18 Netflix hacks

Cut the cost & get more from your subscription

Netflix is a fixture in many UK households, with more than 16 million using it to stream TV and films, yet it recently hiked prices by up to £24 a year. We've a host of hacks to cut costs, including how to save up to £156 a year and a trick to watch and download for just £4.50 a month. Plus, we've clever ways to make the most of your subscription, such as adding review ratings and unlocking 'hidden' genres...

Have we missed anything? Let us know of any Netflix tips and tricks we haven't spotted in the MSE Forum. Also see: Digital TV package deals | TV MoneySaving tricks | Watch movies & TV online | Broadband Unbundled

What is Netflix?

Netflix first hit the UK in 2012, and it's quickly become one of the UK's most popular subscription streaming service, allowing you to watch 1,000s of films and TV programmes via the internet, on your TV or another screen. It boasts well-known series such as Breaking Bad and Schitt's Creek, a wide range of films, including newer releases such as Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, and Netflix Originals such as The Witcher and the hugely popular Squid Game.

You can watch content on Netflix whenever you like, and pause, rewind and fast forward as you please. Unlike traditional TV, it has categories rather than channels. While you can watch Netflix via a web browser on a computer, tablet or smartphone, you'll likely find it easier to use by downloading the Netflix app (although if you watch via browser there are extra hacks). 

Netflix has made several changes this year, including clamping down on sharing your account with others outside your household axing its cheapest ad-free plan for newbies and hiking its prices by up to £24 a year for some.

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How to cut the cost of Netflix (and get the most out of it)

Here are our top hacks for Netflix – let us know yours in the Netflix Hacks forum thread.

Netflix is hiking prices by up to £24 a year for some

The new prices have already started to come into effect, so they are now used in this guide. For full info on the increase, see our Netflix is hiking costs MSE News story, and for his take on if this kind of pricing structure is a psychological trick, see Martin's 'decoy effect' blog from 2020.

  1. Do you really need more than the cheapest plan? Save up to £156 year

    There are three different levels of Netflix subscription – the more you pay, the more screens you can watch on simultaneously, the higher the quality you can watch in and the more devices you can download to. So depending on the plan you're on, there may be an easy way for you to slash the cost.

    Many Netflix users – the "vast majority", according to The Guardian in 2018 – are on its £10.99 a month 'standard' package, while others pay £17.99 a month for 'premium'.

    If you don't need all the bells and whistles – for example, if you only watch on one or two screens at a time and aren't fussed about ultra HD – then switching from premium to standard will save £84 a year.

    If you're happy to watch adverts and only need to stream on one device at a time, then switching to Netflix's 'standard with adverts' plan would save between £72 and £156. Content streams in HD (same as the standard ad-free plan), though Netflix says a small number of shows and movies won't be available.

    To switch plans, log in to Netflix, go to 'Account' and then under 'Plan Details' hit 'Change plan'. Select the plan you want to switch to, press the 'Continue' button and then 'Confirm change'. You'll be switched to the new plan right away, but won't get money back – you'll pay less the next time you're billed, so do it as close to your next billing date as possible.

    Here's how the different plans and prices compare:

    Netflix plans & prices

    Plan Standard with adverts Standard Premium
    Number of screens you can watch on at the same time 2 2 4
    Number of mobile phones or tablets you can download to  2 2 6
    Extra member slots? 0 1 (+£4.99) 2 (+ £4.99 each)
    Highest definition available HD HD Ultra HD
    Monthly price (1) £4.99 £10.99 £17.99

    Quick questions

    • How can you pay for Netflix?

      You can pay for Netflix via debit or credit card (including American Express) – your subscription will be set up as a monthly recurring payment. You can also pay by prepaid card (if your card provider allows it), PayPal or with a gift card.

      You can also pay for Netflix via your BT TV, O2, Sky (if you have Ultimate On Demand), TalkTalk, Three, Virgin or Vodafone bill, if you're a customer and sign up through them.

      You used to be able to sign up for Netflix via iTunes, but now only those who have already signed up to Netflix via iTunes can continue to pay this way.

    • How do I cancel Netflix?

