Disney+ fixed one of the big gripes that fans have had since the streaming video service launched on November 12. Now, in addition to seeing home page categories like Originals and Recommended For You, you’ll also see a Continue Watching section. Before this change, the only way to resume an episode or a movie from where you left off, or find the next episode in a series, was to navigate to that title’s landing page.
The new Continue Watching section looks different depending on your platform. On the web, the section shows you a generic thumbnail for each movie or show episode you haven’t watched in its entirety, along with a timeline indicator along the bottom of the thumbnail that shows you approximately where you left off. On mobile apps, like Disney+ for iOS, the thumbnails are episode-specific, giving you a visual reminder of what you were watching.
As long as there are unwatched episodes left in a show, a thumbnail for that title will appear in Continue Watching. However, some viewers may find it disconcerting that a show will be removed from the list if you’ve watched every available episode.
This is the same system that Netflix uses, but because Netflix releases an entire season at once, a show won’t leave your Continue Watching list until you’ve completed the most recent season. With Disney+, new episodes for its Originals like The Mandalorian, are released weekly. This can cause the show to disappear from Continue Watching, even though the current season is still in progress.
It’s all the more jarring because Disney+ doesn’t employ Netflix’s uses of a “new episodes” badge on top of show thumbnails in its other homepage categories. So the only way to know if a new episode has been added is to look for the show in your Continue Watching feed or check the show’s landing page now and then. In some ways, this is just like have a DVR record new episodes from cable or satellite provider — you need to check to see if the recording happened.
Continue Watching was one of the most obvious missing features from Disney+ when it launched, but it’s far from the only one. Disney+ has been making a concerted effort to remedy them one by one: On November 22, it addressed a feature that was a prerequisite to the Continue Watching list — the ability to show a progress indicator on episodes or movies that were partially watched.
We’ve reached out to Disney+ to find out why these features weren’t part of the service’s debut and will update this post when we hear back.
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