Netflix is a great service, but there are a few things that families can do to turn it into a complete entertainment option for everyone. Once they put some or all of these suggestions in place, their Netflix experience will end up becoming a valuable resource.
Get a Good Sound System
One reason that people enjoy watching movies at a theater comes from the quality of the sound. While a theater sound system is not a viable option for most homes, a quality surround sound option can provide a lot of the same benefits from the comfort of home. When choosing a sound system, look for one that has a lot of customization options or presets for movies and shows.
If possible, go to a showroom that has different setups available to hear the differences first hand. Some features may not end up being all that important to a family, while others become must-haves. Home theater systems come at a wide range of price points, and buying second-hand or refurbished is a good way to keep it budget-friendly.
Since each living room or recreation room is set up differently, which impacts acoustics, it may be worth it to get a professional installation for the system. The installer can set up the speakers, subwoofers, and amplifiers at the best possible locations for movie viewing.
Change the Television Settings for the Best Viewing
Sometimes the default settings on the TV are not well suited for movie watching. The colors could be darker than they should be, or cause other issues that get in the way of enjoying the content. If the video doesn’t feel quite right, look up the recommendations from the television manufacturer to play with the settings. Some televisions actually have a movie mode on them, which can easily switch things over as needed.
Turn a TV into a Smart TV
Running Netflix through another device to send it to the television, such as a video game console, can be cumbersome. In the event that the console needs to update, that could end up ruining family night. Many attachments are available to turn a “dumb” TV into a smart one. Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire Stick are two such options. Once they are plugged into the television, content from Netflix can be easily displayed on the screen. A strong Wi-Fi network is often needed to support these devices, so ensure that the Internet service can keep up with the demand.
Use a VPN to Get Access to More Content
Ever feel like Netflix’s default library is lacking or repetitive? No matter how long the family spends looking for something to watch, they end up choosing an old favorite because nothing new is enticing. A lot of the content on Netflix is region locked, which means that movies and shows outside of the original region are not available to those users.
A virtual private network service offers Netflix users a way to access these movies by making it look like their location is one where the content is actually available. Watching foreign versions of familiar shows or checking out completely different genres are a sure way to add new life to movie nights. This method of getting access to more content also works on other streaming services.
Not all VPN services support Netflix and other streaming services, so pay close attention when the family is choosing one for Netflix nights. Unlimited data is one of the most important features that they need to search for, as Netflix will quickly blow through data caps in most cases. Being able to access the full content library isn’t very helpful if one movie exceeds the data caps for the month, after all.
If you are living in a school dorm or anywhere Netflix is blocked you can easily access the service by following this guide from Surfshark.com.
Have Themed Movie Nights
Have a movie marathon night based around a particular theme. For example, the movies selected could all be superhero movies, or movies featuring pets, or animated series. The theming makes it easier to pick a set of movies to watch. Rotate the themes on a regular basis and take suggestions for new themes so this concept doesn’t get stale for everyone participating in it.
Watch Documentaries for Educational Opportunities
Entertainment isn’t limited to fictional shows and movies. Many documentaries are very well done, so parents can offer education to their children (or themselves) by looking for highly rated documentaries. Choose a topic that someone already has an interest in, or opt to learn about something completely new. In some cases, the parents should preview the documentary to make sure that it’s age appropriate for their children. For example, while nature documentaries are often considered safe watching since they involve animals, some of these movies may show the realities of nature. These may end up being gorier than the kids can handle, so it’s better to choose a different option.
Set Up Family Profiles
Everyone has their own taste in movies and shows, and Netflix makes suggestions based on what was previously watched. Setting up individual profiles for family members allows everyone to have a personalized list of recommendations based on their own tastes, rather than those of everyone else in the home. This method also helps parents control their children’s usage habits, in case the kids are trying to watch inappropriate shows, or seeing too many movies when they should be doing their homework.
Let Each Person Choose a Movie for Movie Nights
Let everyone be involved in the process for selecting a movie. Otherwise, it’s hard to get everyone excited about movie nights, especially if each person’s tastes vary wildly from the others. Understanding and enjoying the types of movies that others like can also lead to a better understanding of that person. One way to choose the movie of the night is to put all of the suggestions on slips of paper, and then pull them out of a container. Limit how many suggestions each person can make so they don’t end up being overwhelmingly to only one person’s taste.
Read the Book then Watch the Movie
“The book was better” is a common refrain when it comes to movies, but the question is, is it really? This activity encourages family members to read more books, while also giving everyone a common topic for discussion. The movie night ends up feeling more like a book club, and can lead to lots of lively dinner table discussions that brings the family closer together.
Watch Series Together
Everyone can pick a favorite series to start watching together for another way to add common discussion topics to the household. To keep the length of the show night reasonable, watch these one episode at a time for a full night of entertaining programing that doesn’t favor any one person more than the other. While it may be tempting to jump ahead, watching everything together allows people to respond in a group when they see something happen for the first time. This is particularly important for shows that contain major plot twists that would spoil endings if they were known in advance.
Break Out the Popcorn and TV Trays
Sometimes being comfortable around a television is a great way to end the day. Have TV trays available so everyone can eat their meal in the living room to change things up. Popcorn is always a welcome addition to the movie nights as well. If a family ends up being really invested in Netflix movie nights, then they might want to consider purchasing a popcorn machine. Movie nights could have a component that involves everyone making snacks together, for another family bonding experience.
Netflix offers a lot of content for families to use for their home entertainment, but these suggestions allow people to take a step beyond the typical experience. Whether they’re adding new furniture or getting full access to the global Netflix movie catalog, they’re well worth considering.
Get Theater Seating
For families who really enjoy the whole theater experience, but don’t like the cost involved, theater seating can be a way to bring that to the home. Recliners with cup and snack holders are generally useful, even when people aren’t watching movies. For full authenticity, look for movie theater seats at antique stores and similar locations. These seats might be a bit harder to get set up, but they definitely are suitable for movie nights.