Using Netflix is pretty straightforward; you go to Netflix official site or open up the app, type in what you want to watch, and hit play. Easy! But you can get so much more out of Netflix if you know where to look. These 17 tips cover changes in Netflix settings, other sites that help you find what to watch, and other sorts of Netflix-improving strategies. Check ’em out and leave your favorite tips in the comments below!
Useful Netflix Tips and Tricks
1. Rate Every Movie You Watch
Netflix is pretty good at recommending movies for you to watch based on your past behavior, but you have to give it some help. Most of your recommendations are based on what you watch, and not how you rate it, but adding ratings to every movie can help it tweak your recommendations to fit your tastes even better.
2. Adjust Your Past Ratings
If your tastes have changed, if you want to tweak your recommendations, if someone else rated a bunch of things, or if you’re just curious to see how many stars you’ve given to things in the past, you can view and adjust the ratings that you’ve given to movies and TV shows in the past by going to “Your Account” and clicking on “Ratings“.
3. Use Taste Preferences to Customize Recommendations
When you first joined Netflix, you were asked how often you watch certain types of movies and shows. You chose “Never,” “Sometimes,” or “Often” on things like moods, genres, specific qualities and storylines, and other factors that Netflix uses to classify its content. You can update your taste preferences by clicking on “Taste Preferences” in the “Your Account” menu. Keep these updated to get the best recommendations on what to watch.
4. Create Multiple User Profiles
Netflix associates what you watch and what you rate with your user profile—so if there are two people in the house, your taste preferences and recommendations could get awfully confused (especially if one person watches mostly romantic comedies and the other watches mostly space horror movies). By creating a user profile for each person, both of you will get better recommendations based on what you watch, and not what your housemate watches.
5. Find Specific Types of Movies and Shows
When you’re looking through your recommendations, you’ll often see very specific categories of movies or shows: things like “Dramas based on real life,” “Comic book and superhero movies,” and “Cult sci-fi and fantasy.” Want to be able to search based on those specific genres? You can! Just enter the following URL into your browser: http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/ , and add a code from this document to the end of it. If you want to get really specific, you can use the codes from this spreadsheet, but be warned: there are thousands of them.
6. Get More Information with NEnhancer
NEnhancer is a Chrome extension that shows you the IMDB rating for each movie, as well as the Rotten Tomatoes critic and user scores so you can get an idea of whether or not a movie is worth watching. The extension also lets you play trailers for movies so you can see if you’re interested before checking it out. These are the sorts of things that Netflix should have built in—lucky for us, someone beat them to it!
7. Visit “Best of Netflix” Sites
Still not sure what to watch? There are a lot of websites out there that can help you out. A Good Movie to Watch and Digital Trends both keep lists of the best movies currently playing on Netflix, and they update their lists monthly. At the time of this writing, the Digital Trends page includes 130 movies, so you’ll have plenty to watch! FlickSurfer can help you find highly rated movies of specific types on Netflix, and Reddit’s Best of Netflix sub-reddit has lots of recommendations from other viewers.
8. Check Out What’s New
New movies and shows get added to Netflix all the time, and if you know where to look, you can find out what’s been recently added. Check out What’s New on Netflix to see what’s been added to your local Netflix lineup. The What’s New section of What’s on Netflix contains a lot of the same information. Don’t miss out on great movies and shows because you don’t know they’re available!
9. Watch Other Countries’ Netflix with Hola
If you see something that you want to watch that’s only available on another country’s Netflix, you can still watch it—if you use the right tools. Hola Unblocker is a free extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge that functions as a VPN, letting you watch Netflix as if you’re in any other country. This is especially great if you live somewhere with a sub-par collection on Netflix. Also, if you happen to live in a country where Netflix hasn’t yet arrived, you can use the VPN to access it.
10. Watch Movies with Friends, No Matter Where They Are
If it’s not a movie that’s in the wrong country, but one of your friends or loved ones, you can still watch with them. Rabbit is a tool that lets you share all sorts of things online, but many people use it to watch Netflix movies with other people who aren’t in the same room. It’s free, easy to use, and doesn’t require that you download anything.
11. Manually Adjust Bitrates with the Hidden Menu
You can adjust the bitrate that your movies play at from the bar at the bottom of the screen during a movie, but sometimes you want to limit the bitrate to a specific range that’s not available from the menu. To do this, press Control + Alt + Shift + S while a movie is playing. You’ll see the bitrate menu, where you can shift-click to select the acceptable bitrates.
12. Get the Latest Features and Experiments
Netflix often tries out experiments and new features with a select group of users. If you want to take part in these tests, you can sign up to participate by going to Your Account and clicking on Test Participation. Set the slider to “On” and Netflix will add to you their list of users who are available for testing.
13. Add Items to Your List
If you’re new to Netflix, you might not know about the list. When you hover any movie or show, you can click the “+” icon in the bottom-right corner to add it to your list. What’s the list? A place where you can keep movies and shows that you want to watch later so you don’t have to go searching for them. After you’ve added items to your list, you can view it by clicking on “My List” in the “Browse” menu.
14. Set High Quality as Default
Netflix automatically adjusts video quality based on your connection speed, but you can force it to use high quality by going to Your Account, clicking on “Playback Settings“, and hitting the radio button next to “High.” Now you’ll get higher quality video whenever you watch. Just be aware that it requires a lot of data and a fast connection. Alternatively, if you are on a slower Internet connection, you can select the “Low” option to play videos in lower quality to save yourself from buffering.
15. Clear Your Netflix Viewing History
Don’t want your roommates to know what you were watching? To clear your viewing history, sign into Your Account, then click “Viewing Activity.” From there, you’ll see a list of things that you’ve watched—just click the “X” to the right of each title to remove it from your history.
16. Use Keyboard Shortcuts
If you’re watching on your computer, you can use your keyboard to control a lot of Netflix’s behavior. Here’s a list of useful commands:
- Space / Enter: pause or play
- PgUp: play
- PgDn: pause
- F: fullscreen
- Esc: exit fullscreen
- Shift + left / right arrow: rewind / fast forward
- Up arrow: volume up
- Down arrow: volume down
- M: mute or unmute
17. Customize Subtitles
From the “Your Account” menu, click “Subtitle Appearance“; you can choose the subtitles font, size of the subtitles font, and whether or not there’s a drop shadow, letting you find the combination that works best for you. The combination that you choose will be used on any supported device that you use Netflix on.
SEE ALSO: 11 Alternatives to Netflix For Online Streaming
Make Netflix Yours
Whether you go to another site to see what’s best on Netflix or you use some of the hidden settings to customize how the app behaves, there are plenty of resources that you can use to get the most out of your Netflix subscription. Share your favorite tips in the comments below!