Netflix fix most annoying feature
THE seemingly endless choice provided by the thousands of hours of content on Netflix can make it hard to pick something to watch, but thankfully it's about to get a little easier.
The streaming giant has finally provided a fix for its most annoying feature: the autoplay setting that begins playing something while you're still figuring out if you want to watch it.
While the homepage of Netflix sorts content into categories based around genres, common themes, what's trending and what's new, clicking on to a title to read more about it and gauge your interest can put you under pressure.
That's because you only have a few seconds to evaluate a movie or show before it starts playing.
This is great for Netflix and its mission to have you spend as much time as possible consuming its content (the same reason its original programming favours cliffhangers at the end of every episode and will skip credit sequences to serve you the next instalment as quickly as possible).
If you've found yourself frequently frustrated by the autoplay feature well at least you're not alone.
Current favorite console game: navigating Netflix without triggering autoplay promos— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) March 16, 2018
Thankfully the company has admitted the problem and is now doing something about it.
If you're one of the millions of people piggybacking on someone else's Netflix account you might need to get them to do it for you, but if you're the captain of the streaming ship you can disable the autoplay feature through your account settings.
Some people find this feature helpful. Others not so much.— Netflix US (@netflix) February 6, 2020
We’ve heard the feedback loud and clear — members can now control whether or not they see autoplay previews on Netflix. Here's how: https://t.co/6V2TjEW6HD https://t.co/zbz4E8fVab
RELATED: Secret codes to unlock Netflix
To turn off the autoplay previews, as well as the feature that automatically serves up the next episode in a series creating the binge watch inertia that can take up an entire weekend, you need to go to the Netflix website through your web browser.
Unfortunately you can't do it through the app.
Go to your account settings by clicking on your profile icon in the top right of the page, then scroll down to the fourth category called "My Profile".
Click on "manage profiles", select the one you want to change for, and untick the boxes for the features you want to turn off.
It might take a minute to have an effect but you should notice the autoplays stop soon.
You can also swap profiles and switch back to force the change.
I'd say the Netflix autoplay thing was a perfect example of prioritizing "user engagement" over user experience.— Chris Silvermαn (@_csilverman) February 6, 2020
Removing control from the user should always be done with the user's best interests in mind. I actually can't think of a single scenario where autoplay improves UX. https://t.co/eLsqjruWox
Fixing one of its most annoying features indicates Netflix could be getting more serious about keeping its customers happy.
The company led the streaming video on demand revolution, but now that it's blazed the trail, competitors are racing down it.
Nine Entertainment's Stan platform was one of the first in the Australian market in 2015 - beating Netflix by about two months - but it's now scrambling to retain content as bigger players move Down Under as well.
Content behemoth Disney launched its Disney+ platform at the end of last year, and Apple introduced its TV+ offering.
There's also Amazon Prime Video, Foxtel Now, 10 All Access, Hayu for reality shows and Kayo for sports.
Foxtel and Kayo are both owned by News Corp, publisher of this website.
There's also a chance we could see the introduction of HBO Max after the premium cable channel behind hits like Game of Thrones, The Sopranos and The Wire was awarded an Australian trademark for its upcoming streaming service set to launch in the US in May.
With the rising cost of maintaining subscriptions for music, movies, television and video games, some are looking at their bills to decide which ones they can live without.
For them there are free, often ad-supported options like SoundCloud, SBS On Demand or ABC iView (as well as catch-up platforms for free-to-air networks).
Netflix addressing consumer demand for control over how the content we pay to stream is presented to us could be a good step towards retaining subscribers.
Given much of the east coast of Australia is set to cop a much needed drenching this weekend the news couldn't have come at a better time.
What streaming platforms do you regularly subscribe to? Let us know in the comments below.
my entire kingdom for a way to turn off the autoplay while browsing Netflix— Sarah Hollowell 🦝 (@sarahhollowell) January 29, 2020
Netflix: Should I play this movie?— Jon (@ArfMeasures) October 28, 2019
Me: No no I'm just looking at it for a second
Netflix: I'll put it on
Me: I'm just literally reading what it is
Netflix: It's playing :)