Digital Media

Netflix: 8 Tips to Get Your Money’s Worth From the Service

Netflix increased it’s price again so might as well get the most out of the streaming service.


Angela Lang/CNET

The price of some Netflix subscriptions have almost doubled in over 10 years, with the latest price increase having hit both new and current customers already. Since you’re paying more to stream your favorite shows and movies, let’s make sure you’re getting the most from the service. Here are some tips and tricks to get the most out of Netflix.

Find shows faster

My least favorite part of settling into an evening of Netflix is choosing what to watch. My wife and I quickly get lost in Netflix’s endless grid of thumbnails. We become paralyzed by choice. There are many sites that attempt to make sense of Netflix’s vast catalog of shows and movies, but two of my favorites are Flixable and JustWatch. Each site shows you what’s new and popular on Netflix with helpful filters that let you drill down to find something to watch. You can also try CNET’s Netpicks to find what to watch.

Play Something on Netflix at random

Sometimes I scroll and scroll and scroll through Netflix and can’t find anything I want to watch and I can never pick anything. Why not watch something at random? Netflix rolled out its Play Something feature in 2021, which lets people who watch Netflix through an app watch a random show or movie. Unfortunately this feature hasn’t made its way to Netflix on laptops yet. There are a few sites out there, like Netflix Roulette, that will randomly pick a random Netflix show or movie for you.

Unlock hidden genre categories

Netflix displays a handful of genres — comedies and dramas to reality and romance — but there are hundreds more hiding below the surface. You can search manually by looking up the code for each subgenre or use a Chrome extension to access them. Here’s how to access Netflix’s hidden genre categories.

Keyboard shortcuts for laptop viewers

If your laptop is your go-to Netflix screen, then here are some useful keyboard shortcuts you need to know:

  • Spacebar or enter: Toggle pause and play.
  • Tap the right or left arrow key: Skip ahead or back 10 seconds.
  • Hold down right or left arrow key: Fast forward and rewind in 10 second intervals. 
  • Up and down arrow key: Raise and lower volume.
  • M key: Mute and unmute.
  • F key: Toggle full screen on and off.
  • S key: Skip the intro of television shows.

Delete embarrassing binges

Your embarrassing binges need not stick around. You can delete your moments of weakness and nostalgia from your history to remove any chance of future shame. And in doing so, you’ll improve recommendations from Netflix since it won’t use your recent Fuller House binge as a guide for future suggestions. Learn how to delete shows from your Netflix history.

Stop next episode from auto-playing

Once you start, it can be hard to stop. If you find your Netflix binging habits are spiraling out of control because Netflix starts up the next episode of a show immediately following the end of your current episode, you can stop it. Go to your Account page, click the account you want to change the settings for and then click Playback settings to open a new page. At the top of the new page, under Autoplay controls for [User] uncheck the box next to Autoplay next episode in a series on all devices and click Save. You can turn off auto-play for each profile, which means you can continue your binging ways but turn it off for your kids’ account.

Stop previews from playing

Tired of opening Netflix and being met with a preview for a movie or show you have no interest in watching? There’s a way to turn those off. Like turning off autoplay, go to your Account page, click the account you want to change the settings for and then click Playback settings to open a new page. At the top of the new page, under Autoplay controls for [User] uncheck the box next to Autoplay previews while browsing on all devices and click Save. Not only will previews stop when you first open Netflix, but now moving your mouse over a show won’t cause a preview to play either. 

Download shows to go

Netflix lets you download shows so you can watch them on the go. I urge you to download Netflix shows as part of your packing routine for any family car trip that’ll take longer than 2 hours. Learn how to download Netflix shows.

You can read about the best moviestelevision shows or documentaries to watch on Netflix.

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