If there's any entertainment company that could take over the world, it's Netflix. (Well honestly, it's likely a tie between Netflix and Disney.) In any case, the streaming platform might be relatively new, but it has quickly pervaded almost every aspect of popular culture. Netflix has reached the point where it's basically synonymous with streaming video, even though there are several other platforms out there than can do the same thing. Netflix has become the Kleenex of binge-watching.
With its never-ending cavalcade of original content, it's almost impossible to be up-to-date on the hottest bits of TV and movies without a Netflix subscription. There's no sign of the company slowing down, either, as the user base continues to grow. The bigger something is, however, the more room it has to stash away its secrets. There are numerous tips, tricks, and mysteries that most users have no idea about, and Netflix would probably like to keep it that way.
Some of these tidbits can actually improve your viewing experience by adding features that are not readily available. Others deal with behind-the-scenes and business dealings of the entertainment supergiant. The one thing they all share, however, is that they're widely unknown to most users.
Here are 15 Dark Secrets That Netflix Is Trying To Hide From You.
15 There Are Tons of "Racy" Non-Rated Movies
They're probably never going to just pop up on the main page, but there are several racy movies, TV shows, and documentaries hidden away on Netflix. It depends on the available library, but there was at one point a handful of NC-17 movies located on the streaming platform. (Currently, Blue is the Warmest Color is the only one available.)
Even if something hasn’t been slapped with the scandalous NC-17 rating, there are numerous unrated things to watch that still push the envelope. Both parts of Lars von Trier’s controversial Nymphomaniac can be found, along several movies with a decidedly sexual bent.
It doesn’t take much to find this risque material, either. A simple search of “NC-17” or “unrated” will have everything pulled up right away.
14 You Can Netflix and Chill Long Distance
As hard as it is to have friends or significant others living long distance, it’s even harder to watch things together. The act of sitting down to watch a TV show or movie is one of the more leisurely things you can do with a loved one, and it would seem impossible when there’s a great distance between you. This is where the website rabb.it comes into play.
Rabbit is a third-party site that people can use to stream Netflix (and several other platforms) to someone from anywhere in the world with an internet connection - and it's free! All it requires is that at least one person has a Netflix account to host the stream.
The watching isn't exclusive to just one or two people either; users can form a public watch party on Rabbit. Anyone with an Rabbit account can join in to watch whatever is "on," and they can even discuss it with the site’s easy chat feature.
13 Turn Off Binge-Watching Shame
Every Netflix user has had it happen to them. If someone claims they’ve never experienced it, they’re just lying.
We’ve all been in the middle of an hours-long binge only for things to get interrupted by Netflix with that pesky, “Are you still watching?” message. Those four simple words can immediately cause a tidal wave of shame and make even the strongest person evaluate all their life choices. But fear not: there’s way to avoid it entirely.
All it takes is adding the Google Chrome extension, Flix Assist, to your internet browser. The extension will completely remove the option of an interruption. The workaround only works with Google Chrome, however, so apps and other browsers will still sit in judgment of their users. But if Chrome is your primary Netflix platform, there’s no one left to judge you from your binging … except maybe your friends and family.
12 Access Incredibly Specific Genres
Every so often on Netflix, you can stumble across some very strange and hyper specific genres. Netflix even had fun with this during a past April Fool's Day where one of the categories was "TV Shows Where Defiantly Crossed Arms Mean Business!" There’s a way to access those unique Netflix genres with more than dumb luck, however.
There are literally thousands highly specific genres to pursue on Netflix. They can all be found by going to www.netflix.com/browse/genre/. Then type in any number that tickles your fancy after the last forward slash and get ready for strange journey.
The number you choose might turn up no results. Netflix, despite how it might seem sometimes, isn’t magic. But this is still the only (known) way to access genres as specific and wonderfully bizarre as, “20th Century Period Pieces for Hopeless Romantics” or “Action Comedies for ages 11 to 12.” This should make any effort worth it.
