Again, since I turned off my QoS on my computer, my strength has stayed at 4 circles. Has anyone else turned off the QoS and had their signal strength jump?
I'm on wired ethernet, behind a NAT router (using the DD-WRT open source router firmware) handling the PPPoE with my ISP, and rarely my Player would just stop buffering/showing any content (but was still happy to download/view my queue info, just not play the content). Things would normally work, but when they stopped working not even rebooting the NetFlix Player AND my router fixed the problem (which you would assume would solve the problem if something got stuck in either the player or the router). However, with the help of ROKU tech support (which I'm sure just "loves me" at this point), I've finally discovered (assuming the pattern holds) that simply going into my router (via the router's web page from a computer) and toggling off QoS and then turning it back on seems to "fix" the problem. So while the NetFlix Player is usually OK with my router's QoS, for some reason the ROKU box (or the router?) can occasionally get "stuck" when the router's QoS is on, and only "unsticks" when QoS is toggled off temporarily (with not even a reboot of the router and the NetFlix player otherwise solving the problem). Weird...
NOTE: I normally have my router's QoS on, to make sure my VoIP (internet phone) always works without interference. So I really don't want to turn it off entirely (and have my phone calls interrupted by other internet activity, including the heavy downloading of my NetFlix Player) . But now that I've discovered that I can apparently "fix" my NetFlix Player (on those rare occasions when it does develop this problem), by simply toggling the QoS off and back on with my router, I am much happier. It still would be nice if whatever got stuck in the video stream would "unstick" on its own, but (assuming this pattern holds) at least I have a work around to get things going again...
NOTE: I've found that the hidden menu (home 5 times, rewind 3 times, fast forward 2 times) to set the quality is very handy, in part because the quality auto-detect will frequently pick a lower setting than your internet can actually handle (without breaks in the video).
My guess is this occurs because the Player does have a (few minute) buffer in it, and I've discovered (by looking at my router's bandwidth usage display) that the Player actually alternates between using as much bandwidth as possible (presumably while it is buffering) and using none at all (presumably when the buffer is full). As a result, it makes sense that the player could keep its buffer from emptying when your ISP's "average bandwidth" (even if/when the actual bandwidth varies a lot due to the network congestion) is still high enough to support the stream you are viewing. But at the same time, it also makes sense that the auto-detect will see the big variance in bandwidth caused by network congestion (possibly even including no bandwidth for a few seconds at a time), and assume that you really can't handle the higher bandwidth streams. So it makes sense that the auto-detect tries to error on the side of caution, which is probably why it often picks a slower speed than your ISP's bandwidth really allows.
Besides which, it's not as if anything really bad will happen if you lock your bandwidth/steam (using the hidden menu on the Player) at the higher setting (in my case I'm currently using the 3 dot setting, as the video on my TV looks just as good as the 4 dot stream). After all, the only thing that will happen if you pick a "too high" stream, is that the player will take longer to initially buffer and may stop and rebuffer a lot (if your ISP really can't handle that stream at that time). And if if buffers too much (to the point it is being annoying to you), just go back into the hidden menu and pick a slower stream. The point is, by using that hidden menu, you bypass the (overly "conservative") auto-detect, which (all too often IMHO) can easily pick a lower quality setting than your internet actually would allow, and instead get the stream quality/speed you ask for.