Netflix has been in existence for more than 20 years now and in that time has garnered well over 100 million subscribers. Americans make up just under half of this number as Netflix has become popular worldwide.
With more than half of the United States not yet subscribed, it may be beneficial to review how to use Netflix. This guide aims to provide every detail that might be useful to a new Netflix subscriber and some valuable tips and tricks that even a longtime user might find handy.
Netflix around the globe
Unless you live in a censored country like China or North Korea, Netflix is likely available to you. Simply having access to the streaming service does not guarantee you have the capability of viewing all their content.
If you travel abroad, you may notice your Netflix account offers different shows and movies depending on where you are. This is because of the licensing structure Netflix uses. Certain shows can be seen in America that cannot be accessed in the UK, for example.
There may be a way to circumvent this and watch Netflix libraries that are typically reserved for other countries. More on that topic in the “Top Five Netflix Tips and Tricks” section of this guide.
How much will Netflix cost me?
Netflix currently offers a free one-month trial to new subscribers. After the month ends, you can either cancel and move on with life or continue by selecting a plan.
One of the best features of Netflix is their customizable plan options. The choice of price point allows you to choose the features that fit your needs without paying for something you will never benefit from. The chart below outlines the current Netflix price structure.
Keep in mind that Netflix is not contract-based, meaning you can cancel any plan at any time. All plans can be watched on any capable device and include the full library available in your area.
|Monthly Cost||$ 7.99||$ 11.99||$ 13.99|
|HD/Ultra HD||Neither||HD||HD/Ultra HD|
|How Many Screens at Once||1||2||4|
A free trial and cancel anytime policy make Netflix easy to try out for those still on the fence. The major differences in plans are the viewing quality and on how many screens you can watch it at the same time from the same account.
Variety is the spice of life – what can I watch on Netflix?
A Netflix account offers viewers the full range of genres and content variety. Many popular network shows make their way to Netflix, leading to the popular pastime called binge-watching.
Original content created by the company, including shows, comedy specials, documentaries, and movies, is often highly rated. These run alongside classics, recently mainstream, and even lesser-known indie offerings.
Netflix frequently adds and removes content based on licensing and popularity. If there is something available that you are dying to see, it is advisable to go ahead and watch it as it could be removed before you get the chance.
How to search on Netflix
There are multiple ways to find what you are looking for or what you did not know you were looking for on Netflix. Some of these methods will vary in accessibility and options depending on the device you are using.
Using the browse feature allows you to scan content based on categories that are closely aligned with genres. Additionally, Netflix allows you to narrow your search to their original content, recently added shows and movies, and by subtitle preferences.
Searching for exactly what you want to see can narrow down the massive Netflix catalog. The search function also allows you to specify shows or movies that feature specific actors.
- Genre Codes
This is a lesser-known function available that can help zero in on the perfect show, movie, or special. This feature is only available when using a web browser to access Netflix, so you cannot perform this on a Smart TV.
It will require some research to find a list of genre codes, but with over 1,000 out there, it can be a game changer for serious Netflix subscribers.
The many ways to watch Netflix
The flexibility of Netflix means you can watch it on almost any device that connects to the internet. Obviously, the device must connect to the internet or wireless data to stream content (aside from downloaded content – more on that in the “Top five Netflix tips and tricks” section.
While the streaming service is compatible with virtually everything, not every operating system, device, or TV is created equally. Some will perform better with faster connections and better video resolution.
The most common ways to watch Netflix are:
- Web Browser: Most browsers are now compatible, but resolution varies. For example, Edge is 4K compatible while Chrome only supports up to 720p.
- Windows 10 App: You could use a browser on Windows 10 devices, but the downloadable app has some extra features. 4K streaming capability and downloads for offline watching make the Windows 10 app more appealing than many browsers.
- Android and iOS Apps: The convenience of watching Netflix on the go makes these apps great. Dependent on the app and device, video resolution will vary.
- Streaming Media Device: Media players like Roku, Amazon Fire, and Chromecast all have Netflix installed. Simply install the device, connect, and enjoy! Each device has its own video resolution restrictions.
- Gaming Console: We have certainly come a long way from cartridges when it comes to gaming. Most modern systems have the capability of downloading a Netflix app. Each console has its own video resolution restrictions.
- Smart TV: Almost every television brand is making Smart TVs now. Most of these televisions come with Netflix already installed, or the app can be downloaded. The app can support up to 4K resolution if you have a TV that does as well.
Top five Netflix tips and tricks
Most of the Netflix basics have been covered, so let’s get into the fun stuff. Here are five tips and tricks that you may not have known.
Download content for trips without internet
If you find yourself in a position that you may not have internet but still want to watch something, the Netflix Windows 10, Android, and iOS apps can help. There are some restrictions like limited content choices and temporary downloads. Learn more about how to access geo-blocked content.
Watch with friends in another place
There are many apps you can find that allow you to watch Netflix with friends, family, and loved ones. If you cannot get together to watch, these apps allow you to watch together virtually.
Some even feature chat capability so you can conversate while watching. One such option is a Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party.
Change your subtitles
Watching a flick with subtitles can be a fun way to enjoy foreign films. However, sometimes the subtitles can be difficult to read. Netflix allows for customization, so the words are more legible or simply visually pleasing.
Make use of profiles
Netflix works hard to make sure its recommendations fit the viewer. Their algorithms can get thrown off when people of varying preferences watch on the same profile. Up to five profiles are available for use. Your roommate’s love of cartoons will no longer impact your suggestions!
Suggest new content
Netflix values the opinions of its subscribers. So much so that they allow for the suggestion of new content. Via the help section of the website, viewers can offer ideas for shows or movies they would like to see on the site. It does not always happen but its worth a shot!
A few last thoughts
By now, you should be a certifiable expert on how to use Netflix! However, there are a few more fun things to know before you embark on your streaming journey.
- Netflix still offers DVD service
If you are so old-school as to want to use the mail to send and receive DVDs like the original Netflix, the same options are available to you as before.
From plans allowing two rentals per month up to unlimited rentals, there are plenty of options available. Blu-Ray is also available.
- Protect your family with parental controls
There are a couple of options to parents or caregivers concerned about younger Netflix viewers.
First, there is a portal specifically designed for a younger audience. This is found through the web browser. Alternatively, you can create a profile specific to the child and set maturity levels or restrictive limits.
- Not quite a cable replacement
Netflix offers a vast library with virtually any genre you could want. However, it does not quite get to the point of replacing cable TV. Without live options and no real plan to offer them, Netflix does not stand alone for those who want to watch sports or TV in real-time.
Many people combine Netflix with other streaming options that offer live viewing to build the perfect streaming setup and “cut the cord.”
Now go out there and enjoy the largest streaming service in the world like the pro you now are!