Minimum Internet Speed Required for Netflix
By Kefa Olang
An optimal Internet connection speed not only enables you to stream Netflix movies and TV shows, it decreases the chances of running into loading, stalling and buffering problems that are common with slow network connections. In addition to a fast and efficient network connection, there are several other factors that play key roles in improving your Netflix viewing experience.
Network Connection Speed
Whether you're using a computer or a Netflix-ready device such as a Microsoft Xbox 360, a Smart TV or a Blu-ray player, a fast network connection speed is ideal for streaming videos. Netflix recommends broadband connections such as cable modems and Digital Subscriber Lines, or DSL, to decrease the chances of buffering and loading problems. Although you can watch Netflix titles with different levels of broadband connections, some standard-definition and high-definition videos may require faster connection speeds. The video-streaming website recommends a broadband connection with a download speed of at least 1.5 megabits per second to stream regular content, at least 3 megabits per second for DVD-quality content and at least 5 megabits per second to stream high-definition titles.
Troubleshooting Network Connections
If you're running into frequent buffering problems when you play Netflix titles, more often than not the issue is with the network connection. Either your network connection does not meet the site's minimum system requirements, the modem or wireless router may not be working properly, or your Internet service provider may be experiencing technical difficulty. In most cases, turning off the wireless router or modem for about 20 to 30 seconds and then turning them on recycles power and improves network connections. If your Wi-Fi connection is the issue, connecting a computer directly to the modem using an Ethernet cable is a better option because the connection bypasses the router. If your network connection problems persist, the issue could be with your Internet service provider. In such a case, contacting your provider for additional troubleshooting is necessary.
A fast and efficient network connection is necessary to stream Netflix videos, but a computer that meets the video-streaming site's minimum system requirements also is needed. Even with a broadband network connection that meets Netflix's minimum Internet speed requirements, streaming videos will only be as smooth and as clear as your computer's hardware will allow. Netflix is currently compatible with both PCs and Macs. For PC users, at least 512MB of memory and a 1.6Ghz processor or higher is ideal for streaming content. For Mac users, an Intel-based system with OS 10.4.11 or later is required. In addition, at least 1GB of memory will certainly improve the display.
If you're using a a computer to stream Netflix videos, an updated browser is required to stream titles. The latest version of Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari or Google Chrome decreases the chances of running into playback errors. If you're unable to play a TV show or movie in one browser, try a different one. In addition, the latest version Silverlight, a plug-in used in some browsers to stream Netflix videos, may be required to watch titles.
Kefa Olang has been writing articles online since April 2009. He has been published in the "Celebration of Young Poets" and has an associate degree in communication and media arts from Dutchess Community College, and a bachelor's degree in broadcasting and mass communication from the State University of New York, Oswego.