With millions of people around the world following social distancing guidelines or staying at home thanks to lockdowns, there has been a huge spike in the numbers of people using online streaming services. Home entertainment giant Netflix reported 16 million new customers in the first three months of 2020 and a 30 percent increase in share prices.
But Netflix and its counterparts can deliver a sub-par performance at times. Slow connection speeds, geo-blocked content, and endless buffering are just a few of the issues viewers may face. To help you get the most out of your streaming experience, here are a few top tips.
1. Use a VPN to skirt geo-blocking restrictions
Your IP address, which indicates your device’s physical location, dictates which content is available to you on any streaming service. If a documentary you’ve been looking forward to viewing is available on UK Netflix, for example, but not on US Netflix yet, you can’t watch it without hiding your IP address.
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a security and privacy tool that encrypts data and allows you to adjust your device’s location information. Using a Netflix VPN to connect to different servers means you can avoid geo-blocking and watch what you want.
You can also use your VPN access digital TV channels from around the world, try the BBC iPlayer app or Australia’s SBS.
2. Stop buffering (hopefully)
We’ve all been there; watching in frustration as that little circle spins around and around endlessly. Buffering happens because a certain amount of data needs to be downloaded before the video can play unimpeded. There are a few things you can do if buffering is getting you down:
- Tidy your browser. Clean the cache, check for any unnecessary third-party extensions that are slowing you down, and clear your cookies and browsing history.
- Check your internet speed. If you’re trying to view a show during prime TV-watching hours, it’s possible your ISP is throttling your data. Try using your VPN to change your IP’s location.
- Close any other applications or programs that are running.
- If all else fails, try reducing your video quality.
3. Use Netflix codes to find niche programs and movies
If your Netflix home page has become a little stale and you’re unimpressed with its selection, go rogue and explore the back catalog with Netflix codes. Full lists of the codes are available online, but here are a couple of curveballs to get you started:
LGBTQ Psychological Movies – 5
NX: Multiple Universes, One Home – 2867911
True Bromance – 2693465
To use a code, just type the address into your browser as follows:
There’s no doubt about it, online streaming has gotten more than a few of us through long socially distanced days. Hopefully the above tips will help you get even more out of your streaming accounts and your viewing experience.