FAQ / Resources




All About Netflix Expiration Dates

For now, this page has only one topic: Netflix Expiration Dates. Hopefully, you will find everything you want to know about those. I hope to add content about other topics and resources, at some point, if I can find the time.

Be sure to check the Comments section, below. There are some good tips and resources about other things of interest to Netflix subscribers.



Expiration Dates: How Netflix Works

1) When a Netflix show indicates "Available Until" a specific date, can I still watch it on that date?
No. Think Cinderella - at the stroke of midnight, when the "available until" date begins, the movie will no longer be available to stream. If you want to see it, you have to watch it before the Netflix date. Our site uses the "last day to watch" date to help you remember.

2) If I start watching before midnight, will I be able to finish the whole movie, even if it goes beyond midnight?
Yes! It's best not to wait until the very last minute, but as long as you begin watching before midnight, you will be able to watch the whole movie, regardless of how long it is, provided you don't pause for more than a few minutes, once it's after midnight. You can, however, rewind if you want to see something again, as long as the movie is still in progress. 

3) How long before a title is going to expire does Netflix indicate the available until date?
It depends on what kind of show it is. For most movies and one-time TV programs, Netflix only gives you a week's notice before it expires. For TV series, including mini-series, and for movies shown in two parts, Netflix gives notice 30 days prior to expiration.

Click on the following two questions to go to the answer page:
4) Where do I look on Netflix for the expiration date of a movie or TV show?
5) How can I see on Netflix if any of My List titles are going to expire?

Expiration Dates: How This Site Works

6) If Netflix gives only a week's notice for expiring movies, how do you find the expiration dates earlier?
Some of us have devices/apps that show two week's notice instead of one. Some of these are listed in the next section. Another source for advance titles is the Netflix press release, explained at the end of the next question.

7) When does this site start to post end-of-month titles (Netflix expiration date on first of month)?
TV series are posted as early as the first couple of days of the month (depending on how many days are in the month).

Movies and single-show TV programs start to show up 2 weeks before the last day of the month. Because there are so many of them, we usually don't find them all right away. Here is the posting schedule:

Months with 30 days: The first day we can see notices on the Netflix app is on the 17th of the month.* On the 24th, Availability notices appear on the My List page. 

Months with 31 days: The first day we can see notices on the Netflix app is on the 18th of the month.* On the 25th, Availability notices appear on the My List page. 

February: The first day we can see notices on the Netflix app is on the 15th of the month* (16th for leap year). On the 22nd, Availability notices appear on the My List page (23rd for leap year)

Another source for end-of-month titles is the press release that Netflix puts out at some point in the second half of the month (no set schedule). Occasionally, this will show up before the 17th, so we get a jump start on our list, but it's usually later. Either way, this list does not include all expiring titles (even though it says it does). It also has a smattering of titles expiring throughout the coming month, which is why our list will have a few dates beyond what we can see with a 2-week app.

*Exception: One of our contributors has a device that gives him one extra day's notice, so he is sometimes able to share titles one day before the date stated above.


Resources: Devices and apps that show advance expiration dates
Many readers of this blog have various devices and apps they use when streaming Netflix. Some of these give more notice for expiring movies than the seven days on the Netflix streaming site. The following list is offered for those who would like to explore these options:

Note: Double check with the manufacturer before purchase, in case there has been a change since these were posted.

Sony: Smart TVs and Blu-ray Disc Players
Two week notices apply to movies and shows.   —Achernar

Vizio TV
My Vizio TV Netflix app is still showing two weeks notice.   —CanandaiguaNY

Wii U
The wiiu app also gives a 14 day notice for expiring content.  —Shana Acevedo

XBox360
Every title gets a 14-day warning on the xBox 360 app, but TV shows will have a little notice when you start to play them that they are expiring.  —Nica


If you want to know more about devices and apps, the following website is a good place to start:
List of Netflix-compatible devices (Wikipedia)

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12 comments:

  1. Decider is another good site. They don't focus solely on Netflix. The site is a bit like Exstreamist.Here is the URL to the main site http://decider.com/ and here is the URL to the part of the site that focuses solely on Netflix http://decider.com/platform/netflix/

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  2. Lots of good tips from April 2015 at http://superheroyou.com/netflix-hacks/

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    1. I'll check it out - thanks Linklisa. This poor little page is my neglected child - I really do want to get it filled out, but it seems there's always something more pressing. Maybe this month??

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  3. This article links to sites that offer better ways to search Netflix, many with recommendations and ratings:
    http://www.cheatsheet.com/gear-style/11-better-ways-to-find-movies-on-netflix.html/?a=viewall

    Good trick for getting better recommendations by setting up multiple profiles for different kinds of queues:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/netflix-profiles-recommendations-mood_us_566ed5eae4b0fccee16f1cc2
    (I do something like this by setting up separate queues for 5-star titles and ratings of 3-1/2 or lower.)

    Lifehacker tends to have better Netflix hack tips than most sites, and offers a great Chrome extension called FlixPlus to customize your Netflix site. Search all their Netflix coverage at http://lifehacker.com/tag/netflix

    The best way I've found for Netflix recommendations to be any use at all is to rate everything I watch, using 5 for movies I think more people should watch, down to 1 if I never want to see anything like that again. Netflix will still push titles at me, but at least its predicted star ratings for me are a better fit.

