Every other week or so, I sort through Netflix’s immense library looking for titles to alert you to on this site, in my “5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available And May Want To Check Out” posts, which have proven to be some of the most popular (which is, in part, why I continue to publish them). They tend to go viral, as film fans, overwhelmed and frustrated by the lack of an efficient, expedient ways to find worthwhile films and TV shows to watch, routinely share their appreciation for these posts, encouraging me (often directly, with emails) to continue doing them.
I understand, as a Netflix subscriber who also sometimes gets just as exasperated by the service – a service I certainly appreciate, and spend a lot of time on, by the way.
To assist in my own searches for content, I lean on sites like InstantWatcher.com, which highlights what titles are trending on Netflix at any given moment, nationwide (regardless of your personal preferences and watching habits), as well as new titles worth checking out. It’s useful, although I use it in concert with Netflix’s recommendations to me when I log into the site, as well as my own direct digging through the service’s library, beyond what it recommends that I watch.
But I was recently introduced to another application that could prove to be a valuable tool to help on those days when you’d like to stream something on Netflix, but really have no specific idea what that film or TV show is. That’s when you’d open up Netflix Roulette on your laptop screen, and go hunting.
In short, as the title suggests, the service returns random choices to you, based on a short list of criteria you enter. For example, you could choose – or not choose – a genre, star rating, director or actor’s name, keyword (1, some or all of them together), and indicate whether you’re looking for a movie or a TV show or both. Then click the “Spin” button, and let the application’s algorithms take it from there. The site then spits out a movie or TV show, and you can choose to watch it, or spin the wheel again, while changing up the criteria.
You can say that you want to watch a horror movie, with a rating of at least 4 stars, click the “Spin” button, the algorithm goes to work, and returns a title (it can only do 1 at a time, which I think is actually a good thing).
You could also tell it that you want to watch films with Don Cheadle in them, rated less than 3 stars, and viola.
Problem solved right?
Well, not-so fast.
As excited I was initially by the idea, as I used the site, I found out that it’s not quite ready for primetime just yet, and needs some fine-tuning. There were times when I entered broad enough specifications, only for it to return nothing. Or it returns the same film over and over. It seems to work indiscriminately, which has been my experience, which is obviously a problem (although others say that it’s working perfectly for them). So I asked those who have used it far longer than I have, and those in-the-know, about these problems, to be told that, with the site growing in popularity, the rapid increase in traffic it’s been getting has been causing problems. I’m told that fixes are ongoing, so it should improve over time.
But maybe if/when you use it, you won’t encounter any of the random problems I’ve experienced myself. Reviews are varied, with some people absolutely loving it, others loathing it, and everything between.
There certainly are other applications out there to help you narrow down your Netflix options, but this is one that I kept hearing about the most, which is why I decided to try it for myself, and why I’m mentioning it here. Consider it just another tool for you to utilize during your streaming video search.
So it’s not necessarily a strong recommendation, but just something for you to check out on your own, which may or may not work for you: http://netflixroulette.net/.
There’s also a Netflix Roulette mobile application for your phone or pad.