Two clicks and he's watching the same episode at 4K on any platform he well likes, with no spyware running on his machine.
I just gave up on Netflix because of this, but not because I actually use a "VPN." It's because my ISP doesn't provide native IPv6 support so I use a tunnel from Hurricane Electric's TunnelBroker service. A couple of years ago, Netflix published AAAA records in DNS and decided that HE's IPv6 service is a "VPN" so they block it.
I made do with forwarding *.netflix.com in my usual DNS server to another DNS server configured to not return any AAAA records but that only works about 80% of the time now and I've had to do even more drastic things (like forcing a DNAT rule for anything heading out on port 53 to be rewritten to my own DNS server to avoid the apps getting "clever" and just querying whomever they like in spite of my DHCP server's config) to the point that I gave up. Hulu and iTunes don't give me crap so I just use them.
If its not there I'll pirate without hesitation. The only inconvenience is the time it takes to drag my laptop to the HDMI cable on the TV.
I use it on occasion instead of doing the 2 minute search dance.
A few seconds later, the video fades in and the episode starts playing! I didn't even notice it and kind of started watching the episode, but then realized that I hadn't actually started it myself!
Netflix almost roped me into watching an episode even though I didn't explicitly ask them to, and that seems very manipulative to me.
They must know by now how many people hate this, but they refuse to let users disable it. If you CC their general counsel and point out that it raises access barriers for users with attention or anxiety disorders, they might actually do something.
Or perhaps management already knows and deliberately makes these decisions based on internal metrics and HN folks are essentially a non-existent blip on their radar...
EDIT: I also regularly leave feedback using the ? button (only available in Watch mode) but it seems to go unread. I don't even get an email "we take your feedback seriously and will look into this" which other sites tend to provide.
1. It struck me at some point that Netflix UI is carefully designed to hide the fact on how little content they really have now. If you go into different genres at times there are barely 40-50 things you can watch (sometimes much lesser). They have lost a ton of items from their catalog (A queue I had which had ~85 items has dropped to 3 items without me removing anything because of shows / movies being removed). If you think of content that in the past would be > 4 stars, you will see most categories have <5 titles that fall under this criteria.
2. Netflix UI is now optimized only for surfacing the 3-4 new shows they launched this month.
3. The autoplay feature (with an impossibly short hover timeout ) appears to be an output of a quantitative metric based engagement maximization process. I suspect they have some charts internally which measure engagement and this specific design hits some local optimum there.
4. Lastly, as a world cinema movie buff I do not think I am the audience anymore. The long tail of delightful movies from across the world is long gone.
I wish them well, they were immensely educational when I first moved to the US. Growing up in India I never had the means to see cinema from across the world, so a service that would allow me to go through various best movies lists and see them two movies a week at a time was magical.
I'm sure they are. And as long as Netflix posts above-estimated profits and/or revenues, it doesn't matter one wit. (whit?)