CUS­TOMISE AND EN­HANCE

Web User - - Netflix Secret Tips -

Watch Net­flix with friends

It’s of­ten a lot more fun watch­ing movies with friends than on your own, but it isn’t al­ways pos­si­ble – es­pe­cially if they live some dis­tance away. Show­go­ers ( show­go­ers.tv) is a Chrome ex­ten­sion that lets you watch Net­flix with peo­ple you know, and chat with them in real-time while the film or pro­gramme is play­ing. As­sum­ing all par­tic­i­pants have a valid Net­flix ac­count and have in­stalled the add-on, all you need to do is nav­i­gate to the show or movie you want to watch, hover over the Show­go­ers logo and click Start Watch­ing Party. This gen­er­ates a unique view­ing URL that you can share with your friends for si­mul­ta­ne­ous view­ing.

Con­trol how much data Net­flix uses

Stream­ing or down­load­ing TV shows or movies on Net­flix con­sumes about 1GB of data per hour for stan­dard-def­i­ni­tion video, and up to 3GB per hour for HD video. That can quickly add up, es­pe­cially if you’re binge-watch­ing one or more se­ries. If you have a capped broad­band ac­count or are us­ing mo­bile data in­stead of Wi-fi, you can eas­ily run into prob­lems. For­tu­nately, Net­flix of­fers some ways of con­trol­ling how much data the ser­vice con­sumes.

Open Net­flix in your browser, go to your ac­count page ( bit.ly/ yourac­count431), select Play­back Set­tings and change the qual­ity. Low re­duces the amount of data used to 300MB an hour.

On your phone, you can ad­just your mo­bile-data us­age. In the Net­flix app, tap the three-line menu but­ton and scroll down to App Set­tings. Select it, then tap Mo­bile Data Us­age. There are six set­tings avail­able – Off (you can only stream when on Wi-fi), Auto (Net­flix will try to bal­ance qual­ity and data us­age), Low (four hours of view­ing per GB), Medium (two hours of view­ing per GB), High (one hour of view­ing per GB) and Un­lim­ited (high qual­ity all the time – at a rate of around 1GB per 20 min­utes of view­ing).

Im­prove your stream­ing qual­ity

If you want bet­ter qual­ity video, be pre­pared to pay for it. View­ers on the Ba­sic plan (£5.99 a month) can only view con­tent in stan­dard def­i­ni­tion, while Stan­dard-plan sub­scribers (£7.49 a month) can en­joy HD. Pre­mium mem­bers (£8.99 a month) get the red-car­pet treat­ment and have ac­cess to 4K Ul­tra HD con­tent. Net­flix has made switch­ing plans very easy – just go to bit.ly/plan431 and pick a new op­tion.

By de­fault, Net­flix will serve up videos in the best qual­ity pos­si­ble for your plan, but if your in­ter­net speed drops be­low a cer­tain thresh­old, then play­back may suf­fer. To fix this, go to bit.ly/hd431 and change the play­back set­tings as re­quired.

Add use­ful new fea­tures to Net­flix

If you watch Net­flix through Chrome, you can change var­i­ous set­tings and un­lock new fea­tures by in­stalling the Su­per Net­flix add-on ( bit.ly/su­pern431). This of­fers sev­eral use­ful tools, in­clud­ing the abil­ity to change the video qual­ity, up­load cus­tom sub­ti­tles and con­trol the vol­ume. You can also set your own video bi­trate (the higher the bet­ter for im­proved qual­ity) and blur episode thumb­nails so they don’t ac­ci­den­tally re­veal any spoil­ers.

The add-on’s de­vel­oper of­fers users the op­por­tu­nity to test new beta fea­tures be­fore they are ready to be rolled out to ev­ery­one.

Im­prove Net­flix by tweak­ing its in­ter­face

Flix Plus ( bit.ly/flix431) is a Chrome add-on from Life­hacker that of­fers 18 handy tweaks for Net­flix. It can add or re­move el­e­ments from the in­ter­face, in­sert a ran­dom episode but­ton, pro­vide rat­ings from Rot­ten Toma­toes and IMDB, hide po­ten­tial spoil­ers, in­tro­duce ad­di­tional key­board short­cuts and much more. It’s de­signed for the US ver­sion of Net­flix, but we’ve found it works fine in the UK edition too.

Cus­tomise sub­ti­tles and lan­guage

Whether you en­joy for­eign-lan­guage movies or you’re just hard of hear­ing, sub­ti­tles can be an es­sen­tial part of your view­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. To find out which Net­flix shows and movies sup­port them, go to bit.ly/subs431.

You can cus­tomise the look of sub­ti­tles at bit.ly/sub­pref431 by al­ter­ing the type­face, colour, size, shadow and back­ground and win­dow op­tions. Your

changes will be ap­plied to all sup­ported de­vices. Al­ter­na­tively, when a Net­filx video is play­ing, you can select the Dialog but­ton and choose the set­tings you re­quire.

Pre­vent Net­flix from play­ing the next episode

Net­flix has a fea­ture called Post- Play that au­to­mat­i­cally plays the next episode of a show when you fin­ish watch­ing the cur­rent one. This is a use­ful tool when you want to ‘binge watch’ a se­ries be­cause it saves you hav­ing to re­turn to the main menu to man­u­ally select the fol­low­ing episode. How­ever, in some cir­cum­stances, Post-play is more of a hin­drance than a help – per­haps you’re de­lib­er­ately view­ing a show out of se­quence, or you’ve got an early start the next day and should go to bed!

To turn off this fea­ture on the Net­flix web­site, click your name in the top-right cor­ner, select Your Ac­count and click ‘ Play­back set­tings’. Un­der Pref­er­ences, de­s­e­lect the op­tion ‘ Play next episode au­to­mat­i­cally’ and click Save. This set­ting will also be ap­plied when you next watch Net­flix via your mo­bile or smart TV app.

Add ex­tra fea­tures to Net­flix by in­stalling the Su­per Net­flix ex­ten­sion

Make sure you’re get­ting the stream­ing qual­ity that you’re pay­ing for

Ad­just your mo­bile- data us­age to avoid ex­ceed­ing your monthly limit

Tweak Net­flix’s rather ba­sic in­ter­face to tai­lor it to your view­ing needs

Show­go­ers lets you watch Net­flix with your mates

Make Net­flix sub­ti­tles easy to read by cus­tomis­ing their ap­pear­ance

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