It’s crazy how these days the word “Netflix” is almost a verb, and how sitting down to watch something on Netflix—be it alone or with friends—is practically considered an integral part of everyday life. For most people, “Netflixing” is pretty much just a matter of pulling out the laptop or turning on the TV; but if you really want to have a customized experience, there are several ways you can up your Netflix game. Here is a look at eight easy ways to upgrade your Netflix experience.
Watch with far-away friends using Netflix Party.
Chances are you’ve joked around with your far-away friends or a long-distance significant other about watching the same movie at the same time for an almost movie night experience. But did you know that this is actually very possible with a simple Chrome extension? Netflix Party lets you synchronize video playback with someone else’s computer, and it adds the convenience of group chat so that you can make comments to each other throughout the movie. Pretty cool, huh?
Or, incorporate Netflix into video chat using Rabbit.
The video-chat service Rabbit is a great alternative to Skype or FaceTime because it lets you launch a video that can be viewed by all parties in the chat—including Netflix. Right now Rabbit is available as a Mac app, iOS app, or web-based service.
Use Netflix Enhancer to get trailers and ratings.
Here’s another useful Chrome extension—Netflix enhancer lets you instantly see trailers and Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB ratings for Netflix movies and shows. No more having to look things up on a second screen!
Search for movies in ultra-specific genres.
Many Netflix users don’t realize that Netflix genres can get much more specific than “Comedies” and “Dramas.” The catch here is that these genres can be tricky to get to. In order to access subgenres (such as Mockumentaries and Satires under Comedies, for example), click on a basic genre under the “Browse” tab, and then click “Subgenres” on that genre’s main page. Additionally, you can find a myriad of hidden genres by tweaking the URL with specific genre numbers. Use a guide like this one to know which numbers correspond to which genres, and soon you’ll have access to ultra-specific genres like Disney, Courtroom Dramas, and Irish Movies.
Create Netflix profiles based on mood.
You’ve probably noticed Netflix’s profiles feature and created a profile under your name to use every time you want to watch a movie or TV show. But chances are you use Netflix under varying circumstances—sometimes when you’re having fun with friends, sometimes when you’re spending time with family, and sometimes when you’re just feeling lonely. If this describes you, try creating multiple Netflix profiles, each with a different name like “Family,” “Fun,” or “Sad,” and then using each profile according to which mood you’re in. Then, your Netflix will tailor your preferences and give you just what you need depending on your mood.
Try Netflix Roulette to cut decision-making time.
Though not an official feature within Netflix, Flix Roulette can be a great way to get you and your friends or family settled on a movie sooner. You can go completely random and let it feed you any movie or TV show that’s currently on Netflix, or you can make things more specific by typing in a particular director, actor, rating, or keyword.
Know your keyboard shortcuts.
You probably know that hitting the spacebar will pause or play your movie, but there are a wealth of other keyboard shortcuts to take advantage of. Namely:
- F for full screen
- Esc to exit full screen
- PgUp to play
- PgDn to pause
- Left arrow to rewind
- Right arrow to fast forward
- M for mute
Make it home theater style.
Finally, outside of knowing all the Netflix hacks, a great way to make your Netflix experience stand out is to make it home theater style. Consider connecting your Netflix to a projector and watching shows and movies on a projector screen like this one. Hit “Ways to Watch” under the “Browse” menu to learn how you can connect Netflix to a smart TV, streaming media player, Blu-Ray player, video game console, smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Maurine Anderson originally hails from Washington, DC, but is now enjoying life out west in Salt Lake City. She is a professional writer and blogger who in her free time loves to create new cake recipes, travel, and practice her hand at photography. She tends to geek out over linguistics, cats, and all things Scandinavia.