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Netflix rolls out updated, smarter TV interface

The world will view Netflix a bit differently after the next few weeks. The company announced the roll out of a more streamlined TV interface that will unite viewing experiences across the board.

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Netflix TV viewers will soon see a more streamlined interface and intuitive suggestions when they go to watch "Orange is the New Black".

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Currently if you’re watching Netflix via your Roku 3 set-top box, it’s going to look different than your neighbor watching Netflix via a Playstation 3.

That will all change in the next two weeks as Netflix rolls out its new TV interface globally. The move aims to make the user experience for the 37.6 million Netflix subscribers worldwide more streamlined and intuitive.

Design-wise, the look is a bit cleaner. Gone are the poster-style static covers and click-to-reveal information. The top half of TV screens will offer a visual masthead that rotates three screenshots of the show, with a quick plot description; the bottom half features suggestions of other TV shows and movies. Episode guides have evolved to a more complex list with screenshot thumbnails and a short synopsis.

Aside from aesthetics, for those who rely on internal algorithms to assist in deciding what to watch next, the new interface is far more advanced.

"We want discovery to be richer," says Chris Jaffe, vice president of product innovation at Netflix to USA Today. "I knew one of my personal frustrations was I felt like today's Netflix experience didn't give me enough reasons for why I should watch this vs. that."

Mr. Jaffe is referring to the new “evidence” feature that will accompany any title selection. Suggestions will appear below the video synopsis with accompanying explanations as to why a particular show or movie is being suggested. If a friend shared a recent episode of "Portlandia", the person’s recommendation would be the evidence. If "Sons of Anarchy" popped up, it would explain based on your recent viewing of "Hell’s Angels on Wheels". If you pull up a wild card title, the space will feature the awards and recognitions the movie or TV show has earned.

The search function is also refined: show results and creative personnel will share the results page, and Netflix added a predictive search, allowing users to get at search results after just typing in a few characters.

When the rollout is complete, Netflix told the AP, more than 50 percent of Netflix users will view the new interface. However, Apple TV, the upcoming Xbox One, and Wii will keep their specific interfaces for now.

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The majority of Netflix’s 5 billion hours of streaming over July, August, and September of this year came from TV streaming, according to the AP. And that likely won't let up: on the heels of successful Netflix-original shows such as "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black," Netflix will be releasing its first original documentary next year, plus an original series created by Marvel in 2015.


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