In the market for a new TV? Netflix would like to help you with your choices. For the second year in a row, the company is awarding select smart TVs with its “Netflix recommended TV” seal of approval that is meant to showcase the best TVs for binge-watching — and this time around, it aims to educate consumers all around the world with it. Netflix announced Monday that it is taking its Netflix recommended TV program global, and also revealed that LG and Sony are the two first manufacturers to get the seal of approval for select 2016 TV sets.
Netflix’s director of platform product management Brady Gunderson explained during a press briefing last week that the company first introduced the program in 2015 to push manufacturers to improve smart TVs, many of which left consumers struggling with slow operating systems and confusing user interfaces. “There was a problem that felt like it needed solving in the smart TV space,” he said.
That’s why Netflix developed a set of criteria that manufacturers had to meet to qualify for the seal. For 2016 models, there are seven such criteria, including the availability of the latest Netflix app, a fast launch time of the app and the ability to resume an app after the TV wakes up from standby.
Manufacturers have to meet five of these seven to qualify, and Netflix actually made it a bit harder this year for TVs to meet the mark than last year by reducing the maximum time allowed to complete certain tasks. Gunderson said that he expects the number of TVs to qualify for the seal to go down quite a bit as a result to the new criteria.
Of course, the usefulness of some of these criteria may be a bit subjective. TV makers also score points with the program by adding a Netflix button to their remote control. However, not every consumers appreciates these branded buttons, and some manufacturers decided to cut down on button clutter and opt for a simpler remote instead. But by and large, the criteria aren’t just about promoting Netflix, argued Gunderson: “The vast majority of the features we are working on benefit all internet TV services.”