Friday, February 8, 2019 [Tweets] [Favorites]

#DeathToAutoPlay

Adam Engst:

Over at the New York Times, Brian X. Chen penned a thoroughly reasonable column explaining why advertisers use auto-play videos and some of the technical solutions for reducing their impact. Google Chrome tries to prevent them from playing based on your behavior, and Safari on the Mac, which Chen doesn’t mention, can also block them, either for a particular site or for all sites. And Firefox 66, due in March 2019, will mute all auto-playing videos.

The auto-play offense that has pushed me over the edge is Netflix’s Apple TV app, which auto-plays previews for movies and TV shows as you browse through Netflix’s library. Within 3 seconds of when you navigate to a show’s icon, it starts playing a preview for the show, complete with audio. It’s difficult even to read the show’s description in that amount of time, much less reflect on whether you might want to watch the show. As soon as the audio starts, it interrupts whatever thoughts might be going through your head (Josh Centers made this example video; it shows what he hears as his 5-year-old browses).

Update (2019-02-11): Nick Heers:

And here’s the thing: Netflix knows it drives people nuts. Last year, Dan Jackson of Thrillist cited several pieces pointing out just how awful and irritating and downright shitty this feature is. There’s a Twitter account dedicated to the terribleness of Netflix autoplay.

6 Comments

The auto-play offense that has pushed me over the edge is Netflix’s Apple TV app, which auto-plays previews for movies and TV shows as you browse through Netflix’s library. Within 3 seconds of when you navigate to a show’s icon, it starts playing a preview for the show, complete with audio

1000x this.

I think providing a decent cast list for shows would be more valuable than auto-playing previews.

Yeah the Netflix autoplay preview madness actually gets me to shut it down and give up looking for possible shows to watch - I cannot comprehend how the developers or whoever chose to implement it didn't see how bloody annoying would be is in practice.

PS. Auto-play seems to be on all platform apps as it happens for me via Playstation (3) app and on Mac via web browser

Charles Parnot

Yeah, also on the amazon thingie. At least on the Mac you can turn off the sound.

I hated when Netflix started autoplaying an enticement loop. It made me attempt to make my decision within the 3 seconds and click next before that time.
Glad to hear other people feel the same.

I can't understand why browsers can't stop all video. I don't want to use my CPU and internet bandwidth for this. I can ALWAYS click play if I choose to watch a video--- including on youtube.

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