10 Netflix hacks you need to know
Want to make Netflix even better? Here are 10 easy hacks that will enhance your Netflix experience.
Before its local launch earlier this year, it was reported that over 200,000 Australians were already accessing Netflix via some form of region unlocking software, making it the second largest paid entertainment provider in Australia even before it was legitimately available here. In the time that it been available in Australia, it's still not shown any signs of losing steam.
If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re already a loyal Netflix user (if not, check out what’s on offer), but are you making the most of your viewing experience? There are many easy tricks and hacks you can use to personalise your Netflix account. Here are our top 10.
1. How to search for Netflix originals
House. Of. Cards. Three simple words that send your co-workers into a frenzy every time a new season releases, and for good reason. Netflix has managed to maintain a certain degree of quality with its original content– House of Cards is just the beginning. With quality action titles like Marvel’s Daredevil and outrageously addictive comedies like Bojack Horseman and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, whatever your preference, Netflix has probably created something that appeals to you. Netflix is producing 320 hours of original content this year alone and there are even whispers of Netflix creating local content in Australia.If you came to Netflix looking for original content, it couldn’t be easier to find. Simply type “Netflix” into the search bar and Netflix will filter out all their original content.
2. How to quickly browse by genre
Have you just finished binging Fullmetal Alchemist and found yourself with a newfound appreciation (read: obsession) with anime? Well, firstly, we don’t blame you and, secondly, Netflix has made it insanely easy for you to continue this blossoming relationship by filtering all the titles on Netflix available in that genre.
- First, you need to click the downwards facing arrow on the program’s tile (see below).
- Next, click the “Details” tab at the bottom of the screen. Then, under Genres click the genre you want to search for e.g. Anime Series.
- Done! Now you should see a screen with every title available on Netflix within that genre.
Note: You can enter the genre into the search bar, but we tried both methods and the one above works much better.
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Have you just purchased the latest curved 3D 4K Smart TV but absolutely no idea what to do with it? Well, before next year’s 4D-Mega-Ultra-HD Smell-o-vision Smart TV is released, why not make the most of what you’ve got.
If you’re paying for the Premium Netflix membership, you’re able to watch a bunch of titles in glorious 4K resolution. You can find each available 4K title listed here, but there’s also a quick hack that will let you comb Netflix for every 4K title.
- As with our “Netflix Originals” tip above, all you need to do is type “4K” or “UHD” into the search bar at the top of the screen and Netflix will display each title that’s compatible with a UHD television.
When it launched in Australia, Netflix made the decision to partner up with a handful of Australian internet service providers and offer unmetered streaming to eligible broadband customers. This was awesome for Optus, iiNet and Internode customers, but kind of a bummer for everyone else.
A high-definition (HD) Netflix stream uses approximately 3GB per hour. This can be a massive drain on your monthly data allowance, especially if you’re on a low-tier broadband plan, or worse… mobile.
Luckily, Netflix has a “hidden menu” that allows you to configure your Netflix video quality which, in turn, will consume less data. To find this hidden menu, enter the commands below:
- PC: Hold Shift + Alt while you left-mouse-click on the screen while a video is playing
- Mac OS X: Hold Shift + Option while you left-mouse-click the video window (it should be noted that we couldn’t get this method to work when we attempted it)
Unfortunately, there isn’t a similar function on Smart TVs and consoles but there is a code you can input to restart the app, which may help if you are experiencing issues with buffering:
- Smart TV and Console: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left. Right, Up, Up, Up, Up (a Netflix spin on the classic Konami code)
Alternatively, you can alter the playback quality and usage settings from the Netflix menu by following these steps:
- Click your profile picture in the top-right corner of the screen, then click “Your Account”
- Next, select “Playback settings” under “My Profile”
- In the “Playback Settings” screen, manually select your preferred data usage per screen (if you’re having data usage or buffering issues you would select “Low”)
5. How to eliminate buffering
To stream Netflix, you need a minimum speed of 0.5Mbps (though 5bps is recommended for HD streaming). 0.5Mbps is the absolute minimum and no matter what you do, your stream quality isn’t going to be pretty but if you are experiencing issues with speed, try matching the playback to the buffering through the Netflix hidden menu (see above). This should give you a much smoother stream.
