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Netflix’s TV app is making people really angry – here are the 5 things everyone hates most

Published Jan 21st, 2020 8:17AM EST
Netflix Movies 2020
Image: XanderSt/Shutterstock

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Despite all the competition from the likes of Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and more, Netflix is still the most popular streaming entertainment service by a very wide margin. And even with new services like HBO Max and Peacock set to launch this year, Netflix’s dominance isn’t expected to be tested anytime soon. People who subscribe to streaming services generally view Netflix as the foundation of their streaming setup. If they want to subscribe to other services like Disney+ or Apple TV+, those services are supplemental, not a replacement for Netflix. As we’re reminded each and every month when Netflix releases its lineup of new movies and TV shows that will be added to the service — here’s every new movie and series coming in January, for example — there are simply no other streaming services that come anywhere close to matching Netflix’s quality or quantity.

Of course, just because Netflix is the most popular streaming service out there and just because it has the best original movies and shows, doesn’t mean the service is perfect. Nothing is perfect and Netflix is far from it. In fact, there are some Netflix features that drive people insane, and in this post we’re going to discuss five of the worst ones.

A thread about the Netflix TV app’s most annoying features popped up in the Television sub on Reddit last night, and it blew up. It had an overall score of more than 3,300 with 95% upvotes before the moderators of the Television sub decided to remove the thread with no explanation other than the default message: “Moderators remove posts from feeds for a variety of reasons, including keeping communities safe, civil, and true to their purpose.”

You can still read the 573 comments that had been left by users before the thread was locked to see just how heated the conversation got. The gist of it is this: some features of the Netflix app are downright awful, and Netflix intentionally leaves them for various reasons. The original post listed five main issues with Netflix’s app, and people are generally in agreement that they’re the most annoying features, so let’s focus on those.

No way to search or browse by genre

Yes, there are convoluted ways to search through Netflix’s hidden genre categories if you’re on a computer and you use secret codes or a browser plugin. If you plop down on your couch, turn on your TV, and you want to browse for a crime drama on Netflix, you’re out of luck. Netflix doesn’t let you search by specific genres, only the ever-changing list of categories available on the home screen… which brings us to the second issue.

Home screen categories constantly change

How much better would the Netflix app be if there was a static list of categories that always appeared in the same order? But alas, the rows and headings in the Netflix app change pretty much every single time you open it. Netflix seems far more interested in promoting specific content than it is with helping you find new content you want to watch, and it’s really annoying.

Trailers autoplay while you browse

This is something that people have been complaining about forever, and Netflix will never change it… sort of. There actually are versions of Netflix’s TV app that don’t autoplay trailers, like the Netflix app that’s installed on Dish’s Hopper 3 set-top box. This could be because Dish forced the company to disable autoplay on the home screen. In most Netflix apps, however, trailers start to play with each new thumbnail you select, and it’s an awful pain in the butt.

For those who have had enough, there are actually two things you can do. One is to just remember to mute the TV as you browse (or automate the muting with a fancy universal remote), and the other is to enable parental controls and create a PIN. This will stop all content other than children’s shows from autoplaying their trailers as you browse.

Content autoplays when you click

See a show, movie, or special that looks appealing and want to learn a little more? Oops, it starts playing the instant you click on it. What’s more, if you don’t read the synopsis quickly enough, it might be added to your viewing history, thus impacting your recommendations in the future. This is by far the Netflix app’s worst feature if you ask us.

Issues with promoted content

Speaking of content recommendations, the last but certainly not least problem people have is with the shows and movies the Netflix app seems to promote. If you browse through the conversation in that thread, you’ll find plenty of different theories as to why Netflix seems to promote specific content despite the fact that it doesn’t have any logical connection with your viewing habits. Some people believe it’s to juice the data while others think it’s to ensure that there’s a steady flow of recommendations so people don’t cancel their subscriptions when they’re finished watching the big-ticket shows. We may never know the truth, but if Netflix tries to get me to watch The Circle one more time, I might throw my remote through my television.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.