by Michael Cheng
According to Allflicks.net, Netflix’s archive contains over 1,197 television shows and 4,335 movies (as of March 2016). Trawling through all that content is no easy task. The platform’s search feature doesn’t seem to catch everything available, which is a huge problem for subscribers who looking for engaging shows and movies outside of the mainstream menu.
This is also an issue for passengers on long-haul flights. I can tell you that gripping selection of content can make a nine-hour flight feel shorter. For Netflix subscribers, there is now a way to uncover hidden categories inside the platform. Called Netflix Categories, this powerful Chrome extension unlocks just about every sub-genre imaginable.
With airline companies encouraging individuals to use their smartphone or laptop for in-flight entertainment via Personal Device Entertainment (PDE) services, this extension could not have come at a better time. So how does this Chrome app work and is it the answer to fighting boredom on far-reaching flights?
The Ultimate Netflix Companion
To install the Netflix Categories extension (developed by Deekshith Allamaneni), all you have to do is head over to the Chrome Web Store and open the app.
Clicking on “+ Add to Chrome” will install and launch the extension. It doesn’t require any pesky permissions; and the app also doesn’t run in the background, making it useful for people closely monitoring their data and battery consumption (perfect for connectivity services on flights).
Now for the fun part. The free (no ads!) extension lists a whopping 200 different categories to dive into and explore. Selecting a category will open Netflix in the tab, as well as the specific sub-genre. From here you could choose a show or movie from the menu or repeat the whole process again to peek at other categories. A “favorites” feature lets you save or “pin” categories to the front or top of the list for later viewing. At this time, there are over 30,000 people using the app. The developer is committed to keeping the extension fresh by promising more categories in future updates.
“Along with listing all of the hidden categories, the extension also doubles as a search bar which you can use to quickly find the category you’re looking for. You can also tap the heart next to a hidden category to save it to your list of favorites, which will populate the main menu every time you tap on the button in your browser,” said Jacob Siegal from BGR.
PDEs and In-flight Entertainment
For passengers, the Netflix Categories extension provides another immersive layer of entertainment to add to the growing number of available options. Personal Device Entertainment, just like Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) programs for the office, leverages the existing infrastructure so passengers can enjoy their favorite shows on their device of choice.
Of course, another way to get the most out of in-flight entertainment is through Gogo’s inflight entertainment services. Gogo lets passengers stay connected using their own handheld unit or via Gogo platforms that offer access to the latest movies and television shows. By offering connectivity on personal devices, individuals can decide what they want to watch and how they want to be entertained. This is a great option for people who have unique content preferences and want to use the Netflix Categories extension to boost their binge-watching capabilities on long flights.
PDE services are the future and Gogo is setting the standard for seamless connectivity in aircraft. While the future of seat-back entertainment is uncertain, some airlines are starting to re-think it. American Airlines recent announced that it ordered 100 Boeing 737s without seat-back entertainment. The company plans to offer Wi-Fi services to allow passengers to stream films using their own device.
“Ninety percent of its passengers, reckons the airline, already carry a smart device onboard. American Airlines once calculated that the weight saving merely of switching pilots’ paper-based flight manuals to iPads would save it $1.2 million a year across its fleet,” said Gulliver from The Economist.
Michael is a legal editor and technical writer with publications for Blackberry, ISHN Magazine, Houzz and Payment Week. He specializes in technology, business and IoT.