Netflix, launched in 1997, is one of the biggest video on demand streaming services with 125 million subscribers. By becoming a subscriber you get access to a variety of TV shows and movies, as well as access to Netflix’s original content, like the shows House of Cards and Stranger Things.
You can stream content using a personal computer, smart TV or even a tablet. While Netflix offers an enjoyable user experience, you can further tailor that experience to suit your needs and in this article we’ll give you the best Netflix hacks to do just that.
Finding the Very Best Shows on Netflix
Have you been going through dozens of movies and TV shows on Netflix without being able to make up your mind, possibly with other people complicating it further? You can take the choice from your hands by using Netflix Roulette. It can take a few parameters — IMDb score, genre and type of show — so you don’t end up with something you’d watch only if a gun was pointed at you.
If you’d like to avoid simple categories like “action” or “comedy” or don’t want to see movies that barely fit in those categories, you can use Netflix’s secret codes. Those codes point to a group of categories which break down genres much better and you can find all of them here.
All you need to do is put the provided ID to the end of the Netflix URL, and voilà. Note that codes don’t work everywhere; depending on your location you might have access to only some of the genres.
Do you want a recommendation without bothering with pesky ratings? Your best bet is to visit the wonderland of the internet, reddit. More precisely, the subreddit /r/NetflixBestOf, where a dedicated community of TV and movie fans will recommend you good titles that they’ve discovered.
Netflix Enhancer Suite
Netflix’s star system is not the most reliable indicator of quality, and the description can muddle the water further. Enter the Netflix Enhancer suite, with which you get a bunch of addons in one neat package. You’ll be able to see ratings from Metacritic, IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. The suite also adds the option to view trailers.
General Netflix Hacks
Besides finding shows, there are plenty of ways you can customize your Netflix experience as well. Let’s take a look at a few.
Optimize Your Netflix Stream
We’ve all seen that buffering marker and it’s always at the worst time — while watching a show, preferably before a big moment. You can access the hidden Netflix stream manager when playing a title by holding Shift + Alt (Shift + Opt for Mac) and left-clicking, and it gives you buffering fixes and other streaming options.
If you’re using Chrome, press CTRL + Shift + Alt/Opt + S to access this menu. Note that you might have to sacrifice the picture quality a bit to get a faster rate.
On the other hand, if you’re connection is stable you can optimize for HD, especially if you’re paying for it. Many users neglect to check their streaming settings, but you can do that on Netflix.com/HdToggle to make sure you’re using HD. Be sure you’re using WiFi, however, as HD guzzles data like no tomorrow.
Download Shows on Netflix
Yes, Netflix allows you to download your favorite shows using the Netflix app. That’s handy if you’re planning to go outside of WiFi coverage or you are on a plane. You can even store shows on your SD card. The feature is available on devices using Android 4.4.2 and up, as well as iOS 9.0 or later.
Watch with Friends
If your best friend or significant other can’t sit and watch shows next to you, try using Rabbit. It’s a great alternative to FaceTime or Skype. Unlike those services, with Rabbit you can launch a window which shares online experience — like streaming TV shows or movies — with all chat members, and anyone who’s a member can control the window.
Kick Out Moochers
Those with an ex or an extended group of friends that are still logged into their account can quickly sign them out remotely. Go to “my account”, choose “sign out of all devices” and you’re done, no more moochers. Of course, you’ll have to change your password, too.
Tweak your Netflix List
Netflix’s built-in marketing focuses on making you watch Netflix originals, so if you add those shows to your watchlist they appear first. All the time. What if you could avoid that and list your movies and TV shows in the order you’ve added them? You can, when you change a simple setting; Uncheck “Netflix suggests,” check “manual ordering” and you’ve got your new watchlist order.
Delete from History
Maybe you don’t want to be reminded of that terrible show that you’ve watched or anyone to know that you’ve succumbed to cheesy romantic comedies? We’ve all been there. You can adjust your viewing history by accessing viewing activity and clicking on “X” for shows you want to delete; you can also remove an entire series with a second click.
Know Your Shortcuts
Learn the following computer shortcuts to make your daily watching more enjoyable:
– Up arrow will increase volume; Down arrow will decrease volume
– Page Up will play; Page Down will pause
– F will take you into full screen; ESC will take you out of it
– Shift + Right Arrow will fast forward; Shift + Left Arrow will rewind
Test New Netflix Features
Netflix adds new features all the time, and if you want to check them before anybody else, you can. Go to the “account menu,” and switch “test participation” to “on.” Most are subtle differences, but all will enhance your viewing experience so it’s a good idea to take part.
If you’re a foreign-film buff and you rely heavily on subtitles, did you know that you can tweak them? You can change the color, font, size and more; all you have to do is go to “your account” section, choose “your profile” and then choose “subtitle appearance.” Now you can adjust your subtitles to match the movie you’re watching.
Request Netflix Shows
You might want to watch a particular show only to find out that it’s not on Netflix. Keep your chin up, because not all is lost — you can use this webpage to submit up to three recommendations directly to Netflix. That’s not a lot if you’re missing many shows, but you can keep requesting as many times as you like and you’ll get notified if your show is added.
And that’s it for our arsenal of hacks; if you have any ideas or suggestions, please let us know in the comments below. If you’re not too sure about Netflix, we can recommend our Kodi guide, as well.
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If you ever have any trouble with VPN detection, please check out our article on the Netflix proxy error. Have fun and enjoy your new hacks. Thanks for reading.