I’m sure a lot of you have experienced that moment when you’re settling in to watch a movie on Netflix, only to find that the picture is blurry. It’s so annoying! I know, because I’ve been there. That’s why I decided to do some research to figure out what causes Netflix to be blurry and how to fix it. In this post, I’m going to share what I found out and some tips and tricks that I discovered along the way that can help get your Netflix streaming back to crystal-clear picture quality.
Netflix videos can become pixelated due to several reasons, from a poor internet connection to throttled quality settings. The culprit might even be the browser or the basic subscription plan.
Why Is Netflix’s Content Blurry?
Before we dive into the solutions, let’s first check the list of things that could reduce Netflix video quality.
Here are the top reasons to consider:
- You stream Netflix on Chrome, Opera, or Firefox.
- Your video quality settings are adjusted to “Low” or “Auto.”
- Your internet speed is slow.
- You have a basic Netflix subscription plan.
- The Netflix content needs to buffer first.
How to Fix Blurry Video Quality on Netflix
Now that you know the common reasons for low-quality streaming. Here are a couple of solutions:
- Switch Browsers
If you like to open Netflix on your browser, that could be the real problem. Netflix doesn’t let Chrome or Firefox stream movies in a quality higher than 720p.
The reason is that both browsers don’t support Netflix DRM—a technology that prevents stealing content. So, Netflix decided to cap the video quality to 720p on those browsers, attempting to reduce piracy.
Here are a couple of workarounds for browser issues:
Using Microsoft Edge
Switch your browser to Microsoft Edge or Safari. Luckily, Microsoft Edge supports Netflix DRM, which is why the browser can support high video quality up to 4K.
Installing a Chrome Extension
Another workaround to play 1080p Netflix videos is to install a Chrome extension. Some users reported that it only works for Netflix originals, though.
You can double-check Netflix’s video quality by pressing “CTRL+Alt+Shift+D” to see the playing bitrate.
- Adjust Quality Settings
Netflix has four quality settings for video, giving you the flexibility to choose what suits you.
Picking a Suitable Quality Level
Auto is the default video quality for Netflix. From its name, this setting will automatically change the video quality according to your current internet speed. So, it’s perfect if your internet speed constantly fluctuates.
The low setting limits videos to 480p max. I recommend it if you have a slow internet connection and are comfortable watching movies in a basic resolution.
Meanwhile, the medium setting (about 720p) is somewhere between high and low video quality.
On the other hand, the high setting is the best of the best. This will play videos in up to 4K resolution, and the quality will never go below 720p. Select this to enjoy top-notch movie quality as long as your internet speed can handle it.
Changing Quality Settings
Once you settle on a suitable level, you can change the settings by following one of those methods, depending on the device you’re using.
For Laptop Users:
- Open Netflix
- Select your profile
- Click on the profile menu
- Select “Account”
- Select “Playback settings”
- Under “Data Usage Per Screen,” you’ll get a bunch of video quality options
- Select “High” to get the best
For Smartphone Users:
- Open the Netflix app
- Tap on the profile icon
- Select your Profile
- Select “App Settings”
- Tap on “Cellular Data Usage”
- Select “Maximum Data”
- Go back to “App Settings”
- Tap on “Video Quality”
- Select “Higher” to download high-quality videos
- Check Your Internet Speed
You might have a slow internet speed that can’t sustain streaming high-quality Netflix movies for long periods.
That could be why you’ll find that the video quality constantly fluctuates between blurry and clear. However, to confirm that this is the real issue, visit a speed tester.
According to Netflix, you need a minimum speed of 3 Mbps for HD and 15 Mbps for Ultra HD.
- Wait for the Content to Buffer
Netflix sometimes takes a couple of minutes to load the movie in a high-quality resolution, especially when your internet speed isn’t very reliable.
In this case, it’s best to wait for about five minutes until the content loads a bit.
- Upgrade Your Subscription Plan
As of November 2022, Netflix has four subscription plans: basic with ads, basic, standard, and premium.
The first two only allow up to 720p. Meanwhile, the standard and premium plans allow up to 1080p and 4K, respectively.
So, if you subscribed to one of the first two plans and you aren’t satisfied with the quality, upgrading to a standard or premium plan might be your best bet.
While it’s common to struggle with watching a movie because Netflix is blurry, there are a few simple tips and tricks that can help you out.
For example, you can try to use Microsoft Edge instead of Chrome. You might also want to change Netflix’s quality settings to high if your internet speed can handle it.