If you’re like 220 million other people and love to pass an hour or ten watching Netflix, chances are you’re probably not using it right.
The world’s most popular streaming platform is famous for its easy-to-use layout, but it also has a wealth of related tips and tricks that help make your viewing experience even better.
So, before you next pick up the remote, check out these 6 Netflix tricks to use to get the most out of your binge watching.
Play Netflix Roulette
Do you often fall into the common Netflix trap of endlessly scrolling through the titles, even though you’ve done it 500 times before?
Flix Roulette takes the remote out of your hand and chooses the best show for you. Packed with filters, such as ‘director’, ‘actor’ – or even keywords that define a show like ‘slapstick comedy’ – it lets you narrow down the list of options until only one or two remain.
Once you’ve entered your criteria, you hit the ‘spin’ button and voila, you have your show. Perfect for settling arguments between housemates.
Get some useful Netflix add-ons
The internet really is a useful tool for locating the best stuff. We can draw up an optimized list of flights when we need it, ask a price comparison site to find us the best gasoline prices, and even find all the best lottery sites in one place.
The same applies to Netflix thanks to numerous add-ons you can add to your browser. Packaged into the Netflix Enhancement Suite, these do the hard work for you; from finding the shows with the best Rotten Tomatoes ratings, to showing trailers. It puts everything you need to know about Netflix content into one place, making it a one-stop shop for the viewers.
Learn the computer shortcuts
OK, this tip is for people viewing on a laptop or PC, but it’s too useful to leave out. We often use our mouse or touchpad to enlarge the screen, pause the show, or fast-forward; but this interrupts our viewing, especially if we accidentally click the wrong thing.
A series of keyboard shortcuts remove this problem with some easy-to-remember commands, as follows:
- Spacebar or PgDn = Pause
- PgUp = Play
- Shift + Right Arrow = Fast Forward; Shift + Left Arrow = Rewind
- F = Full Screen; Esc = back to Normal Screen
- M = Mute
It takes a split-second to use these, which is super useful if you have to go somewhere quickly while travelling, or something urgent crops up at home.
Watch during off-peak hours
Lagging still happens, despite improved technology and internet speeds. Research has found that this tends to happen because so many people are logged in at the same time and demand is sky-high.
If you’re a night owl or an early riser, you can avoid this by slipping in an episode of your favourite show at strange times of the day, like 1am or 6am, for example. Granted, it’s unusual, but fewer viewers at these times leads to an improvement in video quality, especially if your connection isn’t great.
On the other hand, if you can only watch during normal hours and you’re getting a bad case of the buffers, you can try this trick (again, only on laptops and PCs).
While the show is playing, hold down Shift+Alt (Windows)/Shift+Opt (Mac) and left-click to get access to a hidden menu. There, you should be able to see several buffering solutions. Chrome also has its own shortcut – Ctrl+Shift+Alt/Opt+S, while consoles let you use the directional pad, with the combination being up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, up, up, up, up.
Reddit is an online treasure trove, packed with full of useful information from its subscriber base of around 50 million people. Subreddits are the individual threads that users create, and there are hundreds of Netflix-based examples. You can use these to get very precise recommendations from some extremely dedicated users.
Here’s a selection of the best ones:
- r/NetflixBestOf – A community that recommends shows which other users then vote on. With a userbase of three million people, you’re sure to get a good flavour of the public mood.
- r/NetflixViaVPN/ – Whisper it quietly, but Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) let you access content broadcast in other countries. This thread shows you how to find the best examples.
- R/Netflix – Offering a more rounded discussion, this thread tells you which shows to avoid as well as which ones to see. You’ll also get all types of Netflix-related chat here.
Wear socks to prevent spoilers
OK, bear with us for this one. Spoilers are the bane of a Netflix viewer’s life: whether it’s a clumsy friend who lets slip the ending to Squid Game or when you fall asleep and wake up during a crucial scene, with no knowledge of how the show got there, these situations are a nightmare for everyone.
Well, believe it or not, the answer for the second problem may lie in footwear. Netflix socks are an invention which contains an in-built pulse sensor that detects when you’ve nodded off. The sensor emits a signal to pause the show whenever this happens, meaning you don’t miss anything.
So, wave goodbye to missed scenes with your very own pair of spoiler-proof socks!