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3 UX Lessons to Learn from Netflix

There’s a reason consumers are drawn to streaming video services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go. And it’s not just the fact that the combined cost of these services is often cheaper than many cable packages.

If we look at this from a design perspective, there’s definitely something about the way the user experiences are designed that makes them more attractive than other movie or TV viewing options. Especially Netflix.

Today, I want to put the spotlight on Netflix and give you 3 lessons you can take away from the platform’s design and features.

 

1. Make Onboarding Painless

Obviously, Netflix is a household name, so it doesn’t need to mince words on its website.

Netflix UX Lessons - Make Onboarding Painless

While you won’t be able to get away with a navigation-less website, what you can do to emulate the Netflix UX is to deliver just as brief and benefits-driven of a message above-the-fold.

Unlimited movies, TV shows, and more. Watch anywhere. Cancel anytime.

It perfectly sums up what users get while also taking the risk and fear out of it with “Cancel anytime.” Can you do the same? Totally.

While you’re at it, build a shortcut to the conversion point (e.g. newsletter subscription, SaaS purchase, schedule an appointment, etc.) in the same banner. Most of your visitors will need some time to educate themselves, but this will at least shorten the signup process for those who are ready to take action.

When that happens, make sure your conversion funnel is streamlined, too.

Netflix 3 Steps

In the first step of Netflix’s signup process, it lets customers know how many steps there are while reiterating the benefits. The interface is distraction-free and easy to follow.

Netflix Plans

Next, users see plan options. Again, the UI is simple and easy to follow. The table comparing the features and value of each plan is a nice touch, too.

Netflix Pay

The final step is just as minimally designed. With a clean and clear interface, and a benefits-driven message, there’s no reason a user should have any problems getting through this process nor should they have any doubts along the way.

 

2. Use Your Data to Create a More Personal UX

Every year, it seems like we have a new law that sends web designers and business owners scrambling to strengthen their website privacy and security policies. And while it might feel like we’re losing control over all that big data we’ve gained access to in recent years, that’s not really the case.

What’s happening is that consumers want businesses to more carefully protect their data. Plain and simple.

There’s nothing in these laws that’s telling us to stop collecting user data. If that happened, I think consumers would be just as outraged. Personalization is one of those things consumers actually look for in the user experience — and the better a website can deliver on it, the more loyal they’ll be as customers.

As far as being responsible with user data, that’s up to you and your clients to manage. As for using the data you’re given, Netflix has shown us a number of ways to use only the most necessary data points to create a very personal experience.

First, you need to start collecting data that’ll help you refine the experience. Netflix empowers customers to help with this here:

Netflix User Personalization

With each movie or show’s page, users can:

  • Add it to their personal viewing list;
  • Rate it with a thumbs up or thumbs down.

Netflix uses this information to provide helpful recommendations throughout the platform.

The first spot it does this is here:

Netflix Percent Match

When customers are rooting around for a new movie or show to watch, this percentage should give them a clue as to how much they’ll like or dislike it. This, in turn, encourages them to rate more programs so that Netflix’s ranking algorithm can become more attuned to their preferences.

The second spot Netflix provides personalized recommendations is the main page. It actually uses this page in a couple of ways to deliver custom suggestions to users.

The first is with “Because You Watched” categories:

Netflix Because You Watched

If a user spends enough time with a particular product, service, or content on your site, there’s a good chance they’ll like similar ones. So, this is a great way to build those suggestions into the UX.

The other way Netflix uses this page to deliver a personalized experience is through its categories. Note the categories I was shown above:

  • Totally Awesome 80’s;
  • Violent Asian Action;
  • True Bromance.

I have a history of watching movies and shows in these highly specific categories, so it’s pretty awesome to see these aggregated lists ready to go for me. If you can deliver a tailor-made list of recommendations, you’ll find it much easier to keep customers engaged with your product.

 

3. A/B Test All New Features

I’ve been a Netflix customer since 2007, so I’ve seen it go through a ton of changes over the years. WebDesigner Depot has, too:

Netflix Posts on WDD

From branding to layouts, and pricing to features, Netflix always seems to be switching things up. But here’s the thing: Netflix always implements changes that are meant to enhance the user experience. And when they don’t? It simply rolls the platform back to the way its customers preferred it.

One of the first times I remember this happening was with Max, Netflix’s talking bot:

This wasn’t a feature that was shoved onto users. It would sit in its dedicated space, waiting to be interacted with. Max would then welcome you back and ask what you’re in the mood to watch. You could pick a genre or you could let the bot provide recommendations based on how you rate other movies.

In all honesty, I was on the fence about Max. It was entertaining and I loved finding hidden gems through it. However, there were too many nights where I’d use Max hoping to find the perfect movie… only to abandon it and find something on my own.

