Have you ever been in the middle of a TV show on Netflix and thought, "Okay, after this episode, I'm going to go outside and really start my day"?
Well say goodbye to all that, folks, as Netflix has unveiled a new feature that's going to make stepping away from the computer even harder. It's called Post-Play, and here's how it's going to ensure that you never see the sunshine again:
At the end of a movie or television show episode you watch on Netflix, instead of the credits rolling, you're going to see a screen that will suggest another selection from the Netflix library to watch. In the case of TV shows, that selection will be the next episode in that series. If you do nothing, that episode will automatically start playing after fifteen seconds, without you having to even move (or, on the contrary, without your input).
Here's a video demo of how Post-Play works from Netflix (WARNING: Incredibly minor, inconsequential spoiler from Season 1, Episode 2 of "Lost" ahead):
The "Post-play Experience," as the marketing guys call it, has started rolling out to users on the website and for those watching on a PlayStation 3; other devices should get the update eventually.
While some of have praised Post-play as a convenient solution for the annoyance of having to search for one's remote at the conclusion of an episode -- especially while embroiled in an all-day "Lost" or "Mad Men" marathon -- others have concerns. On the Netflix blog, some complained that if a show auto-plays, for example, and you fall asleep or leave the room, you're eating up your bandwidth by streaming video that you aren't even watching; another, Steve Portugal, bemoaned the loss of that sacrosanct moment after the final scene of a film:
[Post-play] happens BEFORE I've finished watching, when the credits roll. As it happens, I am watching the credits. I am savoring the moment of reflection, the mood, whatever it is, that the artist has put into the content and letting the music and the emotion take me further. Or I'm looking for information about who that actor was, what that song was, whatever. You've decided to jolt me out of that experience [by]moving my screen around and advertising other content.
The remedy, according to these complainants? Make the post-play a feature that you can opt in or opt out of, rather than a mandatory part of viewing. For now, Post-play and it's auto-play function will remain a standard feature, much like the semi-controversial "pre-play" feature on Netflix's Xbox app. (On that device, when you select a show, Netflix simultaneously pops up an episode guide for the show while also playing an episode from the show in the background, before you get to choose which episode you'd like to see; not everyone loves it).
Netflix is sure to love Post-play, however, as it seems likely to boost those total viewing hours at the end of each month; and hey, you might like it, too if you're guilty of the occasional Netflix bender (here: guilty as charged, "Twin Peaks," August 2011). Subscribers can try out the new Netflix Post-play feature on the Netflix website, but be careful: Your boss probably wouldn't like it if you spent the whole day watching "Storage Wars."