Almost everyone I know has Netflix. I remember a few years back teaching my mother to use it. She never had much interest in it until she found Grace and Frankie and learned the art of binging. She’s still not that good at finding new shows on her own, but when I point them out to her, she’s content to spend the day watching her show of choice on Netflix. That method of use is fine for someone that’s not tech savvy, but what if you’re a binge-watching machine that has been with Netflix since the days of ordering DVDs? If that’s the case, these Netflix hacks might be in order.
Chances are you know some of these Netflix tricks already. Everyone can use a few new tips every now and then though and these Netflix hacks will help you to use Netflix more efficiently and to find what you want to watch more easily.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes it feels like Netflix has too much content. It’s not that there is actually too much content, but rather there’s so much that it’s hard to pick one thing to watch. Hopefully these Netflix tips will solve that problem and any others that you find with Netflix.
Netflix Hack #1 – Stop the Buffering
Let’s face it. Buffering sucks. There is nothing worse than binging your favorite show only to have it stop and pause every few minutes. Seeing that spinning circle is the scourge of every binger everywhere. The good news is that you can avoid this. Are you watching on a computer? If you are try Ctrl+Shift+Opt/Alt+S. This will open a hidden menu that allows you to fix buffering and other streaming problems. If you’re on a gaming console you can use your directional pad. To do that you’ll hit:
- Up, Up
- Down, Down
- Left, Left
- Right, Right
- Up, Up
- Up, Up
This sequence should also get you into the buffering menu. If you’re using another streaming device just check your Playback Settings, which should be found on your account page. From there, you can select “Auto” or you can pick “Low” to continue airing your content when your speeds dip. You might see the quality lower a tad, but it will stop the buffering and the quality will improve as soon as your speeds improve.
Netflix Trick #2 – If Buffering is Still a Problem Change your Binging Time
Netflix, like all streaming services has peak hours and off-peak hours. If you choose to watch during off-peak hours you’re less likely to experience buffering. Even if you don’t buffer during peak hours, on off-peak hours you’re more likely to experience better video quality. When less people are logged in and watching, video quality has the ability to significantly improve for those who are online. What are the off-peak hours for Netflix? Depending on your schedule, you might not find them too convenient, but they are early morning and late night hours.
Netflix Hacks #3 – Yes, I’m still Watching!
If you’re a binge-watcher, you don’t need Netflix reminding you that you’ve been indoors watching an 8-hour marathon of Lost. Of course, you know, you’re the one watching! Still, this in combination with the next episode countdown, can be a pain in the butt. One thing that you can do to avoid this is to use the Flix Assist Chrome extension. This removes those binging messages asking if you’re watching and it gets rid of the countdown to the next episode, as well.
Netflix Tips #4 – Make sure you’re getting what you pay for
Visit Netflix.com/HdToggle to ensure that you’re streaming settings are on HD, Ultra HD, or whatever it is you’re paying for. Many people sign up for the top package because of the number of streams offered, but that also comes with UltraHD. Just because it comes with UltraHD, doesn’t mean that’s the quality you’re streaming. Visiting these streaming settings will allow you to make sure you’re getting the highest quality possible.
Note: If you’re watching on mobile devices, away from your home Wi-Fi, you may want to choose “Low” on streaming settings. The reason for this is that the Ultra HD will use as much as 7GB of data per hour. So, if you don’t have unlimited data you’ll want to make sure to toggle between the High and Low options based on where/how you’re watching.
Netflix Hacks #5 – Adjust your Subtitles
Not everyone uses subtitles. Not everyone needs them. Still, if you do need them whether it be for foreign film binging or to help you hear what is being said on-screen, Netflix offers a way to customize them to best suit each person watching Netflix. You just need to head over to your account. In your profile, you’ll find “Subtitle Appearance.” You will be able to adjust the size and color of your subtitles along with other things.
Netflix Hacks #6 – Utilize Reddit
If you’ve been on the Internet for several years you’ve seen Reddit go from a fad to a constant source of help to people looking for information on just about anything. You can check out /r/NetflixBestOf to find out the answers to your burning Netflix questions and to find out what everyone else is currently fascinated with on Netflix. This is a surefire way to find something new to watch that you didn’t even know was there.
Netflix Tricks #7 – Get Rid of Geolocation
If you’re in the US, you might think you’re spoiled by some of the best Netflix has to offer. If you’re not, you might want a way to get what they are offering. Services like Media Hint remove the location barriers that you face when you’re in the US and trying to see what’s on Netflix in Australia, or some other country. Whether you’re looking for what’s on in Canada or Japan, these services will give you the chance to see what you’re missing and to watch it, too.
Note: You generally have to watch from other countries on your computer. These apps do not work with other streaming devices or Chromecast.
Netflix Tricks #8 – Learn Netflix Roulette
Not sure what you want to watch? Maybe you know the genre or even the director or the actor, but traditional searching won’t cut it. Netflix Roulette can fix all that. You pick the genre and whether or not you want TV shows or movies, and you’ll receive some options you likely didn’t know were available to you. You can pick the ratings, to remove any duds, and filters that include specific keywords, names, titles, and other options. If this doesn’t help you find something to watch on Netflix, nothing might.
Netflix Hacks #9 – Learn more about the Netflix offerings
NEnhancer is a Chrome extension that offers trailers for movies and TV shows, IMDb and RT ratings and much more. The nice thing is that this is all added into your Netflix page. You won’t have to visit another website. Just add the extension and you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about what to watch unlike ever before!
Netflix Hacks #10 – Learn about and Use the Netflix Secret Codes
You might not have known it, but Netflix has hundreds of subgenre categories. It’s not just Action-Adventure and Horror anymore. Each main category has a handful (or more) subgenres that will help you to fine tune your search for the perfect show to watch. From your browser, you can go to: www.netflix.com/browse/genre/X. The “X” is to be replaced by the subgenre you’re looking to view. The entire list can be viewed here, but here are some popular options to get you started:
- Comic Book/Superhero Movies – 10118
- Disney – 67673
- Cartoons (TV) – 11177
- Screwball Comedies – 9702
- Romantic Comedies – 5475
- Cult Comedies – 9434
- Crime Documentaries – 9875
- Dramas based on Books – 4961
- Teen Screams – 52147
That’s an incredibly short list of the subgenres for films and TV shows you’ll be able to find much easier. Just pick the genre you’d like and you’ll find something worthy to watch in no time.
Hopefully these hacks were as helpful to you as they have been to me. If you’ve got a trick up your sleeve that I haven’t mentioned, feel free to add it to the comments!