That’s why it was no surprise when Max quietly slipped away. I have a feeling other users were just as ambivalent about it as I was.

There are a number of lessons, UX or otherwise, you can take away from this:

  • Be careful of trying the latest AI fads, they’re just too costly to invest in without hard data that proves that’s what your users want;
  • Give a new feature enough time to build up steam and provide you with reliable metrics — I remember Max being available for about six months, that’s more than enough time to gather user feedback and decide if a feature is worth keeping or not;
  • Personalization is great, but not necessarily if it’s at the expense of your customers’ time, sometimes the simpler feature is better.

Max isn’t the only example of Netflix playing around with its features. Do any of you recognize this?

Netflix Skip Intro

This appears when the opening credits and theme song play at the start of a TV show. There’s really not a lot of value in sitting through this every time, and I’m willing to bet that Netflix saw that most of its users were manually fast-forwarding through them when it decided to try out this feature.

Here’s another recent feature that I think has some staying power:

Netflix Still Watching

While streaming services are responsible for the epidemic of binge-watching, it’s not necessarily in their best interest to allow customers to do so. Think of this “Are you still watching?” wake-up call as a form of ethical design.

This feature has been around for over a year, and it’s still going strong.

Bottom line? It’s really important to research your users when you’re in the process of building a website. However, there’s nothing more valuable than real user input from a live website.

Whether you plan to roll out a new feature or simply want to test the validity of one that exists, don’t run on assumptions. Use the new data coming in every day to further improve your design and features.

 

Invaluable Lessons UX Designers Can Take from Netflix

Although Netflix’s market share is slowly being chipped away at by the competition, it continues to reign supreme when it comes to streaming video services. I don’t see that changing anytime in the future either, considering how how long it’s demonstrated its willingness to innovate alongside evolving consumer needs.

And that’s really the key point I want to make in this post. While I could’ve pointed out its dramatic color palette or use of a responsive layout, we already are familiar with these concepts. The most important UX lessons we should be taking away from Netflix are the ones here.



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Netflix Review & Rating | PCMag.com

Best of the year 2019 BugAlthough Netflix’s streaming service started as a niche offshoot of the company’s disc-mailing service, it is now the front-runner in the category, thanks to its reliable core catalog and some of the best original programming. Netflix also integrates excellent usability features across interfaces, allows offline downloads on mobile platforms, and features 4K content. However, with other high-profile services now available at cheaper prices, the expensive costs of Netflix’s comparable plans stand out. For now, Netflix remains an Editors’ Choice for on-demand video streaming services, thanks to its varied, top-notch content and capable apps.

What’s in the Catalog?

Netflix has an extremely broad catalog of video content, but it changes all the time. Shows available one day may be gone the next. It’s difficult to state authoritatively what is in Netflix’s catalog at any given moment, but that’s all part of the fun, right? Innumerable third-party websites, including PCMag, offer articles with titles like Everything Coming to Netflix This Month (as well as Everything Leaving Netflix), so that’s one way to stay in the know. Note that Netflix will lose many of its most-watched shows in the near future, including The Office (to NBC’s Peacock), Friends (to HBO Max), and several Marvel movies (to Disney+). This is potentially precarious new ground for Netflix, since it will need to rely more heavily on its original content in the coming years.

The TV shows available on Netflix are season-complete, which isn’t always the case for competitors. Hulu sometimes only has the most recent handful of episodes of a show, making it impossible to catch up if you fall too far behind. On the other hand, Netflix only adds shows a season at a time. Hulu offers at least some of its shows within a day or two of broadcast, so you can at least be within striking distance of the cultural zeitgeist if you’re a cable-cutter.

Netflix

Netflix is in a good position with its original productions though, with many titles becoming pop culture phenomenons. This impressive list includes shows like Black Mirror, Bojack Horseman, Dead to Me, Disenchantment, Mindhunter, Orange Is the New Black, Peaky Blinders, Russian Doll, Stranger Things, The Crown, The OA, The Umbrella Academy, and Unbelievable. Netflix also produces feature films, comedy specials, and documentaries, for those who are looking for something more self-contained. For example, Netflix’s recently released El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie received good reviews. Martin Scorcese’s The Irishman is another example.

However, Netflix no longers enjoy its once-untouchable status when it comes to original programming. Amazon Prime Video offers many top-tier shows and adaptations in its library including Bosch, Fleabag, Good Omens, Patriot, The Boys, The Expanse, The Man in the High Castle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Undone. Hulu may be better known for its broadcast television lineup, but with original productions such as Castle Rock, Casual, Catch 22, Harlots, The Handmaid’s Tale, and the continuation of Veronica Mars, it too is becoming competitive. Apple TV+ and Disney+ also promise tons of upcoming original content, with respective entries such as For All Mankind and The Mandalorian. Even CBS All Access has original shows including Star Trek Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, The Good Fight, The Twilight Zone (the rebooted series), and Why Women Kill.

