For anyone who is old enough to remember video stores – Blockbuster, MovieTime, etc – they’re surely still in awe at how quickly online streaming services such like Hulu and Netflix took off and shut these franchises down with their swift digital fists. And while any nostalgically-inclined individual enjoys reminiscing on Friday night trips to Blockbuster to pick our a flick for movie night with their significant other, what they seem to forget are the rental fees, late fees, and need to return the tape or DVD within a designated time frame. That’s where Netflix simply wins. They’ve successfully piggybacked on the contemporary era of instant-gratification convenience and overindulgence – even coining a colloquial phrase in the process (i.e. Netflix and chill).
What follows here in our truly insatiable desire for comfort are ways to make this instant viewing process easier. And by easy we of course mean less complicated, catered to your specific interests, higher video quality, and of course less downtime in-between our binge sessions in front of the television screen. No longer are movie nights a 90-minute affair. These days, a seemingly endless supply of on-demand content could in fact capture your attention for several hours on end for a flat monthly fee. So if you’re one of the many millions of Netflix subscribers who are using the service but unsure how to manipulate it to your advantage, continue reading. These are some of the best Netflix hacks around that will help you sift through the noise allowing you to focus all your decision making abilities on whether you want pepperoni or sausage on your delivery pizza pie.
Trying to decide on a television show or movie you may have heard of but are unsure if it’s really worth your time? NEnhancer is a user-friendly Chrome extension that syncs up with both IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes to attach abridged reviews to the movie. Now, you’ll be able to read critic reviews, see how the audience enjoyed the flick, and even watch a trailer of the film before committing to pushing that play button.
The feature is also easy to install on Chrome, simply download the extension, restart the Chrome browser, play a movie, click on the Netflix enhancer logo on the url bar, and dock the panel on the lower right and it will always be at the ready. There’s also a youtube tutorial video out there that’s available as well for the more visual leaners out there. Best of all, it’s totally free.
Any Netflix user will attest to the thousands of titles the service has to offer subscribers. From thrillers to dramas to standup to documentaries to comedy and cartoons, the sea of content can quickly become overwhelming for anyone simply trying to relax with a TV show after a long day. Enter Netflix Roulette. And if you have any hunches about what this feature may offer, you’re probably correct.
Simply put, Netflix Roulette will deliver results based on how much or little information you decide to enter into its filters. Choose from parameters such as genre, actors, directors, ratings or keywords. Or, if you want to live dangerously, you could leave everything blank and take your chances. Whatever you decide, just hit “spin” when you’re ready and Netflix Roulette will deliver the results. It’ll both narrow down the search process for you and introduce you to some new content you otherwise wouldn’t have encountered.
What better way to get the low-down on an internet steaming service than to consult those who spend the majority of their lives on the internet in the first place? Reddit, everyone’s favorite online community boasts community pages on just about every topic you can imagine, Netflix included. This particular page is dedicated the best of the best Netflix has to offer in which armchair critics expand upon what made that particular film brilliant or that series a must-see. And you know what, rarely will you come across a troll here.
This review and suggestion board is a great way to both get involved in the conversation, lending your own advice to fellow viewers, and come away with something valuable. It’s also the preferred option for those who feel that movie critics are over qualified and unnecessarily harsh. All opinions are welcome here. All you need to do in order to join the conversation is to subscribe to the community.
One thing that can really put a damper on a quality binge session are those pesky “Are you still watching?” notifications that pop-up after every fourth or fifth episode. Of course it’s not the end of the world seeing all you have to do is push a button to continue, but simply seeing this message calls in question life choices such as “Have I really not moved a muscle for 5 hours?” Not to mention when the screen goes black you get an instant snapshot reflection of yourself on the computer or television screen. Eyes all bloodshot, empty food wrappers and scraps scattered across your coffee table. No, we insist on avoiding these unpleasantries. We need Flix Assist.
In short, Flix Assist removes that awful reminder from a dedicated binging experience and also removes the next episode countdown we too often see in the interim between episodes. It’s a simple feature, yes, but highly worth it in the modern world of Netflix binging watching.
