While Netflix appears to be world's default pick for binge-watching TV show and movies, the voyage has not been without its speed bumps. The company introduced auto-playing trailers in early 2016 and continues to produce them despite nearly universal negativity, but ultimately you can keep on trucking because there's always the mute button.
However, Netflix has started adding commercials (for other Netflix content) in between the episodes that are getting sent down your series of tubes. Thankfully, our friends at sister site ComicBook.com have come up with a solution.
For this one weird trick to work, you'll need to access Netflix via a web browser rather than from within one of its streaming apps. But since what you'll do applies at the account level, the change will affect all of the platforms where you stream video from them. So head over to the Netflix website, log into your account, click on your profile pic in the upper right, and select Account to get started.
Next, scroll down to Settings, click Test Participation, click the slider to disable this feature, and click the Done button for the change to take effect. (It's curious that a beta testing component would be enabled by default, but at least we can opt out.)
Following the launch of ads a few days ago, Netflix said in a statement to TechCrunch, "A couple of years ago, we introduced video previews to the TV experience, because we saw that it significantly cut the time members spend browsing and helped them find something they would enjoy watching even faster. Since then, we have been experimenting even more with video based on personalized recommendations for shows and movies on the service or coming shortly, and continue to learn from our members."
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However, older television watchers may recall that cable TV ads originally emerged as ads for other content, rather than full-on commercials. Over time, these "network bumpers" got moved aside in favor of full-fledged commercials, and now nearly one-third of your average one-hour block of TV programming is an advertisement.
Ironically, despite Netflix being a streaming-first platform, it's now compelling us to do what even its cable company competition usually avoids: Forcing on-demand streamers to watch something that's not the show you came to see. Because when you watch a TV show through your cable or satellite provider's on-demand system, you can usually fast-forward through all the ads, sometimes in 10-second chunks that make it even easier to avoid fast-forwarding too far.
Who ever thought there would be a day when Comcast provided a better service than Netflix? It's a little confusing.
Of course, test participation will remove you from all future tests of potentially cool Netflix features, but we'll be sure to loop you in if something better comes down the pipe. The greater concern is whether or not Netflix decides to make ads a permanent "feature." In that case, opting out of Test Participation won't protect you.
- Netflix is testing putting ads in between episodes. Right now, they're only ads for other content on Netflix -- but that's exactly how commercials on cable TV began.
- Thankfully, you can opt out of "Test Partipation" by logging into your account in a web browser and making some changes to your settings.
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