6. How to access subtitles and closed captions (where available)
Whether you’re hard of hearing, watching a foreign film or simply trying to decode Sylvester Stallone’s trademark drawl, Netflix offers English subtitles and closed captioning for its entire range of movies and TV shows. Netflix prides itself on its accessibility and this is, hands down, one of the greatest things about the service.
Follow these steps to enable subtitles or closed captioning:
- Begin playing the title you wish to watch. Then, click the subtitle/closed caption tab on the playback bar
- Next, select English [CC] to enable closed captions or English to enable English subtitles
- Done! Return to your video and you should see closed captions/subtitles on the screen (cue epic morphing sounds).
7. How to customise your subtitles
Not only does Netflix offer a comprehensive library of movies and TV shows for an audio impaired audience, it also lets you customise the font and colour of closed captions and subtitles– especially handy if your eyesight isn’t what it used to be.
Follow these steps to change the colour, font and window of your closed captions and subtitles:
- Access your Netflix account settings by selecting the profile image in the top-right corner of the screen
- Next, select “Your Account” from the drop-down menu:
- Scroll down to the “My Profile” section on this screen and select “Subtitle appearance”
- At this screen, you can change your subtitles’ font, colour, size, outline, background and window. You can also select “Reset to default” if you mess anything up
Remember to hit “Save” once you’ve selected exactly how you want your subtitles to appear, then exit back to the home screen by clicking the Netflix logo in the corner
No matter what you tell yourself, nobody is going to believe you when you tell them you were simply watching After Porn Ends for its unique insights into the porn industry. Avoid this awkward discussion by deleting the title from your activity in the Netflix settings.
Here’s how you can delete any unwanted titles from your recently viewed list:
- Access the menu by clicking on your profile picture in the top-right corner of the screen. Then, select “Your Account”
- Scroll down to the “My Profile” section and select “Viewing activity”
- Scroll down the list until you find the title you want to delete and click the big cross button to the right of the screen. Below I will demonstrate this process by deleting the one movie that has no place appearing on anybody’s activity stream, The Starving Games.
Unfortunately, in this situation, Netflix doesn’t give you the option to banish the film from existence. However, you can report an issue at this screen if you’ve experienced one (e.g. incorrectly labelled or categorised titles) by hitting the “Report Problem” button. You will then be led to a form where you can report the issue.
9. How to use your smartphone as a Netflix remote
If you’ve ever tried to watch Netflix on your Xbox or PlayStation, you’ll know there are few things more annoying than trying to input text with your gaming controller (actually, using a Smart TV is just as frustrating).
Netflix has settled the eternal quarrel between you and your controller by allowing you to control the Netflix application via your smartphone.
- Make sure both your smartphone and Netflix device (Smart TV, PlayStation, Wii U and Xbox) are connected to your home Wi-Fi
- Open the Netflix application on both devices (make sure both devices are logged in under the same account)
- Play the title you want to watch and tap the Cast button at the top of the screen.
More more information, check out our guide to using your smartphone as a remote for Netflix.
- Select the device you want to control through your smartphone.
- The Netflix display should change on your smartphone and the program will now begin streaming on your television. Fast-forward, rewind, and navigate the menu, all from your smartphone display.
Have you ever considered using your Netflix account while travelling? It’s actually super easy and requires no effort whatsoever (except for, of course, the cost and effort that goes into planning a trip around the world).
Just be sure to pack your device before you go, purchase a SIM or hook up to Wi-Fi when you land and you should have no problem accessing Netflix in your down time.
The best part is: Many countries you visit will offer an entirely different library from Australia’s, meaning you can browse international titles to your heart’s content without feeling guilty about it.