Ah, Netflix, where would we be without you? You’ve freed us from the horror of obeying TV listings and too frequent advert breaks. You’ve introduced us all to new viewing experiences, let us fondly relive old ones, and you’ve even created entirely new shows just because you can.
We think you’re wonderful and we’d really like to take things to the next level. We’ve been doing some reading on ‘techniques’ and there are some things we’d like to try to make our time together even better. Here are the Netflix tips and tricks we should all be using...
1. Watch with friends online
Getting a few friends over to watch a film is guaranteed to be a good evening, but sometimes it’s just not practical - maybe they’ve moved too far away, or it looks a bit too rainy outside and neither of you can be bothered to change out of your pyjamas. And that’s where Chrome extension Netflix Party steps in. It’s basically a chat room that runs alongside your Netflix stream so you can watch a movie at the same time while talking with each other. It’s a great way to do something together without actually being together, and it makes for a nice change of pace from just Skype dates.
2. Enhance your experience with added extras
Not always sure what you want to watch when there’s so much choice? NEnhancer can help make sure you pick only the very best movies by adding in IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes ratings, and trailers. Let’s face it, the Netflix star rating system isn’t always the best indicator of quality (and the descriptions can be even worse) so to be in able to see alternatives in the same browser without having to switch out anywhere makes decision-making far easier.
3. Use Netflix’s hidden categories for better searching
You know those annoyingly broad categories that Netflix gives you that sees mind-bending sci-fi films hobnobbing it in the same section as mindless shooty spacegun movies, and Norbit classed as romance? Well, turns out there’s a secret set of categories that you can’t easily see but breaks things down far better than the actual homepage. They’re hiding on specific numbered URLs and there’s a huge list of them right here. So if you like horror, but only if it’s got zombies, then this is the answer to your slowly decaying prayers.
4. Get rid of the break between episodes
Picture the scene: you’re all snuggly under a blanket, there’s a bowl of snacks within arm’s reach and you’ve got a free night to binge on your TV show of choice. You get really into the first episode and then… there’s a really awkward 30 second pause before it’ll start the next one. It’s just long enough to get annoyed by the thought of possibly getting up to do something useful - it’s interrupting your very important relaxing time and your mouse is all the way over there to click through. Luckily there’s an app for that - Netflix Pause Remover - which will save you precious seconds of your time when you really shouldn’t be getting up. The day is saved!
5. Don’t get up, use your phone as a remote
Sticking with the lazy theme, you can also turn your phone into a Netflix remote which is prefect for when you refuse to move but want to change your show or film choice. You can grab it on iTunes for £1.49, but that’s a small price to pay when you don’t feel like getting out of bed.
6. Can’t pick a show? Let roulette pick it for you
“What do you want to watch?”, “I dunno, what do you want to watch?” multiply this exchange by 100 and you’ll get a typical Tuesday night argument that ends in quiet disappointment and paralysis through an overwhelming amount of choice. Add some spice to your life by taking a risk and removing the argument all together by giving Netflix Roulette a whirl. There are a few parameters you can put in such as the genre you’re after and a rough star rating so you don’t have to worry about ending up with something like Big Trouble in Little China.
7. Improve buffering
If you’ve never seen the dreaded, hanging 25% marker of infinite Netflix buffering, or the pixelly judder and pause just when things are getting good, consider yourself lucky. There are a few ways to get around it however, such as watching things at off peak times of day, or accessing Netflix’s hidden stream settings that will let you manually adjust your buffering - though you might have to sacrifice the picture quality a little bit to get a faster rate. There’s a full rundown on how to access it here.