Netflix is rolling out an update for its apps on TVs and media players today. The big news is that movies and TV series automatically start playing in the background once you click on a title. Netflix believes that it helps improve the user experience.
Auto-play on TVs
The update is an extension of the user interface that Netflix introduced on Smart TVs and media players in 2013. Most things will look unchanged but there is one major change.
Click on for example Orange is the New Black and the video will start auto-playing in the background (from the beginning or from where you stopped last time) with text overlay on top. If you like what you see you can just sit back and start watching. The text will fade out after a short time. See the animated gif below.
- “We’re letting the content speak for itself by providing a more immersive and cinematic experience that best represents the capabilities and expectations of today’s TVs,” wrote Netflix.
Netflix has been testing the new video function with select users for several months now and has found it to be succesful. The company says that it improves the user experience and that auto-play makes it easier and faster to learn more about new TV shows. It also increases viewing time. Netflix demonstrated the new function to FlatpanelsHD for the first time at CES in January, and it looked convincing.
The company also recently updated the user interface for web browsers.
Netflix has already started rolling out the update and it should reach all supported devices within a few days.
A list of supported products is not yet available but it appears to work on recent Smart TVs that are based on the user interface introduced in 2013, meaning Samsung’s Tizen, LG’s webOS, Panasonic’s Firefox OS as well as Sony, Philips and Sharp’s Android TV. We have not confirmed but it might also work on pre-2014 Smart TVs and some medie players / game consoles.