#DeathToAutoPlay—No More Audio and Video That Plays Automatically!

(Adam Engst) #1

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2019/02/06/deathtoautoplay-no-more-audio-and-video-that-plays-automatically/

It’s time to take a stand. We’re sick and tired of apps (Netflix!) and Web sites (CNN!) assaulting our ears and eyes with audio and video that starts playing on its own, without so much as a by your leave. Let’s fight back.

(Alan Forkosh) #2

Although you can turn post play off, Netflix still shrinks the credit screen to microscopic levels to display buttons to manually go to the next episode. I NEVER want to do that.l I DO want to see the credits for the supporting actors. At least when similar things happen in Prime Video, you can rewind a few seconds and you don’t get the shrinking behavior. No such luck with Netflix.

Video providers–you’re already getting my money. Let me watch ads the creators intended.

(Adam Engst) #3

Ooo, yeah, I hate that too with movies, where I also like to see the credits. I think you can swipe up to select that thumbnail and then tap the touchpad to expand it. But I’d need to try it to be sure (and it’s relatively fussy to do).

(Robert Brenstein) #4

When I click on the reduced play window in Netflix, it gets big again and stays so until the end.

Admittedly, I haven’t tried this in their newest software.


(Alan Forkosh) #5

The problem is that the swipe up takes a few seconds and you miss part of the sequence. For a recent series I watched it was the last few main cast members and some of the supporting cast. As I said, on Amazon, you can see those by backing up, but Netflix simply repeats the shrink down at the same place.

(Christopher Stone) #6

Amen to that!

Abused is more to the point.

The industries using these tactics are taking assault up to aggravated assault.


(Adam Engst) #7

And we need to do something about it. As an early reviewer of that article said:

It’s odd, don’t you think, that it feels impolite to provide feedback to services we pay for? How did we get here? They’re not doing us a favor, yet we adopt an obsequious posture and genuflect to our vendor.

So yeah, let’s call Netflix, and keep calling them. Every call costs them money.

(Ray Kloss) #8

And Netflix on the AppleTV always starts up with a loud, reverberating “BONG!” That is always startling. Hate that

(Adam Engst) #9

That’s pretty new (along with the left-hand sidebar that I can never quite get out of), and I agree, it’s jarring and unnecessary.

Maybe we need to lobby for an amendment to the CALM Act.

(Will M) #10

Adam, I have been reading TidBITS since the HyperCard days, and you are invariably a voice of reason—until now. It is worse than you make it out to be!

Seriously, once a web site starts making noise at me without my asking, I close that tab. Period. As far as I know, there is nothing that any web site will offer me that I want badly enough to listen to anything that starts automatically.

(Adam Engst) #11

Man, even when I go all out with calling auto-play videos “so blatant, so patently offensive, so callously disrespectful of our time and attention” it’s not enough! :slight_smile:

I’m all for the technical solutions in the browsers, but I think we need to make it clear to the companies doing this stuff that we’re not just going to ignore them anymore. Get that shortcut working for any company you see doing this and let’s make them rack up support costs dealing with our outrage.

(John Burt) #12

Credits can be found on IMDB.com. I quite often have it open when I am watching a show or movie. Unfortunately, they now have autoplay videos which are so bad they force the page to reset and reload on my iPhone.


Netflix spent two years of research and mega bucks on developing their new intro logo, and decided to keep the bong:


(gastropod) #14

I just killed netflix. I usually subscribe for the four or five dark months, but this year they were autoplaying at me in the web interface. I had to click very carefully to not trigger random things to start, so I bailed in the first week. If I’d known what customer service calls cost, I’d have done that!

I’ve also discovered that our public library has not one but three video streaming services, all of which have much better content (for me) than netflix. Access (mostly educational), Hoopla and Kanopy. Genuine old movies instead of remakes, lots of PBS and BBC.

I like Safari’s universal kill autoplay, but it doesn’t go far enough. Things don’t play, but they do keep loading, tying up my miserable DSL throughput. Naturally it’s the obnoxious ones that want to fill huge buffers. If I can’t completely kill videos on a site with 1Blocker or little snitch, I don’t go there any more.

(G. Douglas Eddy) #15

Thank you for a great article and discussion. Very informative and helpful. I like MacWorld, having subscribed for years, but find the intrusion of the stupid videos distracting and disrespectful. So I check it quickly and have not resubscribed because of it.

Thanks again. Calling Netflix Customer support makes a lot of sense - we are asking their support to remove an annoyance, right?!

(John Burt) #16

I don’t know if it works on Netflix auto-play previews, but in many places the space bar acts as a pause/play toggle.

(The reason I don’t know is because I usually watch on my iPhone, which does not auto-play. I also limit my live viewing to 1/2 hr shows.)

(Adam Engst) #17

In fact, Netflix’s iOS apps are the nicest to use because of the lack of auto-play. I’m talking about the Apple TV app here.

(Frans Moquette) #18

Netflix has absolutely the worst UI I have ever seen. OK, almost the worst UI, my employer’s internal system cannot be beat, by anything.

I too dislike the auto-playing videos. I dislike the totally disorganized display of tiles. I always have a hard time finding my list and continue watching titles.

The most irritating, and completely worthless, interface is search. It never finds the movie I’m looking for, instead displaying titles that have absolute nothing to do with what I searched for.

I’m talking about the Apple TV app here too.

I’m hoping Apple’s streaming service to be will be better. Can’t be that hard.

(Matt McCaffrey) #19

So, I’m not the only one raging at Netflix. I’m using it through my Roku box, but it’s the same behavior.

What kind of rodent have I become?—trying to browse through a set of thumbnails in my watchlist, stopping on a spot and then hurrying along again so I don’t trigger the autoplay preview. What’s worse for me, is that clicking on a thumbnail to view the current episode’s description starts autoplaying the episode itself. That’s just freakin’ obnoxious.

Hate it, hate it, hate it.

I will install the apps you mentioned, @ace, I will call Customer Service and burn their receipt of my monthly fee. I will Tweet at them, even though I seldom look at or use my Twitter account.

I shall fight on the beaches, I shall fight on the landing pages, I shall fight on the watchlists and in the favorites lists; I shall never surrender!
—what I imagine Winston Churchill would have said about this intolerable situation

(Though it’s worth mentioning: the Netflix app on my TiVo client box doesn’t have autoplay previews.)

(Adam Engst) #20

Well said! I noted this in a reply to another TidBITS reader on Twitter, but it seems like more and more, the big tech companies are treating users like lab rats. If they give us just enough food and keep moving the maze walls around, we’ll never figure out how to settle down.

Let’s keep calling Netflix and telling them that we don’t want to be forced into jittery interfaces that are constantly yelling at us and shifting underfoot.