With the popularity of local and cable TV waning and the Internet broadband width increasing at very affordable prices, getting our entertainment online has become more and more the norm these days. You can get the latest news updates on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You can watch videos of our favorite songs and clips of our most beloved TV shows to our hearts’ content on apps like YouTube and Vimeo. Then of course, there are the on-demand streaming media providers, which have posed a huge threat not just to cable providers, but also to the cinema industry.
The most wide-reaching of these streaming providers is Netflix, which caters to over 40 countries in four continents. Though it was founded way back in 1997, it’s still a bit of a novelty to many of its users, a novelty in the sense that many have yet to get past its basic functions. For those in the know, Netflix actually has a myriad of hacks that help make your viewing more convenient and faster.
12. Delete your viewing history
Every Netflix account is entitled to a maximum of five unique profiles of either individuals or themes. But if you haven’t got much time on your hands to create different profiles for different members of the family, chances are, all people under your household are using just one profile. If that’s the case, it’s best to clear your viewing history, especially if you’ve got kids around, since you wouldn’t want them accidentally clicking on the adult movie your husband was watching the night before. According to an October 2014 article on Techtimes, it takes three simple steps to delete your history:
- Go to “Your Account”
- Head to “Viewing Activity,”
- Click on the “x” next to each title you want removed from your history
11. You can access the Netflix selection from other regions
You don’t have to be limited to watching your region’s Netflix selection. It’s a fact that US Netflix has the widest and best selection of shows and movies, given that Netflix is headquartered there. But folks from Canada or Europe or Latin America can access US Netflix through some simple steps, as mentioned in a September 2014 article in Vulture:
- Download Hola, which is a Google Chrome extension, for free
- Go to the blocked Netflix site
- Click on the Hola Chrome extension icon and choose the Netflix region’s site you’d like to access
10. Watch Netflix in any country (for laptops)
Many who travel overseas bring laptops for a multitude of functions. And you Netflix subscribers will be glad to know that yet another benefit of taking your laptops is the ability to access your Netflix account from any country you travel to! Here’s how to adjust your settings, according to Vulture:
- Download Media Hint, a browser extension for Firefox and Google Chrome. It routes your Netflix account only through US-based proxies so you can easily avoid region blocks
- Watch the Media Hint video tutorial for easier access:
9. View your shows and movies on HD
You don’t have to rent a movie through your cable provider’s on-demand library to be able to watch a home movie on HD. Netflix provides its users with this function as well. The downside though, according to a September 2014 article on Huffington Post, is watching on HD uses up a lot of data. So you have to ensure you’ve got the bandwidth to accommodate it. Here’s how to get that movie-theatre feel by watching on HD:
- Go to “Your Account”
- Select Playback settings
- Under data usage, click “High”
- Click on the “Save” button
8. No more buffering (for regular PCs and Macs)
The biggest headache about streaming media is when what you’re watching starts buffering for one reason or another. Well, there’s something that can be done about it, short of calling your cable company and yelling at them for a slow Internet connection. Said the article in Huffington Post, Netflix has a secret menu that you can access:
- To access the secret menu, perform this on your keyboard: Shift+Alt+Left Click (for a Mac, it’s Shift+Option+Click)
- Select the stream manager and manually align the playback with the buffering rate
7. There’s a cheat code to log in on a gaming console
For those who access Netflix through gaming consoles, you can put your controllers to use for cheat codes that aren’t just for your games. Netflix is accessible via cheat code, too, according to Huffington Post.
- Get into the debug menu if you want to log out of another user’s account and log into your own
- From the Netflix app’s main screen, tap the following buttons on your controller: Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, up, up, up, up
6. Use your smartphone as a remote control (for PS3)
Another one of the many joys of smartphones is their ability to be used as a remote control for Netflix if for some reason, your PS3 controllers aren’t available at that moment. According to Techtimes, Android and Apple operating systems are more than capable of doing this:
- Connect to your Android or iOS device that’s on the same Wi-Fi network as your PS3
- Log on to the same account in the Netflix app on both the console and the smartphone
- Start going through your Netflix account!
5. Apple TV is awesome for Netflix
But only if you’re using it right. As Techtimes reported, a good amount of Apple TV owners aren’t maximizing the TV’s multitude of functions for their Netflix subscriptions. Here’s how to do it correctly:
- Touch the “Up” arrow twice on the remote control to access a thumbnail of the title you’d like to watch
- Press the “Down” arrow to see the progress bar with little marks to show 20 sections of equal length
- Hit the “Left” and “Right” arrow buttons to move back and forth between increments of the sections
4. Use hotkeys instead of your mouse (for laptops and PCs)
The mouse was invented for lazy bones who didn’t want to bother with the many functions a simple keyboard had to offer. But if you want to speed things along, using hot keys is much more convenient, according to Techtimes, considering of course, you’ve familiarized yourself with the hot keys that can serve your purpose:
- Space bar = Toggle Play/Pause
- Enter = Toggle Play/Pause
- PgUp = Play
- PgDN = Pause
- F = Full-screen mode
- Esc = Exit full-screen mode
- Shift + Right arrow = Fast Forward
- Shift + Left arrow = Rewind
- Up arrow = Volume Up
- Down arrow = Volume Down
- M = Mute toggle
3. Use websites and add-ons
Techtimes and Huffington Post have recommended websites and add-ons that can make your Netflix viewing experience more enjoyable and your selections more diverse. InstantWatcher.com is a very user-friendly way to navigate through Netflix. It gives you the chance to review titles and check out ratings and recommendations for the videos you’re thinking of watching. Google Chrome, on the other hand, has an extension called Netflix Enhancer, wherein you can see trailers to help you decide on which show or movie you’d like to indulge in.
2. Rate everything for better recommendations
If you’re reaping the benefits of being able to dissect what’s worth watching and what isn’t based on Netflix users’ reviews, why not get into the mix and post some ratings yourself? According to Vulture, your ratings will be the basis of what future shows and movies Netflix will recommend to you. And by rating the titles you’ve watched, your actions also help other Netflix subscribers in deciding what’s to their taste and what isn’t.
1. Make subtitles more legible
Netflix provides subtitles and yes, they’re the correct ones! Sometimes, though, the font may be too small or the text color may be too light for you to read the words correctly and you end up missing the action. The Vulture article mentioned an alternative to Netflix’s basic yellow-sans-serif-font-and-black-background subtitles:
- Go to “Your Account”
- Under your Profile, choose the “Subtitle Appearance” option
- In the pop-up box, change and preview options to your satisfaction
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