The sheer amount of content available on streaming services can sometimes be both a strength and a weakness of the platforms. It’s great to have so many movies and shows to choose from, but choosing can be overwhelming when there are so many things you want to watch. This can lead to you spending a lot of time scrolling when you’re just watching a TV show or movie.
Netflix understands the dilemma of its viewers and has added a feature that can help shorten the decision. It is called Play something and works almost like a shuffle function for shows and movies. We’ll show you this feature and explain how its algorithm works to choose what to play for you.
How to use Play Something
Play Something is available while watching Netflix on your TV or Android device. This is not available when watching Netflix in other ways, such as on the desktop. For smartphone users: When you open the Netflix app, you’ll notice a new pill-shaped button on the bottom right. He will say “Play something” or “Surprise me» or just show two squiggly arrows.
To use Play Something on other supported devices, such as TVs, follow these steps:
- Open the Netflix app.
- On the profile selection screen, hover over your profile name.
- You will see under it Play my channel button Select this to have Netflix play the suggested show or movie.
- You can also find Play Something in the Netflix navigation menu or in the show bar on the Netflix homepage.
- You can select Play Something more after getting a show/movie to get a new one. This time, it will include shows you haven’t finished from your watch list or on the My List page.
- You can exit Play Something by opening the Netflix player and selecting Entranceor back arrow on Android.
If you can’t find the Play Something feature, it could be for a number of reasons. First, if you’re a new Netflix member, you’ll only be able to see this feature after a month of using the service.
Also, Play Something is not supported on Apple TV, computer, or iPhone.
How does Play Something work?
Netflix is great at tracking people’s viewing habits to determine which shows and movies they’re most likely to watch. This information is integrated into Netflix’s Play Something algorithm to help you choose something to watch right away, rather than wasting time deciding.
When you use this feature, Netflix takes into account your past viewing habits and chooses recommended shows or movies that it thinks are similar to what you’ve watched before. For this reason, it’s best to use Play Something on a profile where only you watch shows, otherwise your recommendations won’t be tailored to you.
This is why new Netflix users can’t use the Play Something feature. Netflix takes a while to learn about your viewing habits, and to get the best picks you’re most likely to want to watch, the service wants a solid month of your viewing history.
When was Play Something introduced?
The Play Something feature wasn’t always on Netflix. It debuted on the platform in April 2021 for every Netflix member. Before this, it was only a test feature available only to some users.
Since its release for TV and Android users, it is slowly rolling out to more platforms. Eventually, you’ll be able to use the Play Something feature on every device that supports Netflix, such as iOS and Apple TV. Until then, you can only use it on select devices.
The release of Play Something comes after a very similar new feature – Downloads For You. This feature automatically downloads shows and movies that Netflix thinks you’ll enjoy. All of these features are designed to keep viewers on the app rather than visiting tens of hundreds of other streaming services.
Netflix is trying to compete for people’s attention with social networks like YouTube and TikTok. In March 2021, they introduced the Fast Laughs feature, which mimics short and edgy TikTok videos by previewing scenes from Netflix shows to entice viewers to watch full-length episodes.
Spend less time choosing what to watch
With Play Something, you can significantly reduce the time-consuming process of choosing a show or movie. Because your past viewing habits are used to present you with new entertainment, you’re more likely to find something you like. Plus, you can play up to 75 different shows using Play Something, so you’re sure to find something new to enjoy and watch.
Do you think Netflix’s Play Something feature is useful? Let us know in the comments below.