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    1. So the tricks that have made the most difference in finding titles I actually like:
      - Rating what you watch: After each viewing (or when you stop watching a series), go back to the listing for that title, hover over the stars, and choose a rating. 1 for what you really hate is especially useful. As you rate titles, Netflix measures your "taste profile" against people who have given similar ratings, and gets better at predicting what you might like.
      - Paying attention to how many stars are shown for each title, in your queue(s) and when you look at the details about that title. If you haven't been rating anything, these stars will reflect averages of all Netflix viewers. The more titles you rate, the more the stars will match your own taste. If something has three or fewer stars *for you*, it might be a waste of your time.
      - Revisiting ratings for what you have watched before: However over the face in the square at the top right of the screen, and choose "Your Account". From there, you can scroll down to "viewing activity" or "ratings" to see and edit any past ratings.
      - Setting up different queues: Netflix lets you have up to 5 profiles. They say this is mostly so that different people can share an account and not affect each other's preference. But you can also use it for different aspects of your own preferences. I keep expiring titles of all types in a single list, a generic new title dump in another, and separate lists for movies that Netflix rates 4-1/2 or higher for me, and 3 stars or below (I might still be curious about some of these, but I don't want having them in my queue to influence my taste profile). You can also use different profiles for different genres or moods, if that helps.
      - Some notes on different queues: Your ratings don't carry across the different profiles, so you may want to dip in with each profile to search for and rate some of the titles you really love or hate. If you use them for different purposes, you'll also see some differences in what kinds of titles and genres Netflix promotes to each of your profiles.
      - Every couple of months, I go to at least one of my profiles and hover over the pictures of newly added titles and what Netflix is promoting. (Yes, the pictures are what they're pushing, not what they think you'll like the most. I wish that were different.) If the details show something as having 4-1/2 stars or more, or it's a title I'm truly curious about, I add it to my queue. Most of the time, I rely on the star ratings rather than the pictures to pick what to watch next. This has helped me discover a lot of gems in genres I wouldn't have guessed I liked (in my case, sports documentaries, Korean TV, and Israeli movies).
      - When scrolling through the pictures on your Netflix "browse" screen, they're separated by genres or reasons like "because you watched X". Skip over the rows that just show titles with low stars for you, but scroll all the way down to see what the rows are. If you see a genre or row that you like a lot, click on the title above that row to pull up all the titles Netflix would put in that category.
      - When I can't decide between titles that look interesting in my queues, I look up the ratings on iMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. If only 60% of the audience or critics liked something, it may not be worth your time either. Now and then I go through my top-rated list, sort it by stars, look up external ratings for all the 5 star titles, and sort the top of that list accordingly.

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  4. I'm sure some others of you have had the same thought: this may be a particularly good time to jump ship from Netflix. If they have made all our past ratings suddenly meaningless to their algorithm, the added value of their recommendation service is gone. At that point, it comes down to whether their catalog alone is worth $9.99 a month. I've started looking into other services.

    Hulu and Starz and to some extent Amazon Prime (none very different in price from Netflix) are worth looking into if you like most of the range that Netflix offers.
    Acorn TV for $4.99 has a smaller catalog of British titles.
    Filmstruck and Sundance both offer curated services for $6.99 a month, and Tribeca Shortlist for $4.99 a month, which are a good bet for those who like indie and highbrow films:
    - Tribeca Shortlist has a lot of titles that have also been on Netflix, and rotates their collection.
    - Sundance is especially strong on documentaries and recent indie films.
    - Filmstruck is strong on classic, foreign, and slightly older indie films, and keeps a great list of what's expiring over the next two months at https://help.filmstruck.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000301047-Movies-Leaving-FilmStruck

    Any other gems out there?

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    1. you'll never hear these streaming on netflix: https://help.filmstruck.com/hc/en-us/articles/232060448-List-of-Audio-Commentaries-in-FilmStruck

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    2. BritBox is a recent arrival on the SVOD scene. It's backed by BBC Worldwide and ITV. It's only been out for about a month and a half so there are still a few hiccups being worked out. It's 6.99 a month. If you really love British telly it's nice to have along with Acorn.

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    3. Would a thread just for Netflix alternatives be appropriate? Just curious, since there are so many different streaming services now, most with their own unique niche. For example, you have Crunchyroll for anime, DramaFever for Kdramas, etc. I know that several people have brought up PBS's streaming site. Not to mention, most channels have apps that will allow you to stream their shows, though this is usually limited to only a few weeks after the original air date. Still, it might be good to have these resources all in their own unique thread for moments when people are frustrated, missed a show that expired early or without notice, or want to expand what they watch.

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    4. I'm glad you all are thinking about this. I've wanted to put up a Resource page with a comprehensive list of other streaming sites since before this blog. I'll put up a "getting started/under construction" page in the next couple of days. Hopefully, we can get others to contribute to it, as well. In the meantime, put any thoughts here. I can transfer your comments to the new page when it goes up.

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  5. A good list, describing about two dozen streaming services: http://ew.com/tv/2017/01/03/streaming-service-guide/

    If you want a really short "quality" list, Mubi ($5.99 a month) adds one movie a day and keeps them for 30 days.

    For indie film buffs and film students (probably with some idea of what they like already), Fandor ($10 a month) looks amazing. They also offer some spotlight themed collections, and a magazine/blog called Keyframe. No TV series, but over 6,000 titles. Fandor also has the most transparent and customizable search interface I've seen, quite unlike the frustrations of Netflix. You can sort by popularity, title, rating, year, duration, or when it was added; a panel on the left has checkboxes to limit by country or subgenre, and sliders to select a range of years or durations (quite handy, as they have a lot of shorts). Basically a librarian's dream. Here are a couple of categories for a quick look: https://www.fandor.com/movie-genres/international-films-89 and https://www.fandor.com/movie-genres/family-films-80

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  6. Thanks for researching these resources. I'm just now getting around to looking for alternatives. Wow, that Fandor cataloging is feature rich!

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