Netflix is arguably the greatest thing to happen to film lovers since the invention of home video. Its ease of use and ridiculously extensive library of titles revolutionized the way we rent movies. Just ask the people at the once mighty Blockbuster Video (if you’ve never heard of Blockbuster, you’ve proven my point).
But when something is at your disposal 24/7, it’s easy to end up taking it for granted. Just like a spouse or a child, over time you might end up neglecting or even resenting your Netflix account. But don’t pull out your bottle of Jack Daniels and jar of pain pills just yet; there’s still time to save this relationship. The following tips will help you get the most out of your Netflix account.
Set a DVD Return Deadline
When it comes to Netflix pitfalls, the most common is not watching and returning your DVDs. Even the most avid cinephile will eventually come across a title that they – for whatever reason – just don’t feel like viewing. What makes the situation all the more frustrating is that you are the one who picked the film, so there’s a sense of obligation. This makes returning the DVD difficult.
A sense of obligation is the reason you put your parents in a nursing home instead of dumping them off in the desert, but it’s no reason at all to sit through a film. If you don’t want to watch it, don’t let it sit there. Send it back!
Setting a solid deadline is a great way to avoid stalling your Netflix queue. If a film spends more than a week at your house, it’s time to say good bye. After all, why waste your money on a something you won’t watch when there are thousands of other titles to choose from? And at the end of the day, if you really feel that badly about skipping the film, you can always throw it back on your queue.
Choose the Right Account with FeedFlix.com
Sure, Netflix is convenient, but are you using it enough to justify the cost? Should you upgrade or downgrade to a different plan? Unless you’re keeping meticulous records of your viewing habits like some sort of freak, this information can be hard to gauge. But thanks to Feedfix.com, tracking your usage is as easy (and creepy) as ever.
Using Netflix API, the service compiles your rental history, queue information, and user feedback to determine your cost per DVD, rate of return, and other useful information. It then presents the info to you in easy to read charts and graphs. There is a small yearly fee, so you might want to shop around for a free alternative. But can you really put a price on knowing you only paid $1.26 a pop to watch the entire series of “King of Queens?” I think not.
Consider the Streaming Only Plan
If your deadline isn’t working out, and you find yourself holding on to the same DVDs for months on end, it might be time to consider the streaming only plan. For only $7.99, you can access all of the streaming content that Netflix has to offer. Sure, the regular catalog is much more extensive, but if you’re not returning the DVDs, what good are more options?
For $2 more, you can add one DVD rental, so I would never recommend a streaming-only plan for a new user. But if you’re already unable to keep up with your queue, you might as well save some money.
Don’t Miss Out On Expiring Streaming Titles
The steaming content on Netflix is great, but there’s no guarantee individual titles will always be available. Content is added and removed by the company on a regular basis depending on the arrangements that have been made with studios. Instantwatcher.com keeps track of content that is expiring, which allows you to watch season three of “Coach” before it’s gone forever.
Add “Rotten Tomatoes” Reviews
Watching a series of shitty movies is a sure fire way to sour your Netflix experience. But with so many titles to choose from, how do you avoid getting stuck with a dud? After all, a film library this extensive is bound to have loads and loads of straight-to-video crap. And while they are helpful, sometimes the Netflix reviews just don’t cut it.
With Rottenflix, you’re able to see a film’s Rotten Tomatoes score right on the Netflix page. WhichFlicks.com offers a similar service, but in addition to Rotten Tomatoes reviews, it also utilizes regular Netfix reviews for comparison. The service also has its own iPhone app, which is nice, unless you can’t afford an iPhone, in which case you’re too poor to be using Netfix, anyway.
There’s an App for That, So Use It
Have you ever been getting reamed out by your boss for not paying attention and thought to yourself, “I really wish I could add Piranha 3D to my Queue.” Well now you can, thanks to a variety of smart-phone applications that allow you to access and update your queue for free: IRentMovie, Phoneflix, and Pocket Flix, just to name a few.
iPhone and iPad users can take the service one step further. The Netflix App allows members to stream content directly to their mobile devices, which has revolutionized the way we avoid eye contact with homeless people on public transportation. The service is also available on Windows Phone 7 devices, and is expected to expand to Android systems in the near future.
Using these apps will help you make the most of your account and avoid the stagnation that often occurs with long term users.
Take a break
If you’ve tried all the tips above, and you still can’t make it work, maybe it’s time you and Netflix took break. Rather than canceling your account, place it on hold. The company allows you to temporarily suspend service for up to 90 days, and still keep your queue intact. This also works well if you’re going out of town or you’re in between jobs.
The time apart will allow you both to reevaluate things. Maybe you’ll realize you don’t need Netflix to be happy. Or maybe you’ll come running back after a week, only to find that Netflix has left you for some douche bag lawyer who always talks to loudly on his cellphone when he orders coffee from you. Either way, it gives things a chance to work out for the best…or not.