Netflix has added a new section called “Latest” to its TV apps, and it’s the one place where auto-play preview videos feel welcome. The section, which you can access through the app’s left sidebar, has just three rows: one for Netflix’s new releases, another for this week’s upcoming releases, and another for what’s coming next week. For those upcoming releases, you can set reminders to watch them when they arrive.
Speaking to Variety, Netflix director of product innovation Cameron Johnson said the new section was kind of like seeing trailers at the movie theater, noting that people “love that experience.” And he’s right. Strictly in the context of new and upcoming releases, seeing a preview video—and having it play automatically as you scroll over each selection—feels useful. You’ve navigated to that section because you want to be informed about what’s coming to Netflix, so rolling a trailer without any extra interaction makes sense.
By comparison, the auto-play previews in Netflix’s main menu feel like an intrusion, blasting out audio even when you’re just taking a moment to think or talk to the other people in the room. Those previews probably help boost engagement, especially for the originals that Netflix really wants you to watch instead of licensed material, but they’re also widely despised.
With any luck, the Latest section will prompt Netflix to rethink forcing auto-play elsewhere, or at least give us an option to turn it off.