On another front, Netflix has quietly built itself into an excellent source for streaming anime. It does a particularly good job with older series, such as Inu Yasha, Robotech, and Rurouni Kenshin. Little Witch Academia. Netflix has brought its considerable production clout to anime as well, including rebooting the venerable Voltron and She-Ra series and developing originals such as Castlevania. The trouble with Netflix’s anime collection is the same as with the rest of its content: It comes and goes unpredictably. Crunchyroll offers a much larger and industry-leading content library of anime titles. Hulu is another option for anime fans, with a collection of over 400 classic and critically acclaimed anime shows and movies such as Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell, and Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Plans and Platforms

Netflix has consistently raised its prices for all three of its plans over time. The cheapest option, which costs $8.99 per month, gets you access to Netflix’s full content library, but you can only stream in SD quality and on one screen at a time. The $12.99-per-month middle-tier plan allows HD streaming on two screens simultaneously. For families or groups of friends looking to share accounts, the $15.99 four-screen plan might be a more feasible option. This highest tier also unlocks Ultra HD (4K) streaming.

Netflix presents all of its content ad-free, with the exception of its previews of in-house content across its apps. HBO Now and Amazon Prime Video advertise their original content in a similar manner. Note that even Hulu’s ad-free plan still includes limited commercials in rare instances.

Hulu charges $5.99 for its base plan (with ads) though you can pay $11.99 per month for virtually no ads. Amazon Video matches Netflix’s base plan at $8.99 per month. Apple TV+ and Disney+ are both significantly cheaper, at $4.99 per month and $6.99 per month respectively, especially when you consider that they offer more simultaneous streams and support 4K streams. HBO Now is comparatively expensive, at $14.99 per month.

Netflix’s Premium tier costs close to the price of some live TV services. For instance, entertainment-focused Philo is only $20 per month and Sling’s Orange and Blue plans are a bit more at $25 per month. Several sports streaming services are in that price ballpark too, including ESPN+ ($4.99 a month) and Dazn ($20 per month).

In addition to its web interface, Netflix offers apps for Android and iOS; media streaming devices such as the Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, and Roku; and game consoles such as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It even has a desktop app in the Microsoft Store for Windows 10.

DVDs on Demand

Netflix began as a DVD-by-mail service, and the company still offers physical discs, but this is now a separate subscription from the Netflix streaming service. You can subscribe directly at dvd.netflix.com (a Netflix company) or add it to your existing Netflix account.

The Standard DVD plans start at $7.99 per month for one disc out at a time and an unlimited number of DVDs per month. There are no late fees with this plan; shipping and returns are free as well. The more expensive $11.99-per-month Premier plan gives you all the same features as the Standard one, but lets you take two discs out at a time. If you want HD Blu-ray DVDs, the prices for the Standard and Premier plans respectively increase to $9.99 and $14.99 per month.

Netflix

The main reason to use Netflix’s DVD-by-mail service is that it expands Netflix’s catalog. When you can’t find a particular TV show or film to stream, you can often find it among the DVDs. That said, it’s always a good idea to check whether you can buy or rent the same content through Amazon, iTunes, or the Microsoft Store on a PC or Xbox instead. That way you won’t have to wait for an envelope in the mail.

DVD diehards on mobile must use the service’s dedicated app, called DVD Netflix (Android and iOS). Here, subscribers can browse for content and stay on top of incoming and outgoing shipments.

Netflix on the Web

Netflix’s web interface uses a dark background, white text, and large media thumbnails. It looks elegant and is easy to navigate via the top menu’s sections: Home, TV Shows, Movies, Recently Added, and My List. In the upper right-hand corner, you can use the search bar, manage your profiles, access account settings, and open Netflix’s help center. Account settings go beyond what most other video streaming services offer, with options for email communications, closed captions, parental controls, and playback settings. You can also view recent viewing (content watched) and streaming activity (devices used and when). I didn’t experience any performance issues with Netflix’s web interface.

Netflix

The Home tab highlights current noteworthy content at the top and displays a slightly overwhelming number of horizontally scrolling lists of shows and movies across categories, such as New Releases, Popular on Netflix, and Trending Now. Mousing over any content triggers a video preview with sound; I find these annoying and would like the option to turn them off. If you click on an entry, you can view more detailed information and available episodes, as well as a percentage recommendation based on your watching history. You can also give content thumbs up (or down) ratings. Finally, you can add content to My List to save shows and movies you want to watch.

