In its efforts to stay ahead, Netflix continues to find new ways to make their subscribers viewing experience a better and more user-friendly one. This week, the streaming video service announced that they’re rolling out a new design that they hope will give users a “much richer and more immersive experience.” As the video above indicates, that includes new menus and a more personalized experience, which includes social networking.

Netflix’s release says this new design was created specifically for the big screen and features multiple cinematic images for each title. They’re also offering “a new, snappy description and more personalized detail on why Netflix suggests it.” We know from things Netflix’s Ted Sarandos has said, Netflix keeps a close eye on our viewing habits, which would certainly contribute to their ability to bring viewers a better and more customized viewing experience. It sounds like they’re willing to give their uses a glimpse behind the curtain by explaining why they’re suggesting certain TV shows or films, as opposed to simply stating, “You liked this, maybe you’ll like this,” which may or may not turn out to be true.
The new Netflix television experience launches on Netflix on Nov. 13 and will be available to all members globally within two weeks. Devices that will support the new experience include PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Roku 3, newer Smart TVs and recent Blu-ray players. Additional devices, including other Roku boxes, will be added at a later date.

Following word that Netflix had updated their interface, I checked my Blu-ray player (a Sony) to see if it was updated, but the menu appears to be exactly the same. I checked it out on my household Xbox, which I’m admittedly less familiar with and rarely use for Netflix, and while the features seemed more advanced, they didn’t look like the video above, so it’s possible it hasn’t updated there yet. Either way, I’ll be interested in seeing what it looks like and taking advantage of the new features. As a Netflix subscriber, it’s encouraging to see the service updating their menu in a way that will hopefully improve the service.

If there’s a weak spot when it comes to Netflix — and the same really applies to DVRs and cable boxes — it’s how annoying it is to search for movies and TV shows. Punching in words via a remote control is about as fun as it was to text, back before smartphones with QWERTY keyboards were much more common. Oh, sure, we all got good at rapid-texting using the number keys on our old Nokias, but let’s face it, we knew there had to be a better way, and eventually there was. Sooner or later I believe TV technology will be advanced enough that we’ll all look back and remember the days when we pointed a battery operated piece of plastic at our TVs and pushed a series of buttons to make the TV do what we wanted it to do, which it sometimes did. And then sometimes you just had to go to your computer, log onto Netflix, search, add the thing you were looking for to your List and then go back to the TV to wait for it to update. Netflix’s release doesn’t mention anything about searching improvements, but the video teases “smart search,” which I hope is an improvement on the service’s search functionality.

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