Trax: Netflix tightens up its algorithms …

I bought a new “smart” TV … and it came with a 6-month free subscription to Netflix steaming service.


In concept, the streaming concept is a cool idea, except for:

  1. The “loading” message brings a movie to a halt when the “cache” gets full, needs to be emptied, and more content has to stream in.
  2. The limited streaming library … I thought I’d get access to practically every movie ever made … not so, by a long shot.
  3. The goofy recommendations for what I’d like to view next.

#3 surprised me since Netflix have invested heavily in systems to figure out what we want to to see.


Here’s what’s going on and what Netflix is doing about it …


It’s true that Netflix takes its suggestions seriously

That’s why a large team among the 800 engineers working at Netflix focuses on improving the service’s personalization features.

Back in 2007, the company even paid a team of outside programmers a $1 million prize for coming up with an improved algorithm.

With a few tweaks, the formulas developed by the outsiders were incorporated into the Netflix service, where they remain today.

So, what’s the problem?

Well, Netflix’s suggestion machine works well for an individual – tracking his or her viewing behavior.

But, families screw up the system.

For example, my granddaughter likes animated Disney movies, my son likes semi-obscure documentaries, I like 1970’s vintage Mannix and Hawaii-Five-O.

Since I’m the registered user, Netflix is more likely to serve up Bambi than Mission Impossible.

Understandable since their computer is trying to make sense of a mash-up of 3 different viewing interests.

To remedy the situation, Netflix is introducing a personalization service,

Click an icon and it’ll remember which family member you are and tailor recommendations accordingly.

For more, see Netflix’s New ‘My Profile’ Feature Means Fewer Outrageously Bad Recommendations

Might work.

I’ll let you know when Bambi disappears from my suggestions’ list.

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One Response to “Trax: Netflix tightens up its algorithms …”

  1. Mike Cirrito Says:

    I got apple tv to get past the buffering that came w watching netflix through my smart tv. Its $99 well spent.

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