11 The Company Might be in Massive Debt
Netflix might seem basically invulnerable, and to be fair, it's pretty close to it. After all, it's one of the most widely successful companies on that planet, and it passed the 100 million subscriber milestone back in July. This doesn’t mean the company is without a fair deal of troubles, however. According to the LA Times, the streaming service has managed to accrue about 20 billion dollars of debt.
The reason for Netflix’s financial issues should be obvious to any frequent user. The company loves to produce a lot of incredibly expensive “prestige” content. Netflix is churning out original material at an alarming rate, and they’re burning through money every time they do it.
It’s a risk and reward type of system. The more Netflix produces, the more subscribers they'll theoretically attract. It’s working so far, as Netflix has continually shown significant user growth. So the model will likely will continue doing well for them, but Netflix can fail just like any big business. Fingers crossed that this is one bubble that will never burst.
10 Netflix Enhancement Suite Adds Tons of New Features
Here's another Google Chrome extension that could prove to be essential for serial Netflix users. Anyone can pull up a new tab on their browser to look at the Rotten Tomatoes score for a Netflix movie they're interested in watching. Make no mistake: this is the internet age equivalent of peasant work. It's not necessary. With the Netflix Enhancement Suite, the Tomatometer score (as well the rating on IMDb) will accompany each and every available title right away.
The extension doesn't just add a bunch of numbers to your viewing experience. A trailer can also be found for easy access. Photos will display in the description too, giving a perfect idea of the look and feel of whatever you want to watch.
One of the extension's coolest features applies solely to TV shows. The Enhancement Suite will pick an episode at random from your favorite comedy or drama and start it automatically, thus recreating the feel of watching a show in syndication.
9 The Forgotten Co-Founder
It seems inevitable that with every mega-successful corporation, there’s at least one person vital to its initial success that has been completely forgotten by everyone involved. Reed Hastings is the main person people associate with Netflix, as he's the current CEO. But Hastings didn't create the company alone.
Netflix was co-founded by Hastings and Marc Randolph. For the most part, as detailed in Gina Keating’s book Netflixed, Randolph has been removed from the company’s history. It’s not quite a Winklevoss twins or Eduardo Saverin situation with Facebook, but it's pretty funky.
It’s true that Netflix’s growth can be mostly attributed to Hastings. He's the one that wanted to aggressively expand the platform into the giant it became; Randolph had much smaller ambitions. Randolph wanted to slowly expand, and when things weren’t going in that direction, he left. Hastings is responsible for the pervasiveness of Netflix, but he might also be behind the company’s massive debt.
8 Watching On Off-Hours = Better Streaming
The Netflix buffering lag is, conservatively, one of the worst things in the world. There’s nothing more frustrating than the climactic moment in a movie being completely frozen in time while that aggravating circle loops back into itself. There’s a way to avoid it, but the solution might not be practical for many of you.
The best time to view Netflix is during the “off-hours.” Late at night and early in the morning usually provides the best possible streaming experience. Most people view Netflix after work or during “primetime” network TV, but everything on Netflix is localized. So, if your neighbors are cozying up to the glow of the TV screen or laptop, you might be in for a bit of lag.
It’s a sacrifice to stay up late and cram an entire season of Orange is the New Black. There’s a significantly lower chance of the dreadful buffering happening, however.
7 Subtitles You Can Actually Read
In theory, Netflix's subtitles are supposed to make the viewing experience easier, but the truth is that they can make it even harder. Depending on the device or app, the color of the subtitles never changes. This means that white subtitles can often be completely hidden in an equally white background. Something so simple can completely ruin the experience. Especially if it’s a show like The Defenders, where important characters speak entirely in languages other than English.
The fix is an easy one. If you travel into your account settings and scroll down, you’ll find an option to adjust subtitle appearance. The font can be changed, as well as increased in size. A shadow can be added, or the color of the text can be changed, to make for even easier viewing.
Essentially anything you want to do with your subtitles can be managed; it just takes a little digging.
6 Fighting Piracy with Streaming
While Netflix is home to several big-budget (and even bigger name) properties, there are also some incredibly obscure titles. But there’s always a rhyme and reason to what Netflix adds onto the streaming library, no matter how weird it appears.
