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How to access hidden Netflix streaming settings

If you frequently experience problems streaming videos from Netflix, tweaking these hidden settings could help.

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Streaming Netflix on a home computer works well most of the time, but depending on the quality of your Internet connection, you may experience the occasional hiccup. And when that happens, it can be frustrating to watch as the video buffers. If the problem is with your ISP, you typically don't have any way to resolve it other than to wait. However, the folks over at Lifehacker discovered a Reddit thread that revealed a way to access hidden streaming settings that could help when you're having problems.

With the Netflix video up on the browser screen, press Shift + Alt and hold it while you left-mouse-click on the screen. In OS X, press Shift + Option, and left mouse click. A diagnostic window will pop up with various settings and options.

The Stream Manager setting is the one that'll be the most useful for helping you resolve problems with buffering. You can manually set your buffering rate to see if it helps you with buffering issues. If your audio is out of sync with the video, you can try shifting the video using the A/V Sync Compensation setting.

Netflix hidden stream manager settings
Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

While there doesn't appear to be a way to access the same settings on devices with Netflix apps, like smart TVs, Blu-ray players, and game consoles, there is a little-known trick that'll reset the Netflix app. If you're experiencing problems with the Netflix app on your device, resetting the app might help. To perform this reset, launch your device's Netflix app, then using your controller or remote control, press the following sequence: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Up, Up, Up, Up. This will bring up general account and hardware information, along with the option to deactivate the Netflix app from your device. Once you've deactivated the Netflix app, you can sign back in to your account and see if your problems have been resolved.

Samsung Smart TV Netflix app deactivate screen
Deactivate screen on Samsung Smart TV Netflix app. Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

The deactivate option should be available on most devices that have the Netflix application, including smart TVs, Blu-ray players, TiVo, the Xbox 360, the Nintendo Wii, and the PlayStation 3. Did the trick work for you? If so, which device did you try it on?

Updated on August 8: In response to user comments, this post was updated to include an additional tip about devices with the Netflix application.