Your Digital Media Has Never Looked So Good

kwaja ali
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:11 am


Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:28 pm

In Netflix forums users are searching for a way to delete RECENTLY WATCHED listings. A main complaint is that selections show up there even if the user opts out of viewing after only a few minutes. In other words, LIKE isn't necessarily an accurate reflection of what viewers like. Then there's the issue of adult viewing fair and kids who might see the list. Apparently, the RECENTLY WATCHED selections (regardless of whether the viewer liked them or not) generate the LIKE listings, the Netflix version of "If you liked that, you're bound to like these..." The LIKE listings add even more horizontal rows of selections to the 15 (or so) standard genre categories. There is no option in the Netflix account settings to delete these entries.

Call me a minimalist. While I understand users may regard these as useful hints for future viewing, I regard them as distracting clutter through which I must wade (one click at a time) to descend to the genre selections. I already know what sorts of entertainment I enjoy. To me, this is another case of TOO-user-friendly that cries out for a toggle-off option on the Settings menu. But in lieu of that, I have stumbled on a workaround. Here is what I do...

I rate every one of my Netflix selections (no matter how long I watched or how much I really enjoyed them) with only one star. To the Netflix software, one star means Hated it! The software seems intuitive. After rating every single movie I watched as one-star-Hated-it, the annoying horizontal LIKE features disappeared completely. I guess if I hate everything, the software can't make any suggestions as to what I might like.

Sure, the RECENTLY WATCHED listings are still there, but perhaps if enough Netflix users follow my lead, that toggle-off option might appear on the account settings menu in the near future.

Image Keith
Last edited by kwaja ali on Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:44 pm

I rate the movies I watch honestly and enjoy seeing the suggestions the Netflix software generates. I have discovered some movies I really enjoyed via the suggestions, I would be very disappointed if this feature disappeared. As for deleting the recently viewed thumbnails, I'm with you 100%.
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Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:48 pm

I'll second that. I suspect the OP's problem with not liking the suggestions is that he's been untruthful in his ratings. This may not be the case, but most people that take the tame to rate movies through Netflix accurately are happy with the results (from my personal observations on posts about this issue).

Netflix spends a lot of money tuning that system, to the point of hosting competitions for people to improve on the algorithm with million dollar bounties. It's one of their main features.
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kwaja ali
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Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:24 am

To reiterate for YPs, I have no objections per se to the rating system and fully understand why most viewers find it useful – as the previous replies indicate. My central issue has more to do with the fact that even movies I abandon after streaming for only 3-5 minutes still appear as RECENTLY WATCHED, which in turn seems to influence suggestions for films that are similar to the ones I actually didn't like. This is particularly true if I leave the initial ratings as is (which makes it appear as though I liked the film I abandoned!); and why would I bother to rate them at all if I haven't even really taken the time to watch them? I've deleted my History list from my account on the Netflix website, but the RECENTLY WATCHED list persists. Perhaps it's unrelated to the online History list or maybe it just takes a while to translate to my Netflix instant watch menu.

As for this OP's "problem" with not liking the suggestions, it is as I stated: 1. I am a minimalist and don't like clutter or distraction. 2. I know where to look for the genres and specific titles I might care to watch, including the searchable online Netflix databases. I applaud Netflix' determination to make the rating feature work as they intend. I did not ask that it "disappear" nor would I even think of suggesting that it be eliminated. I merely suggested that account settings might include a toggle so that OP retreads like myself have the option to opt out of it if they so desire. And I wouldn't worry about how my rating might affect the overall star count for any given movie. After all, I'm only one viewer whose opinion counts for perhaps one-millionth of a star.

OP Keith
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Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:54 am

Have you disabled "browse and search in Netflix" on your Roku via Settings->Netflix Settings? I think that would accomplish what you're wanting.
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kwaja ali
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Re: Browse and Search in Netflix settings

Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:23 am

TheEndless wrote:
Have you disabled "browse and search in Netflix" on your Roku via Settings->Netflix Settings? I think that would accomplish what you're wanting.

Thanks for your suggestion, TE. Disabling Browse and Search in the Roku Netflix Settings leaves me with online sites as my only alternative for browsing and searching. I don't object to those features. Specifically, what would satisfy me most would be toggles that can disable/enable various features. It's enough for me to see the genre categories under the Search. I don't really need to see Recently Watched, since it even displays movies that I stopped watching after just a few minutes. I don't care for any of those "you-might-also-enjoy" suggestions since television is rife with trailers for every new film that premieres in theaters. By the time they get to Netflix I already know whether or not I want to view them. The most user-centric solution would be to provide enable/disable toggles for each field generated by the Netflix software. My ideal setup would be the following...

I would disable:
1. All selections displayed to either side of the Search box.
2. Recently Watched
3. The row after row of suggestions based on genres the Netflix software presumes I've watched (because I haven't really watched all of them)
4. The Like rows based on specific movies the software presumes I've watched (same reason - I haven't really watched half of them)

I would leave enabled:
1. New Arrivals for both Movies and TV
2. The regular Movies and TV listings
3. All the typical Genre fields:
Action & Adventure, Anime & Animation, Children & Family, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Foreign, Horror, Independent, Romance, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Thrillers

I value browsing the genres and if I think there might be something to watch that isn't displayed on the Netflix home screen, I can search the online database(s). I have none of the techphobia that frustrates many people my age. I've been troubleshooting, hacking, and tweaking personal computers for 30 years. In fact, it's because of my familiarity with computers that I find fault with the lack of options and the clumsy GUIs on Netflix, Hulu, and other Roku channels. Granted, the simplicity of Roku's remote control may attract a wider range of potential viewer-users. It's just that I'm spoiled by my other tech toys.

But thanks for thinking of me. Your suggestion did achieve what I wanted, but it also eliminated those other things that I would prefer to leave enabled.
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Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:00 pm

I also wish Netflix would allow us to delete recently watched movies. I have G-Kids that look for movies and I'd rather not them see any R rated that I might watch.
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