New Netflix Profiles Provide Personalized Recommendations

Anyone with a child over 8 will appreciate the new Netflix Profiles feature that started rolling out this past week. With the feature, you’ll no longer have to endure scrolling through endless Disney movie titles and animated ponies to get to the movies you saved for easy access in your Netflix Instant Queue watchlist. The new feature allows you to add up to five profiles for the people with whom you share your account, each with their own recommendations and Instant Queue.

Profiles can be set up when you sign up for a Netflix subscription. Existing subscribers can add profiles on the Netflix website or in the Playstation 3 Netflix app. While you can’t add profiles in every app, access to Profiles has already been added to the Netflix app on a number of devices including the Apple TV, Xbox 360, many smart TVs and media players like the NETGEAR Neo TV Max. The Netflix blog also lists that Profiles is available on iPhones and iPads, and while it came a couple of days later, it now sports the splash scene with “Who’s watching Netflix?” choice of profiles that appears in other compatible apps. The Roku box and Android devices including Google TV will undoubtedly receive the profiles update in the coming months.

Once you set up a Profile for up to four other people who use your account, they can create their own Instant Queue watchlists and will receive recommendations based on their viewing habits. You can then remove the movie and TV show titles that they added to your Instant Queue. If you go through the movies and TV shows you’ve seen and rate the titles, your recommendations will quickly reflect your tastes and the zombie movies, animated films, and chick flicks will be replaced with the types of movies you like. Unfortunately, there is no way to migrate portions of an Instant Queue watchlist to a new profile. This means that your son, daughter, or spouse will need to to start from scratch by searching the Netflix library for Evil Dead, Tangled or other movies to recreate their own Instant Queue.

Before you set up profiles for other users and gleefully rid yourself of their movie choices, be aware that if you have one of the devices --like a Roku box or Google TV--that don’t have Profiles in their Netflix app, only the main account’s Instant Queue and recommendations will be available. Other users won’t have access to their new Instant Queue. In other words, it would be nice not to delete their choices from the main account until you know the device they are using has been updated to include Profiles.

Each Netflix profile can be linked to the user’s Facebook profile by going into a social account setting. Once linked, the user’s Facebook profile picture appears in place of a funky Netflix avatar. A benefit of linking to Facebook is that you’ll see a list of what your friends have been watching (if they have opted to share in Netflix). I found a charming PBS documentary Animal Odd Couples that was surprisingly on my friend Scott’s Recently Watched list. Beyond the voyeuristic curiosity of seeing what movies my friends watch, it will make a good conversation starter the next time I seem them.

“We continually innovate and are proud to deliver an even better, more personal Netflix experience.” Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt said in a press release. “Now everyone in your home can have their own Netflix experience, built around the TV shows and movies they enjoy. No longer will your Netflix suggestions be mixed up with those of your kids, a significant other, roommates, or house guests.” My son has already set up his new profile that he is watching on the Vizio TV Netflix app. It’s now easier to find the chick flicks and feel-good films I like without scrolling through countless screens of horror and Sci Fi titles.

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