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Alexander: Netflix connection problem has many possible solutions

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER
  • Star Tribune
  • February 12, 2013 - 11:15 PM

Last week I suggested that Internet connection problems might be causing people to endure long pauses while streaming Netflix movies and TV shows. The video was moving through a home network to a Wi-Fi equipped Blu-ray disk player connected to a TV. I said the cause might be either the Internet service provider’s speed slipping too low, or others in the household sharing the Internet connection while streaming was going on.

But things are rarely that neat. So here are some other plausible explanations, some suggested by readers and others found in Internet forums.

Here’s a twist on my Internet connection theory: maybe the home network’s wireless router is being slowed down by interference from other wireless devices that share the same frequencies, such as smartphone Wi-Fi connections, Bluetooth cellphone headsets, cordless phones or wireless speakers. But, if you have a dual-band router, you can switch frequencies to get rid of the interference and improve your Netflix streaming (see tinyurl.com/a7dzvzz).

Netflix has an entirely different idea. It says the problem lies with Netflix settings that can be fixed by home users. The company suggests two approaches. One is the old shutdown technique; power down the Blu-ray player and restart it. If that doesn’t work, Netflix suggests using the Blu-ray player’s Netflix app to disconnect the player from Netflix, then reconnect it (for details, see tinyurl.com/a6orx2e).

Chris Meehl, president of security-system installer Electronic Installations Inc. of Maple Grove, says the problem lies with Sony, whose Blu-ray players use a roundabout method of streaming that causes glitches.

“Sony TVs and Blu-ray players stream Netflix through a secondary server at Sony, and that is the cause of the glitches and slow video performance,” Meehl said.

Others say Panasonic Blu-ray players are to blame. The only way to fix that, the theory goes, is to do “a full factory reset through a hidden service menu that is only displayed on the front panel of the player.” See tinyurl.com/aozw49q for details.

So there you have it — five different proposed solutions for a single problem. Who says electronics aren’t fun?

 

Q: My PC received an e-mail from someone with a Macintosh computer. I then changed the subject line and other aspects of the e-mail and forwarded it to several people. But they all got the unaltered e-mail I originally received. Why?

Tim Palmer, Lafayette, La.

 

A: The e-mail you are forwarding is the one that’s stored on your e-mail server, not the one you are altering on your PC. As a result, the e-mail changes you’re making aren’t reflected in the e-mail that arrives in your recipients’ inboxes.

 

E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com or write to Tech Q&A, 425 ­Portland Av. S., ­Minneapolis, MN 55488. Include name, city and telephone number.

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