      You can cancel Netflix at any point by going to your account and selecting 'Cancel Membership' in the membership and billing section.

      Your billing date is usually the date you signed up (although sometimes payment will be taken early, say if you signed up on the 31st but there are 30 days that month). If you cancel before this, your membership will run until your next billing date.

    • How can I opt out of Netflix marketing?

      You can ask Netflix to stop using your contact info to show you ads for Netflix via other online services, such as YouTube or Spotify. This will work for those services you've signed up to using the same email address or phone number you used for Netflix. This might be useful if you're a bit of a Netflix addict but are looking to take a break from it.

      To do this, go to 'Account' via the website or app, select 'Marketing Communications' and uncheck the 'Use contact information from my Netflix account to send promotional communications on third party services' tick box.

    • Do you really need ultra HD?

      It may sound obvious, but if you're thinking about signing up for the premium plan or you already have, consider whether it's worth the extra cash – it costs £84 a year more than the standard plan and £156 a year more than standard with ads.

      To stream and watch video in ultra HD you'll need a screen that can handle it (your TV is the one most likely to be able to, but check your model), plus a broadband speed of at least 25Mb. If you don't have these, you only need to be on the premium plan if your household needs to be able to watch on four screens at once. 

      While the number of ultra HD titles on Netflix is growing, it's currently about 10% of the total, and the vast majority are from the last five years – so if you mainly use Netflix to binge on shows such as Friends or take in films like Halloween, again a premium plan may not be worth it.

  2. The Netflix split trick – watch on your own device for as little as £4.50 a month

    This is a trick to cut the cost if others in your household have their own Netflix subscription – or are thinking about signing up.

    The Netflix standard plan, which costs £10.99 a month, allows you to watch on two screens at the same time (and entirely independently, so you don't have to be watching the same thing). This means you could get one subscription, split the cost with your other half, a family member or housemate and pay just £5.50 a month each – a saving of at least £65 a year each – with the added bonus of being able to watch in HD.

    Even better, if you live with three others who use Netflix, you can split the premium plan, which costs £17.99 a month and allows you to watch on four screens at once – so you'll pay £4.50 a month each for Netflix, and you can watch in ultra HD too. 

    What's more, you don't have to worry about messing up one another's watchlists or where you've got up to with a particular show or film, as you can create separate profiles, allowing each person sharing the plan to tailor Netflix to their tastes.

    Quick question
    • What if I try the Netflix split trick and someone stops paying?

      If you're in charge of the subscription and one or more of those you're sharing it with stops stumping up their share of the fee, you can change the settings to prevent them from accessing the account.

      Go to Account > Settings > Sign Out of All Devices, click 'Sign Out' and then change the password. That'll learn 'em.

      You can also downgrade the plan if you don't want to be left paying more for one you were sharing, or cancel it altogether at any time.

    Beware – sharing with someone who lives elsewhere is technically forbidden

    It's fine to share your plan with the people you live with, but Netflix's terms of use say that "the Netflix service and any content accessed through the service are for your personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household".

    While this didn't used to be something Netflix enforced, it now requires those sharing with anyone outside their household to pay £4.99 a month extra for each person sharing. See the Netflix to charge an extra £60 a year if you share your account with others MSE News story for the full info.

  3. Don't pay for more than one subscription in a household

    OK, so this is basically the same point as the one above, but it's worth ramming it home. As Netflix lets you share your plan with anyone in your home, and its standard and premium plans allow multiple people to watch different content on different devices at the same time, it's almost NEVER worth paying for more than one subscription in the same household. You're usually better off getting a pricier plan and splitting the cost.

    The main exceptions to this would be if you're not comfortable splitting the bill with someone, or where more than four people in one home want to watch at the same time on different screens, in which case even the premium plan won't cut it. Otherwise you'll likely save by sharing a subscription, and could even get ultra HD thrown in as a bonus.

  4. Only watch Netflix? You don’t need a TV licence

    If you don't watch any 'live' television (in other words, programmes being broadcast on a TV channel) and you don't watch anything on BBC iPlayer (live or catch-up), then you don't need a TV licence.

