Top Ten Tips for Netflix


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Top Ten Tips for Netflix

Netflix, without a doubt, changed the movie industry forever. It offers separate DVD (or Blu-ray) and streaming services, starting at around $8 a month for either (and going up to around $50 for higher tiers of service). It's not always been the best at making customers happy, but it's still one of the best options out their for viewing content legally. Here's my top ten tips for getting the most for your money:

1. Check your plan.
If you subscribe to the DVD service, choose the level that makes the most sense for your viewing habits. This may have changed since you signed up a few years ago – do you watch more streaming content now? Then you can probably get away with a lower plan. The prices and options have also changed a few times over the years. Check out the current plans at

2. Watch DVDs and return them as quickly as possible.
This sounds obvious, but everyone who's a subscriber has probably experienced that one disc that sat around unwatched for weeks... or even months... don't deny it. That disc is still wasting your money, even if there are “no late fees.” If you can't watch every a disc in a week or less, it's probably a sign that you're on the wrong plan.

3. Skip the “limited” service that only lets you rent 2 discs a month for $5.
This is not a good deal for anyone. If you watch movies that infrequently, then it's probably better to just use a Redbox, local rental store, or pay-per-view streaming when you want to watch a film.

4. Alternate services.
Alternate between DVD and streaming service, or other streaming/DVD services, if you don't want to pay for everything at once every single month. Use the streaming for a month or two when new content is added, then use DVDs for a few months to catch up on things that are not available on streaming, and use other streaming services to fill in the gaps. You only have so many hours in a month, so you can probably find enough TV shows or movies from one service to fill your needs that month (and when you switch back after a break, there will be more new releases by then.

5. Clean up both your DVD Queue and your streaming My List.
Pare each down to about 25 things you are eager to see right now. Scrolling through 200 or 300 titles takes forever on a Roku or other device. Then by the time you see them all, you forget what you want to watch and have to start over. It doesn't take much more effort to just search for a particular title, or to scroll through genres when you know what type of film you're looking for but not a specific title. (I really need to take my own advice on this one!)

6. Stop adding every movie to your queue/list.
This leads you to have 300 titles you're only remotely interested in because the titles are now outdated or you've changed your mood from when you've added them. Don't look on the site until you're ready to watch a movie, and then decide which genre you're interested in watching before you browse.

7. Use profiles (but only if your devices allow it).
If you have more than one family member sharing your account, chances are the recommendations stink and your queue or list is a mess. Give each person their own profile, set up an extra for things the entire family wants to watch, and if you're a real heavy user, set up separate profiles for movies and TV (or even different genres or moods). Then again, if you're like me and using certain devices, this tip is probably useless (my sarcastic thanks, Netflix.)

8. If you're sharing an account (without profiles) don't bother rating anything.
I mean, your recommendations are screwed up anyway, and someone in the household will be annoyed anyway. Netflix's reviews and ratings are largely useless thanks to changes they've made to the site, and they don't even show on most devices.

9. Go directly to the website to browse.
Don't depend on the Roku, or other devices, to see everything that's available. The Roku only shows 50 results for any category or genre, so you can't just “browse” your way through the entire collection. Some other devices have this problem as well. You will probably never see 80% of what's on Netflix that way. You either need to search for an exact title or have it in your “my list” already.

10. Bored? Browse the “random picks” (or just any genre category) and give something a shot.
Don't over-analyze, just play the first thing that looks interesting. If it doesn't capture your attention in a few minutes, start over with something else. You might discover an obscure indie film that's great, but worst case scenario is you waste your time actually watching something (instead of wasting the time by scrolling through options and debating what to watch).

I hope these tips help you get the most out of your Netflix subscription. Got another tip? Leave it in the comments section below.



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Staff member
More tips and comments.
#2, if you return the DVD to a post office rather than waiting for the mailman to come, you can usually shorten the wait time by a day.

#7, NETFLIX! Support profiles on my Roku, Damn it!

#9 and #10, if you are using a Roku, get the "instant watch browser" app. It's $3.99 but worth every penny. There is also a free "lite" version.
Not really a service tip but in terms of content, I recommend checking out some of the documentaries and reality shows available as well as drama and movies (which Netflix is more known for!). The list is surprisingly exhaustive, especially since Netflix don't advertise themselves this way. Also, it's immensely irritating when you have recent seasons of shows missing. You might think you'll never get that far before Netflix adds the new episodes, but if the series is any good, you might. Always have a back-up for the latest episodes or wait (a novel concept these days!) until you have them all.