Netflix allows users to broadly sort the Shows and Movies sections by genre and filter the lists of content further based on recommendations, the release year, and alphabetical order. Oddly, there is no dedicated category in the TV Shows’ or Movies’ genre lists for Netflix’s originals. Instead, you need to scroll down to one of the horizontally scrolling sections to find them all in one place. Given Netflix’s constantly changing library, information on when things are available until would be helpful, along with an option to add reminders for those expirations.

Netflix on Mobile

I had no issues installing or logging in to Netflix’s Android app on a Google Pixel 3 running Android 10 or the iOS variant on an iPhone 8 running iOS 11. The app looks and performs fine and closely resembles the web interface.

You navigate the app via a set of five menu icons at the bottom of the screen: Home, Search, Extras, Downloads, and More. Netflix’s iPhone app offers all the same features as its Android counterpart and looks nearly identical, albeit with some insignificant navigational changes. For instance, the iOS app is missing the Extras icon in the bottom menu bar.

Netflix allows you to download select titles for offline viewing, a now common feature among on-demand video streaming services. The Downloads tab shows everything you have designated for offline viewing, but there’s no search function. When I tested download speeds over PCMag’s fast Wi-Fi network, it took less than two minutes to download a 50-minute episode of Planet Earth II in high quality. Note that some titles expire after 48 hours and others can only be downloaded a certain number of times.

The Home tab lets you sort by TV Shows or Movies, as well as access My List entries. The Extras section shows previews of new and notable content based on your viewing history. The More tab hosts all the important app settings, including Netflix’s Smart Downloads feature, which is useful for binge watching. Once you finish watching a downloaded episode, Netflix deletes that episode and automatically downloads the next one. In testing, this feature worked as advertised. You can set network streaming preferences and manage profiles from this section.

Playback and Streaming

Netflix’s playback screen is among the best we’ve tested. In addition to the standard 10-second rewind and fast forward buttons, you can also browse a list of all episodes of a show by season, adjust the audio and subtitle language, and jump to the next episode. The progress bar also shows content previews as you scrub. Yet another useful feature, which several other video streaming services have since copied, is a Skip Intro button. I hope Netflix eventually implements a tool like Prime Video’s X-Ray feature, which identifies actors, actresses, and music in a scene. I would also like an option to control the playback resolution.

Netflix

I tested playback performance on the web over my home Ethernet connection (200Mbps download) by streaming an episode of Bojack Horseman. I didn’t come across any stuttering or lag. Similarly, I streamed an episode of Planet Earth II on my Android device and experienced crisp video and clear audio over PCMag’s Wi-Fi network (15 Mbps download). Sadly, Planet Earth II is leaving Netflix soon.

Accessibility and Extras

Although Netflix lets you change the audio and subtitle language from the playback screen, you need to head to the web app to customize subtitles. Netflix, along with Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, and Disney+, all offer audio descriptions for some programming. Netflix explains audio descriptions as vocal narration that “describes what is happening on-screen, including physical actions, facial expressions, costumes, settings and scene changes.”

Netflix is one of the only on-demand video streaming services we’ve reviewed that restricts simultaneous streams and streaming resolutions based on your subscription tier; others offer a single tier with all available features. For instance, Disney+’s only plan allows for four simultaneous streams, which matches Netflix’s highest tier. As mentioned, Netflix also requires you to subscribe to its Premium plan in order to stream shows in 4K, whereas Apple+, Disney+, and Prime Video don’t make users pay extra for this capability.

Netflix, along with those same three services, all support the Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos standards for select titles and on supported devices. Apple TV+ has the advantage here, since it can ensure a higher percentage of its content supports these standards going forward. To find 4K content on Netflix, you can search for 4K and UHD directly; detail pages of shows and movies also show this information.

Netflix

Netflix offers lots of family-friendly content, as well as specific content for young children. In your account settings on the web, you can block content of certain ratings behind a PIN code or do the same for individual shows and movies. Netflix is notable in that it allows you to create profiles for up to four different users. In addition to the content control benefits, profiles enable Netflix to better tune its recommendations for whoever is watching. Disney+ supports up to seven profiles.

Netflix and VPN

Netflix’s available catalog varies greatly by your locale, and you may not be able to watch some shows at all, depending on which country you live in. Likewise, if you travel abroad, you may suddenly find that you can’t continue watching certain shows. In some cases, you can rectify this with a virtual private network (VPN) service. Netflix has been working hard to block VPN access though, to maintain location-based content restrictions.

I tried to access Netflix from my phone and a PC both of which were connected to a US-based Mullvad VPN server. I was not able to stream content on either device.

