Netflix Testing Shuffle Feature to Randomize TV Viewing
A Random Episode button that would allow users to shuffle episodes is being tested on Android mobile devices.
In the age of streaming video, the experience of coming home, turning on the television and finding a random rerun of The Office to watch has largely become obsolete.
Netflix might be bringing it back.
The streaming giant is testing a button that would allow its users to play a random episode of television. The test, first discovered by the blog Android Police and later confirmed by Netflix in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, is currently only running for some users on the Netflix mobile app for Android devices. Netflix regularly tries out new features with a small segment of its nearly 149 million global members that do not become permanent.
"We are testing the ability for members to play a random episode from different TV series on the Android mobile app," a company spokeswoman told THR in the statement. "These tests typically vary in length of time and by region, and may not become permanent."
Per the Android Police report, the Netflix test includes a feature to "play a popular episode." It is also experimenting with a Random Episode button at the bottom of a video that would essentially allow a user to shuffle the episodes of a series.
While a shuffle feature might not make sense for a heavily serialized show like The Crown or The OA, it could prove useful for watching back-catalog licensed programming like The Office or Friends, the types of shows that are in heavy syndication on linear television.