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E3 2013: Netflix Announces Multiple User Profiles on Shared Accounts

By Tyler McCarthy | Jun 12, 2013 11:30 AM EDT

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A federal court has shot down FCC rules that would ensure net neutrality. Will this force sites like Netflix to pay more money for quality services? (Photo : Netflix)

One of the best things about Netflix, the popular streaming movie and television service, which gives its users access to an extensive library of titles, is the fact that it can track viewer preferences far better than the dreaded Nielsen ratings system.

In other words, Netflix can see what people are watching, when they are watching it and what they are watching it on. This means the service can look at your preferences and make recommendations for shows and movies based on your personal taste.

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Unfortunately, Netflix's best feature is having a bit of a logistical problem. A Netflix subscription, for many, is only worth the price as a family deal. That means on one account, several people with several different television and movie tastes are having their viewing tracked and getting recommendations based on the variety ensues.

According to Endgadget, at a press event at E3 2013, Vice President of Product Innovation for Netflix, Todd Yellin announced user profiles. Now, if your mother is a big fan of the "Dick Van Dyke" show, her recommendations won't be messing up your personal recommendations for, say, "Star Trek."

Both are great shows, but both far too different for the Netflix recommendation system to adequately tailor to a single account. Now several individual accounts with personal recommendations can stream from one account, independent of the other user's tastes.

If you have to worry about monitoring a child's activity, each profile can be age locked in order to ensure a parent can monitor their child's Netflix consumption to only the "Netflix Kids" hub. The service should begin offering this feature sometime this summer.

Netflix has been taking steps to become a more self-sufficient entertainment system. It has released original content like the successful "House of Cards" series and the recent revamp of "Arrested Development" for a fourth season. The hope is user profiles will allow the company to make better recommendations and operate on the most accurate ratings system in television.

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