In the past few years, Netflix's original series have taken the television world by storm, generating buzz, awards and countless fans on social media. On the day each new season of an original series is released, the show will be available in its entirety at 3 p.m. ET / midnight PT. Why this?
The company has never officially commented on the release time, but it makes most sense for it to be based on the clock in the time zone where the company is headquartered. Netflix is headquartered in the suburbs of San Francisco with an additional office in Los Angeles. The streaming service drops its original series in the first minute in this time zone on their respective release dates (which are usually Friday or Wednesday).
So for example Atypical Season four was released on July 9th at midnight PT and released worldwide at the same moment. Not the same time on the clock, but the same moment. So a show that falls at midnight in Los Angeles will be released at 3 a.m. in New York, 8 a.m. in London, and 4 p.m. in Tokyo.
Every now and then Netflix changes things and a show will fall at 3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. ET. But most of the time the company sticks to a midnight PT release.
One thing that people have wondered about is whether it is possible to trick Netflix into thinking that you are in a different time zone and therefore watch shows early. It isn't, because making Netflix believe you are in a different place doesn't really help you catch up on shows early. If the company puts the shows out around the world all at once, it doesn't help if the service thinks you are in England when you really are in the United States – the show you are looking for is still going to be 8am London time appear drop, which will always be 3 p.m. ET or midnight PT. This would only be possible if Netflix publishes shows on the watch at the same time in each time zone, i.e. midnight ET and midnight PT. In this case, if you live in California, you may be able to trick Netflix into thinking you are on the east coast and therefore can watch a new season at 9 p.m. PT.
Even this hypothetical scenario may no longer be possible because Netflix is cracking down on the use of proxy servers. A few years ago, some users used proxy servers to change their IP addresses so Netflix could believe they were in a different country to watch content that was blocked in their own countries. Netflix announced in January 2016 that it is cracking down on this practice and is trying to negotiate deals so that all content is available in all countries. The only other limitation would be if the show you want to watch is not a Netflix original. In this case, it will be published at 12:00 p.m. local time in relation to the location where the content was originally licensed. In both cases, shows are released around the world at the same time. We all have to wait until the same moment, whether it's the middle of the night for East Coasters or dinner for Australians, to start binge-watching our favorite new releases.
– Additional coverage from Lauren Harano, Maggie Panos, and Alexis Stackhouse