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Channel surfing has been a casualty of the switch from cable TV to Netflix or Hulu. Gone are the halcyon days of watching The Shawshank Redemption on TNT just because it’s on. Stumbling on a cult classic or a forgotten hit on weekend afternoons might have been left in the past, but Netflix is making an effort to modernize the experience with its new “Play Something” button.
Netflix originally began testing Play Something several months ago under the working title “Shuffle Play,” and it’s now ready for primetime. The feature has made its global debut for all subscribers on both TV apps and on Android.
Play Something is designed to deliver almost anything on the service, from new releases to unwatched episodes of a series you’re already watching. It pulls from your list and personalized recommendations, delivering a similar selection to what you’ll see on the grid without having to scroll endlessly. Play Something can be found from multiple places on the TV interface: the left-side navigation menu, underneath your profile name, and as the tenth row on Netflix’s homepage. It also fully supports text-to-speech, so subscribers that rely on screen-readers aren’t left out.
Though this could just become another way to blindly shuffle through Netflix’s offerings, it’s a good step towards an easier way to decide to watch on any given night.
Live on Android
Netflix now supports Play Something on Android devices, less than a month after the feature finally arrived on TVs. Accessing the feature doesn’t seem universal, however. One of our readers found the shuffle button alongside the profile selection screen while it was in the lower-right corner of my app.
Once you hit the shuffle button, the interface for swapping between suggested movies and shows looks nearly identical to TVs. You can tap on the left and right arrows to skip to a new selection or pick from one of the titles listed below.
It doesn’t seem to be live on iOS yet, making Android devices the first mobile option to access Netflix’s latest feature.