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Netflix is rolling its new shuffle play feature to everyone, here’s how it works

A new shuffle play feature that Netflix began testing a year ago is now rolling out to all users.


STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • A new Play Something button goes live on Netflix.
  • It will be available to all Netflix users worldwide.
  • The feature is launching in stages, with TVs getting it first.
  • Spin the Netflix wheel of fortune to play randomly selected titles.

Promotional graphics showing the Play Something feature on Netflix

Netflix gains a new Play Something feature

The streamer noted in its recent quarterly earnings release that the shuffle play experiment has proven popular enough with a subset of Netflix users that it will be rolling out to all customers worldwide sometime in the first half of 2021, and that’s what’s happening now.

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Instead of browsing your Netflix homepage like an animal, the new feature gives you the ability to choose to instantly watch a title randomly selected for you.

According to a post on the Netflix blog:

There are times when we just don’t want to make decisions. A Friday evening after a long work week. A fridge full of food but nothing jumps out. A family movie night where no one can agree. We’ve all been there. Sometimes you just want to open Netflix and dive right into a new story. That’s why we’ve created Play Something, an exciting new way to kick back and watch.

Found on the Netflix home screen beneath your profile icon, the new Play Something button randomly plays a movie or TV show that the personalization algorithm thinks you’ll like. “Not sure what to watch?” reads a splash screen. “Choose Play Something and we’ll pick things for you to watch based on your tastes.”

The button may also appear next to Netflix’s collection of streaming movies and TV shows.

This is a staggered release, with Netflix-enabled TV sets first getting the Play Something button before it reaches Netflix on iOS, Android, Apple TV, gaming consoles and more.

3 ways to use Play Something on Netflix

Netflix has way too much content so picking something to watch can be quite challenging. Spinning the Netflix wheel of fortune is certainly one way to kill boredom without having to navigate the Netflix interface to manually choose what you’d like to watch.

Some folks, however, may find that Netflix’s new shuffle play feature doesn’t always produce satisfactory results. When you think about it, that’s quite understandable—after all, the Play Something button will feed you a randomly selected piece of content rather than a precise title that you might like based on your past viewing habits.

If you don’t like a randomly selected title, you can click “Play Something Else” and Netflix will serve you a brand new series or film, a series or film you’re already watching, a series or film on your list or an unfinished series or film you may want to revisit.

Netflix says you can find the Play Something button in three ways on your TV:

  • Underneath your profile name
  • The tenth row on your Netflix homepage
  • The navigation menu on the left of the screen

For those who use screen-readers, this new feature supports text-to-speech.

Image credit: Netflix

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