Daily Egyptian

You’re Dumb and Wrong: Netflix’s browsing menu sucks

By Jeremy Brown, Arts & Entertainment Editor

I’m not going to say Hulu’s menus are better, or Amazon Prime Video’s pause button is acceptable, or Amazon Prime Video is even a good name – but as the #1 streaming service, Netflix’s browsing menu is like an overeager second date with a bad laugh.

Easily the worst added “feature” of Netflix’s menus is when you want to read the description of a movie or show, it plays sound. Whether that’s stock music, or the score of the movie or a trailer, it always plays and there’s no way to turn that crap off. Most people, when they’re trying to read something, need quiet to even focus.

Imagine trying to read the back of a book and a librarian walking up and just saying “It’s so good, let me tell you all about it before you can walk away without feeling rude.”

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Netflix is similar, but if you scroll away to stop the audio, you can’t read the description anymore. By leaving the conversation the librarian smacks the book out your hands, how dare you not hear their pitch!

The descriptions aren’t helpful – usually they tell you nothing about the show or movie.

“The dead are alive. The predators, prey. When there’s nowhere to hide, you learn how to survive. And who you can trust.”  — The actual description for the Netflix original Black Summer. 

Granted, maybe this show is as generic as they’re marketing it, but this still isn’t enough synopsis to know what makes it unique. If the solution is “That’s why we have the trailer too,” then why even include the text?

You can only get a real one by clicking on the movie/show, and by then it just starts playing the movie while you’re trying to decide whether you’re going to watch it in the first place! Netflix is constantly pressuring you to just play whatever’s recommended.

Once again, it’d be like asking further about a book you’re curious about, then the librarian starts checking it out for you then reading the opening.

I’ve not found one person who likes this feature. I wouldn’t complain if you could turn this autoplay off, but you can’t. Instead, the only way to stop the audio is either muting all of your sound, or going to the search bar, neither of which should have to be your options.

Speaking of which, the search bar also needs to be redone. If Netflix doesn’t have the movie you’re looking for, they won’t tell you. Instead, they’ll say “Here’s what you weren’t looking for, and doesn’t have the keyword you searched in the title, either. You’re welcome!”

Example: when you search “Oceans” on Netflix, five of the top 10 suggestions don’t have “Oceans” in the title. Get Smart, Friends, National Treasure, Set It Up and The Departed are way out of left field. Blue Planet II is a dozen spots lower.

Perhaps if there was a note explaining the backwards logic of the search engine, this would be understandable. But it wouldn’t make it any better.

Anything you search will also have an endless list of results, but after the 20th result, there’s next to no chance you’ll find anything relevant to what you searched. It’s about as helpful as I was my first week month at Home Depot — ask for anything, I’d just say “I’m pretty sure it’s in this building.”

Netflix still gets so much more right than its competitors — the rewind and fast forward at least work, pausing is one button press and it lets you skip the intros without forcing you. But considering the amount of money they take in every month, this all should be a lot better.

P.S. Change Lovesick’s name back to Scrotal Recall, you cowards.

You’re Dumb and Wrong is a weekly column about video games, movies and popular entertainment from Arts & Entertainment editor Jeremy Brown. He can be reached at [email protected]

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