Netflix Now Testing a Random Button Option

The next time you just want to watch an episode of The Office but have no specific Michael Scott mishap in mind, Netflix will do the picking for you. The streaming giant confirmed on Friday it is testing a random button option with a select few series, including the NBC favorite.

AndroidPolice noticed the option in the latest update for Netflix's Android app. The option is listed in the playback controls, where you can find a "random episode" label. It makes a shuffle icon appear on a show title, under a section called "Play a Popular Episode."

The screenshot AndroidPolice posted shows the option available for New Girl, The Office, Arrested Development and Netflix's new documentary series Our Planet.

Netflix later confirmed the test in a statement to Variety.

"We are testing the ability for members to play a random episode from different TV series on the Android mobile app," a spokesperson told the outlet. "These tests typically vary in length of time and by region, and may not become permanent."

The test comes less than a month after Netflix VP of product Todd Yellin hinted at an option to watch episodes out-of-order.

"How about anthologies? How about something like Chef's Table?" Yellin told reporters. "You don't have to watch it in the order that we tell you to."

Yellin specifically noted that its animated science fiction anthology series Love, Death + Robots could be watched in any order. Netflix tested four different episode orders for viewers. The episode order does not impact the story, since each episode has a self-contained plot.

"We've never had a show like Love, Death + Robots before so we're trying something completely new: presenting four different episode orders," Netflix told one user on Twitter in March. "The version you're shown has nothing to do with gender, ethnicity, or sexual identity — info we don't even have in the first place."

The random episode order is not the only change for Netflix this week. Many users discovered that the price hike to $12.99 for the standard package is now going into effect. The premium plan jumped from $14 to $16, while the basic package climbed from $8 to $9.

Netflix users also have a new crop of shows to check out this weekend, including the documentary Brené Brown: The Call to Courage, Cuckoo Season 5, Music Teacher, Samantha! Season 2 and Grass Is Greener, a documentary about marijuana use in the U.S.


Netflix has tested several options before that often earn user outcry and are never heard from again. In December, the streaming giant tested an "instant replay" feature that gave users the options to re-watch their favorite scenes from shows and movies instantly. The feature did not last after people complained about it.

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