Dear Netflix and Roku,

I know that parental control is really parents responsibility, and in our own hands, but let me make a quick suggestion to both of your companies, as I love your products, especially the combination of both combined is terrific.

I love that my kids are able to use the simple Roku remote to select their kids programs. Yes, I am perfectly happy with them doing this. And, no, the TV is not in their room, I am still there in the living room with them.

So here it goes, quite simple: Roku, you just started serving ads on the bottom of the Roku screen. Which is fine with me, but since those ads are on every home screen, it would be terrific if I could tailor those ads a bit more to my tastes. Bloody Halloween movie promos aren’t that appealing. Sure, I know, on TV in primetime I have to bear the same, but wouldn’t it be great, if I could get my ads a bit more tailored, perhaps similar to Pandora’s like and dislike selection. And push away ads that I don’t want to see anymore. Glenn Beck channel promos? It’s doesn’t get any scarier then that.

So, now I look to you Netflix. I know you had a rough summer. I forgive you. I really do. Without knowing that you would announce to split your company and later change that, I had just, literally a week before your announcement, cut my DVD-by-mail program and saved myself a few pennies every month and I am enjoying your streaming program immensely, especially as a parent. Your TV shows for Kids are great, love the selection and simplicity for kids to choose on the Roku.
I just recently have been back on your website and saw that you did an overhaul of the kids section and I applaude you for that. Great work.

So, here is my request to you. It would be terrific if one could deselect whole genres from your Roku main screen, thus allowing for more layers of actual stuff that I am interested in. I am not EVER interested in horror movies, or Sci-Fi. Nothing wrong with those genres, but I just don’t need to see them EVER in my line-up and I would be happy about that. Now, as we are on the deselecting idea, it would be great, if one could do this with movies and shows too. That purple dinosaur Barney might be a kids show, but my kids don’t need to know about it – ever.

I know these are picky requests and I am certainly not running a campaign on those, but I would LOVE if those features would be made available in some way or another.

Facebook has really given us a great taste of what it means to not just like something, but also to deselect and unlike something, thus allowing for much great customization of the personal user experience. Don’t like that ad on the side of my feed. Deselect, and I can even choose to give my opinion about it. My feed is full of my friends and pages I liked at some point. Don’t like what someone is posting, getting information overload, or disagreeing with someone? Fine I hide, un-friend, deselect and my life is back in balance. I love that, I really do.

As I am writing this, and I really had only a little letter to Roku and Netflix planned, I realize that is might be becoming the next thing we are looking in trying to tackle in the tech world. We’ve selected, and chosen and subscribed, and agreed to receive uncountable streams of information, pieces of content. Sure, it’s our own fault that we are in information overload. But wouldn’t it be great, if we could just say yes to something, but fine-tune and smartly deselect what we absolutely don’t want. This is not immediately overly complicated rating things, or putting people in useless circles. This is taking the basic approach of +1, yes I like that and applying it in reverse and say -1, no I hate this and will never want to see this again, this creating a finer tuned channel that understands us better and makes our life simpler. Or so I hope.