If you are insistent about finding a VPN that works with Netflix, start with the entries in our roundup of VPN services that worked with Netflix as of the time of our last testing. Note that a VPN that works with Netflix today may be blocked tomorrow. We recommend choosing a VPN based on other factors such as its security practices, value, and performance.

What’s Next for Netflix?

Netflix stocks an enormous array of quirky and quality TV shows, cult hits, family favorites, and trendy original programming. It also offers offline downloads for mobile devices, ad-free streams across all tiers, and convenient features such as Smart Downloads. However, its price has crept up over the years and the launch of high-quality streaming alternatives at significantly lower monthly costs means that it is no longer as good a value. We still give it an Editors’ Choice for on-demand video streaming given its excellent original content and vast library. If you are looking for true cable replacements, try Hulu’s Live TV option or YouTube TV.



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How to Change the Netflix Playback Speed

Have you ever wanted to change the Netflix playback speed? Allowing you to watch films and TV shows more quickly? YouTube offers variable playback speeds, but Netflix doesn’t officially support this feature.

Netflix HAS experimented with variable playback speeds, but given the reaction from filmmakers it’s unlikely to be rolled out to a broader audience anytime soon. So, in this article we’ll show you how to watch Netflix faster.

Netflix Experiments With Variable Playback Speeds

Netflix has been testing variable playback speeds. This allows consumers to view content slightly faster (1.2x) or much quicker (1.5x). It also offers slower options (0.5x and 0.7x), perfect for those who love analyzing their favorite media. Audio pitch is altered to suit the new speed you’re watching at too.

This feature has only been tested as an experiment, confined solely to some viewers using the Android Netflix app. However, it has caused a lot of controversy.

Directors and writers argued that they craft their products a certain way, and they don’t want viewers messing with that. Peyton Reed (Ant Man), Brad Bird (The Incredibles), and Judd Apatow (Girls) have all spoken out about the idea, agreeing that it takes away from the filmmakers’ intentions.

As such, Netflix assures users that it’s “sensitive to creator concerns”. And it won’t be rolling the feature out to anyone else until it’s received feedback on the experiment.

Netflix’s experiment into variable playback speeds allowed users to watch Netflix faster and slower, depending on their needs. Netflix cited films with subtitles as one reason why people may want to watch content more slowly.

There are also valid reasons why people may want to watch content more quickly. For example, maybe you want to watch slow TV (check out our guide to slow TV


Netflix and Really Chill: A Quick Guide to Slow TV




Netflix and Really Chill: A Quick Guide to Slow TV

Slow TV is a strange phenomenon you may not understand, with people watching hours of footage of really boring activities. It’s strange, but is it worthwhile? Let’s find out…
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) but not quite as slowly as other people.

Slow TV programs generally happen in real-time and offer a range of beautiful vistas. But if you want to watch the train journey from Bergen to Oslo without needing to set aside seven hours of your life, it makes sense to speed Netflix up.

How to Change Video Playback Speeds on Netflix

To change the Netflix playback speed, your best option is to install a plug-in on Google Chrome. Just click Add To Chrome then Add Extension. So which plugins do we recommend?

1. Video Speed Controller

variable netflix playback google chrome plug-in extension

Video Speed Controller is the best option on offer because it allows you to vary speeds by tiny increments. Normal 1.0 speed is the default. By hovering over the left-hand corner of your screen, you can click the plus or minus buttons to increase or decrease the playback speed of Netflix.

If you’re not sure you can watch content at much higher speeds, try 1.1x speed. On a 60-minute video, you’ll save 6 minutes.

Video Speed Controller controls the speed of any HTML5 video and has handy shortcuts to rewind or fast-forward content.

Download: Video Speed Controller

2. Video Speed

google chrome variable netflix playback plug-in extension

Only interested in speeding up videos? Then this extension is the one for you. Its options range from 1.25x speed to 2x speed. The latter is a good option if you’re studying a film you’re not especially interested in. It’s not a particularly nice experience, but it could be useful in some situations. It’s good for viewing documentaries too—though only if you’re a fast learner.

Video Speed also works on HTML5, so it’s great for YouTube or Vimeo tutorials and online courses that use Wistia.

Download: Video Speed

3. SpeedUp

Netflix variable playback google chrome extension plug-in

This is a similar add-on which gives you control over videos on all websites. You’re not confined to Netflix; SpeedUp can also be used on other streaming platforms like Hulu and Amazon Prime.

Contrary to what its name implies, SpeedUp can also slow down content. It’s less intensive than Video Speed Controller, so to vary playback speed, it presents you with nine buttons, ranging from 0.75x to 2.25x. Once again, the 1.10x option is a good way to save time without compromising quality.

