This year, the inevitable happened: Netflix raised its rates for its online subscription streaming service. Those rates affected around 17 million users of the service, who suddenly found themselves wondering if having Netflix was still even worth it. It’s becoming obvious that Netflix seems to lose more content than it gains these days, although the company’s original content just keeps getting better and better, thanks to the release of new series, such as Stranger Things and The Get Down, and new seasons of original shows, such as Daredevil and Orange is the New Black. But customers still question whether to keep their subscriptions, now that those cost $9.99 per month. Fortunately, there are a few ways to hack Netflix to guarantee that it’s still worth the money.
15. Add Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB to Netflix
If you watch Netflix in the Chrome browser, you can add Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB ratings to Netflix to help you decide what you want to watch next. All you have to do is download the Netflix Rate extension and install it in your browser. The extension also adds Metacritic ratings to each title on Netflix, too, so you can see what shows and movies are worth your time and attention.
Here’s how it works: when you hover your mouse over a title’s image, you’ll see the ratings for that show or movie. You can also go directly to the IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes page for each title if you need more in-depth information. It’s a great way to weed out stuff that’s not worthy of your time.
14. Bypass geographical restrictions
Netflix isn’t just a service offered exclusively in the U.S. Netflix is a worldwide subscription streaming service, but the content offered in each geographical region on Netflix varies greatly. That means that content available in other countries may not appear on Netflix in the U.S. and vice versa, but fortunately, there are perfectly legal ways around that (although the company isn’t a fan of bypassing its geographical restrictions). There are several ways to do this, but the easiest is to invest in a VPN service, such as UnoTelly, which allows subscribers to use other DNS servers to access Netflix, opening up content only available in other countries. Netflix recently started trying to crack down on it, but many VPN providers offer quick workarounds for Netflix’s VPN blocking attempts.
13. Get rid of those awkward pauses between episodes
Another hack for watching Netflix in the Chrome browser lets you skip those annoying pauses that happen between episodes of television shows. That 15 seconds is short, but when you’re in the middle of a binge-watching session of House of Cards and need to know immediately what happens next, the time spent waiting is just annoying. That’s where the Netflix Pause Removal extension comes in handy: it removes that annoying pause and lets you move right on to the next episode. That means no more clicking on the “Continue Watching” button, too: the plugin tells Netflix to do that for you. This plugin is a must for the serious binge-watcher and permanently keeps you in the zone when following the latest exploits of Frank Underwood and friends.
12. Stop buffering
When it comes to Netflix, one of the most annoying problems all users face is the dreaded buffering, which happens when Internet speeds are too slow to handle all the data coming in. There’s nothing more frustrating than watching a movie and getting to a really good part, but then the screen goes black and you see the spinning icon with the “buffering” message. Netflix needs at least 0.5Mbps of speed to stream properly, although HD programming requires even more. If you experience issues with speed, though, there’s a work-around: hold down Shift+Alt on your PC while you left mouse click on the screen (Shift+Option and left mouse click on Mac). This accesses a hidden menu that lets you tweak Netflix’s settings. You can adjust buffering in “Stream Manager” here.
11. Use secret codes to unlock new sub-categories
We’ve all experienced the annoying struggle of scrolling through Netflix again and again, only to be sitting there an hour later, food cold, and totally annoyed that you still haven’t found something to watch. One issue Netflix users commonly find with the site is that the categories are not that specific—sure, there’s comedies, drama, thrillers, and a whole sort of other categories, but those can be very general and lead to you taking hours just to find something you haven’t seen before.
Bypass this endless search by using secret codes to help you unlock all new sub-categories. Simply, copy the secret code listed on Techradar with this link: http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/CODE and voilà, hours of binging awaits!
10. Optimize Netflix for HD
So you’re paying $9.99 per month for Netflix now. That means you want to get the most for your money, right? That includes video quality and, if you’re not watching Netflix in HD, then you’re not making the most of your investment in the service. Most users never even check their settings, though, so many don’t even realize that they can get better quality video just by adjusting those settings within the service. It’s pretty simple to set up: go to https://www.netflix.com/HdToggle and choose “High,” which guarantees that everything you watch will be in beautifully detailed HD. Of course, if your internet is dodgy, “Auto” might still provide the best option, but you should get your money’s worth if you can and have the internet speed to watch everything at “High.”
9. Use Rabbit to binge-watch with friends
We live in a world where friends are often located all over the country and globe, so watching movies and TV with some of those people is something we never really get a chance to do. But you can actually binge-watch every single episode of Jessica Jones with a friend who lives across the country by using a video-chat service that plugs into Netflix. That service is Rabbit, which lets you watch your favorite shows and movies with friends without being in the same room. Rabbit lets you launch a window of whatever you’re watching on Netflix to your online friends and allows you to continue chatting and messaging each other about what’s going on during that movie or show. Who says the internet is lonely?
