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Netflix's New 'Play Something' Feature Will Now Automatically Choose What You Should Watch Next

First announced earlier in 2021, the function has now been rolled out globally.
By Sarah Ward
April 29, 2021
By Sarah Ward
April 29, 2021

Over the past decade, streaming has become a firm part of every film and TV fan's life — providing more viewing choices, more places to find movies and television shows, and more excuses to while away hours and hours (and then a few more hours) on the couch. But, it has also sparked a familiar dilemma. Too often, thanks to all of the options available, it's easy to spend more time deciding what to check out next than actually watching something.

Netflix has just released its intended solution to this problem, via a new feature called 'play something'. First revealed earlier in 2021, and now available globally across the platform, it's basically a shuffle function — and will automatically pick something for you to watch, rather than letting you keep scrolling and scrolling (and scrolling) while you're trying to make a decision.

Here's how it works: when Netflix subscribers hit the 'play something' option — and therefore tell the service that they don't want to browse right now — they're instantly met with something new to view. It'll be either a series or film, and it could be something brand new, something you're already watching, a title that's on your list, or a show or movie you hadn't gotten around to finishing yet.

Obviously, Netflix will be drawing upon its algorithm — as aided by your past viewing choices — to take your selections out of your hands. And, while it isn't called "I'm feeling lucky", that's the approach Netflix is basically asking subscribers to go with in terms of finding something to watch next.

If you don't like the first choice that the new function thrusts in front of your eyeballs, you can click 'play something else'. What happens then is self-explanatory.

And, if you're keen to tun the 'play something' function on, you'll find it underneath your profile name, on the tenth row on Netflix's homepage and in the navigation menu on the left side of the screen.

The company has been testing this type of functionality in various forms over the past few years — and the concept is hardly new, as users of music streaming services know. In France at the end of 2020, Netflix also trialled a linear channel, which just played films and shows one after the other in the way that broadcast television does; however, there's no news yet as to whether the latter will become a permanent function worldwide.

The idea behind these new features — whether they've been implemented or they're just being trialled — is to keep people watching and encourage more folks to join up as subscribers, of course. More and more new streaming services pop up all the time, all vying for your eyeballs, or so it feels at least. That's also the reason that Netflix introduced its Top Ten lists in 2020, if you've been wondering why the platform started telling you that everyone was watching Tiger King, The Queen's Gambit and The Midnight Sky.

Netflix's new 'play something' feature is active on the platform now. For more information about, head to the streaming service's website.

Published on April 29, 2021 by Sarah Ward


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