as we’ve seen, there are several steps you can take to improve the situation. Often, the root of the problem lies in a poor internet connection or incorrect playback settings, but it’s not always limited to these.

By following the methods outlined in this guide – from simple fixes like adjusting your playback settings and rebooting your router, to more advanced solutions like upgrading your internet connection or reaching out to Netflix support – you stand a good chance of enhancing your viewing experience. Remember, a clear, high-quality picture on your favorite TV shows and movies is often just a few troubleshooting steps away.

We hope this guide has been helpful in navigating you towards a better, clearer, and more enjoyable Netflix streaming experience. Happy watching!

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Meet David, the tech blog's brilliant author and copywriting expert. With a profound passion for technology, David's captivating articles on tech, Android, Windows, internet, social media, gadgets, and reviews are the epitome of excellence. His expertise in crafting compelling content combined with his love for all things tech make him a formidable force in the industry.
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