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Whether for video or audio, the world is moving from local media to always-on streaming services The End of Ownership: Netflix, Spotify, and The Streaming Generation The End of Ownership: Netflix, Spotify, and The Streaming Generation Read More , and Netflix leads the charge in the world of streaming movies and TV shows. However, depending on where you live, Netflix’s catalog can be kind of limited. Thankfully, a nifty desktop app called Smartflix is changing all that.

While Netflix originals and exclusive 13 New Netflix Originals You'll Be Watching in 2016 13 New Netflix Originals You'll Be Watching in 2016 Netflix has released a lot of original content -- including House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, Narcos, and Master of None -- but 2016 is slated to be Netflix's most exciting year yet. Read More are available everywhere, the rest of the catalog changes based on which region you’re in. Netflix itself is global, but movie and TV producers don’t always grant a “global” license for movies. So, for example, Netflix might have bought the rights to stream Inception in the U.S., but not in the UK.

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are an effective way to get around this pesky problem and watch Netflix no matter where you live How to Watch Everything on Netflix No Matter Where You Live How to Watch Everything on Netflix No Matter Where You Live In this article, we explore why Netflix content differs from country to country, and how you can watch everything on Netflix regardless of where you live! Read More . But they are riddled with a few problems:

  1. They can be complex to set up for average users.
  2. They make you choose one region at a time.
  3. They are actively being targeted and shut down by Netflix, although Matt reckons that is bound to fail Why the Netflix Crackdown on VPNs Will Ultimately Fail Why the Netflix Crackdown on VPNs Will Ultimately Fail Netflix is set to crack down on VPNs to satisfy the rights-holders from whom it sources its content. So, how will Netflix’ ban work? And how effective will it be? Read More .

In the middle of all this, Smartflix stands tall as a dead simple alternative for anyone who just wants to enjoy all of the content Netflix has to offer, without any hurdles getting in the way.

[Update on October 22, 2016: Smartflix is no longer working, with a notice on the website which reads, “Following the very recent, extremely aggressive and targeted VPN/proxy crackdown by Netflix, we do not feel confident we can provide the same quality of service we used to provide to our users. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.”]

What Is Smartflix?


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  • Smartflix isn’t a replacement for Netflix. It’s an app through which you access Netflix. What makes it better than the official Netflix app is that it opens the library to show movies and TV shows from across the world, not just the region you’re in.
  • Smartflix is a desktop app that works on Windows and Mac. Currently, there is no Linux version, but the developers have said that a Linux version is on its way. Until then, here’s how to watch Netflix on Linux natively How to Watch Netflix Natively on Linux - the Easy Way How to Watch Netflix Natively on Linux - the Easy Way Using Netflix on Linux has been simplified considerably in the past few months. With the right browser, you can enjoy your favorite shows and movies from the popular streaming subscription service on your Linux device. Read More .


  • Smartflix is currently in beta and will stay free while it’s in beta. Once it exits beta (the developers estimate that to be soon), users will have to pay $3.99 per month or $29.99 for a lifetime subscription; this amount is above and beyond your Netflix subscription, which is well worth the money at $8.99 per month Is Netflix Worth The Money? Is Netflix Worth The Money? There are more people who don't subscribe to Netflix as those who do, and that swathe of the population wants to know if they're missing out on anything. Is Netflix worth the money? Read More .
  • Yes, Netflix is currently cracking down on VPNs, but the Smartflix team has done a good job of staying ahead of the curve, and have quickly resolved issues for users facing downtime. The r/smartflix subreddit is full of help and information about this.
  • Even after the beta, Smartflix will offer a 7-day trial and a 14-day refund for the $3.99 amount once you purchase it. For all further clarifications, check out the official Smartflix statement on the issue.

What Makes Smartflix Special

Now that you know what Smartflix is what it does, the question remains, what makes it worth spending $3.99 per month on? After all, a simple VPN could do the same job, right? Wrong. First, know that Smartflix never puts you through the process of setting up a VPN or a proxy DNS; all of that is happening at the backend, and that’s part of what you’re paying the developers for.


Apart from that, Smartflix is a good-looking app in itself! Part of the Netflix experience is the wonderful interface where you can check out an array of movies and select the one you want to play. Smartflix does that too, with a grid of movie or TV show posters. At the top, neat categories (Popular, Top Rating, Netflix Originals, Family, Mystery, Romance, Documentary, Kids, etc.) let you filter your selections quickly and efficiently.

Hover over any poster and you’ll see a brief synopsis of the movie or TV show from IMDb as well as the rating. That’s right, Smartflix uses IMDb information and not Netflix’s own data. You can also right-click any title and find a link to go directly to its IMDb page, or watch a trailer.


Much like Netflix’s “Watch It” list, Smartflix maintains its own “Watch Later” list which you can add titles to. You can also check out your recently watched items.

