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 has already lost many of its most-watched shows, including The Office (to NBC’s Peacock), Friends (to HBO Max), and several Marvel movies (to Disney+). New additions, like Community and Seinfeld, make up for these losses somewhat. Still, this is potentially precarious new ground for Netflix, since it will need to rely more heavily on its original content in the coming years. In fact, the change is already happening. As it increases original content offerings, the total size of Netflix’s library is decreasing.
Documentaries on Netflix
Netflix specializes in big-name, blockbuster documentaries on household names that rack up award nominations. From Miss Americana: Taylor Swift to Becoming, a documentary about Michelle Obama, to Beyoncé’s Grammy-winning Homecoming, there are plenty of behind-the-scenes documentaries that delve into the lives of celebrities. Of particular note is Netflix’s Black Lives Matter Collection, which features titles like the Oscar-nominated What Happened Miss Simone?, Grammy-winner Quincy, The Two Killings of Sam Cooke, and 13th. There are also nature documentaries like the controversial Blackfish, and conversation starters such as Being Elmo and FYRE, a documentary about the disastrous Fyre Festival in 2017.
THere’s also a wealth of true crime documentaries like Amanda Knox, Long Shot, and American Murder: The Family Next Door. If you’re looking for something a little more uplifting, Netflix offers titles such as My Octopus Teacher and The Speed Cubers, a documentary about Rubik’s Cube competitors. Sports fans should watch the multipart documentary The Last Dance, which covers Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls.
Anime on Netflix
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 and Ghost in the Shell
What features do you get on Netflix?
Outside of general streaming, if you have the Standard or Premium plan, you can create different profiles for different users, and find your own list of personalized recommendations.
If you subscribe to the Premium plan, you can watch certain shows and movies in 4K Ultra HD on 4K TVs. You’ll need a steady internet connection speed of at least 25 megabits per second, and streaming quality set to Auto or High.
Netflix has more 4K content than just about any other streaming service, and a lot of its 4K shows and movies are also available in HDR. High dynamic range provides an even bigger improvement in image quality than 4K according to CNET’s tests, with better contrast and color, and the difference is especially apparent on large, higher-end televisions. Netflix supports the two major HDR formats, generic HDR (aka HDR-10) as well as Dolby Vision. If you have a device that handles Dolby Vision, Netflix will play content (if available) in that format by default.
Data usage varies by format, ranging from about 1GB per hour for the standard-definition video to up to 7GB per hour for the highest-quality 4K streams. Downloading and streaming take up a similar amount of data, according to Netflix. If you want to avoid having Netflix eat up all of your data, you can take certain steps laid out on Netflix’s website to adjust your data usage settings.
All subscribers can download TV shows and movies on the Netflix app on mobile devices for offline viewing.