Netflix Gets Fancy New Web Video Player, Lures Old Subscribers Back

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It seems like the last time we checked in on Netflix, it wasn’t doing too well. Its shares were plunging, competitors were popping up everywhere and Qwikster was shorthand for corporate cluelessness. Today, however, things are looking up.

Take Netflix’s shiny new web video player. It’s a lot more efficient when it comes to space, stretching video to fit the full-size of your web browser and putting all of the controls on a single bar that pops up whenever you move your mouse over it.

From that menu, you can preview additional episodes while watching a show, an especially useful feature for TV binges or when you realize you’ve already seen the episode you’re watching. All of the functions are now represented with large icons instead of text, making for a less cluttered panel.

Unobtrusive overlays also let you return to browsing and remind you what you’re watching with very little effort. Want to watch something in the corner of your screen while talking on Gchat? The new player will resize the video automatically to fit your browser window.

Netflix has warned that the player has problems running on Chrome for OS X thanks to issues with Microsoft Silverlight, but I tried it and it seemed to work fine.

Apparently Netflix’s new technology won’t go unappreciated. According to TechCrunch, Netflix CFO David Wells told people at a JP Morgan conference in Boston that a third of the company’s new subscribers were people who had left after the Qwikster debacle and price hike.

Obviously, Netflix still has a few hurdles to overcome, namely getting more quality content for its streaming service. Still, the fact that people are coming back to the service is a good sign that Netflix has a quality product that some people just can’t live without.

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