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When it comes to getting the most out of Netflix, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned pro or a relative newbie. No one is perfect, and you are bound to be doing something wrong when using the streaming service. I’m afraid it’s inevitable.
Your Netflix viewing experience is determined by many factors, including your knowledge of the wide array of categories on offer, recommendations, and how long you spend scouring Netflix.
We have compiled a list of things you’re probably doing wrong on Netflix. The hope being that by finding a better way of doing things you’ll be able to get more out of Netflix.
1. Prioritizing Netflix Originals
Let’s make no qualms about it: many people pay for Netflix because they want to see the original shows made exclusively for the service.
And who can blame you for making these awesome Netflix originals a high priority?
The problem is you may be approaching it in a counterintuitive manner. Realistically, Netflix originals aren’t going to vanish off of the streaming service any time soon. In fact, they might never disappear. The same can’t be said about all the other TV shows and films on there. In order to make way for new content, it’s only natural that Netflix regularly culls shows. On a weekly basis, things disappear.
With Disney creating its own platform, who knows what the future holds for your favorite movies, for Star Wars, and for Marvel?
In fact, to help fund its own productions, Netflix has ditched 50 percent of content already. By not placing this third-party content at the top of your watch list, you’re missing out on a lot of great stuff.
2. Not Rating Content
In an effort to get more users rating series and movies, Netflix has abandoned its 5-star system in favor of a Facebook-style thumbs–up and thumbs–down system. And yet many of us still never rate content.
Why? Perhaps we see a certain percentage of folk liked or disliked a particular thing, and we don’t want to influence the overall audience. We’re backwards at coming forwards. And what if you watch so many episodes then the quality takes a downturn?
But the rating system is there for a couple of reasons, and both are very important to your viewing experience. Most obviously, it informs your peers — and crucially, Netflix itself — which content is best. Duh. This is vital, however, so that Netflix can cater for the future, decide which genres are actively liked, over those that are watched but not enjoyed.
It lets the team assess whether the reported $130 million it spent on The Crown was worth it. As the service’s most expensive original show, Netflix needs to see whether it has a future. (NB: Thanks to its acclaim, it certainly does.)
Secondly, ratings inform recommendations: instead of focusing on what you watched, you’ll be advised based on what you enjoyed.
The moral of the story? Don’t be so coy about expressing your personal opinion on the content you watch.
3. Accepting Low-Quality Streams
Not everyone is guilty of this, but it’s worth noting that your browser might be affecting your streaming capabilities.
Google Chrome is now the most popular browser, with a worldwide market share of nearly 55 percent, but if you’re watching Netflix through Chrome, you can only stream up to 720p. The same goes for Firefox (the fourth most popular browser with a 5.9 percent share of the market) and Opera (in fifth at 4 percent).
You may balk at this suggestion, but you’d be better off using internet Explorer (IE), or, even better, Edge. Yet less than 2 percent use the latter, while 3.69 percent still default to IE.
These are better for watching Netflix on because IE boasts 1080p streaming playback, and Edge a very impressive 4K!
Even if you rely on Chrome for the vast majority of tasks, you should switch to another browser when streaming.
Oh, and if you use a Mac and Safari, as nearly 15 percent of worldwide traffic does, Apple’s browser uses 1080p so carry on as you were.
4. Thinking Binge-Watching Is Normal
Netflix kindly lines up a run of episodes for you, and automatically starts the next instalment midway through the credits of the previous one. It encourages you to carry on watching, regardless of how sleep-deprived you might be.
But you shouldn’t. It’s bad for you and it’s bad for television.
Most importantly, binge-watching will damage your health, never mind your social life. Sitting still is bad for you, but then you’ll also be pigging out on snacks, and slowly vegetating. Let’s at least hope you put aside some time to go to the toilet and sleep occasionally.
TV simply wasn’t designed for you to watch it continuously. That’s not how TV shows work. You’re losing the emotional impact of cliffhangers, becoming desensitized to plot pacing, and missing out on dramatic tension. You also become lazy, potentially stopping paying attention and losing important threads in the narrative, as you turn to a second screen to fill the quieter moments.
If you want to experience a storyline all in one go, try watching a movie. But if you’re watching a TV show leave a gap between episodes.
5. Not Downloading Content
You’re going on vacation. The long drive feels 10 times worse when your kids are in the back of the car, bored out of their little minds. Airplane trips stretch ahead. And then your accommodation hasn’t got sufficient entertainment.
Basically, you miss Netflix.
Fortunately, you can download Netflix content to watch offline. Your children’s chants of “Are we there yet?” can be silenced by Chicken Run. You’re prepping for your summer break with Super 8. Evenings back at your hotel room can be spent working your way through the best movies on Netflix.
It’s a hardship being without an internet connection for even a few days. As it’s still a new feature, relatively few people download Netflix content to an SD card. By doing so, you can still enjoy your favorite shows on your commute to work.
6. Staying Loyal to Netflix
Netflix might be cutting down on third-party content in favor of exclusives, but its initial popularity was undoubtedly as a result of shows and films sourced from outside production houses. A huge number of people watch the streaming service every day, and ignore the other available entertainment sources — yet they’re actually harming the big- and small-screen communities, and Netflix itself.
Everything and everyone needs healthy competition. Streaming has provided that healthy competition for the likes of ABC, CBS, and the BBC. However, if you’re not supporting traditional TV channels, that competition will die.
One company having a monopoly is always a terrible idea, so support live TV!
Broadening your televisual horizons might also mean you look into other streaming services. The Big Three of this arena are Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. The fees for all three are roughly the same across a full year, but Prime obviously has further benefits, including expedited delivery times on products from Amazon.
By exploring your options, you could save cash, and discover some old favorites and new gems.
7. Sharing One Profile
Even though everyone in one household shares an account, you shouldn’t be sharing one profile.
Why do you do it anyway? Because having to set numerous profiles up is a pain, right? Actually, you don’t need additional passwords. And the advantages of adding in some personal details far outweigh the five minutes it takes to create each additional profile.
Apparently Netflix determined that Trolls (the kids movie) is not appropriate for my son, so they didn't put it on the kids profile. pic.twitter.com/2L0n3edkNa
— Eric Peterson ? (@4_Rounds) September 10, 2017
This is because the recommendations will be more accurate to you personally. Netflix will assess your viewing habits and determine which similar content you’ll enjoy — not movies a little like something a relative has watched.
Plus, you stand a better chance of hiding the fact you engage in a Power Rangers marathon every time your kids leave the house.
What Are You Watching?
As you can see, there’s an art to using Netflix. Unfortunately, many of us either think we know best or don’t bother looking into alternative ways of getting the most out of a service we use every day.
These small but important tips should help you turn Netflix from a good streaming service into a great streaming service. Making Netflix even better value for money in the process.
Do you have any other tips to help your fellow readers take full advantage of Netflix? Have you switched to a different service? If so, why? And how do you split your time between watching third-party content and Netflix’s original shows?