Download: SpeedUp

Why Would You Change Netflix Playback Speeds?

When discussing its experiment, Netflix revealed that it was testing the feature because variable speeds “has been frequently requested by our members”. But why would anyone want to watch a movie or TV show faster—or slower—than it was intended to be consumed?

There’s controversy, but other services offer this already. Few creators criticize YouTube for allowing viewers to speed content up. Similarly, DVD and Blu-ray players typically have this functionality. You can listen to podcasts on some podcast players too, meaning you can fit a whole episode in during your commute.

watch streaming platform TV shows films faster slower

Playing Netflix content at faster speeds makes more sense for TV shows rather than movies. Netflix is synonymous with binge-watching, so speeding up content means you can power through a season in record time. So, if you’re desperate to watch the next episode of Daredevil, changing the Netflix playback speed to 1.5x means you can watch it during lunch.

Is the difference that significant? Just divide the episode or film length (in minutes) by the speed. At 1.5x speed, you can watch a 60-minute show in 40 minutes. A 10-episode series, with each episode consisting of 60 minutes, saves you 100 minutes when viewed at 1.2x speed. The difference in viewing experience between normal speed and 1.2x speed is virtually unnoticeable.

And we all experience movies differently. Intentions can differ even between writers and directors; of course consumers will interpret a production in juxtaposing ways. So variable playback speed can also be seen as a way of making content more accessible.

The ability to change the playback speed on Netflix can aid those on the autistic spectrum, who may find that variable speeds makes watching content more fun and fulfilling.

Should You Change Netflix Playback Speeds?

If you’re reading this you’ve clearly decided to explore the possibility of changing the playback speed on Netflix. And while Netflix currently doesn’t offer this feature, we’ve shown you how to do it using browser extensions.

As to whether you should, it’s up to you. There is a risk of ruining a great movie by rushing through it, but if you have a genuine need to speed up or slow down Netflix, go ahead. We’re not here to judge.

Just remember than whatever Netflix playback speed you settle on, you should take regular breaks. After all, streaming movies can be bad for you


Why Streaming Movies Is Bad for You




Why Streaming Movies Is Bad for You

However much we love streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, they’re not always a force for good. Here are three reasons why streaming movies can be bad for you.
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The 10 Best Christmas Movies on Netflix to Watch This Year

Watching Christmas movies on Netflix can be a great way to enjoy the holidays, especially if you want to immerse yourself in the season.

However, with the amount of content available on Netflix, it can be difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. To help you relax, have a good laugh, or feel a bit sentimental during the holidays, we’ve found the best Christmas movies to watch on Netflix.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a great movie for when you just want to sit back, relax with your family, and watch something that the kids can enjoy while staying within the Christmas spirit.

In this film, the Christmas-hating Grinch ruins the holiday for the inhabitants of Whoville, but when one thing leads to another, he learns that Christmas is about more than just shallow gifts and selfish consumerism. We all need such reminders every once in a while, don’t we?

Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Netflix
Buy the How the Grinch Stole Christmas DVD or Blu-ray on Amazon

Starring Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Dan Aykroyd, Christmas with the Kranks is a hilarious holiday tale.

When their daughter leaves for the holiday season, Christmas just won’t be the same. So the Kranks decide to forget Christmas altogether and sail away on a cruise. But last-minute plans change, and their daughter decides to come home after all. Unfortunately, the Kranks aren’t prepared for that and what ensues is a Christmas comedy your whole family will love.

Watch Christmas with the Kranks on Netflix
Buy the Christmas with the Kranks DVD on Amazon

A Very Murray Christmas features the one and only comedic genius that is Bill Murray, among a whole host of other Hollywood A-listers. The movie, pitched as a fake documentary, is hilarious and an “irreverent twist on holiday variety shows.”

The trailer should be all you need to know whether you’d like to check this one out for yourself. However, George Clooney is in it, so we’re guessing that’s half the population sold on it already.

Watch A Very Murray Christmas on Netflix

When Christmas Eve rolls around, no one likes to be stranded in an airport. But when it’s a group of Unaccompanied Minors, it can turn into quite an adventure.

Watch as this cluster of mischievous kids bond as they do their best to entertain themselves until they can make their way home to their families. You’ll laugh as they try to outsmart an airport official and laugh even harder as they outrun the airport security guards.

For a jolly good giggle this holiday season, gather the family, and check out Unaccompanied Minors.

Watch Unaccompanied Minors on Netflix
Buy the Unaccompanied Minors DVD on Amazon

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is certainly a classic. The movie features Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye who start up a song-and-dance routine after the war and become wildly popular. The two then join a sister act, played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen, and head to Vermont to finally experience a White Christmas.