But by far the best feature is that you get to search Netflix across all regions from a single place. Smartflix does not make you choose a single country, unlike all other VPNs. Instead, you just search, and it’ll find the movie from the region it’s available in. Click it and you’re ready to start watching.


And given that means foreign language films, you’re probably wondering about subtitle support. Smartflix scores over Netflix here too. Not only will it automatically find the matching subtitles from, but you can even upload your own by finding the right ones at any of the best subtitle sites for movies and TV shows The 3 Best Subtitle Sites For Your Movies & TV Series The 3 Best Subtitle Sites For Your Movies & TV Series Read More ,

Given these features, Smartflix almost seems like a better app than Netflix itself! But wait…

Not Everything is Perfect

While there is plenty to love about Smartflix, it has its flaws too. The biggest is that all content is limited to 720p. As Smartflix explains in its FAQs, the app is based on Google Chrome, and Netflix is limited to 720p output on Chrome. So right now, you can’t get 1080p Full HD videos or 4K videos in Smartflix, even if they’re originally available on Netflix.


Also, you can’t use Smartflix with Google Chromecast, the fantastic streaming media stick Google Chromecast Review and Giveaway Google Chromecast Review and Giveaway We're giving away a Google Chromecast, so read through our review, then join the competition to win! Read More . Smartflix is a desktop app only. I even tried casting my full desktop screen to the Chromecast, but a persistent lag made it an unpleasant viewing experience, so I cannot recommend it.


Finally, while Smartflix deserves praise for its interface for movies, it’s found wanting in TV shows. When you click a TV show’s poster, it will start at the first episode of the first season, regardless of where you finished watching last. Instead, you need to right-click and select the season and episode. Not only does this mean you have to remember where you were, but also that you don’t get a description of the episodes; it’s a simple list menu, nothing more.

Why Netflix Should be Scared of Smartflix

Despite these flaws, Smartflix remains an incredible app for anyone who loves to binge-watch movies and television shows. The sheer amount of extra content you get through using it makes it worth the money alone, and the easy-to-use interface is the cherry on top of the already delicious cake.


Additionally, as someone who has used VPN services to access Netflix in the past, I can assure you that Smartflix is a much easier option, not to mention much better given you can search and browse all regions at once.

Instead of thinking your Netflix account costs $10, think that it costs $13 to include the price of Smartflix, and then judge it. I can guarantee you will find it well worth the price.

Which Foreign Content Are You Happy About?

In the past few days, thanks to Smartflix, I have discovered several fantastic movies and TV shows from other regions already. For example, Netflix Netherlands has a wide variety of fantastic Korean films like The Chaser and little-known gems like The Man From Earth.

Have you got a movie or TV show from another region that you’re glad you’re able to watch? If so, please share your recommendation in the comments below! Alternatively, if you are already using Smartflix, or start doing so based on this article, let us know what you think of it.

  1. Bruno
    May 25, 2016 at 2:21 am

    Amasende wakho

  2. Chaka
    May 15, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Smartflix is the best app ever

  3. Yomero
    May 1, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    In the cons section it would be fair to add the risk of paying 30 bucks for a lifetime subscription and loose it the day Netflix catches up with Smartflix and blocks their business for good.

  4. The guy from Norway
    April 24, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    I am extremely happy about being able to watch Lost. The TV show is extremely to find anywhere in stores or on the internet. At least it is in Norway. So I was super excited when I found it on Smartflix

  5. camilo
    April 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    The principal issue for me is that i basicly use Netflix on my Samsung Smart TV, si the only way i could use is throught a laptop with an hdmi connection with the tv. For the moment, no thanks.

  6. Nick
    March 17, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    The lifetime subscription has beed removed !!!

    Not such a fab dead after all.

  7. santi
    March 17, 2016 at 10:07 am

    So basically, not only netfix should be worried, but the technology is there for unblock-us or unotely to be worried too.
    Why should I need a DNS proxy if I can use the VPN feature of smratflix

    • Mihir Patkar
      March 17, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      Yup, exactly santi

  8. Katharine Wood
    March 17, 2016 at 1:26 am

    I downloaded it a few days ago and I'm loving it. I love a lot of British shows, mainly mysteries and costume dramas, and there's so much more of that stuff on the UK Netflix. I'd happily pay more for Netflix if they would just add more content like that to US Netflix. I like most of the Netflix original programming, but I feel like they are now concentrating too much on that rather than adding already existing content that people want to see.

    • Mihir Patkar
      March 17, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      I totally agree. There's plenty of great video content, both movies and TV shows, which Netflix could already add and promote to new audiences. It'd work wonders!

  9. John
    March 16, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    You info is already out of date.

    They no longer have a "lifetime subscription"

    • Mihir Patkar
      March 17, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      Sigh, these guys keep updating all the time! Thanks John, we're adding this information to the article.

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