Don't know what to watch? Now Netflix will just Play Something.

By Nick Romano
April 28, 2021 at 10:01 AM EDT
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Does it constantly feel like there are a million TV shows and movies on your streaming platform and yet somehow nothing to watch? Netflix is trying to solve that.

Starting today, the streaming platform will be rolling out a new shuffle function called Play Something. Once clicked, the option won't randomly select a show or movie for you to watch, but rather will curate something you've never seen before based on your previous watch history and interests.

If what the function chose doesn't strike your fancy, you can also keep things going by hitting "Play Something" again and the program will select a different series or film that you haven't seen before, something you're already watching, something on your watch list, or an unfinished series or film you may want to revisit.

"There are times when we just don't want to make decisions," Cameron Johnson, Netflix's director of product innovation, wrote about the new option in a blog post. "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."

Netflix shuffle function
Netflix's Play Something shuffle option.
| Credit: Netflix

If this sounds somewhat familiar, it's because Netflix has been testing this out with smaller groups of Netflix subscribers for a couple of years to garner feedback in case this proved to be something they should roll out to the masses. It's gone by different names in the past, including "Shuffle." But now, with a lot of positive feedback gleaned from subscribers, Netflix is bringing this out officially.

Netflix monitored feedback shared by users on Twitter to gauge interest, like the one who wrote Play Something was "perfect for kids." Another called it "a total winner."

"I wanna be lazy and just watch something, but I'm too lazy to pick something to fall asleep to, can you just pick something for me? Netflix: Here's a button!" wrote in another.

Other testers described how the Play Something button led them to watch shows like Who Killed Sara? and Ackley Bridge. And, as promised, a subscriber wrote how they watched every episode of Nailed It! twice already, and Play Something didn't direct them to that show, but rather something they hadn't tried.

Netflix shuffle function
Netflix's Play Something shuffle option.
| Credit: Netflix

To start, Play Something will be available on the Netflix TV apps to subscribers worldwide, and the company will soon begin launching the function on Android devices.

For TV, the Play Something button can be found underneath profile names, the 10th row of the Netflix home page, and the navigation menu.

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