It is a fallousy to compare Netflix quality from different devices because they may not be both pulling from the same netflix server. I am not sure about the iPad nf app but most now use adaptive streaming. Unfortunately in their infinite wisdom they start at the poorest quality and can take up to 30 seconds to ramp up. If that doesn't help try optimizing your connection by running namebench:
On an available computer and see if changing your DNS server helps. That usually fixes most people who are able to get high quality on one device but not another. I use google dns now 126.96.36.199 and it is substantially better than my default ISP's DNS server. I don't remember the exact number but name bench had it rated over 300 percent faster from my location. It was even rated better than their primary 188.8.131.52.