What makes this movie great, aside from the movie itself, are the nostalgic memories you may enjoy while watching it, as it has been regularly broadcast for many, many years during the holidays.

Watch White Christmas on Netflix
Buy the White Christmas DVD or Blu-ray on Amazon

For another classic story in Whoville, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch is a great animated story for kids of all ages.

Follow the grumpy, green Grinch as he tries to steal Christmas by turning himself into Santa and sledding his way through Whoville with his faithful sidekick Max. It’s the same Dr. Seuss traditional story you love with beautifully colored animation, upbeat and fun music, and the main character you love to hate every Christmas.

Watch Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch on Netflix
Buy the Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch DVD on Amazon

Get Santa is a British movie with British humor. The movie was released in 2014 and features a top notch group of actors and actresses, including Jim Broadbent, Kit Connor, Warwick Davis, and Rafe Spall.

What makes this movie eminently watchable is that it can be enjoyed by kids as well as adults. It also features an interesting plot that will really get the kids in the family cheering for Santa. As if they weren’t doing so already.

Watch Get Santa on Netflix
Buy the Get Santa DVD or Blu-ray on Amazon

Tired of the usual Christmas cliches? Then you’re in for a treat. While The Spirit of Christmas has its flaws, you’ll be able to overlook them for its unique spin on what a Christmas film can be.

Follow the hard-working lawyer, Kate, as she attempts to appraise and sell an old bed and breakfast before the year ends, only to find that it’s “haunted” by a cursed spirit. Figuring out how he died could be the key that unlocks the secrets of his curse.

Yes, there’s a romance subplot, but it’s mixed in with an interesting mystery—not of the thriller variety, just straight up drama.

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Buy the Spirit of Christmas DVD on Amazon

Christmas is a time for family, but family meetups aren’t always something to look forward to—especially if your family tends to hound you about your life choices and singlehood.

In A Holiday Engagement, Hillary hires an actor to pose as her fiance as she returns home for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It’s an unoriginal premise we’ve all seen plenty of times before, sure, but the execution here is better than you’d expect. At the end of the day, it’s a fun little romantic comedy with some holiday cheer. Isn’t that all that matters?

Watch A Holiday Engagement on Netflix
Buy A Holiday Engagement DVD on Amazon

A Christmas Prince is the perfect movie to watch if you’re feeling down, want to shut off your brain, and sink into a sappy movie with a tub of ice cream by your side.

When a young journalist travels across the pond and goes undercover to report on a prince who’s turning king, she gets tangled up in more than she expected. It’s silly, it’s bright, it’s uplifting—all the right emotions for the most wonderful time of the year.

Watch A Christmas Prince on Netflix

What Christmas Movies Are You Watching on Netflix?

So, there we have it, the best Christmas movies on Netflix. And if you want to watch these movies with someone who’s in another city or country, see our article explaining how to watch Netflix with friends far away.

And if you’d rather not pay for Netflix, you’ll find more Christmas movies to watch on the best free movie streaming sites


The Best Free Movie Streaming Websites




The Best Free Movie Streaming Websites

If you want to watch movies legally and for free, you have lots of options online. Here are the best free movie streaming sites…
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The 10 Best War Documentaries to Watch on Netflix

If you want to watch the best war documentaries ever made, look no further than Netflix.

Netflix has lots of great documentaries to watch. Whether you like biographies, science, music, or history, there is something for everyone. And Netflix excels with its choice of war documentaries.

Here are the best war documentaries to watch on Netflix right now.

best war documentaries - world war ii in colour

If you enjoy watching original footage rather than talking heads, World War II in Colour is the best documentary about the Second World War that you’ll find on Netflix.

This series was first released in 2009 on British TV. It combines original and digitally colorized footage, some of which had never been seen before. Robert Powell narrates the entire series.

Powell has narrated some of the other best World War II documentaries. They include Hitler’s Bodyguard, The Story of the Third Reich, and Secrets of World War II. Sadly, none of them are on Netflix.

World War II in Colour consists of 13 episodes. They cover the action on the Western Front and Eastern Front, as well as in North Africa and the Pacific.

After learning about the historical events between 1939 and 1945, you should watch the best World War II movies on Netflix


After Dunkirk: 12 World War II Movies to Watch on Netflix




After Dunkirk: 12 World War II Movies to Watch on Netflix

If Dunkirk has sparked your interest in World War II movies, check out these 12 other flicks dealing with the conflict. They’re all currently available on Netflix USA…
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The Vietnam War is a 10-part TV series directed by famed documentary maker, Ken Burns. It’s the first of two Burns productions on our list. First broadcast on PBS in 2017, it is an epic series and is unquestionably one of the greatest war documentaries ever made; the entire series took more than 10 years to put together.

