An end to awkward Netflix questions: Streaming Profiles coming soon

What's wrong with this picture? Credit: Source: Netflix

My girlfriend and I get along really well and a lot of the time our tastes overlap. But not all of the time. She enjoys romance novels and I do not. She likes binging on re-runs of Dark Shadows and other vampire shows and movies, and I do not.

This is a problem when it comes to our shared media accounts. For instance we both use the same Amazon account because if I buy a Kindle book I want her to be able to read it. We also share a Netflix account because, well, why would we pay for two? But sharing an account means sharing recommendations and that can cause some frustration for both of us.

I don't want Amazon suggesting I read a bodice ripper and she probably doesn't want the company suggesting she'll enjoy the latest hyper-violent video game. But there's not much we can do about it, so both of us just disregard Amazon's suggestions.

For now, the same is true of Netflix. Our Instant Queue is like a symbolic tug-of-war between our viewing preferences. Plus there are certain shows we both watch but not at the same time and there's always the issue of overwriting the other person's 'bookmark' in a show or season. I can't even imagine how much worse this problem becomes in a household where the kids are watching Disney movies and dad is watching Bikini Spring Break. Awkward or what?

(I grabbed that title more or less at random and started it in order to get it into my Netflix UI to take the screenshot at the top of this post. Be warned that it is NSFW!!)

But finally there's good news. Netflix has announced that user profiles should arrive by the end of the summer. Every Netflix account will be able to have 5 or 6 (that number is still to be determined) separate profiles, and each profile will have its own viewing history and set of recommendations. You can lock a profile so the kids can't get into it, too.

Netflix announced this news at E3 (odd choice of venue, no?) and Yahoo News picked up the story, as did Engadget. Neither outlet mentioned separate Instant Queues but let's hope that was just an oversight. Not including separate queues would be silly.

With any luck Amazon will copy this functionality sooner rather than later, since they seem quite determined to draw off some of Netflix's streaming traffic. And if they do also introduce profiles, I'm hoping they'll be applicable to all of Amazon and not just the streaming video portion of the site. It'd be nice to have relevant recommendations once again.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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