Netflix's shuffle button is real — and it's coming this year

Netflix TV Hero
Netflix TV Hero (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Netflix has been testing a shuffle button on various platforms over the years.
  • The company this week announced that it'll be launching it worldwide in 2021.
  • Netflix's shuffling feature is aimed at people who really don't know what they want to watch. The company has a daunting sea of content, and this minimizes the pressure on subscribers.

Just like with streaming music platforms, à la carte video services like Netflix offer far too much content for one to suitably get a handle on. It's the paradox of choice for our modern age, and Netflix is finally releasing a solution that'll fix the most first world of first world problems. It's adding a shuffle button.

It's not exactly 100 percent new. Netflix has tested various iterations of this feature in the past, including one specifically tailored towards surfacing random episodes of TV shows. Apparently, it's found great success with these initiatives, because it's now making this a ubiquitous feature that'll be available worldwide over the coming year.

Variety reported on Wednesday:

In explaining why Netflix is launching "shuffle play" as a permanent feature, COO and chief product officer Greg Peters said that sometimes users come to the service "and they're not really sure what they want to watch.""It's really working for us where our members can basically indicate to us that they just want to skip browsing entirely, click one button and we'll pick a title for them just to instantly play," Peters said on the company's Q4 investor interview Tuesday. "And that's a great mechanism that's worked quite well for members in that situation."

We don't actually know what it'll be called yet. Netflix could stick with the tried and true shuffle metaphor (it's already called that in various tests), or it could apply its own branding to it. The company's COO Greg Peters said to stand by and find out, but it's unlikely impatient viewers will care much whatever its called as long as it arrives.

Chromecast Snow at an angle

Chromecast with Google TV

The Chromecast with Google TV is Google's first real TV stick in the traditional sense. Coming in three sleek colors, the low-price and thoughtful interface make this a tempting product. Of course, you can stream Netflix on this as well, though Google's content discovery features might make the shuffle button redundant.

Michael Allison