How did we ever get through life without Netflix? It's become so ingrained in our daily lives that it's hard to believe we've only been able to stream whatever we want, whenever we want for the past 10 years or so. We've logged
so many hours on the service since that fateful day it started streaming in 2007 that we think we know it inside and out — but even if you think you've already reached your peak level of Netflix-viewing knowledge, you might be wrong.
There are actually tons of secret hacks that can maximize Netflix's convenience and entertainment even more than before. Psh, we know it sounds impossible —
but it's true.
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1. Discover hidden categories (and hours of unwatched TV and movies)
While this hack isn’t brand new, it is one that even the most devoted binge-watchers may have missed. Netflix organizes their content into genres, making it easy for users to browse through the library from the TV or computer screen. But not all of their categories are listed on the Netflix home screen. Finding these
secret Netflix categories is as simple as changing the numbers at the end of a Netflix genre URL that is located on the home screen. So, you have a URL that looks like this: www.netflix.com/browse/genre/6839, and all you need to do is change the last two numbers randomly until you find a category that grabs your interest.
If you aren’t sure you have the time or dedication to discover all of Netflix’s hidden genres yourself, you can take a
peek at an official list. 2. Tweak your streaming speed to avoid buffering
Is there anything more annoying than having your favorite show interrupted by buffering? Well this hack allows you to tweak your streaming speed to avoid buffering altogether. To access the menu that controls these settings, hit Shift+Alt+Left Click on your PC or Shift+Option+Click on your Mac. Within that menu, select the “stream manager” option and change your playback to match up with your buffering rate. This should keep buffering from interrupting your viewing in the future.
More: An Early Look at the Most Anticipated Movies & Shows Released on Netflix Through 2018 3. Create different profiles
Whether you are sharing your Netflix account with a roommate, a spouse or your kids, it can be frustrating sifting through recommendation after recommendation that is based on someone else’s viewing habits. In 2013, Netflix added a feature that allows users to create up to five profiles for each account.
To create a profile, select the "Manage Profiles" option in the top right corner of your screen and create a unique name for your profile. To influence the recommendations that appear within that profile, simply make sure you are using that profile to watch all of your favorite shows and movies.
4. Delete your viewing history
We all have our guilty pleasure shows, but we might not all want our viewing choices broadcasted to every other person sharing our account. If you found yourself watching
Katy Perry: Part of Me one Friday night, simply follow these tips to erase all proof from your Netflix account.
The easiest way to erase your guilty pleasures from your Netflix account is to delete your profile completely. Once a profile is deleted, the viewing history from that profile will be deleted as well. If you were using your main account at the time, you will have to completely delete your account and re-subscribe. Now, that is a lot of work so you’ll have to decide how important protecting your reputation is to you.
5. Watch your shows in HD
Netflix has made it possible for subscribers to watch their favorite TV shows and movies in high definition. To switch to HD, head into your account settings and select the option labeled "Playback Settings." Under the option called "Data Usage," switch your preference to "High." Make sure you hit save before you hurry off to watch with your new, beautifully clear picture.
6. Rate everything to improve your recommendations
The more you rate, the better idea Netflix has of what you're actually into. If you hated a movie, don't move on without giving it one star. It literally takes five seconds and makes a world of difference when you're ready to start browsing for your next obsession.
7. Download your favorites for the times you're out of range
Netflix just announced a new feature that allows users to download movies and shows for the times when Wi-Fi isn't a possibility. Commuting just got a whole lot better.
8. Don't bear the agony of pixilation
If your internet is acting up, chances are the video quality of whatever you're watching on Netflix will deteriorate into an unbearable mess of pixels. Luckily, there's a way to fight this. While the show or movie you're playing is open in the browser, hit Control+Shift+Alt+S (or Control+Shift+Option+S if you're on a Mac). Some columns will pop up, so look for the one that says "video bitrate." Highlight the highest number possible and click "override." Highlight more than one number and go with the top five to give Netflix some options when trying to avoid extreme pixilation. But remember: There's a reason why Netflix downgrades on the video quality. If your computer can't handle HD at the moment, expect some buffering.
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Originally published June 2016. Updated April 2017.