Parents, rejoice: Netflix rolls out profiles on iOS, Apple TV, Xbox 360, PS3 and the web

15 Comments

Netflix (S NFLX) officially launched its personalized profiles Thursday, rolling out the new feature to iOS (S AAPL) devices, the Xbox (S MSFT) 360 and the PS3 (S SNE) as well as the Netflix.com website and a number of connected devices, including the Apple TV.

The feature will allow Netflix subscribers to personalize a total of five profiles per account, which will each offer a separate queue and individual content recommendations. This means that parents will finally be able to separate the recommendations based on their kids’ viewing from their own.

Wii (S NTDOY) users will get access to the feature in mid-August, Netflix’s VP of product innovation Todd Yellin told me during a phone conversation this week. Android tablets and phones will get profiles by the end of the year.

Netflix first showed off profiles at CES in January, and has been thoroughly testing the feature since. Netflix’s director of product innovation Eddy Wu told me that some of those tests had to do with the onboarding process for new users, and the question how many options users should have during the setup of a profile. “We tried a couple of different variables there,” Wu said. In the end, Netflix decided to make things as simple as possible, because very descriptive and option-rich approaches just didn’t work. “Simple is better,” Wu said.

Netflix users will be able to choose from a few pre-selected avatars, or import their Facebook profile picture.

Netflix users will be able to choose from a few pre-selected avatars, or import their Facebook profile picture.

Part of that learning process was also to figure out how Netflix will deal with parental controls. The new profiles will make it even easier for kids to dive straight into the service’s just for kids area, but Yellin said that the company decided against completely locking down the kids area because it found that kids would always find away around these kinds of restrictions.

Yellin described Netflix’s approach of having a separate kids area without a lock as “a well-lit cul-de-sac” that makes it easy to find kids-appropriate content without restricting access. “We don’t put up any high fences,” he said.

Personalized profiles will be available to all Netflix users worldwide free of charge. Separately, the company introduced a family plan earlier this year, which gives users the ability to stream to up to four devices at the same time for $12 a month. Regular accounts are limited to two simultaneous streams.

For a demo of the new feature, check out Netflix’s video below:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U35oovbGEdU]

15 Comments

Robin

Anyone else still want to see parental controls (and the adult profiles) password protected? From your Netflix account homepage, click on Contact Us, then Start A Live Chat. Let them know you’d like to see password protection on these features. They’ll pass it along to Netflix execs. Just spoke with a lady named Arliss at Netflix who’d like to see the same feature on her own account. When the comment is passed on, it’s attached to your account profile, so they know who (and how many) wants to see this feature added.

Jameela

I am surprised and disappointed by the parental controls on Netflix, their main UK rival has a much better and straightforward system – a passcode for higher rated content. I may leave Netlix because of this issue.

Jason

The NetFlix implementation is simply stupid. If they aren’t going to offer any real parental controls, then why bother? Without password-protecting each profile, there’s absolutely no reason to even bother offering profiles, or parental controls at all. Simply aggravating.

Andy Church

How about setting weekly timing limits for each profile? Kids in a candy store with unlimited choices will eat it all.

tim

I appreciate wanting to keep it simple. This solves an issue with recommendations, which is truly a problem of trivia for most people, but doesn’t help parents in the least. I hope it gets extended at some point to be meaningful.

Claire

What about samsung smart tv users in uk? How can I protect my children now from inappropriate viewing. I myself started watching a 15 film recently to be faced with a male rape scene, not something I expected from a 15 and I certainly don’t want my kids exposed to this, especially as its now listed in my recently viewed, easy for them to click by mistake.

justamom

Quoted from above article: “…Yellin described Netflix’s approach of having a separate kids area without a lock as “a well-lit cul-de-sac” that makes it easy to find kids-appropriate content without restricting access. “We don’t put up any high fences,” he said.”

Here’s a thought: WHY NOT LET PARENTS DECIDE WHERE AND HOW HIGH THE FENCE SHOULD BE? As a parent I find this attitude down right arrogant bordering on boorish. Does Netflix not hire anyone who is a parent to work on their software? Because anyone who is a parent gets this, stupid. I can see how if you’re not a parent you would not understand, none of us did till we had children!!!! I canceled my account tonight. Profiles!!! What a joke!

Tracey

You could just not use the profiles. You were obviously fine with the services BEFORE they were released! I agree that the parents should get to choose the degree to which content is restricted.

satisfiedcustomer

Waa, waa, waa, stop your crying. It’s new. It is to better your viewing experience. The program only knows what you tell it, so maybe, just maybe it was there because someone searched for it, or it was cross referenced from a somewhat similar show. Give it a chance to work out some kinks.

kathleenstetser

It doesn’t work. My kid’s profile can see new movies and TV shows that are not appropriate. My Name is Earl is not something for 12 or younger. Is that checkbox there just to make us feel like we are doing something?

john

Rejoice? Where is the password protection for each profile? I don’t want my kids using my profile.

me

Can they roll it out like today? I’ve needed this for over a year. I use Netflix web, on 360, and on the PS3.

invalidname

Roku too? That’s where I do my Netflix (prefer it over my Apple TV, actually)

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