|Netflix Unveils New TV Mission|
|By JOANNA STERN (@joannastern)||Nov 12, 2013, 7:01 PM|
The days of going into a video rental store, browsing for a good VHS or DVD by reading the back of the box and then taking it home are clearly over. There won't even be any company-owned Blockbuster's to visit next year.
But the days of browsing for something good to watch certainly aren't over, and Netflix wants to make it easier for you to find movies or videos that you might like. The streaming video company announced today a new look for its TV interface that will make it simpler for subscribers to find and browse content or make "smarter choices," as Netflix VP of Product Innovation Chris Jaffe says.
The new, more visual interface displays more information about the recommended movies or TV shows. It features three rotating images from the movie or TV show, a shorter synopsis and some other highlights that might interest you, including whether your friends have watched and whether the title has won any awards.
In short, it's a lot more than just a movie poster.
"It's about Netflix getting out of the way and letting the user connect with the movie or TV show," Jaffe said. "We've been testing with 200,000 users and the result is that they watch more."
The search function has also been updated to be more eye-pleasing. So instead of text-based results, you'll now see a visual grid of tiles. The kids-experience section has also been spruced up, making it easier for children to find videos with their favorite characters.
The new interface is also speedier, especially on lower-powered devices such as Blu-ray players and the Roku box.
The new Netflix TV experience will be available on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, as well as on new Smart TVs, Blu-ray players and the Roku 3 box. It will begin rolling out today to some of those devices and be available globally in two weeks.
The new design won't, however, be available on the Xbox One or the Apple TV because those devices require different templates based on Microsoft and Apple's respective requirements.
But the new features are a notable part of the thriving company's strategy to get you to watch more and watch content you really like, no matter what device you are on.
"This is a TV-focused experience, though some of the high level themes could translate well to the apps and the websites," Jaffe said. "You shouldn't be surprised if we went in that direction."