    So if you only watch Netflix or similar services such as Prime Video, or catch-up via ITVX, Channel 4, My5 and so on, you can save yourself up to £159 a year by ditching your TV licence. For full details see our Do I need a TV licence? guide. 

    There's a trick for students to use their parents' TV licence to watch live telly and use BBC iPlayer while at university – for details see our Do I need a TV licence? guide.

  5. Check if you really need Netflix – many alternatives are cheaper

    It's one of the biggest, but Netflix is far from the only film and TV streaming service out there. So don't assume it's the best option for you – alternatives may be cheaper, or you may want to mix and match what you're signed up to, making the most of the various free trials on offer.

    To give you an idea of what the best option is for you, use clever free online tool JustWatch, which catalogues the programmes and films shown on different streaming services. It includes more than 100 in total  including free ones such as BBC iPlayer and Channel 4 – and you can search by title, actor, director or just about anything else you can think of.

    If there are specific shows or films you want to watch, check which services have them, then weigh up what the best  and cheapest – option is for you. Here's a quick rundown of how some of the main services compare:

    Netflix alternatives

    Service Price (& free trial if there is one) What it includes
    Amazon Prime Video*

    £5.99/month or, with full Prime benefits, £8.99/month (£11.98/month without ads from 5 Feb) or £95/year (all with 30-day free trial)

    Related: Amazon Prime Video to start showing ads unles you pay extra

    1,000s of films and TV programmes, including 'Amazon Originals' exclusives
    Apple TV+ £8.99/month (with seven-day free trial) or from £18.95/month as part of Apple One (1) 'Apple Originals' exclusive films and TV programmes with new ones added every month
    BBC iPlayer Free – but you need a TV licence TV series and films shown on BBC, plus archived programmes and iPlayer-only exclusives
    BritBox (now part of ITVX Premium) £5.99/month or £59.99/year (with seven-day free trial) TV series and films from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, plus 'BritBox Originals' exclusives
    Channel 4 Free (£3.99/month with seven-day free trial or £39.99/year to watch without ads) 1,500 shows, 300+ box sets, 100+ films
    Disney+ £4.99/month with ads, £7.99/month without ads, £10.99/month premium or £79.90/year without ads, £109.90/year premium Disney films and TV series, including Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars, plus Disney+ Originals
    ITVX Free (£5.99/month or £59.99/year with seven-day free trial to watch without ads and get more films and shows)  TV series and films shown on ITV, 1,000s of boxsets, plus exclusives
    Mubi From £11.99/month or from £95.88/year (with seven-day free trial) 100s of films - see what's currently showing (you've at least 14 days to watch each one)
    My5 Free Shows and films from Channel 5, 5 Action, 5 Select, 5 Star, 5 USA and more
    Now Entertainment £6.99/month with six-month contract, £9.99/month cancel anytime (both with seven-day free trial of Now Boost and Now Cinema) (2) 'Brand new' box sets, exclusive 'Sky Originals' and 16 live and on-demand Sky TV channels
    Now Cinema £6.99/month with six-month contract, £9.99/month cancel anytime (both with seven-day free trial of Now Boost and Now Entertainment) (3) 1,000+ films on demand, including latest releases and 'Sky Originals', plus 11 Sky Cinema channels
    Paramount+ £6.99/month (with seven-day free trial) or £69.90/year Films and TV from Paramount, Nickelodeon, MTV and more, including originals and exclusives

    Updated January 2024. (1) Three months free when you buy a new Apple device. (2) Now Boost costs £6/month and Now Cinema £9.99/month when trial ends unless cancelled. (3) Now Boost costs £6/month and Now Entertainment £9.99/month when trial ends unless cancelled.

    For full info, see our Watch movies & TV online guide, and to make the most of free trials, check out our TV MoneySaving tricks.

    Also check if adding to your TV package could be cheaper

    If you already have a TV subscription, you may find adding to your package works out cheaper than paying for Netflix separately.

    As there are so many TV packages out there, offering different content at various prices, you'll need to check with your provider what the options are. But in some cases this may win – for example, you can now get basic Sky TV with Netflix for £39/month, so if you're paying for them individually, you may be able to save by upgrading your package (though be sure to haggle with Sky if you do).

