16 Netflix hacks to level-up your binge-watching

Everyone loves Netflix.

The service has taken over the world because it lets you binge on your favourite shows and movies to your hearts content. And you can watch whenever you want, wherever you want.

But even though the standard Netflix experience is good, it doesn’t mean you can’t improve it with few tricks.

From apps that turn Netflix into a trivia battle to add-ons that make it much easier to find your next show, here are 16 Netflix hacks that will help you get the most out of your subscription.

Find Netflix’s ‘secret categories.’

Netflix splits movies and TV shows into incredibly specific micro-categories.

All are tagged with a number — for example, ‘Epics’ is category No. 52858. And once you have that code, to get a comprehensive list all you do is type it into your address bar after the word ‘genre,’ like this: http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/52858.

If you want a list of the codes for different genres, head to this website. Alternatively, check out this site, which provides the ability to search through them, though there are not as many categories.

Know the Netflix keyboard shortcuts.

Here are the shortcuts you should be familiar with:

F = full screen

M = mute

Up arrow = volume up

Down arrow = volume down

Spacebar = play/pause

Shift + Left Arrow = rewind

Shift + Right Arrow = fast-forward

ESC = exit full screen”

Sync up a Netflix date with someone across the country.

Showgoers is a Chrome extension that syncs up your watching with a friend or a significant other.

The extension creates a unique link for your viewing session, which you can send to as many friends as you want. Once you’ve done that, you just click ‘Begin sync’ and off you go.

Once you are synced, anyone with the link can press play and start watching at the same place. And when one person pauses or rewinds, it does the same for everyone who is watching.

You can install Showgoers for Google Chrome here.

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Find out which friends (or hackers) are mooching off your account.

If you give out your password too liberally, or you get hacked, you might find you can’t stream your own Netflix account. Standard Netflix plans only let two people stream at once, so if you are over the limit you’re out of luck.

Here’s how you can check who has been watching.

Under the same ‘My Activity’ window that shows everything you’ve watched, there’s an option to ‘See recent account access.’ This feature shows you exactly which devices have logged into your Netflix account, their IP addresses, and the time they logged in.

If you want full HD, don’t use Chrome.

Depending on what browser you use, you could not be able to stream Netflix in full HD (1080p).

Here is the list from Netflix’s own support page:

Resolution: Stream in HD if your Internet connection supports 5 megabits per second or more.

  • Google Chrome up to 720p
  • Internet Explorer up to 1080p
  • Microsoft Edge up to 1080p
  • Mozilla Firefox up to 720p
  • Opera up to 720p
  • Safari up to 1080p on Mac OS X 10.10.3 or later

Watch Netflix while getting work done.

If you’re someone who likes to watch movies and TV shows in the background while you work, you might want to give the Helium floating web browser a try.

Helium is a multitasker’s dream, making it easy to watch your favourite shows without sacrificing any valuable screen real estate or resizing windows. The secret? It turns your videos partially transparent while removing your mouse’s ability to interact with it, freeing you up to use your mouse to click, scroll, and select anything that resides behind your video.


Find the next show or movie you’ll love with this website.

Flixed is an alternative way to navigate Netflix’s catalogue.

The site shows you what is available in each region, and when you make a selection, it ports you over to the official Netflix site where the show or movie immediately starts playing (as long as you’re signed into your Netflix account).

The site includes Metacritic and IMDB ratings, so you’ll immediately have a better sense of how good a show is. You can also watch the trailer while browsing, which I find particularly useful in assessing how much an older movie on Netflix has stood the test of time.

Change how the subtitles look to fit your preference.

If you have a fondness for a particular colour, you can change your Netflix’s subtitles to match your favourite — or the one you find easiest to read.

Just go to the ‘Subtitle appearance’ section in My Account. You can change the font size, style, and colour.

Use this app to see who is the best at guessing plot twists.

Plot Guru is an app that turns watching Netflix into a battle of wits.

First, you get your friends together to watch a show. Plot Guru has launched with 20 of the most popular shows on Netflix, spanning ‘Archer,’ ‘Dexter,’ ‘Doctor Who,’ ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,’ and even ‘New Girl.’

You then start the app at the same time as Netflix, and the app sends everyone questions, indicated by a buzz, every few minutes while the episode is playing. At the end of every episode, every player is ranked and you can see who is the master of knowing Hollywood formulas.

Check out Plot Guru for yourself at the App Store.

Plot Guru

Clear your viewing history so you don’t mess up your recs.

If you don’t want that embarrassing reality show you binge-watched to show up in your suggestions, just delete it from your history.

Under the My Account page, select ‘Viewing activity.’ From there, you can delete individual movies and TV episodes you’ve watched.

Use your phone as a remote control.

Several devices let you use your smartphone as a remote for Netflix.

With the Apple TV, you can beam whatever you’re watching to the big screen using Apple’s AirPlay technology. And Chromecast owners can use the Netflix mobile app to cast video to a nearby TV.

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Set up different profiles for different moods you’re in.

If you are someone who has vastly different tastes in movies or TV shows based on your mood, you can take advantage of the fact that Netflix allows five different profiles for your account.

This feature seems to be primarily meant for families who don’t want to get each other’s tastes in movies muddled up. But it can work equally well as a way to build profiles for your different personalities or moods.

One Twitter user, Mike Ginn, created two profiles for himself: Mike and Drunk Mike.

Paramount Pictures

Tell Netflix what genres you like.

There’s an easy way to tell Netflix what genres you’re most interested in.

Under My Account, select ‘Taste preferences.’ From there you can rate how often you watch certain types of programming. Filling out these preferences will help the service recommend movies and TV shows better suited to your tastes.

Keep up with what’s just been added (or taken away).

Due to deals with different Hollywood studios, moves and TV shows are constantly getting removed and put back on Netflix.

The websites Instant Watcher, Now Streaming, and WhatsOnNetflixNow are great resources for seeing not only what’s just been added, but what’s getting the axe soon.


Don’t blow through your data plan.

Did you know you can adjust the quality of your Netflix stream?

If you’re worried about using too much data when you watch something — maybe your internet provider has a bandwidth cap — go to the My Account page and select ‘Playback settings.’

Beware — these changes make take up to 8 hours to take effect.

Can’t find what you’re looking for on Netflix?”

Find it on other streaming providers with the website Where to Watch.

Additional reporting by Steven Tweedie and Alex Heath.

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