Optimizing Playback Settings
It would indeed be a crying shame if you were unknowingly doing yourself a disservice by not enjoying a favorite television show or movie in the highest possible quality. Of course you’ll need sufficient internet speeds in which to do so, but given a solid home connection you could be streaming all your favorites in HD in no time. This conversely goes for tablets that have a limited amount of data per month. In this case you could adjust the playback settings to use the least amount of data possible, working therefore to increase your viewing time.
Here’s how to do it. Simply the head over to your playback settings and toggle between any one of the qualities from low to medium to high. Naturally, each video quality corresponds directly with that amount of data used per hour. There’s also an automatic option that makes the necessary adjustments based on where you’re watching and the strength of the signal.
Know Your Hotkeys
For and even more streamlined and user-friendly experience (at least on a laptop) use the following hotkeys.
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 On/Off
Control + Space: Toggle by Frame
I bet you didn’t know that Netflix’s streaming library varies from country to country. Seems unfair right? Why should someone in Brazil have access to certain movies and shows that we don’t have here in the US and vice-versa? Well, with the help of another subscription service, Mediahint, that will no longer be an issue. They charge a small fee for the service (about $4 a month) but the benefits of Mediahint far outweigh the costs. The service is available on Mac, Windows, Smart TVs, gaming systems, tablets and more and even works as a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox.
In short, the service works as a smart DNS and selective proxy service that in turn unblocks supported websites and streaming services, allowing you to access them from countries where the content is unavailable. They also only re-route when completely necessary making the service faster than a VPN and the service is currently used by over a million people across 189 countries.
Netflix ID Bible
Here’s also something you probably didn’t know. Netflix has an internal code structure that designates for each type of content available through the streaming site. And believe us, this is a bit more detailed than your average “comedy, drama, thriller” categorization. Here, you’ll find niche categories such as Anime Sci-Fi, Campy Movies, Experimental Movies, and Urban & Dance Concerts.
With such a plethora of information available, no one was initially willing to sift through it all and put together an easily digestible list. That is, until one Reddit user decided to put hours of free time to good use. Now, it’s as easy as finding a genre that interests you, pasting this url (http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/) in your browser and searching via the numerical code. For instance, if you wanted to check out all the Anime Sci-Fi (ID Code 2729) Netflix has to offer, this would be your searchable url: http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/2729.
Clearing the Viewing History
Perhaps late one night you’re at home alone, wife and kids or roommates out of town for the weekend and you got the inkling to watch the entire Twilight Saga on Netflix. Hey, no judgments here, but you want to make sure not a soul on earth knows about this transgression. Thankfully, Netflix offers you the ability to watch and re-watch in total anonymity, allowing you to delete the viewing history after the fact.
To do this, all you need to do is head over to the view history panel (http://www.netflix.com/WiViewingActivity) once you’re logged in and simply delete the unsightly history from the streaming service. Now, the dreaded “Because you watched” suggestions won’t appear and neither will the forbidden title be seen under the “Recently watched” tab either. So for those guilty pleasure-seekers out there. You’re welcome.
Obviously, the appropriation of the antiquated “mixtape” for modern purposes, Flixtape builds out a short playlist of Netflix titles based on a theme, mood or message. It’s quite frankly a mixtape for Netflix. And setting things up are a breeze as well. All you have to do is name the Flixtape in which the service will make suggestions based on the title. From here you can edit the playlist adding up the 6 total titles, customize your cover to make things a bit more personalized, and then share it with the world via Twitter or Facebook as long as they have an active Netflix account.
Not only does this feature allow you to express and personalize yourself in a unique way, but this could serve as a great birthday gift or storytelling technique in its own manner. Additionally, Flixtape already has some examples to choose from and get started with for your own enjoyment.
Best TVs For Under $500
And finally, for the ultimate viewing experience? Check out this list of the best televisions under $500 for a crystal-clear picture without breaking the bank.