Netflix will search pirating and BitTorrent sites to find what's popular on them. The company will then attempt to buy the rights to those shows or movies to include them in the service. Illegal piracy is something that’s done across the world, so just because a property isn’t popular in North America, it might be huge somewhere else. Which is why it’ll be included on everyone's Netflix.
It’s a win/win situation for those involved. Netflix gets something that’s high in demand, and the creators get paid for their work. Netflix just probably doesn’t want many people to know that they use pirating for their own benefit.
5 You Can Adjust Streaming Settings for Phones and Tablets
Most users know of the option to download certain titles from Netflix to their mobile devices. Downloading doesn’t work for everything, however. If you want to watch a certain show on-the-go, or at least away from home, using a data plan is the only viable option.
Video streaming can suck up data incredibly quickly. Of course, this assumes that the connection is even strong enough to play video uninterrupted.
There’s a way to hit those two digital birds with one stone. If you visit Netflix on your browser, you can change the default playback settings while streaming. Typically, Netflix is set to stream things at the highest quality possible. But if you bring the quality down to the lower settings, streaming will be much smoother and far less costly.
4 The DVD Warehouses Are Guarded Secrets
Netflix is primarily known as a streaming service. The company’s mailing rental service, which is where they started, still exists. Evidently, it's borderline impossible to find one of the distribution centers where those blu-rays and DVDs are kept to be mailed out to subscribers.
The locations of the warehouses are a well-guarded secret. There’s nothing to suggest from the outside that hundreds and hundreds of DVDs are enclosed inside the buildings. When workers leave for deliveries, it’s in nondescript and unassuming trucks. Workers even have to sign non-disclosure agreements to ensure that they don’t blab the location to anyone else. Netflix doesn’t want anyone to know where they are keeping their entertainment jewels.
The reason should be obvious: Netflix doesn’t want to be targeted by any thieves. Nevertheless, it’s rather hilarious that the warehouses are something akin to the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. But instead of stashing away the Ark of the Covenant, these warehouses just house dozens of copies of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
3 You Can Remove Your Streaming History
Internet history can be a sticky and shameful business, and it’s no different on Netflix. Everyone has something in their Netflix queue that they’d like completely to forget. Maybe you watched Fuller House out of curiosity, only to quickly discover that it is indeed one of the worst things ever. Forever more, Netflix will be asking you to continue watching it and recommending like-minded bits of small screen awfulness. Or so you thought.
Thankfully, streaming history can be wiped clean. If you look up your account’s viewing history, everything you’ve ever watched will be displayed. From there, it’s a simple matter of just hitting the “X” next to the title and striking it from your history forever.
The wiping does take a little bit of time. Things won’t be completely erased until 24 hours later. Still, there's a way to be free of being reminded of your shameful binge of Iron Fist season 1.
2 You Can Remove Netflix Freeloaders
Viewing your account history can be useful for more than just attempting some revisionist history. When looking into your account activity, the devices that have used your Netflix account can also be found. You can use this nifty little section to verify whether or not someone you don’t want to be using your account has in fact been logging in through your subscription.
The removal of a Netflix freeloader is a relatively painless process. All it takes to dive into the settings and simply sign out everyone from all their devices. Of course, this requires every wanted user to sign back in and create a new password.
The moocher, however, will be gone. Never again will they be able to drastically alter your recommended section.
1 Binge-Watching Might be Bad For You
Some might argue that the very point of Netflix is to binge-watch. The platform certainly seems to want viewers to watch large chunks of their library in a single sitting. Almost all of their original TV shows release their entire season in one go. But there’s enough evidence to suggest that binging TV is just harmful as binging pretty much anything else.
According to CNBC, multiple studies have been done that have concluded the binge-watching can be hazardous to people’s health, specifically mental health. Those who binge regularly have an increased chance for depression and anxiety. It's also more common for them to become obese.
Binging occasionally hasn't proven to be harmful with any long-terms effects. But when binge-watching becomes closer to an obsession or a lifestyle, which is likely exactly what Netflix want from users, then there could be some trouble. It's hypocritical, but binging should always be done in moderation.
Do you have any secrets about Netflix hidden up your sleeve? Which of these surprised you the most? Sound off in the comments!