Is there any service out there that’s anywhere close to being as universally loved by its users as Netflix? Nothing comes to mind. The service started by offering DVD rentals by mail, but its name ended up being quite serendipitous. Netflix completely reinvented itself as the premiere source of streaming movies and TV shows on the internet, and its business began growing like crazy. Then Netflix completely reinvented itself again as an award-winning studio that produces some of the best original series and movies in the world. In fact, Netflix even tied HBO this year for the most total Emmy award wins, which is obviously a huge achievement.
As Netflix continues to grow, more and more content is added to its catalog. That’s a great thing for users, of course, but it’s also a bit of a double-edged sword at times. Anyone who has ever fired up Netflix without having a specific show or movie in mind will be all too familiar with the downside of Netflix’s ever-expanding content catalog: it can be very difficult at times to figure out what to watch. Thankfully, there are tools designed to help Netflix users with this problem, and we just stumbled upon a terrific new one.
We love Netflix just as much as any other user, but there are some things about the service that can be quite frustrating at times. The auto-play feature is obviously at the top of the list, and every Netflix user out there knows exactly what we’re talking about. You browse to a show or movie, open the info page to learn more, and all of a sudden it starts playing on its own in the background. We’re actually getting angry just thinking about it.
Browsing Netflix content can be almost as frustrating at times. For whatever reason, Netflix thinks it’s a good idea to constantly change the interface every time you log in. Sometimes your queue is at the top, other times your queue isn’t even on the page. One day it’s easy to continue watching a show where you left off, then the next day you have to scroll for an eternity to find your play history. And Netflix is always switching up the categories it shows on the homepage, which is neat for variety but less so if you like to stick to certain genres.
You can click around a bit to land on static genres to browse that way, but then you circle back to another problem: there are thousands of shows and movies in each genre, so it can be tough to find one to watch. What you might not know, however, is that Netflix has tons of secret categories that are far more specific and make browsing content much easier. The problem, of course, is that they’re secret so no one knows about them.
Finding these hidden categories used to involve searching for special codes and then going to each hidden category page manually. Then, developers thankfully decided to tackle the problem by creating browser extensions that simplify the process. The newest one is called Better Browse for Google’s Chrome web browser, and it’s our favorite so far.
Better Browse is a free plugin that displays Netflix’s secret categories the way they should be displayed. Just click the “Browse all” link at the top of the Netflix homepage and you’ll find them all listed right there. This way, instead of fishing around for 20 minutes on one of the site’s broad genre pages, you can narrow down your search by browsing more focused categories like “Foreign Action & Adventure,” “Martial Arts Movies,” “Anime Horror,” “Dark Comedies,” “Military Dramas,” “Zombie Horror Movies,” and more.
Better Browse is a free download that can be found in the Chrome web store.