Netflix Testing Random Feature

Netflix has become such an integral part of our entertainment livelihood that most subscribers don’t even care when the streaming subscription service raises their prices a little bit. Thankfully, they’re finally coming around to giving their users new ways to find programs to watch, as well as making it easier for them to pick something to watch on a Saturday night.

After years of Netflix customers asking for the ability to choose something to watch at random, the streaming service may finally come through. They’re testing a new feature that would allow users to play a random episode of a given TV series, which will help keep you from wasting time trying to pick an episode to watch.

On top of that, Netflix is also trying out a feature that gives users Top 10 lists of popular programs in certain categories to see if they want to watch what everyone else is watching.

Find out more about the Netflix testing random feature and Top 10 list features below.

Netflix Testing Random Feature

Netflix Shuffle

First up, Android Police (via Mashable) reports that some viewers are being given the opportunity to try out a new “random” viewing option. It won’t pick just any title at random in Netflix’s library, but instead, you can use the random selection feature within individual TV shows to pick an episode at random. As you can see above, the random feature has been applied to several shows available in the Netflix library.

The screenshot above came from an Android user’s Netflix app (for those curious, it’s v7.6.0 build 19 34157). Netflix also released a statement to Mashable about testing the new feature:

“We are testing the ability for members to play a random episode from different TV series on the Android mobile app. These tests typically vary in length of time and by region, and may not become permanent.”

This is a solid way for Netflix to make users watch TV shows they’ve already seen the same way they would if they happen to catch the show on regular cable TV. And the good news is you don’t have to go back out to the main menu to keep picking random episodes. Here’s a screenshot from within the app when you’re watching a show:

Netflix Testing Random Feature

It’s good to hear that Netflix is testing this feature, but this needs to go a step further by applying it to the entirety of their library. That’s what viewers have wanted for awhile, and it would certainly save people a lot of time debating what to watch.

Top 10 Lists

Meanwhile, over in the United Kingdom, Netflix is trying out a new Top 10 list feature that shows what the most popular shows are among users within a variety of different categories. The new feature was announced in a letter to shareholders (via Variety), which is said to be part of Netflix’s efforts to be more transparent about their ratings. The letter says:

“For those who want to watch what others are watching, this may make choosing titles even easier. After a few months we’ll decide whether to end or expand the test.”

It’s another feature that might help viewers choose programming more quickly instead of wasting time scrolling through the library. Seeing what other people are watching might also reveal titles that otherwise might not come up in a person’s home screen display based on their usual preferences. Then again, it could also end up just showing viewers the programs they’re already aware of.

Netflix Behind the Scenes

The Feature Netflix Really Needs

These two features are apparently only a couple out of hundreds of tests that Netflix is doing each quarter in order to figure out how to improve their users’ experience. But there’s one feature that users have wanted for awhile that Netflix hasn’t even tested yet: playlists.

If Netflix instituted playlists, then users would be able to basically create their own channels where they can play an assortment of TV episodes and movies. And if they allowed the random feature to be used along with it, then it would feel a lot like an a la carte cable option where you have a channel populated by all your favorite shows and movies.

But for now, we’ll just have to wait and see what else they have in store.

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