Netflix to launch user profiles later this summer

Netflix subscribers will be able to to add multiple user profiles later this summer.

by Jason Gilbert | @YahooTech

LOS ANGELES -- Sharing your Netflix account with a friend or lover who has dramatically different taste in movies than you do? Soon, there will be no need to worry about getting your Netflix recommendations all mixed up with theirs.

Netflix will allow subscribers to set multiple user profiles on a single account starting later this summer, according to Netflix VP of Product Innovation Todd Yellin. Now in testing but expected to launch by the end of August, the service will either five or six (that's still up in the air) different users store their taste preferences on one account, so that Netflix's data engine can serve up personalized recommendations for family members or roommates sharing a single Netflix subscription.

The company is showing off a prototype of the multiple profiles here at the E3 gaming conference in Los Angeles. When you fire up Netflix -- and you've elected to enable multiple profiles -- you'll be met with a start screen that shows avatars for the different users of your accounts. You click on the avatar of the person that's using the account, and you'll be taken into that user profile, with preferences and recommendations unique to that person's viewing history.

Yellin showed Yahoo News a prototype of the start screen, with different avatars for different members of a single family; he stressed, however, that the look and feel of the screen is still in testing, and that the final product could appear differently when rolled out later this summer.

Netflix will still only allow two users to stream on the same account simultaneously. The multiple profile feature is for separating recommendations and social sharing to each individual family member or roommate.

Also in the works for Netflix is a remote control feature that will power on your television and allow you to control your Netflix app via iPhone or Android through your Wi-Fi connection. Netflix, along with YouTube, is working on convincing television manufacturers to implement a technological standard that allows this technology to work on all TVs, and an executive hopes that the standard will be universal in two to five years.

Netflix's multiple user profiles have been in beta testing for several months. If all goes according to plan, the feature will roll out to all Netflix subscribers by summer's end.