  6. Discounted gift cards can sometimes cut the cost of a subscription (but redeem 'em straightaway)

    We're not huge fans of gift cards, as they can easily get lost or forgotten, plus there's a danger of losing out if the retailer goes bust – see our Gift cards and vouchers guide for full info. So this next trick comes with a warning and you'll need to weigh up whether to try it. But do it right and you may be able to save on your subscription.

    Netflix gift cards are available online and in store from lots of retailers, but there are also websites that offer discounts on them. So the idea is to buy the gift cards at a discounted rate, then use them straightaway to minimise any risk. Remember, if there's a problem with a gift card you may need to go back to the retailer you bought it from, rather than Netflix, so always check sites' reviews and T&Cs.

    The balance of your Netflix gift card will be added to your account when you redeem it, and your payments will be taken from it until the balance has been used up. If you cancel your subscription while there is still gift card balance on your account, your subscription will continue until it's been used up. 

    There are two ways to save with discounted gift cards:

    • Track down discounted Netflix gift cards online. There's no guarantee of availability or how much you'll save, but in the past we've found £15 cards for £14.89, £25 cards for £23.99 and £50 cards for £47.99 on CDKeys.com*. They're not always in stock, so check on a regular basis to see if you can get them – while the examples we found only offer a small saving, at other times you may be able to find a better deal.

      Take care when searching, as when we looked, European cards appeared on CDKeys.com, while American and Turkish cards showed up elsewhere, and according to Netflix's FAQs you can only use a gift card that is in the same currency as your Netflix account.

    • iTunes or Google Play subscriber? Look for discounted gift cards for them instead. This only works for current subscribers, as you can no longer sign up to Netflix via iTunes or Google Play. While you can't redeem Netflix gift cards, discounted or otherwise, through either service, you can use discounted iTunes or Google Play gift cards to pay for your subscription.

      Again, there's no guarantee of availability or how much you'll save, but in the past we've found iTunes gift cards for up to 7% less than face value and Google Play gift cards selling for up to 4% less than face value on CDKeys.com*.
  7. Check if you can save on your subscription with cashback

    This tip's in no way Netflix-specific, but it's a MoneySaving standard for recouping some cash.

    While at the time of writing you can't sign up to Netflix via the top cashback sites, if you have a cashback credit card, you could get up to 5% back if you use it to pay your bill. As always, make sure you pay IN FULL every month. For full info see our Credit card rewards guide.

    While having a recurring payment set up on a credit card won't have any direct effect on your credit score, be careful that you don't inadvertently go over your credit limit – as that WOULD have a negative impact. More details in our Credit score guide.

  8. You can now play mobile games on Netflix

    Games on Netflix are available to all subscribers, no matter what plan you're on – no additional fees are required, and Netflix says there are no in-game purchases or adverts (if you play a lot of mobile games, you'll know that this isn't common).

    Originally only available via the Netflix app on Android mobile phones and tablets, they're also now available on Apple iPhones, iPads and Windows phones and tablets too. Yet not everyone can play them – they're only suitable for adults, so they're not available on kids' profiles.

    While you shouldn't subscribe to Netflix for the games alone, if you already subscribe (or were planning to) you're essentially getting something extra for nothing, which obviously we're a fan of.

    How to play games on Netflix

    Open the Netflix app on your Android or iOS device and scroll down the homepage. A few rows down you'll see a row dedicated to games – scroll across to see the different games available. If you're on Android, you should also see a controller icon titled 'Games' at the bottom of the homepage, which will take you to a games section.

    Tap on the game you want to play, and you'll see a screen that gives you a brief description, a short video and a few screen shots. Tap 'Get game' and you'll be taken to the App Store or Google Play, where you download the game like you would an app (be aware that, unless you're on Wi-Fi, this will eat into your mobile data allowance).

    Once the game's installed, you can open it through the App Store or Google Play, via the Netflix app or by tapping on the game where it appears among your apps. Instructions and tutorials are included with each game.

    What games can you play on Netflix?

