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Netflix Revamps TV Interface, Aiming to Boost Streaming Hours

Netflix has spruced up its interface for connected-TV devices — in the hopes that subscribers will more quickly find and start watching stuff on the service.

The new TV interface, which is rolling out worldwide starting Wednesday, features a menu ribbon on the left-hand side of the screen that lets users access six areas: search, home, TV series, movies, My List (a watch-list of titles they’ve bookmarked), and new (which shows recently added titles).

The redesigned TV user interface was designed to improve content discovery, given that navigation “can feel a bit tougher when you are restricted to just a few buttons on a remote control,” Stephen Garcia, director of product innovation at Netflix, wrote in a blog post.

One of the key changes is that the UI splits out TV shows and movies into different one-click menus. “Our research has shown us that while a member generally isn’t sure what exact title they want to watch, they have a pretty good sense of whether they are in the mood for a quick series episode or a longer movie experience,” Garcia said.

The update also makes it much easier to access My List watchlists on connected-TV devices. Before, that’s required scrolling down through several rows of categories.

“While this may feel like an obvious update to some, validating that this TV experience was better for our members took extensive research, testing and technology improvements,” Garcia wrote.

The look of the new Netflix TV interface uses some of the same visual elements, like icons, that the company uses in its mobile apps.

Here’s a demo of the new Netflix TV UI in action:

The streaming giant’s last major overhaul of its TV interface was in 2013, when it introduced a more visually oriented design designed to present a “cinematic” experience on big-screen TVs. In late 2016, Netflix added video previews to its connected-TV interface, another feature meant to spur viewers into streaming more content.

Netflix’s service is available on hundreds of devices, including Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast streaming-media players; smart TVs including those from Hisense, LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sanyo, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba and Vizio; and game consoles including Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo Wii.

As of the end of June, Netflix reported 130.1 million streaming members worldwide, up 25% year over year. However, the company reported lower-than-expected second-quarter 2018 subscriber net additions on Monday, which caused Netflix’s stock price to retreat from recent record highs.

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