Many Netflix subscribers have voiced their displeasure over the auto-preview feature that plays a loud and obtrusive trailer when you hover over a title for more than a couple seconds. If this is not the No. 1 complaint among Netflix subscribers, it’s certainly up there.
However, the auto-preview feature doesn’t just come up when you’re browsing. Believe it or not, it’s also upsetting people when the end credits play over a movie.
What’s so bad about missing the credits?
Most people don’t care about the end credits of movies or shows, so having Netflix automatically skip over those might seem to be a helpful feature. That isn’t necessarily so, according to a thread on Reddit.
The topic-starter writes, “We just finished the John Mulaney special and were enjoying the David Byrne song, but then HEY WATCH LOST IN SPACE HERE’S A LOUD PREVIEW! Same with a movie we were watching last night that actually had additional scenes during the credits, but nope, let’s cut it off for another preview.
There’s no longer an opportunity to decompress or think about what you just watched unless you remember to actually click on the credits to bring it back to full screen.
Many users concurred with this annoyance, saying that it makes watching Netflix bothersome — so much so that some users have canceled because of it. They argue that Netflix is supposed to be an ad-free experience, but these previews essentially amount to Netflix ads for itself.
Why Netflix has the auto-preview feature in the first place
There’s a reason Netflix has this auto-preview feature, which debuted in 2017. What it boils down to is numbers. Netflix wants people watching, not browsing, because that’s better for their data, according to this piece in Thrillist, the streamer’s director of product innovation argued, “Television has decades’ worth of expectation that when you turn it on, the video and audio play,” Garcia said. “So it’s actually quite strange to have a silent experience.”
That may be true, but people went to Netflix so they could get away from that. Netflix has only been predominantly a streaming outlet for about 10 years, so it doesn’t take a long memory to recall that Netflix once didn’t have this feature. People could browse for as long as they liked, and if they wanted a preview, they could watch a trailer if they wanted. Now, Netflix doesn’t give you a choice, and viewers object to that as much as they do the auto-preview itself.
The reason for the outcry goes even further back in time. Previews have long been part of home viewing too, but in the past, people could always skip over them at home. You could either fast-forward the tape or you could hit the skip button for a disc. And even those were usually trailers for other movies rather than the one you actually rented or bought.
How Netflix users are pushing back
Some subscribers with tech know-how have created programs that can block the previews, but these only work if you’re watching on a computer. If you’re watching on a phone, tablet or on your TV, you’re fresh out of luck. You get a preview even though you probably don’t want it.
One Reddit user writes, “I see a lot of replies about streaming Netflix through certain browsers or on certain devices… That’s not something I or anyone should have to do. It should literally just be a setting on the Netflix app/site itself to disable those automatic show previews or the autostart if you’re just reading the description or whatever. I shouldn’t have to switch to a whole new device or app for that.”
Viewers will switch to another service, but people have complaints about the interfaces there too. One person notes, “I’ve been noticing it on Amazon shows too. Just today I saw the end credits of an episode of Marvelous Mrs Maisel which licensed an entire Strokes song only to cut it off 10 seconds in to autoplay the next episode. Why even pay the royalties if you’re not going to let anyone listen?
In that sense, the auto-previews are hurting the streamers themselves. Unfortunately, viewers probably shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for previews to go away.