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This article was published on August 3, 2019

How to find something to watch on Netflix, without endless scrolling

How to find something to watch on Netflix, without endless scrolling
Matthew Beedham
Story by

Matthew Beedham

Editor, SHIFT by TNW

Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls. Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls.

Welcome to TNW Basics, a collection of tips, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and other stuff.

Netflix is certainly a popular service, but that doesn’t mean it’s totally devoid of flaws.

I remember when I first took the plunge and signed up for Netflix. In minutes, I had a world of film and TV at my finger tips; I was so excited. But as time has gone on, I’m finding it harder to find good things to watch.

I often find myself endlessly scrolling through suggestions of things I’ve either already seen, or am not interested in (as do many of my colleagues, as it happens). Netflix’s native interface just doesn’t seem to cut the mustard when it comes to finding something new worth watching.

But all is not lost! Here are a few tips to help you find your next TV binge.

Google it

As with everything on the internet, start with a quick web search to check you’re not missing something obvious (like I probably have been).

Netflix’s library is always changing. There’s whole swathes of content added (and removed) every month that doesn’t always get promoted at the front of Netflix’s interface.

A quick Google of “what’s new on Netflix” followed by the country you’re subscribed in, will return a whole raft articles rating the latest additions to the platform.

Sites like the UK’s Radio Times also gives a run down of what’s on its way to the platform, too. Got a quiet weekend ahead? Check it out and plan your binge.

Third-party Netflix catalog websites

If you want to dive deeper into Netflix’s back catalog, there are many third-party websites that keep tabs on what is currently available on the streaming platform.

For UK, US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand-based viewers, provides one of the most searchable, and browser friendly options.

Because they’re web-based, searching them is a breeze. You can also filter by year, rating, and search using keywords like actor and director names.

The catalog also gathers meta-data, reviews, and ratings from other sites like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb, further helping you find something that should appeal to your tastes.

Get a little help from your friends

One of my colleagues also suggested something called Letterboxd. On its website, it describes itself as “the social network for film lovers.”

With Letterboxd you can take note of what you’ve seen, save a list of films you want to watch, and make and take recommendations with friends and other users of the app.

While Letterboxd does let users tag films with keywords, like Netflix, there’s no guarantee that the recommendations will be available, though.

Even so, it’s a useful option if you want to keep more general tabs on films that you want to watch. It can’t hurt to check-in and search Netflix for them every once in a while.

Help Netflix help you

Netflix has a rating system, use it.

It’s pretty simple, you can give things a thumbs up or a thumbs down. If you watched something, and liked it, give it a quick thumbs up. If not, do the opposite.

Over time, this will help Netflix’s algorithm build a better understanding of what you do and do not like. In theory, it’ll start suggesting TV shows and movies that you’re more likely to watch and enjoy. Because right now, it’s like my Netflix doesn’t even know me.

So next time you’re sat in front of Netflix, moaning that you can’t find anything to watch, don’t say we didn’t try to help.

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