Netflix had a huge year in 2016, revelling in the increased popularity of streaming video. The revenue gained from streaming has now surpassed that of video, DVD, and Blu-ray for the first time ever. This is partly due to the popularity of shows like Stranger Things on Netflix and The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime Video, but it is also the by-product of a fast changing industry. However, there is one main complaint often expressed by users of Netflix, and one of the main reasons given for users unsubscribing, and that is the difficulty they find in searching for new shows or movies.
The issue is that Netflix relies heavily on suggesting programmes based on your previous viewing and what you have rated using their five star system. The issue with this is that you may, for example, be a big fan of horror movies, and watch a bunch of them. However, if one evening you are in the mood for a documentary about potted plants, then you are likely going to struggle to find something attractive in the main menu.
But do not worry – there are ways of getting round this and making sure that you are only shown programmes that you are actually interested in or, at least, you can find shows you are in the mood for. So breathe easy, Geeknaut has you covered.
- Manually filtering what Netflix tracks
This is the most complex way of filtering your results, but gives you the freedom to choose what Netflix “thinks” about you. Netflix keeps a record of what you have viewed, whether you watch it to the end, continue in the series, or quit half way through. And that can be a problem, especially if you and a significant other are both watching on the same account. It means that you may see recommendations based on something totally different to what you want to watch.
So how do you filter your results? Simply open your account in an incognito or private tab then Netflix will not be able to track your viewing habits. The benefit of this is that, if you want to watch a one-off show, or watch a guilty pleasure you don’t want others seeing (or Netflix remembering) you’ve watched , then you can open it up incognito and rest assured your viewing won’t have been tracked.
If you implement this technique as a long-term solution then you are able to make sure that you only watch programmes that you want Netflix “knowing” about on a normal browser. This means that all of the recommendations that Netflix serves you will be based purely on what you want it to, and not tainted by the less typical shows you have watched. Think of it as a way of customising the “recommended” section.
However, this doesn’t help if you want to explore a new genre that you don’t normally pay much attention to.
- Searching in the hidden sub genres
This method is far more comprehensive for finding new things to watch in a more specific category. Netflix will serve you their basic package of 21 different categories in the header menu. This is great, until you want to look for something a bit more specific, based on what you fancy. There are now two different ways of viewing the more specific sub categories, which will help you find a more applicable choice.
Until recently sub categories were hidden, and so you needed to use the second sub-genre method in order to view any of them. However, Netflix has now added the sub-genre drop down menu when you select a category and then sub-genre. For example, you can select the documentaries category, then in the sub-genre drop down menu, select biographical documentaries, and you will be served up all the different biographical documentaries Netflix has in its arsenal. From here you can sort based on the usual criteria like popularity and date added.
The other method is to use the raw code for the sub genres. You can do this by entering the URL http://www.netflix.com/brose/genre/InsertNumber then, instead of “insert number” you can put in one of the unique sub-genre codes. Here is a list of all of the different codes, and all of the different sub-genres, for your viewing pleasure (View full size)
- Netflix randomizer
The final option is for the person that really has no idea what they want to watch. Everyone has been there, you sit down, and you know you want to watch something, but you just can’t think of anything specifically you would like to see. Well, using a Netflix randomizer like AllFlicks can throw up suggestions from the depths of the Netflix library. It allows you to select certain criteria, such as the Netflix, or IMDb (International Movie Database) ratings, the year range for when it was released, or the actors/director. This means that you can tweak the results from hundreds of thousands of shows to something more relatable.
This allows you to decide that, for example, you want a random Brad Pitt movie from before 2010, and it will pick one for you. The benefit here is that you can use as many or as few stipulations as you like, and the randomizer will take the stress out of the search. Of course, if you’re still not happy you can just reload until you are!