Even though Netflix is not exactly television, it has greatly influenced how we watch TV. To be specific, it offers us the ability to binge-watch our favorite shows without commercials. The problem, though, is that the Netflix available in your country is not the same one that is available in other countries because access to content varies from one region to another. Users in the US and UK enjoy the biggest selection of content on this streaming service.
This is as a result of national rating policies and licensing agreements that force users from certain regions to access only a portion of the content on the streaming services. In some cases, up to 25 percent of the content may be unavailable to users in a country. If this is frustrating, we can relate.
That’s why in this blog we outline 10 hacks to improve your Netflix viewing experience, with the first one addressing the Geo-restrictions imposed by the streaming service.
Use a VPN to watch Netflix
A good VPN provider has both servers in the US and the level of encryption technology required to enable you to access Netflix US as well as the streaming website’s content available in other countries. Furthermore, a leading VPN will also offer additional features such as dedicated servers that are tailored for streaming HD content to provide you with the best viewing experience.
It is, however, important to note that even if the US and the UK have the widest selection of content on Netflix, there may be content that is not available in these locations for one reason or another. For instance, the streaming service has invested greatly in obtaining licenses for anime movies. To access some of the titles in this category, you might have to connect using a server in Japan.
Select genres using secret codes
Once you inform Netflix of a few of the genres you like, its algorithm takes over and recommends shows and movies that it thinks you might be interested in watching based on your preferences. In addition to that, the algorithm also uses your viewing history to generate recommendations.
However, it’s likely the case that you might not want to watch the same actor or genre every time. There comes a time when you want to depart from your usual preference and try something new. This is where Netflix’s secret codes for genres come in. Referred to by some as the ‘Netflix Bible,’ these secret codes allow you to explore movie and show titles using highly specific genres.
There’s a chance that the categories available to users through these secret codes vary from one region to another. Fortunately, using a VPN enables you to access the codes from whichever location you want. All this gives you greater control of your viewing experience.
Use ‘Super Netflix’ for better video quality
If you’re viewing Netflix by using the Chrome browser, you can use a Chrome extension called ‘Super Netflix’ to improve your viewing experience. It achieves this by going directly to your Chrome feed. Simply go to the top-right bar and click the extension to access all the options offered by Super Netflix.
If you’re using an Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection at home, you will want to project the best quality video to your TV to get the best viewing experience. If, on the other hand, you’re watching Netflix on the go, using your mobile data or a slow Wi-Fi, you want to download the show quickly. The ‘Change Video Quality’ option on the extension helps you do this.
You can use the ‘Enhance Brightness and Contrast’ option on the extension to tweak those settings on your Netflix video. For example, it can enable you to see what’s happening on an especially dark Stranger Things episode. Or, you can dim the brightness when watching a movie at night.
The extension also allows you to skip intros to save time. It can also blur descriptions and spoilers to avoid ruining your experience.
‘Are you still watching?’
You’re comfortable on the couch, deep into a binge-watching session and out of nowhere Netflix asks you, “Are you still watching?” To be fair, it makes sense that Netflix asks you this because there’s a good chance that you might fall asleep while watching the show and lose track of your progress. However, there are times when you simply don’t want to be interrupted by this feature.
The Chrome extension ‘Never Ending Netflix’ helps you achieve this. It disables the prompt and automatically starts the next episode. Small as this tweak might be, it can make the difference and help deliver a fully immersive browsing experience.
Check the scores
The rating system used by Netflix is strange. It’s a blend of the algorithm’s prediction and user ratings. Some believe that this change in the rating system was a result of Amy Schumer’s comedy special. The truth is that it was introduced before the show and its purpose is to offer users the best content for them, rather than the best content overall.
That said, you might want to factor in the IMDB scores in your choice of content to watch, in which case you need to use the ‘Netflix Enhancer’ extension to get more info about the show or movie. It also works for Hulu and Crunchyroll.
Use gift cards to save money
This hack applies to pretty much every online product or service, let alone Netflix. Using a gift certificate or coupon to purchase Netflix can significantly lower your bill and help you make some savings. There are websites such as raise.com that offer such gift cards, which you can share with someone else or use yourself. The discounts vary from one online vendor to another, but you can be sure to get at least 10 percent off.
Remove unwanted shows and movies
There are two types of content that we don’t like to see highlighted on Netflix: bad shows that the streaming service tries to push on us and guilty pleasures that we wouldn’t want others to know we're watching. Fortunately, you can prevent the algorithm from highlighting the content by going to your viewing activity and deleting content you don’t want.
Request new show and movie titles
While Netflix has a vast library of titles (over 76,000), not all titles are included. This may be due to licensing or perhaps the streaming site doesn’t think that there’s enough demand for the titles. Either way, there are likely movies or series that you would want to watch but are not available on the streaming platform.
Many people don’t realize that there is actually a means by which you can appeal to the streaming service to add new titles and specify precisely which titles you’d like to watch. Simply go to the request form and list up to three titles of shows and movies that you’re interested in watching.
Sure, the likelihood of Netflix adding those shows based solely on your suggestion is nearly impossible. But if enough people ask for it, it might be included in the library.
Familiarize yourself with the hotkeys.
If you’re viewing Netflix on a PC, you need to learn to use the hot keys to make your viewing experience more fluid. This eliminates the hassle of always relying on the mouse.
The hotkeys are as follows:
- F – Full-screen mode
- Esc – Exit full-screen mode
- Pg dn – Pause
- Pg up – Play
- Spacebar – Pause/play
- Shift + Right Arrow – Fast-forward
- Shift + Left Arrow – Rewind
- M – Mute
Remove unwanted users
You likely have some of your family members and friends using the other slots in your Netflix account. While this can be seen as one step short of breaking up with someone over text, there might come a time when you want to remove freeloaders from your Netflix account. To do so, simply go to ‘My Account’ then ‘Sign out of all devices. Thereafter, change your password and log in.