    At the time of writing, there are 50+ games available. Here's a quick look at ten of them:

    • Asphalt Xtreme: Single-player or multi-player off-road racing game. MSE Kelvin's verdict: Less of a mobile game and more of a proper video game in looks and feel – if you like racing games, you'll like this (sadly, I suck at them).
    • Bowling Ballers: Single-player endless runner (essentially a game that doesn't end) based on ten-pin bowling. MSE Kelvin's verdict: Fun to start with, but quickly gets hard (ooh err missus etc).
    • Card Blast: Single-player casual poker game. MSE Kelvin's verdict: Redonk addictive, and you don't need to know how to play poker.
    • Dominoes Café: Single-player table-top dominoes game. MSE Kelvin's verdict: Can be a bit confusing at times if you're not familiar with dominoes, but weirdly satisfying to play.
    • Knittens: Single-player 'match 3' puzzle game. MSE Kelvin's verdict: The sort of game you think is a bit rubbish but find yourself still playing an hour later.
    • Shooting Hoops: Single-player basketball/dart gun game. MSE Kelvin's verdict: Very satisfying, particularly the sound effects.
    • Stranger Things 1984: Single-player role-playing game based on the Netflix sci-fi series of the same name. MSE Kelvin's verdict: Nice retro look, but aimless wandering can get on your tatas a bit.
    • Stranger Things 3: The Game: Single-player or multi-player game role-playing game based on the third series of the Netflix show. MSE Kelvin's verdict: More sophisticated in terms of graphics and gameplay than the other Strangers Things title, but still a lot of roaming required.
    • Teeter (Up): Single-player arcade game, the object of which is to guide a ball into a hole by manoeuvring a platform. MSE Kelvin review: About as much fun as it sounds, ie, not fun.
    • Wonderputt: Single-player mini-golf game. MSE Kelvin's verdict: Looks great and is really easy to pick up, but gets a bit samey.
  9. Watch Netflix on your mobile? Change the settings so you don't rack up a huge data bill

    Netflix on a smartphone

    If you watch Netflix while out and about using mobile data, it can be easy to burn through your monthly data allowance in hours – and even exceed it, leading to a nasty surprise when you get your bill.

    You can prevent this by changing the settings to limit how much data it uses.

    • To do this on the Netflix website... go to Account > Playback settings. The default setting is 'auto', which delivers the maximum quality possible via your internet speed, but you can limit it to 0.3GB/hour (or crank it up to 7GB/hour for ultra HD).

    • To do this on the Netflix app... click the hamburger menu (the three lines in the bottom right-hand corner), then go to App Settings > Mobile Data Usage. The default setting is 'automatic', which balances usage with quality, allowing you to watch about four hours per GB.

      Switching to 'Save Data' will increase this to about six hours per GB, while 'Wi-Fi Only' will ensure you can only stream when connected to a network – so you won't use any mobile data at all. ('Maximum Data' streams at the highest quality possible and uses 1GB roughly every 20 minutes.)
    • You can also save mobile data by disabling autoplay

      If you stream stuff on Netflix via mobile data but don't want to get carried away and wipe out your monthly allowance in a matter of hours, there's a simple way to stop yourself from getting sucked into a binge.

      By turning off the autoplay feature you'll have to hit play if you want to keep watching the next episode, which will lessen the chances of you carrying on without thinking about it – and also means that should you, say, nod off on a train you won't end up using GBs of data when you're not even watching.

      To disable autoplay on the Netflix website, go to 'Account' and, in the 'Profile & Parental Controls' section, select the profile you want to amend. Then hit the 'Change' button under 'Playback settings', uncheck the 'Autoplay next episode in a series automatically on all devices' box and press 'Save'.

      To disable autoplay on the Netflix app, choose 'Account' from the menu and you'll be taken to the website – follow the steps above from there.

  10. Download TV and films in advance to avoid burning through mobile data

    Woman watching Netflix on a mobile phone

    The easiest way to minimise the amount of mobile data Netflix uses when you're out and about is simply to download programmes and films on to your phone, tablet etc in advance, while connected to Wi-Fi. You'll need to be on the Standard plan (without ads) or Premium plan for this.

