13 Netflix Hacks to Step Up Your Binging Game

Netflix hacks can make your viewing times much more pleasant | © Netflix
Netflix hacks can make your viewing times much more pleasant | © Netflix
Photo of Peter Ward
Tech Editor7 February 2018

What did we do before Netflix? Scrolling through TV guides and waiting patiently for shows to be aired seems like a lifetime ago, and streaming services have since ushered in the age of binging. For keen Netflix fans, here are a few tips and tricks you can utilize to make the most of your time spent on your sofa.

Download for later

This tip is especially important for travelers. If you’re facing a long-haul flight or train journey and you know WiFi will either be sketchy or expensive, you can stock up on Netflix shows to binge on your laptop or phone before you leave. You need to install the mobile app to access this feature, so don’t try on the browser. Once you have that you can select the show or movie you want and download it to watch without the need for any internet connection at all. This feature was rolled out back in 2016, but many people are still unaware of it.

Watching Netflix on the go is easier when you’ve downloaded in advance | © Netflix

Staying updated

Netflix giveth and Netflix taketh away, every single month. A bunch of new titles appears on the platform at the first of the month and some are added mid-month as well. To make sure you’re on top of what’s new and noteworthy, check out the Culture Trip Facebook page for articles like this one, which round up the best new things to watch on Netflix each month. Titles are also constantly disappearing from Netflix, so it’s worth checking to see if that film you’ve been meaning to watch for ages has much of its Netflix shelf life left.

Watch with friends

There are ways to watch shows with your friends and family even if you’re not in the same room, house, or even country. Services like Rabbit and Showgoers let you stream a show in one window, and discuss it via video chat and messages in another. All the better to enjoy your favorite shows with your long distance partner or friend, and avoid arguments over spoilers.

Switch up subtitles

If you watch a lot of shows with subtitles, then you may be excited to know you can have a little variety in your viewing. You can change subtitle size, color, font, and more just going to “Your Account”, “Your Profile”, and “Subtitle Appearance”. Many people use subtitles to watch foreign language films, and may want to change things up depending on the type of movie they’re watching. This option lets them do just that.

Retake control of your account

Many of us have used a friend’s account to get access to Netflix, and have also handed login details to others for our accounts. But if the number of people logging on to your Netflix has become too much to handle, you can get rid of them all in one go by going to “Your Account” and selecting sign out of all devices. At that point, you may want to change your password.

Watching on multiple profiles can help with recommendations | © Netflix

Manage profiles

And if you’re not kicking people off your account, you should at least make sure you make the most out of the profiles option, to ensure that each person on the account can have their own viewing tastes collated. If you have several people all on one profile, your viewing recommendations can quickly become a mess.

Deciding what to watch

One of the major problems of Netflix is that there’s too much content. It’s very easy to spend more time deciding what to watch than actually watching it. Navigating the huge library of content can be particularly tricky when faced with some baffling topic titles. But there is a way to more easily navigate the 76,000 sub genres, and it involves visiting this site, where you can find all the codes you need to make that search a lot more specific.

Go random

There’s no method on Netflix to spin the wheel and ask the service to pick a random title for you, but there is a website that can help you with that. Flix Roulette helps people choose a movie or TV show in an entertaining manner. All you need to do is enter your preferred genre, specify what is the minimum IMDB rating you can live with, hit spin, and you’ll be given a movie or TV show to watch. If you sign up, you can make the parameters more detailed and add other streaming services to your search.

Choosing what to watch can be difficult | © Netflix

Get your HD money’s worth

If you opted for the HD service on Netflix then you may want to perform this quick check to make sure you’re getting what you paid for. Go to this page to ensure that your streaming settings are properly set so you can watch everything in clear, bandwidth-sapping high definition.

Battle buffering

Buffering is the scourge of a good binge session. There are few things worse than settling in to watch hours of a TV show only to be thwarted by constant buffering due to a poor connection. There are ways to get around it, though. If you’re watching on a computer hold down Ctrl+Shift+Opt/Alt+S to open a menu which has advanced streaming options. This should be a last-ditch resort after making sure that your settings and internet are completely optimized.

Weird watching times

Alternatively, you can up the quality of your streaming by watching Netflix at peculiar hours. A Digital Trends report claims that video streaming on Netflix improves in off-peak hours, like early morning or late at night.

Netflix has had many hit shows in recent years | © Netflix

Manipulate your algorithms

If you’re worried that the embarrassingly bad movie you secretly enjoyed is messing with your recommendations, don’t worry, there’s a fix. On your account page, head to “Viewing Activity” and remove any of the titles that you don’t want to be fed into the algorithms that decide which moves are suggested to you. It’s also handy for hiding those poor choices from friends and family.

Check Reddit

Reddit is a noisy place, but head into the right subreddit and you’ll find goldmines of information. This is true of r/NetflixBestOf, which is a community dedicated to providing the best recommendations of what to watch on Netflix. Nothing beats a bit of crowdsourced intelligence.

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