Netflix launches profiles for better video recommendations


Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif. (Justin Sullivan/GETTY IMAGES)
August 1, 2013

Netflix has started adding the option to let subscribers add profiles to their accounts, in an effort to fix an all too common problem for subscribers: recommendation pollution.

Anyone who shares a Netflix account with someone else has likely run into this issue, when user A’s period British drama watching binge pulls User B’s carefully calibrated action movie suggestion query way off track. (Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.)

It can also be a fairly thorny problem for parents who may love gritty horror films but aren’t necessarily ready to share that passion with their younger children. Seeing suggestions for “The Hills Have Eyes II” alongside ”The Muppet Movie” is also visually jarring, to say the least.

The profiles will give each user his or her own “Recently Watched” and “Instant Queue” lists; users will also have the option to link their specific Netflix profile to their Facebook account and to share recommendations with friends or get some back in return.

A video explainer of the new profiles says that new users can set up profiles when they sign in to the service for the first time, and existing users will be able to add profiles from their accounts soon.

If you like the occasional cross-pollination between streams, Netflix will also let you combine profiles for “family night” or “couples’ date night” — just in case you want a little input from other folks in your household on the popcorn flick of the night.

According to Netflix, the feature is rolling out over the next few days. It should show up on most Netflix devices, including the Web site, iPad, iPhone, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Apple TV and select smart televisions and Blu-Ray players. At first, users will be able to make new profiles on the Web site and with the PlayStation; different users should be able to select profiles on all supported devices.

Support for Android devices and the Nintendo Wii, the company said, will be coming soon.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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