    To do this, open the Netflix app, find the title you want and tap the download icon (a downwards-pointing arrow) on the description page – with series you'll need to download each episode individually.

    Your show should then appear in the downloads section of your app. You can store up to 100 downloads on any device at a time.

    You've a limited amount of time to watch downloads (depending on the particular licence of that content) – you'll be shown the amount of time left if it's less than seven days, and some will expire 48 hours after you start watching them.

    Most, but not all, titles on Netflix are available for download as again this depends on the licence agreement Netflix has for a particular series or movie. This can include Netflix Originals as some are made in partnership with other studios.

    How much you can download will also depend on how much storage space you've got on your device – you should allow about 280MB per hour of standard-definition content and around 440MB per hour of HD content. For help clearing space on your device, see our Boosting phone storage guide.

  11. Set up a children's account so they only see suitable shows

    When you subscribe to Netflix your account will have an automatically generated 'children' profile through which only series and films suitable for kids can be watched.

    This profile contains titles suitable for younger and older children (this can be restricted according to preference). At the time of writing it includes animated movies such as Trolls Holiday and Sing 2, classic kids' films such as Fantastic Mr Fox and Matilda, and series such as Paw Patrol and Spirit Riding Free: Riding Academy.

    There is also some educational science and nature television, such as Our Planet and Our Universe. (And if you really want to use Netflix as an educational tool, try setting up a profile that only shows programmes and films in a foreign language to help them learn it.)

    More tips
    • You can change the age group the children profile is suitable for

      You can switch the age range of the children profile between 'for older children and younger' and 'for toddlers only'. To do this, open Netflix, select 'Manage Profiles' and 'Children', then choose your preferred option from the 'Allowed TV programmes and films' dropdown menu.

      • For toddlers only is based on the universal 'U' suitable for all classification, for children aged four and over, according to the British Board of Film Classification. 

      • For older children and younger is based on the parental guidance 'PG' general viewing classification, suitable for children aged eight and over.
    • You can create extra profiles for children

      If you've more than one child you can set up a Netflix profile for each of them (you get five profiles per subscription) so you can restrict what they can watch according to their age, and also allow each of them to continue watching where they left off.

      • To set up a profile for children under 12... open Netflix and press 'Add Profile'. You'll then need to name the profile and tick the 'Child?' box, which means only programmes and films suitable for children aged 12 and under will be available, and then press 'Continue'.

      • To set up a profile for children over 12... open Netflix and click 'Add Profile' but don't tick the 'Child?' box. Go to 'Manage Profiles', select the profile you're setting up, and choose 'For teens and below', which is based on the '12' suitable for 12 years and over classification.

      The last option available is All maturity levels, based on the '15' suitable only for 15 years and over and '18' suitable only for adults classifications. This obviously should be avoided when setting up a profile for nippers.

    • You can set a PIN to restrict what kids watch

      If your kids are tech-savvy enough to circumnavigate the children profile, you can set a four-digit PIN to prevent them from switching to another profile and watching something they shouldn't.

      To do this, go to 'Account', then 'Parental controls' and enter your account password. Select 'Create PIN', enter four digits of your choice and press 'Save'. You can choose from four levels (little kids, older kids, teens or adults) to restrict by PIN, or restrict specific titles by typing them into the search bar.

      You'll then be asked for the PIN whenever you're watching something above the set age range on any profile.

    • You can delete the children profile if you don't need it

      The children profile counts as one of the five profiles you can create per Netflix subscription. If you don't have kids or they don't use Netflix, you can delete the profile by selecting 'Manage Profiles' and 'Children', then 'Delete Profile'. You can then replace it with a new one if you want to.  

  12. Check how long a series or film will stay on Netflix

    The beauty of Netflix from a MoneySaving point of view is that you can dip in and out of subscribing as often as you like, as there's no minimum contract term. That means if you know what's on when, you can ensure you're only paying for Netflix while it has the stuff you want to watch. 

    To help plan, you can check when something is due to be taken off Netflix within the next 30 days by using New On Netflix UK's regularly updated Last chance list or by opening up the info on any series or movie –  if it's due to be taken off soon, it'll say something like 'Last day to watch on Netflix: 31 October'.

