Tech

Hell freezes over as Netflix finally lets users turn off autoplaying previews

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  • Step 1: Open Netflix on a desktop Web browser. Netflix hasn't provided steps to change this setting on other interfaces (smartphone apps, smart TV apps, etc.). Notice that the background is a massive autoplaying video. We're going to put a stop to that.
  • Step 2: Click the profile icon at the top-right of the interface and select "Manage Profiles."
  • Step 3: Pick the profile you'd like to disable autoplay on. (Here, Tech Culture Editor Sam Machkovech is electing to change his own profile while leaving autoplay enabled for his account-mooching father.)
  • Step 4: Tech Culture Editor Sam Machkovech has elected to disable both kinds of autoplay: more episodes in a TV series, and the obnoxious previews that appear when otherwise browsing for new content. The first option has been available for some time; the second option is new as of February 2020. (Restart an offending device's app if the change doesn't happen immediately.)

Netflix giveth and Netflix taketh away. It giveth rad '80s hairdos with Stranger Things; it taketh critical thinking skills with Goop. One of its worst "gifts," however, has been the autoplaying previews—with sound!—that burst forth from your TV screen like a Ridley Scott alien if you dare to leave a selection highlighted for more than a moment. Today, that's changing with a new option in your Netflix settings.

This may not sound like a serious problem in the grand scheme of national and universal problems, but it remains deeply annoying. Many have been the times that my family wrapped up a Sunday night episode of The Great British Baking Show only to have some wildly inappropriate-for-families preview clip begin to play. ("Daddy, what does 'Don't F*** With Cats' mean?")

Netflix was so proud of this autoplay-with-sound achievement that, in a 2016 press release, it talked up its "new television user interface that uses video more extensively to bring content alive in real time and helps members decide whether to click play." For Netflix, this was great because it led to more people watching more content. Which it probably did! I certainly tried a few things I would not have tried otherwise. But there was no way to turn it off; I soon felt nearly assaulted by the Netflix app running on my Roku.

Netflix users, who were forced to lunge for the mute button moments after finishing an episode, had similar feelings; they complained about this behavior for so long without response that many gave up hope of succor.

But on Thursday, the almighty Netflix algRead More – Source