Dear Lifehacker, Last week, I finally bit the bullet and signed up to Netflix which is my first streaming service. (Finally no more ads or scheduled programming!) However, as a Netflix newbie, I'm feeling a bit lost — there's too much stuff and I find it difficult to navigate the menus. Is there any way to simplify the interface? If not, what titles do you personally recommend I search for? Thanks, Boob Tube Confused
First off, welcome to the streaming fold! Moving from free-to-air television to a streaming service like Netflix is incredibly liberating: we wish we could get that feeling again. (Maybe when virtual reality TV kicks off, eh?)
Streaming services tend to throw as much content into the viewer's face as possible — these companies are judged by the size of their libraries, so they can't afford to look scant in this department. Unfortunately, this has resulted in extremely busy interfaces that can be confounding to first-time users.
Thankfully, there are numerous hacks you can employ to make Netflix navigation a little easier. For instance, you can instantly see all of Netflix's original content by typing "Netflix" into the search bar. You can also get a comprehensive list of genres using the same trick (searching for "horror" will bring up all horror movies and TV shows, for example.) This is a much more effective method than fruitlessly scrolling through the home page for something to grab your eye.
If your Netflix screen is connected to a keyboard, you can streamline navigation further with a variety of keyboard shortcuts. Useful functions include instant muting (via the "m" key), toggling full screen playback ("F" key) adjusting volume (up and down arrows) and rewinding/fast-forwarding (Shift+Left arrow and Shift+Right arrow, respectively.)
As to personal Netflix recommendations, my tastes are a bit weird — some recent titles I've enjoyed include the documentary Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau, animated Survivor spoof Total Drama Island and TV music drama Nashville (for Hayden Panetteri, natch.) But I probably wouldn't suggest these to anyone I know.
If you're stumped on what to watch, your best bet is to peruse Gizmodo's popular Movie Night posts. This is a weekly series that picks an entertainment category and lists all the best titles from Australia's top three streaming services. The suggestions include TV shows in addition to movies, complete with synopses and trailers. Just hit the tag, look for a genre or topic that interests you and get stuck in!
We're also going to throw this one over to Netflix-using readers — what TV shows or movies have you been enjoying? Let BTC know in the comments!
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