8. Let Flix Roulette find the next thing you watch
One of the hardest things about having a Netflix account is trying to figure out exactly what to watch. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of choices between movies and TV shows and more often than not, you don’t really know what you’re in the mood to watch. After browsing through all these titles, you eventually get a headache and wished that there was an easier way to find something to watch. That’s where Flix Roulette comes in: you can use the site to choose certain actors, directors, or genres and the service searches through Netflix to find a random program that fits the bill for you to view. It takes the guesswork out of “what do I watch next?” and turns it into a fun game.
7. Use your smartphone as a Netflix remote
Netflix subscribers who watch on their video game consoles have an additional challenge: the controllers for their systems are clunky for using as remote controls with the service. Watching Netflix on Smart TV’s is rarely better, but at least now there’s a good solution: using your smartphone as a dedicated Netflix remote control. All you have to do is make sure that your smartphone is on the same WiFi network as your console or Smart TV, open the Netflix app on both devices, choose a title, and hit the “Cast” button at the top of the screen on your smartphone. Then, choose the device you want to control with your phone and then you have the ability to pause, fast-forward, rewind, and navigate Netflix’s menus in the palm of your hand.
6. Learn keyboard shortcuts
If you’re watching Netflix on your home computer, figuring out how to work the controls is a little tricky, but if you take the time to learn all the keyboard shortcuts for watching on your PC, you can binge-watch in a breeze without even thinking about it. Here are the shortcuts you need to know: hitting the “F” key will take you to full screen while “Esc” will take you out of full screen. “PgDn” pauses the video, while “PgUp” will play it: you can also do this by tapping the spacebar. “Shift + Right Arrow” fast-forwards Netflix video, while “Shift + Left Arrow” rewinds. “M” toggles the mute button on most computers. The Up Arrow turns the volume up, while the Down Arrow turns the volume down.
5. Set up multiple profiles
If you have several people all on the same Netflix account, your recommendations will get really mixed up. There’s also the problem with kids seeing content that’s not appropriate for them. This is why Netflix allows you to set up multiple profiles for its accounts, so that everyone in your household can have their own personalized Netflix. Each profile lets you set up preferences, including the level of mature content available with that profile. You can also set up strict profiles that only the kids can watch, keeping them away from stuff that’s not appropriate for them. This also works well for roommates sharing Netflix’s accounts, particularly if they’re not into the same kind of movies and television: each profile will have its own recommendations based on that users’ preferences.
4. Search for only original content
Netflix has a lot of content licensed from other movie studios and television networks, but the service continues to beef up its original content and offers some really good TV series and movies, exclusive only to it. This includes many new and original movies, such as Beasts of No Nation, as well as a slew of original TV series, such as the critically acclaimed Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and House of Cards. But when browsing the Netflix catalog, that original content just gets dumped in with everything else. But there’s a super easy way to find all of Netflix’s original stuff: simply type “Netflix” into the search box and the service will provide results that only include its exclusive content.
3. Save data on your phone when watching
Watching Netflix on your tablet or smartphone is a great way to pass the time if you’re waiting for a meeting or sitting at the airport. If you’re lucky, you can watch via WiFi, but as is often the case, WiFi isn’t always readily available. And using up data on your mobile plan can often get expensive, especially when you’re streaming video. Watching HD video will burn through about three GB per hour. Fortunately, there’s a way to watch Netflix and use less data. Go to “Your Account” in Netflix’s settings and select the “Playback Settings” under “My Profile.” Here, you can set your video quality: the lower the quality, the less data you use in watching. Low only uses around .3 GB per hour, which is considerably less than HD.
2. Enable and customize subtitles and closed captioning
If you like watching foreign movies, are hard of hearing, or watch Netflix in noisy places (such as airports), subtitles and closed captions are your best friend. To enable both, choose a movie or TV episode to watch on Netflix. Then, click the subtitle/closed caption tab on the playback menu at the bottom of the screen. To select English subtitles and captions, choose that option. If other languages are available, though, you can choose those (this is a good tip for those looking to learn foreign languages). You can also customize how those subtitles and captions look by accessing “Your Account” through Netflix. Under “My Profile,” go to “Subtitle Appearance.” This lets you choose the font, color, outline, and background for all subtitles and captioning.
1. Delete embarrassing titles from your history
Maybe you’re just a little embarrassed that you watched every single Spongebob Squarepants episode on Netflix, or you don’t want anyone knowing that you actually watched the After Porn Ends documentary that’s also available on the site. Maybe you just want to tweak your preferences a little and want Netflix to forget that you once had an obsession for period dramas. Netflix lets you delete items from your history, so that you can forget that they ever existed. To do this, go to “Your Account” and choose “Viewing Activity” under “My Profile.” You’ll get a full list of everything you’ve ever watched on the site, with each title featuring an “X” at the end of it. Click on the “X” to delete it from your history.