Netflix is bringing a major update to its streaming video app for televisions, with an emphasis on imagery and personalized recommendations.
In the new design, the grid of movie and video choices no longer takes up the majority of the screen. Instead, Netflix presents shows two rows of navigation tiles along the bottom. The top section now shows an image from the movie or show you’re looking at, along with a description.
The description itself isn’t too much different, showing a short blurb, star rating, runtime and other info. But now, Netflix is adding a second blurb that tells you why it’s recommended this particular movie or show. It could be because it involves an actor or director you like, or it might just be similar to other things you’ve watched in the past. And if you’ve connected Netflix with Facebook, recommendations could be based on your social network as well.
The design also brings a few new features to Netflix’s TV app: Profiles, which launched in August on the web, allow multiple users on a single account to get their own recommendations, and search will now apply to actors and directors as well as movie titles. Netflix’s Xbox 360 app will now support voice search, and the app for Smart TVs will support pointer-based navigation.
Netflix says the update will roll out over the next two weeks for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Roku 3, and “new and future” smart TVs and Blu-ray players. An update for older Roku boxes is coming early next year, and some recent smart TVs and Blu-ray players could get updated at the whim of hardware makers. The Verge reports that Microsoft’s Xbox One is getting its own custom-made app following the “Metro” design aesthetic, and the Apple TV’s look and feature set will stay the same.
The goal of the redesign is to draw people into shows they may not have considered before. This could be useful for Netflix as it continues to push its original programming.