Netflix is looking to introduce a “shuffle” feature that will queue-up a random episode of a television show – helping those who can’t decide what to watch to jump straight into their favourite show. The new button works in the same manner as the “shuffle” feature in iTunes and Spotify, which plays an album or playlist in a random jumbled order.
With its latest update, it seems Netflix wants to recreate the experience of flicking through terrestrial channels and landing on a random episode of The Simpsons, Friends, Top Gear, or Seinfeld that you’ve seen half a dozen times before – but can’t resist re-watching.
Clearly the new feature, which appears as a “Random Episode” button – not “Shuffle”, won’t work with every show. After all, it’s going to be a pretty perplexing experience watching Manhunter or Making a Murderer in a random order. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Netflix’s plans to make it easier to throw yourself back into a series from a randomly-picked jumping-off point.
According to the New York Post, the video on-demand company is currently in the middle of its “second round of testing” on the feature after early tests started last year. Users who have spotted the new addition pop-up within their Netflix app have shared their enthusiasm on social media. According to those users, it seems the Californian firm is only testing the “Random Episode” button on Android and Amazon Fire TV versions of Netflix.
Netflix is gathering feedback from users right now. If the second round of testing is deemed to have gone well, the streaming giant will decide whether to make the “Random Episode” button available to users worldwide.
The latest tweak comes a few weeks after Netflix enabled users to manually remove shows from the Continue Watching list that appears at the top of the app. Until recently, this would include a list of everything that you had started to play – but never finished.
That includes episodes or movies that you started to watch, decided weren’t your cup of tea and promptly abandoned. But despite the rejection, Netflix would continue to promote the half-finished episode in your Continue Watching menu for months after the fact …as if you were going to suddenly have an epiphany that “Insatiable” or that new Adam Sandler movie were suddenly worth your time.
Following the update, Netflix subscribers can now remove any show or movie from the list by clicking on the title card and tapping the option “Remove From Row” found at the bottom of the menu. So, now you have no excuse not to spring-clean that bloated Continue Watching list.