Few among us would argue that Netflix hasn’t been a complete game changer in our lives. Not only was it one of the catalysts for the revolution against traditional cable and TV companies, but it’s also completely changing the way we view media—and not just re-runs of old TV shows no one cares about.
Netflix is quickly becoming a cultural resource. According to the folks from DMR, Netflix users watched over 42 billion hours of streaming television in 2015 and roughly 100 million hours daily. As of January 19, 2017, there were just over 93 million total Netflix subscribers. In the next year, Netflix will be adding an additional 1,000 hours of Netflix-exclusive content, up a 43% increase over last year’s 700 added hours.
While those numbers and statistics are intriguing, the only thing they tell us is that Netflix is expanding and growing. The broader issue then becomes: With all that incredible content, how can subscribers take the best advantage of it all? Outside of Netflix’s specially curated home screen, how are we supposed to truly explore its remarkable database of some of the world’s best visual content?
Good question, bud. Luckily for you, that’s why I’m here. Here are the top 10 Netflix hacks to make the best of your subscription.
Clear Your Browsing History
Ask me what I’ve watched on Netflix this month. Was it 10 Things I Hate About You? Maybe I finally got around to checking out Twilight. Or maybe—just maybe—I felt like swooning over Zac Efron’s beautiful eyes in Charlie St. Cloud. You have no damn idea, and that’s precisely the way I’d like to keep it. You too can harness the power of your browsing history whenever you’d like. Click below to view and modify your history, and never get caught slippin’!
There are literally thousands of titles from which to select on Netflix. Dramas, thrillers, standup comedy specials, cartoons, documentaries, original content—the possibilities are seemingly endless. If you’re particularly indecisive, or just want to watch something completely new, Netflix Roulette is an excellent source.
Manually enter in parameters like genres, keywords, actors, directors or even ratings, or you can leave everything blank and let it ride. Either way, once you decide what you’re interested in, you just click “Spin,” and a random title pops up. Not only is it a great way to make quick business of your daily Netflix search, it’s also a great way to expose yourself to new stuff you wouldn’t ordinarily consider.
Check Out The Netflix Bible, and Know How to Use It
When people first learned about Netflix’s internal code structure, we were all super fascinated, but no one really took the time to sift through all the information and put together a detailed list. At least, not until Reddit uberw00t did just that. More than the typical “comedies” and “dramas” tags, these categories often get super specific—“Dramas Based on Real Life,” “Dutch Movies” and “Political Thrillers” are just a couple of the oddly specific genres you could explore—if you know what you’re doing.
Check out the list and find a genre that you’re interested in. Then, copy and paste this URL into your browser: “Http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/”
After that, take the numerical code of the genre you’re interested in and paste it after the “genre/”. So, for instance, “Social & Cultural Documentaries,” which has a number of 3675, would be: “Http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/3675”.
Painful to admit as it may be, Reddit has slowly become a wonderful resource for literally anyone interested in anything. The NetflixBestOf SubReddit is a solid resource for people who want to learn what others are currently enjoying about Netflix.
Whether you’re just looking to lurk and soak in the consistent commentary about the best content Netflix has to offer, or you’re looking for a Thursday night date recommendation, the community is mostly great.
Check Out Netflix’s Hidden Menus
What if I told you there’s a whole other side to Netflix you’ve probably not explored? What if I told you that there was something you could do right now to stop the annoyance of buffering, ensure that you’re always streaming at the highest available quality, etc.?
Netflix’s hidden menus can help you dial in your preferred quality in order to fit your personal streaming needs.
If you’re on a PC, use the keyboard combination: CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + S; for Mac OS X users, CTRL + SHIFT + OPTION + *. A menu will pop up, allowing you to modify the video and audio bitrate in order to fit your internet’s optimal streaming speed. Make your selections and then hit “Override.” If you want to stream at the highest quality, simply hit the “Reset” button.
If you’re on a gaming console, like xBox One or PS4, and you’re trying to diagnose a connection issue, try this: On the controller’s directional pad, us the code up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, up, up, up, up and it’ll bring up the “Get Help” screen, which you can use to diagnose network issues, reload Netflix or find out personal information.
You can also head over to the Playback Settings page to custom set your streaming standards.
Make Sure You’re Optimizing for Video Quality
Speaking of video settings, if you want the best of the best streaming quality (and have the sufficient internet speeds to support it), making it happen is as easy as heading on over to your Playback Settings and selecting the highest quality possible.
It’s literally that simple.
Know Your Keyboard Shortcuts
If you’re a loyal Netflixer, by this point, you’ve probably already discovered a few of the more useful keyboard shortcuts on your own. But there’s nothing like trying to fast forward or backward and winding up starting all over again, or skipping to the next episode, or somehow setting your laptop on fire.
Here are Netflix’s keyboard shortcuts:
Space – Toggle Play/Pause
Enter – Toggle Play/Pause
PgUp – Play
PgDn – Pause
F – Full Screen
Esc – Exit Full Screen
Shift + Left Arrow – Rewind
Shift + Right Arrow – Fast Forward
Up Arrow – Volume Up
Down Arrow – Volume Down
M – Mute Toggle
Stream Without Borders
A fun fact that not everybody knows about Netflix: Their content varies greatly from country to country. In fact, who has the best Netflix subscription is a highly contested question among international users. Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and even Denmark are all major competitors, all offering a different array of solid selections.
But if you’re like me, you think it’s bull shit that Netflix would offer Canada something they don’t offer to the U.S. market. And likewise, you don’t think it’s fair the folks in Denmark don’t have what we in the States do.
Mediahint is a paid service that allows users to privately and securely surf the Internet without the typical geo-restrictions. There are a few others like it, but this one is probably one of the simplest to use. It’ll cost you $3.95 a month, but it’s worth it for the beefed up Netflix selection alone!
Get Rid Of That Stupid Next Episode Countdown
If you’ve ever tried proper binge-watching a show on Netflix, you’ve eventually came to the annoying realization that Netflix gives way too much of a shit about whether or not you’re still watching.
Every three or so episodes, a pop-up display interrupts your viewing session to see whether or not you’re still watching. It’s a small inconvenience, but an inconvenience, nonetheless.
You also have to deal with those stupid “Next Episode” countdowns that come up. You can always skip the waiting time of course, but it doesn’t change how positively annoying it is to deal with it at all.
Well, allow me to introduce you to Flix Assist, a Google Chrome extension that eliminates what many consider one of Netflix’s more annoying “features.”
Netflix offers subscribers a user-generated rating system, but the problem with it is obvious: It’s subjective, vague and samples a much smaller audience than say, IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes.
NEnhancer, another Chrome Extension (sorry guys, but some of these are incredible), displays official trailers, as well as IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes scores in order to provide users with the best and most accurate reviews for potential Netflix sessions.
It’s honestly heaven-sent.
Now that you’ve brushed up on how to better your Netflix experience, choose from the 50 best films currently streaming.