Five ways to hack a better Netflix experience

From better recommendations to integrating Rotten Tomatoes, get the most out of your Netflix subscription with these valuable tips and tricks.

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Making the most of your monthly subscription is much more than watching as many episodes of "The Walking Dead" in one night as possible. It's about effortlessly digging up the best available flicks, so that by the end of the month, you know you got your money's worth, and then some.

Sadly, there's no magic potion that will bring "Game of Thrones" to Netflix, but there are some best practices and little-known tools that will quickly transform you into a Netflix-watching maven.

1. Bookmark InstantWatcher
Netflix's clunky content interface is hardly conducive to browsing titles. Instead, use InstantWatcher.com. Although the site might look like it was built overnight, it does a stupendous job of showing you what matters most on Netflix.

You'll see popular titles, along with noteworthy releases. But, best of all, InstantWatcher lists the titles that will soon be removed from Netflix, so you can catch them before they're gone.

Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET

2. Put Rotten Tomatoes in your Netflix
If you consider Rotten Tomatoes to be the last word on deeming a movie watch-worthy, you'll love this trick.

With this hack, you can get Rotten Tomato scores within Netflix, saving you the trip each time you want to look up a movie. Once enabled, the Tomato score will appear next to the movie details when you hover over a thumbnail on Netflix.com.

To get the hack, begin by installing the Greasemonkey add-on for Firefox. Alternatively, if you use Chrome, install Tampermonkey instead. These extensions let you endlessly hack your browser and let you modify Web sites to your liking. For a deep dive into Greasemonkey, check out our getting-started guide.

Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET

However, you don't need to be a Greasemonkey master to get Rotten Tomato scores in Netflix. Once you've installed the add-on, head on over to the RottenFlix page and click "Install" in the upper-right. Confirm that you'd like to install it, and you're set!

Now, head on over to Netflix.com and hover over a movie thumbnail. Within moments, a little tomato icon will pop up. Click it, and the Tomato score will be revealed. And, if you click that score, you'll be taken the the Rotten Tomato page for that movie. Neat!

3. Teach Netflix to give you accurate recommendations
When you launch Netflix on your computer or streaming device, you'll immediately see the movies and TV shows Netflix thinks you'll like. Unfortunately, many times, it's wrong.

There are two ways to improve these recommendations so accurate, you'll actually look forward to them.

First, always (always, always) rate movies after watching them. It only takes a moment, and will improve Netflix's recommendation engine. Secondly, complete the Taste Preferences survey. To do so, log into your Netflix account in your browser, hover over the Taste Profile menu, and select Taste Preferences.

The survey is extensive, and would take quite a while to complete entirely, so instead, choose from the different survey categories and answer the questions most important to you.

Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET

4. Use your phone or tablet as a Netflix remote
If you stream Netflix with your PS3, this little-known trick will make your life a whole lot easier. Once you have the Netflix app installed on your iOS or Android device, connect your device to the same local network as your PS3.

Without further setup, you should be able to control the interface on your TV with the app. So, for example, if you tap a movie, the app will prompt you to play it on your PS3. Here's a video a YouTuber put together to show you how it works:

Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET

5. Choose your streaming quality
More and more of us are signing ISP contracts whereby we're bound to annoying data caps. If you're one of these customers, you might want to lower you streaming quality, minimizing the amount of data you use when streaming Netflix titles.

To change your video quality, head to this settings page. You can choose from .3GB per hour to 2.3GB per hour.

 

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