Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

New feature might fix the most annoying thing about Netflix

Published Jan 20th, 2021 7:31AM EST
Netflix New Features
Image: M. Zech Fotografie/Adobe

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

  • Netflix plans to make it even easier for users to find new content to watch, announcing that a version of its Shuffle Play feature will be available worldwide in the first half of the year.
  • Shuffle Play is a button that will appear under the profile icon. Shuffle Play will automatically choose the next movie or TV show based on the user’s saved list or streaming history when selected.
  • The feature is still being tested on TVs<, and it’s not available on desktop or mobile.

The most annoying thing about Netflix is choosing something new to watch. That’s not necessarily a Netflix fault, but human nature. Users are given so many choices that they can’t make up their minds quickly. What if there’s something better in a different category? You’ll scroll vertically and horizontally for something new, you might add things to your list here and there, and then you’ll resume the search. The more people in the room, the more difficult the process of choosing a new attraction can become. Netflix has an idea on how to attempt to fix things and improve your watching experience.

Netflix started testing a feature called Shuffle Play back in August, which does exactly what you think. Shuffle Play uses Netflix’s algorithms to pick something new to watch. Just press a button, and you won’t have to search for anything else. Playback automatically starts, with Netflix choosing for you.

Netflix confirmed during its Q4 2020 earnings that the feature would be rolling out to Netflix customers worldwide in the first half of 2021. The feature “gives members the ability to choose to instantly watch a title chosen just for them versus browse,” Netflix said, per TechCrunch.

The feature won’t be called Shuffle Play, the company told the blog, as the name is still being tested.

Shuffle Play will essentially put a big button on the Netflix home screen under the profile icon, no matter what it’ll be called. You’ll have to press the button for Netflix to start playing content based on its personalization algorithms, which could include movies and TV shows you’ve saved or titles that are similar to something you’ve already watched.

The feature is still tested on TVs, so it won’t appear on the web version or mobile initially. Not all people who test new Netflix features will see Shuffle Play on their TV sets, and there’s no way to enable it for the time being.

Netflix said the response to Shuffle Play has been positive, without providing any figures or statistics. TechCrunch points out that the initial reactions to Shuffle Play on social media were not that great. But Netflix is working with actual usage data, so it probably knows when to go forward with a new feature or when to abandon the project.

It’s unclear when Shuffle Play, or whatever it’s called, will start rolling out to more users in its final form.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.