It contains original first-hand interviews with 79 witnesses (including those who fought in the war and those who protested against it). Burns also worked through 24,000 photos and 1,500 hours of video in a bid to leave no stone unturned.

The series contains 10 episodes and has a total runtime of more than 17 hours.

best war documentaries - 1945 the savage peace

World War II claimed the lives of millions of people and led to untold suffering. However, for the defeated Germans, the end of hostilities in 1945 marked the beginning of a new chapter of pain.

This BBC war documentary investigates the post-war reprisals against otherwise innocent German people who lived in other Eastern European countries after the Nazis surrendered.

It’s packed with original footage, most of which was unseen prior to airing. Be warned, it’s harrowing stuff. The reality of shootings, death marches, the rapes of women and children, and hideous torture are all laid bare.

The Age of Tanks traces the history of one of the 20th century’s most revolutionary creations—the tank.

The series begins with the story of Basil Henriques. During World War I, the British soldier became the first man to drive a tank in active combat and use it to fire on enemy combatants. Over the following four episodes, the use of tanks in the German Blitzkrieg, the Cold War, and 21st-century wars are all examined under the microscope.

Five Came Back is an adaptation of the book of the same name. It tells the story of five famous American film directors (John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens), all of whom found themselves on the frontlines during the Second World War.

Narrated by Meryl Streep, the three-part series used more than 100 hours of archival footage to discuss the 40 documentaries and training films that the directors made to help the war effort. There’s a particular focus on Ford’s Battle of Midway, Capra’s Why We Fight, and Stevens’ life-changing experiences at Dachau.

The Civil War is the second Ken Burns documentary on our list. First broadcast in 1990, it’s considerably older than Burns’ The Vietnam War, but it still stands up as one of the best documentaries ever made about the all-American battle.

Indeed, at the time of release, it became the most-watched program ever on PBS on its way to picking up two Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, and a Peabody Award.

The series starts with the pro-secessionists and abolitionists in 1861 and progresses through nine episodes until the murder of Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

Ostensibly started as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the War in Afghanistan is now the longest war in US history. The total cost of the conflict has cost American taxpayers nearly $1 trillion.

The Bomb Squad is a two-part BBC documentary. It explores the role of British bomb disposal teams stationed on the ground during the struggle. It explores the relationship between the men, as well as the stress that their jobs place on their families back home.

best war documentaries - behind enemy lines

This isn’t the 2001 movie starring Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman. We’re talking about the excellent BBC documentary of the same name (also from 2001).

In 1940, the UK was in a precarious position. Western Europe had collapsed, the Battle of Britain raged in the skies, and Hitler was desperate to force Churchill into signing a peace agreement. In response, Churchill created the Commandos, a specialist unit designed to help turn the tide of the war.

This four-part documentary explores the new units’ role at four critical junctures in the progression of the conflict: Dunkirk, the St Nazaire Raid, the North African campaign, and Operation Market Garden.

Terrorism is a type of warfare unlike any other. The most noteworthy terrorist events in history—9/11, the Lockerbie Bombing, the 2011 Norway attacks—will be ingrained in our collective minds forever.

One such incident is the November 2015 Paris attacks. 130 people lost their lives in a series of coordinated bombings and shootings across the entire city. The attack became the deadliest on French soil since the Second World War.

This three-part Netflix documentary chronicles the events of the day. It includes a timeline of proceedings and dozens of interviews with survivors and eyewitnesses.

Out of all the horrors which occurred during World War II, the Nazi concentration camps were among the worst. Today, experts believe that between 15 million and 20 million people were either killed or imprisoned in the camps between 1933 and 1945.

This film, from 1945, opened the world’s eyes to the scenes that lay within. Compiled from 80,000 feet of film taken by Allied military photographers after liberation, it is a camp-by-camp analysis of the atrocities committed.

The Allies used the film as evidence in the Nuremberg trials. Ultimately, the footage proved vital in securing convictions against many of the Nazi high command, including Karl Dönitz, Hermann Göring, Rudolf Hess, Alfred Jodl, and Wilhelm Frick.

More Documentaries to Watch on Netflix

We hope you agree with our list of the best war documentaries on Netflix. And if you think we’ve missed out on a must-watch documentary, be sure to let us know in the comments.

If you would like to learn about some of the other great documentaries available, read our article listing the best travel documentaries to watch on Netflix


10 of the Best Travel Documentaries on Netflix




10 of the Best Travel Documentaries on Netflix

These are the best travel documentaries on Netflix right now, all of which are guaranteed to make you long for a week away.
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