No doubt since the coronavirus pandemic hit, you’ve spent more time than you’d care to admit watching Netflix. The streaming service has great hits like “Stranger Things,” “Ozark," and “The Crown.” Before you sign up for another service, tap or click here for 15 streaming sites that offer free trials.
You have to watch how many streaming sites you sign up for as the costs quickly add up. If it’s movies you want, tap or click here for 10 sites to watch great movies for free.
Netflix is the streaming standard. Take a look at this list of hacks and I’m sure you’ll find a few you’ll wish you knew about a few months ago.
1. Hide what you’ve watched
You told your significant other that you’d wait for her to watch the final episodes. But it was late, you were bored, and there was nothing else on.
Lucky for you, you can delete your Netflix viewing history. Open Viewing Activity and on the Activity page, click the icon next to the episode or title you want to hide. If you are hiding an episode, you'll see the option to hide the entire series. To hide your viewing activity, select the Hide all option at the bottom of the page and confirm.
While you’re at it, you may want to delete your social media and browser search history, too. Tap or click here for step-by-step directions.
2. Find new discoveries with secret category codes
Netflix has thousands of programs you can watch from the main browser. As if that weren't enough options, there's even more that you might not know.
I’m talking about secret menus and codes. The downside to the codes is that you can’t access them through your TV. You have to use a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone browser.
3. Download shows to watch offline
Not all titles are available for download on Netflix, but most of its original content is. You can also download content from providers that Netflix has an agreement.
Once you've downloaded the Netflix app, open the application and navigate to Downloads to discover what titles you can download. Alternatively, search for your favorite title and look for a downward-facing arrow next to the title.
4. Be a tester
Netflix is continuously working on new features. You can be part of the testing and roll-out. Simply sign in, go to Account, Settings and turn on Test Participation.
5. Use special browser extensions
If you watch Netflix on your laptop or computer, there are several Chrome extensions you can use to streamline Netflix functions. If you’re not sure what an extension is, these are just programs that help you customize your browser experience – in this case, using streaming video. To find them, go to chrome.google.com and search for extensions by name.
Want to know more about browser extensions? Tap or click to learn the good, the bad and the dangerous.
Here are a few Netflix favorites.
No Netflix Originals
Not everyone is a fan of Netflix Originals. They only want to see the movies and TV series that have already circulated. This Chrome extension removes all Netflix Originals from your home screen, which clears up space to see what else Netflix has on deck.
A word of warning: Many popular movies and series have, or will soon, migrate to other streaming services. At some point, the No Netflix Originals extension may leave you with slim pickings.
This extension allows you to pick the quality of video streaming, rather than using Netflix’s default setting. Why would you want lower quality?
Well, you can use less bandwidth on your Wi-Fi network or data on your phone. That way, you don’t slow down the other devices in your home, and you don’t have to worry about buying extra data from your carrier.
Never Ending Netflix
With this extension, you can automatically play the next episode of whatever series you’re binge-watching, skip title sequences and search more than 3,000 genres.
Best of all, you can disable that “Are you still watching?” prompt, so series will continue to play until they run out of episodes (or you hit pause on the remote).
6. Create multiple profiles based on your tastes
I often look at my recommendations and wonder whether Netflix knows my tastes at all. Most people like more than a handful of genres, actors, and directors, which is why some of these recommendations seem limited or off-base.
This hack may seem like extra effort, but if others haven't commandeered all your profiles, create new profiles that reflect your likes. One profile could be for action-adventure, another for horror films, and so on.
While you’re at it, update the profile pics. I just changed my mother’s profile icon to Queen Elizabeth from “The Crown.”
7. Play Reelgood Roulette
Reelgood Roulette will offer new movies and shows when you’re ready to go off the beaten path. Go crazy and turn off all the filters and see what you get. Or, if you’re really in the mood to see the works of a certain actor or director, you can use those filters and spin the wheel again to see what’s available.
Besides being fun, it can help you decide what to watch. Also, if you don’t want to play roulette, the site is a one-stop place to see what’s on your services, what’s leaving and what’s new.
BONUS: Use a streaming media search site
With all the video streaming options out there, are you struggling to find all the good content you want to watch? You need to use a specialized search site to find what's new and popular on the various streaming services from Netflix to Amazon and beyond.
Best of all, you can see where your favorite movie or show is available for free before buying it on another service. Tap or click here for my favorite streaming media search site.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or, tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.