Make that Netflix bingefest even better. (Image Credit: Instagram/Netflix)
Fully embrace your Netflix addiction, impress your AV Club-loving friends and get the most out of your account with these Netflix hacks that are nothing short of life-changing for film buffs and escapists of all kinds.
1. Problem: Standard categories just aren’t doing it for you anymore.
With a massive catalog of TV series and movies at your fingertips, it’s easy to have that FOMO feeling every time you scroll through the main categories. And you’re still a little dizzy from the endless horizontal movement of those tiles.
Solution: Customize the heck out of your title-browsing.
Tools like AllFlicks.net let you search in more niche genres, apply filters so that you’re seeing what’s really relevant to you, and sort by things like rating or date. You can also find some curated lists of only the best things to watch through sites like WhatIsOnNetflix.com. Collider and Paste always have great recs and they release them every month in case of title changes.
Oh, but that would only be scratching the surface. If you really want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes, Netflix has a hidden system to organize its library that you can access without the feds knocking on your door. Every genre has its own page with a custom URL that’s capped off with a stream of numbers for labeling purposes. Change the sequence of these numbers and suddenly worlds of categories open up before you.
Only want to watch movies from New Zealand or Deep Sea Horrors? No problem. There’s an unofficial list to reference, or you can just play a little roulette by making up your own numbers if you’re really feeling wild.
2. Problem: Default views and settings aren’t cutting it.
You’re tired of endlessly researching each individual title on your IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes apps to ensure the ratings are up to your standards. Or watching the trailers on YouTube to see if it’s something that grabs you first. Eventually, you’ve eaten up a lot of pre-movie time, leaving you to pick one movie over another simply because it’s shorter.
Solution: Take advantage of essential extensions.
There are a plethora of preference-catering extensions available at this point, but here are some of the best.
- Netflix Enhancer extension for Chrome allows you to see IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes ratings automatically and also gives you a handy trailer button.
- Lifehackers Flix Plus extension provides an overwhelming number of options, like hiding spoilers, creating themes and even customizable keyboard controls.
- Hola Chrome lets you access specific regional versions of Netflix you normally don’t get to see. Select by country and you’ll be feeling more cultured than ever simply by sitting on your couch.
3. Problem: You profile is lacking some serious style.
If Netflix doesn’t seem to know you at all through your years-long relationship, maybe you haven’t really let it into your life like you should.
Solution: Feed it some data.
Give Netflix the scoop on what you like by rating movies more often. Also, make sure every family member has a separate profile, unless you all magically have the same taste. Some people are even creating separate profiles just for themselves based on mood. Then, go to Taste Preferences to enlighten it even further by telling it what genres are top dog in your household.
4. Problem: Buffering has got you caught in a swirling vortex of pause.
Admittedly, that actress who normally looks perfect all the time has been frozen in a less-than-flattering face. You giggle at it for a minute, but would like to get back to the movie. You’re not sure if your internet needs an upgrade or if you gave too many people your password, but the buffer monster simply has a hold over you.
Solution: Bring up that bitrate menu like the computer genius you didn’t know you were.
Hit Ctrl-Shift-Alt to bring up a menu that will allow you to lower the quality of audio and video for a smoother streaming experience in desperate times.
Similarly, you may not always be watching in the highest quality. If you’re a stickler for the clearest picture, go to Your Account→ Playback Settings. Select “High” rather than “Auto” to ensure you get that HD quality experience every time.
5. Problem: Your viewing history is downright embarrassing.
Suuuure, your niece has been using your Netflix account. That’s why those teen romance movies keep popping up everywhere.
Solution: Delete your history.
If you want to remove all visible evidence of your — ahem, niece’s — watching preferences, head to Your Account→ Viewing Activity, then X out each title that should be burned from memory. Just in time for your new artsy documentary group’s arrival. We can’t explain Citizen Kane for you until you “get” it, but we can make you look a little cooler than you are.
You can take these hacks even further. Flix Assist removes the all-too-judgy “Are you still watching?” function for the ultimate guilt-free binging sprees. You can also dive into Netflix Best of Reddit to join hands with fellow Fans of the ‘Flix. Fortunately, there are countless ways to tailor your viewing experience and increase your obsession even more. There’s probably a new one that was developed in the time it took you to read this. So, go exploring already.