    You can then use this info to tailor your subscription accordingly. For example, if your current series will be gone by the time your subscription rolls into the next month, and there's nothing else you're fussed about, you may want to cancel your subscription

    There are also lots of places to check what's being added to Netflix each week, including Netflix's FacebookInstagram and Twitter, the unofficial New On Netflix UK site, the Radio Times and entertainment site Den of Geek.

    • Request series and films that aren't on Netflix

      You can request shows or films you want to see on Netflix, or something you want to see return – for example, you really want South Park back like nothing else. There are no guarantees your wish will be Netflix's command though – content rights, streaming rights, popularity, cost and more determine whether it can or will license a particular title. 

      You make requests via the Help Centre using the request TV shows or movies page – Netflix says it may look into licensing your suggestions, depending on demand. 

      And of course if what you want to watch isn't on Netflix, it may well be on an alternative TV streaming service.

  13. Use Netflix codes to find 'lost' movies and shows

    Anyone who has used Netflix before will know how easy it is to spend more time looking for something to watch than you do actually watching it.

    While Netflix's recommendation categories can help you find new programmes and films that appeal to your tastes based on what you've already watched, in doing that they seemingly miss out hundreds if not thousands of titles.

    The good news is there's a secret stash of codes that let you access every category on Netflix so you can track down comedies, documentaries, dramas and more that you might not see by browsing the customised categories.

    Just type the name of the category into the search bar on your browser or app, and you'll be shown related ones. Or you can add a code to the URL – for example, http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/XXXX – to be shown a different selection. 

    There are more than 3,000 categories – see the list on independent site What's on Netflix's Netflix ID Bible. Here are a few of our favourites:

    • British programmes: 52117
    • Comedy films: 6548
    • Dramas: 5763
    • Children & family films: 783
    • Documentaries: 6839
  14. Get Netflix for 'free' with some mobile phone contracts

    'Free' Netflix subscriptions with mobile phone contracts, where you pay the monthly bill and Netflix is thrown in for six or 12 months, crop up now and again. So keep an eye out if you're looking to switch mobile contract and subscribe to Netflix at the same time.

    As ever with this sort of deal, it's usually only worth it if you were already going to go for the particular contract that includes the Netflix subscription in the first place. For example, our analysis found an O2 deal from 2018 with 'free' Netflix was only worth it for high-data users.

  15. Can't choose what to watch? Add review ratings to Netflix – plus more hacks if using a computer

    Netflix in a web browser

    Netflix says 70% of its users watch on TV, but if you watch it on a good ol' fashioned desktop or laptop computer you can access a number of hacks that you can't use on other devices.

    The first reason for this is because computers have keyboards, and Netflix has a number of keyboard shortcuts that make it quicker and easier to use. The second is because on a computer you can watch via web browser, and there are a number of free, unofficial browser extensions that allow you to do stuff with Netflix that you can't do when watching on other devices.

    Bear in mind that the type of web browser you use will affect what add-ons are available. Google Chrome is your best bet – there are a number of Netflix extensions available for it – while there are a few about for Mozilla Firefox. If you use Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge or Opera, it's worth downloading Chrome to watch Netflix on if you want to use extensions, as unfortunately there are few available for those browsers.

    Stuck scrolling? Add ratings from IMDb, Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes and more to Netflix

    If you struggle to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to what you watch on Netflix, Film scores for Netflix is the browser extension is for you. Available for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, it adds scores from movie and TV rating websites IMDb, Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes and more to everything on Netflix.

    Add the extension to your browser, choose which site's ratings you want to be displayed on the Netflix homepage and which others you want to be able to see ratings from. Then go to Netflix and you'll see scores from the site you chose displayed in the bottom left of the image for each series or film and, when you hover the pointer over a particular show or movie, beneath the title you'll be able to see the rating from all the sites you selected (if it's been rated by them).

    MSE Kelvin's struggling to understand how Dolittle scored so well.

    More tips

    • How to make using Netflix quicker and easier with keyboard shortcuts

      Remember these and you'll no longer find yourself fumbling for the mouse/touchpad at the crucial moment.

