I love Netflix. I purchased a PS3 about a month ago, and one of the first things I did was sign up for Netflix; now instead of scoping for [illegal, free, and never high quality] movie streaming sites or bit torrent, I pay the price of a couple cups of coffee for unlimited movies (although they don’t have the biggest selection of all time). There are tons of movies I haven’t seen that I have always wanted to see on there, though, and so, until I exhaust those, $8/mo is a pretty good deal.
One thing that did annoy me, though, was the bitrate detection that the Microsoft Silverlight uses when streaming to a PC or Mac. While usually it’s half-decent, balancing out quality and speed quite well, occasionally it detects wrong, and I end up with a low-quality audio video combination that is almost unwatchable.
After a short bit of Googling, I found Jud Stephenson’s short blog about forcing a higher nitrate on Netflix. It’s easy!
Once you begin streaming your movie, simply push Ctrl – Alt – Shift – S, and you’ll see this handy window:
Check the “Manual Selection” box (by default it is unchecked) and select a buffering rate that is higher than the one you are currently experiencing. You may have to play around with the rate a bit to see what works best with your connection, or, if you are willing to wait longer, just pick a higher one :)