Saturday, August 5, 2023

A Few Suggestions for Streaming Services

In 2006 Amazon launched Amazon Unbox, a streaming service renamed Amazon on Demand in 2008 and currently known as Prime Video. In 2007 Netflix, originally a DVD-by-mail company, launched its streaming service. It's for that reason I have been using various streaming service since around 2008. What is more, I am always subscribed to at least one streaming service, usually more. Having used streaming services for around 15 years and having used them quite a lot, I have then given thought to how they could be better. Here, then, are a few suggestions for streaming services on how they could improve things.

Allow Users: to Disable Autoplay: I am sure everyone is familiar with the concept of autoplay on streaming services, whereby the next episode of a television show begins playing as soon as the previous episode ends. While this feature may be handy for those who binge watch shows and don't want to constantly be hitting the "play" button, for those of who prefer to watch one episode at a time it is a petty annoyance. Now some streaming services do allow users to disable autoplay. Hulu, Max, and Paramount+ all have a place in their settings where users can disable it. Unfortunately, others do not. Tubi has no way to disable autoplay, so that one has to quickly hit the "back" button before it goes onto the next episode. Amazon is even worse. It will start a countdown measured in seconds in the middle of the closing credits and one has to be quick on the "back" button to stop it from going onto the next episode. As far as I am concerned, all streaming services should have a way to disable autoplay. It is the one feature I hate the most in streaming services.

Give Users a "Not Interested" Button for Recommendations: A long time ago Netflix had a "not interested" button, whereby users could simply dismiss recommendations they weren't interested in. Unfortunately, Netflix did a way with the "not interested" button years ago and, insofar as I know, have never restored it. Quite frankly, I think every streaming service should have a "not interested" button. David Zaslav will probably hate me for this, but I will never watch 90 Day Fiancé or any of TLC's other "reality" shows on Max. It would be nice to have a  "not interested" button to where I never have to see them recommended to me again.

Allow Users to Hide the "Skip Credits" Button: I am sure many of you who use streaming services have encountered this. You are watching the opening credits of a television show and a "Skip Credits" button shows up in the lower right hand corner or somewhere else on the screen. Now I love the opening credits of television shows. I will actually go on YouTube to watch some of my favourite opening credits (Batman, Mad Men, The X-Files, and so on). I never want to skip the credits, even on those rare occasions when I am watching multiple episodes of a TV show. Despite this, there is still that "Skip Credits" button in the corner of the screen, often obscuring part of the credits. Personally, I would just as soon be able to hide the button entirely.

Sections for Classic Movies and Classic Television Shows: Now many streaming services have sections for classic movies and classic TV shows. Unfortunately, many do not. As a fan of older movies and TV shows, I would appreciate a section for classic movies and a section for classic TV shows on every streaming service I use. This would make things much easier when I want to watch a classic movie or classic TV show, but I am not quite sure what I want to watch. After all, streaming services generally have sections for the various genres (Comedy, Drama, Action, et. al.).

Better Search: Now all streaming services allow one to search by title. A few even let one search by actor or director. If it were up to me, every single streaming services would allow one to search by actor or director. What is more, when searching for actors it should bring up all of their credits, even in movies where their parts are small. I remember quite a while back I searched for my dearest Vanessa Marquez on HBO Max and nothing came up, even though Stand and Devlier (1988) was on the platform. Now, given how large Vanessa's role is in Stand and Deliver, she should always come up in searches for the film.

Anyway, for the past 15 years I have enjoyed streaming services. As much as I love them though, I do wish they were a little bit better.

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