You may never go out to the movies again.
Before streaming, there were these retail establishments called video stores. If you wanted to watch a movie or catch up on a television series, you needed to go out of your house to the store, look on the shelves for whatever it was you wanted to see, pay a rental fee, hurry home, watch it and return it the next day.
It's a pretty difficult thing to imagine when hundreds of titles are available whenever you want them with no late charges. Yes, you read that correctly: you were FINED when you brought something back late.
As a former video store employee, it's even difficult for me to remember a time before streaming and before Netflix. I'm not that awesome with change but I did adapt very quickly to getting my TV and film fix from Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.
1. Download the "Netflix Enhancement Suite."
This suite is a veritable buffet of vital add-ons in one no-cost-to-you package. It has everything from Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, to IMDB. This way, you can avoid being six hours in and realizing what you're watching is crap. (Download it here.)
2. Use an "unblocker" for access to foreign film and television.
Netflix in other countries has movies and TV shows that aren't included in the United States version. There are things like Smartflix (which is free) and Media Hint (which isn't free) that will trick your Netflix into thinking you're in another country, giving you access to a ton more titles. The problem is that NetFlix isn't happy with the unblockers and is doing its best to shut them down.
3. Can't decide what to watch? Activate Flix Roulette.
Flix Roulette lets you search by directors, actors or even keywords so you can find just the Quentin Tarantino movies and binge on them happily. Fun fact: Mr. Tarantino was once a video store clerk himself, which is probably why he has such a vast and eclectic knowledge of film.
4. Never suffer from ANNOYING AF buffering issues again by doing this...
There you are right in the middle of binge-watching Daredevil on your computer and the buffering starts to get all wonky. This only works when viewing on a computer, but what you need to do (when playing a title) is to hold down Shift+Opt (Shift+Alt for Windows) and left click to open up a hidden menu (called The Stream Manager) with buffering fixes and other streaming options.
If you're using Chrome, press Ctrl+Shift+Alt/Opt+S to access this menu. If you're streaming on Wii, Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, use the directional pad and click up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, up, up, up, up.
5. Watch Netflix early morning or late night — the speed is much faster!
6. Use sneaky computer shortcuts.
Make your viewing experience much more efficient by using these four keyboard shortcuts:
- F will give you a full screen, ESC will take you out of it.
- PgDn pauses; PgUp will play. The spacebar will also play.
- Shift + Right Arrow will fast-forward; Shift +Left Arrow will rewind.
- M should toggle your mute button (depending on your computer).
7. Wear Netflix socks.
If you wear these socks (that you create yourself) that have an embedded pulse sensor, they will automatically pause whatever you're watching when it detects that you've fallen asleep. So what if you pass out during the good part? When you wake up, it will be right there ready for you to see it.
Now all you have to do is make some popcorn, get a glass of wine and settle down to some quality viewing.