The Netflix app adds a Shuffle option for some users, but only on smart TVs

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Netflix is deciding to shake things up, with a shuffle feature that will direct users to randomly selected films or TV shows, much like shuffling your music library in Spotify or Apple Music.

While the feature – known as Shuffle Play – had already seen trials in Australia, it's now being rolled out to more users, including those in the US. Given the expanded rollout, we expect it to end up coming as a standard feature to all subscribers too.

It's currently only available on Netflix's smart TV app, and appears on the left-hand menu pane below the 'home' and 'search' options. A shuffle button has also appeared for some below their profile icons, allowing users to jump right in to a randomly-selected title, in a similar vein to the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button in Google's search engine, which takes you straight to a website instead of forcing you to scroll through rankings.

It seems this feature isn't entirely random, and won't just suggest you watch something entirely out of your wheelhouse. (If you only use Netflix to watch action flicks like Extraction or Project Power, you shouldn't get directed towards Howl's Moving Castle.)

However, it does offer users a way to shake up their usual lists, which can only be good for keeping people engaged with the service. I can't count the number of times I simply switched to another platform because I was bored of scrolling through my 'list' over and over.

A/B testing

Netflix is well known for testing out features on a small number of users or those on a specific OS to gauge their popularity. We saw this with its Top 10 list of the most popular shows streaming on the site, which has now become a common feature – and the contentious rollout of playback speed controls.

That last feature rolled out to Android users at the start of August, though it's due to come to iOS and web in the near future too.

Via TechCrunch (opens in new tab)

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist. Before going freelance, he spent more than three years at TechRadar reporting on TVs, projectors and smart speakers as the website's Home Cinema Editor – and has been interviewed live on both BBC World News and Channel News Asia, discussing the future of transport and 4K resolution televisions respectively. As a graduate of English Literature and persistent theatre enthusiast, he'll usually be found forcing Shakespeare puns into his technology articles, which he thinks is what the Bard would have wanted. Bylines also include Edge, T3, and Little White Lies.