Netflix (NYSE: NFLX) subscribers are about to experience a new interactive interface when using the online streaming media service on their televisions. After two years in development, the 16-year-old company launched the recent overhaul of its user interface, which allows viewers to find, share and view content more easily. Users who rely on Netflix as a heavy source of entertainment may be surprised the next time they log in to watch old episodes of "How I Met Your Mother."
“About 18 to 24 months ago, we took a hard look at Netflix’s TV experience,” said Chris Jaffe, the company’s Vice President of product innovation. “It was pretty active and required you to make judgments about what to watch.” Jaffe added that the goal of the new Netflix development was to create a more “lean back” experience.
The development process behind the new Netflix interface faced multiple challenges along the way, including storage issues, platform glitches and having adequate space to store program codes for software updates. Although the well-known Netflix experience remains the same, the new interface relies more heavily on images, which the company hopes will attract more viewers. It will also convey more details on why a particular title is being suggested. When viewers are watching episodes of a television show, for instance, Netflix will show specific images from each episode as well as a more detailed synopsis of the plot. Unlike before, the new Netflix look will include information about individual actors and directors.
"We wanted Netflix to get out of the way, and let all of this great content come through," Jaffe said.
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The site will also connect to social media sites like Facebook and allow users to share what they’re watching, while also recommending movies and television shows based on what their friends are enjoying. The Netflix redesign will take place over the next 14 days and will be available on the PS3, the PS4, Xbox 360, Roku 3, select Blu-ray players and certain smart TVs. It will not be available for the Xbox One or for Apple TV.
Netflix, which is widely considered to be one of the most successful web sites of all time, has almost 40 million users worldwide, with 30 million users in the United States alone. Netflix’s stock prices have also tripled this year.