If new plans from Netflix are successful, the streaming giant may have found a way to make finding your next binge-worthy TV series much easier. Today Netflix officially released its new rating system, which replaces the longstanding star system with a simple “thumbs up/thumbs down” solution.
Users will no longer rate movies and TV shows on the service with a sliding five-star rating. Instead, they’ll give the show or movie a “thumbs up” or a “thumbs down,” which Netflix says translates into “this one’s for me” or “this one’s not for me.”
More importantly, those star ratings will no longer appear on shows and movies you haven’t yet watched. Instead, you’ll see a percentage, which indicates how much Netflix feels the program appeals to your specific tastes.
That change is the real key to the new system. Although the stars have been around for more than a decade, most users failed to understand what they actually meant.
When browsing Netflix before , you may have come across a show with a 1-star rating. That rating didn’t come from critics, a la Rotten Tomatoes. Instead, it was Netflix’s prediction of what rating you personally would give the show.
Your neighbor or a friend might have come across the same show and seen a 5-star rating. Again, that’s because the rating reflected how much Netflix thought each person would enjoy it.
The new percentage matches make this much easier to understand. And the “thumbs down” rating essentially brings back a feature many users (myself included) had sorely been missing: the “Not Interested” rating.
For years, the Netflix star ratings had a secondary option titled “Not Interested.” It was handy when shows or movies would appear on your homepage or in your recommendations that you knew without even watching that you would not like.
Now, you can click “thumbs down” on a show or movie whether you’ve seen it or not. Doing so will remove the selection from your homepage and recommendations, although it can always be found by searching.
It’s a big change, especially if you’re a Netflix power user like myself who actually did understand the star system and literally spent hours rating shows and movies in order to better personalize the experience.
Fortunately, that time wasn’t completely wasted; Netflix says it will still utilize users’ prior star ratings to suggest content for them.