      • Play/pause: Space bar or enter
      • Full screen: F
      • Exit full screen: Esc
      • Volume up: Up arrow
      • Volume down: Down arrow
      • Rewind 10 seconds: Left arrow
      • Fast forward 10 seconds: Right arrow
      • Mute/unmute: M
      • Skip intro: S (only works on shows/movies where you can skip the intro)
    • How to stop Netflix from asking if you're still watching

      For the uninitiated, if you're watching a TV series on Netflix and haven't interacted with it – for example, changed the volume, skipped an intro – once in a while, a message will appear asking, "Are you still watching...?" Netflix says this is to help make sure you don't lose your place (if you've, say, fallen asleep). But many find it an unwelcome distraction (or even a bit judgemental, if you're in the middle of a box-set binge).

      The good news is you can stop Netflix from asking if you're still watching, provided you're watching via a web browser, by downloading a free browser extension.

      If you watch via Google Chrome you can download Binge! or Netflix Pause Removal, and if you watch via Mozilla Firefox you can download Netflix Pause Removal. These (unofficial) add-ons stop the message from appearing, meaning you no longer have to click 'Continue watching' to, er, continue watching.

      But if you watch via an app on your phone, tablet, smart TV, games console or any other device you'll unfortunately have to keep putting up with Netflix questioning your viewing habits.

    • Watch Netflix in sync with someone in another room, home, city or even country

      Teleparty (previously Netflix Party) is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to watch Netflix in sync with friends and family, no matter where they are. It does this by synchronising video playback with whoever you add to your watching 'party'. It also includes a group chat feature, so you can instant-message other people in your party while you watch.

      All you have to do to use it is add it to Chrome, press play on what you want to watch on Netflix, pause it, hit the 'Tp' icon in the top right of your browser window and then the 'Start the party' button. Share the URL displayed with anyone you want to watch with. It also gives you the option to display the group chat and whether to let others have control, eg, the ability to pause, rewind etc.

      Everyone you want to add to your group will need access to a Netflix subscription.

  16. Learn the lingo with a Netflix profile in French, Spanish etc

    You can get more out of your Netflix subscription if you or your kids are learning another language, as watching shows and movies in that language can help you. Yet finding them in Netflix can take ages.

    To make it quick and easy, set up an extra profile that only shows content in that language. All you have to do is add a new profile when you open Netflix and give it a name. Then go to 'Manage Profiles', select the profile you've just set up and choose from the 31 languages in the 'Language' dropdown.

    Et voila, instant access to all the programmes and films (some are dubbed, some filmed in that language) available in your chosen language in one place.

    This video shows how to do it (it's for Spanish, but works exactly the same for other languages).

    MSE Jenny found this useful:

    At home I've set up a kids' profile that only shows children's shows in French (they speak it with my husband, I'm not just being mean!). It's a brilliant resource – they love a bit of Mon Petit Poney.

    If you're setting up a foreign language profile for your kids, you can also make sure that the profile only shows children's programmes by checking the 'Child' tick box – this means only titles suitable for children aged 12 and under can be watched.

  17. Be first to get new Netflix features, eg, skipping intros

    You can get new features first by opting to participate when Netflix tests potential changes, before it decides whether to roll them out to every subscriber.

    Most of the time these will be features you'll barely notice, such as minor changes to how Netflix recommends content, but in the past those participating have got game-changing features such as the 'skip intro' button and mobile data usage settings weeks before anyone else.

    Opting in takes seconds – go to 'Account' and then 'Test participation', and switch the 'Include me in tests and previews' button to 'on'.    

  18. Find 'hidden' extras, eg, bonus videos and original cuts

    Netflix Originals

    Unknown to many there's a wealth of 'hidden' content on Netflix's original series and movies, such as teasers, season recaps and trailers, interviews, announcement videos, bonus videos and original cuts.

    To find these, open the Netflix Original of your choice (by hovering the pointer over it on the website or tapping the information symbol on the app), then select 'Trailers & More'.

    Before you know it you'll be watching an interview with Orange is the New Black's Taylor Schilling or BoJack Horseman's audition for House of Cards.

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