Do not adjust your set. Netflix already is.
Netflix is launching a radical new look today designed to make Netflix on TVs a richer and more immersive experience.The new design, which was created specifically for the big screen, follows the official roll out of Netflix on Virgin Media set top boxes. The team-up between TiVo on Netflix was announced earlier this year, making the Internet TV service’s catalogue available in people’s living rooms through their standard cable boxes.
The deal came as some surprise, as Netflix’s range of original content (such as House of Cards) and exclusive acquisitions directly challenges the rule of existing TV giants such as Virgin Media. Indeed, Netflix members collectively already watch more than a billion hours of Netflix a month – most of which is on a TV. And Netflix clearly has its eye on everyone’s couches, announcing just last week a new string of original superhero TV series starring Marvel favourites such as Daredevil.
While Richard Branson is palling up with David Tennant in adverts to recruit more customers, then, Netflix is slipping onto Virgin’s boxes offering big little screen content at lower prices – and without adverts.
Who will benefit from the partnership is unclear. Will Netflix gain more subscribers? Will Virgin Media become a go-to access point for people in search of a streaming device? Will it give them a service to rival Sky’s NOW TV and BT Vision?
But one thing is certain: it’s happening.
Netflix’s trial run in September saw the service offered in 40,000 homes. In the next few days, it will be added to 1.8 million TiVo boxes across the country.
Virgin Premiere TV and VIP Collection customers can choose to have a six-month free trial with Netflix too, tempting viewers into the VOD habit, which costs £5.99 a month once hooked.
And what better way to impress new people than a fresh lick of digital paint? Netflix’s new TV interface features multiple cinematic images for each title along with a new, snappy description and more personalised detail on why Netflix suggests it. It will be added to all TV-connected devices simultaneously.
The new TV experience is delivered by a new Netflix software platform that runs efficiently on various devices, from low-powered set top boxes, recent models of Smart TVs and Blu-ray players to high-end game consoles. Previously, each device had its own Netflix experience, which meant features took longer to roll out across devices.
The new Netflix television experience launches today and will be available to all members globally within two weeks. Devices that will support the new experience include PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Roku 3, newer Smart TVs and recent Blu-ray players. (Additional devices, including other Roku boxes, will be added at a later date.)
“This is the biggest change to the Netflix experience on televisions in our history,” says Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt.
The question: will it be the biggest change in history to everything else?