If you watch a lot of Netflix, Flix Plus provides a veritable Swiss Army knife of improvements to the entire browsing and watching experience. Read on as we highlight the myriad of reasons why it’s foolish to watch Netflix without it.
What Is Flix Plus?
Flix Plus is a Chrome extension that reworks the Netflix browser experience to create a more streamlined experience, provides customizable keyboard shortcuts, the ability to hide content you’re not interested in, automatically hidden spoiler images summary text and previews, and integrated movie ratings provided by IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes.
Although many people watch Netflix on their tablets or HDTVs these days, even if you’re not routinely watching Netflix on your desktop or laptop computer we’re still inclined to strongly recommend the extension just for the superior browsing and content selections tool so, by all means, find what you want to watch on your laptop and then sling it over to your Chromecast with your smartphone. Because frankly, once you’re actually watching your movie or TV show, the experience is practically identical on any device but the process of picking what you want to watch is the real time sink in the Netflix experience. Helping you weed through content is where Flix Plus really shines.
Further, we’re particularly fond of the Flix Plus extension because not only is it an all around useful tool with numerous features but it’s made by our friends over at Lifehacker. Given the sheer number of sketchy extensions of dubious quality in the Chrome Web Store it’s really nice to enjoy an extension from people we personally know and trust.
We generally start our various reviews and tutorials with installation instructions, but in the case of Flix Plus it’s a one-click installation like any other Chrome Web Store browser extension. Just visit the extension page here and then we’ll look at configuring it.
After you install the extension, visit Netflix.com and login. Immediately you’ll notice things are different as the extension has quite an array of default settings. Your personal list of saved titles is displayed prominently at the top of the page, for example, and all the hover-over popup information boxes now.
While you can immediately start exploring, we’d strongly encourage you to check out the configuration page first. You’ll see why in just a moment. To access the configuration options look for the red wrench in your address bar while on the Netflix site.
The configuration options will open in a new tab. Hands down, and we assure you we’re not being hyperbolic, Flix Plus has the best options section we’ve seen in any extension we’ve ever reviewed or tested. What makes us say such a thing? Look at it.
Every option is neatly arranged by what it affects, clearly labeled, and, this is the part that completely surprised (and honestly delighted us) every single option has a (show) option next to it that, if you hover over it, it will give you a full preview of what exactly the option changes.
If, for example, you see the entry in Player labeled “Hide potential episode spoilers” and you’re like “Huh, that sounds good to me. I hate spoilers. What does it do though?” You don’t have to check the box and then muck around loading and unloading content to try and see what it changes. Just hover over the (show) link at the end of the entry, and you’ll get this very clear preview that highlights what the option changes.
Clearly the hide spoilers option, per the preview example, hides upcoming episode names, episode thumbnails, and episode summaries. Given that a big part of our job here at How-To Geek is testing software, exploring menus and options, and deciphering poorly written software instructions and menus, we can’t tell you how nice having a clean and well annotated screenshot attached to each option makes things. If you want to really get in there and scrutinize the screenshots, feel free: the option’s screenshots are all available in full resolution on the GitHub page here.
Not only does Flix Plus make it really easy to manipulate information within Netflix by changing previews, adding information to previews, hiding content you’ve watched, and the like, but it also makes it easy to backup saved watch list as well as your actual Netflix ratings (for those of you that like to have control over your data or want to use your Netflix ratings in a project of some sort).
The majority of options are checked by default, but there are a few we’d recommend you toggle right away. In the Title Selection section, toggle “Hide billboard” to get rid of the giant billboard space at the top of the screen.
We’d also suggest toggling on the Darker Netflix option down in the Everywhere section; this gives the computer Netflix browsing experience a more similar look to the tablet/smartphone browsing experience. It’s a small thing but it looks so much better in a darker color scheme.
Once you’ve explored the configuration screen and made your first tweaks, return to Netflix and start browsing. You’ll be amazed at how much smoother the Netflix experience is when you can hide duplication suggestions, movies you’ve always watched/rated are grayed out/tinted, and extra ratings are right at your finger tips.
Have a tip or trick for a better Netflix or streaming media experience? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and you just might see it on the front page.
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