Netflix to start rolling out multiuser accounts for iPads, iPhones, Apple TV, etc.
One of the problems with the personalized suggestions offered in Netflix's video streaming service has always been that they're based on everything your family watches. In my family, for example, my wife, two children and I share one account — so when I sign on I'm told I can continue watching any of the eight or so cartoons the kids have started but haven't finished or a movie that's similar to one of the period pieces my wife likes. The Walking Dead episodes that I want to watch? Buried.
But all that might soon change. Netflix has announced it is rolling out a new feature that will allow up to five users to set up their own profiles for each subscription. Each user will get their own suggestions based on what they've watched and how they rated it, as well as their own Instant Queue and Recently Watched lists. (AppleInsider.com has a pretty good walkthrough of the new feature.)
Good news. It sounds like it'll be a huge help for families who share an account (although I'm sure being able to track individual users will be useful to Netflix, too), but it's likely to stop short of giving parents' a tool to lock R-rated content away from their children's eyes.
For sure, the new profiles will help guide kids toward Netflix's "just for kids" content areas, but gigaom.com recently quoted vice president of product innovation Todd Yellin said the company decided against locking profiles down entirely — because they figure kids will find their way around those restrictions anyway. Yellin says Netflix's approach will be like creating "a well-lit cul-de-sac" for kids that makes it easy to find appropriate content without restricting their access to grittier content. "We don't put up any high fences," he said.
Of course, Netflix users can always set kid-friendly parental controls on their account, but it sounds like it will affect every one of that account's profiles. So you can rest safely if you want, knowing your little tyke isn't watching anything raunchier than Shaun the Sheep — as long as that's the kind of stuff you want to watch, too.