Archives For Netflix

As Netflix is wont to do, they’ve rolled out a new interface to select users on select platforms. So, while I’ve received this update on my Roku 3, you may not see it on the exact same hardware and it hasn’t been pushed to my Apple TV, Fire TV, or TiVo.

Upon initial launch, I’m presented with five “Now Playing” vertical tiles, comprised of both in-progress television series and two Netflix Originals I’ve never touched – plus some visual indication there may be additional options below. With this revision, Netflix seems to have merged the traditional “Continue Watching” row with my former content discovery pane up top.

However, the results are mixed. As, without interaction after 2-3 seconds, the first vertical tile expands horizontally and automatically begins playing background video at full volume — either introductory material, as seen in Louie above, or, for an episode in progress like Archer, the show itself. Further, a superimposed 20-second timer counts down to full playback of the given episode which ultimately expands to fill the screen as the GUI chrome fades away. Scrolling right or left cycles thru these tiles, resulting in similar auto-play behavior. I don’t mind the opening jingles so much, but playback of existing content is potentially disruptive and that countdown clock is anxiety-provoking. Navigating up and down reveals mostly familiar Netflix interface elements. Continue Reading…

netflix-fastBeyond their monthly ISP Speed Index ratings and hot on the heels of the recently introduced mobile app bandwidth configurator, Netflix appears poised to launch “Fast” – an online service and app functionality to provide customers even more insight into their connections and streaming video potential.

From Netflix’s newly filed USPTO trademark application:

  • Downloadable computer software for testing and analyzing the speed of a user’s Internet connection
  • Providing a website featuring non-downloadable software for testing and analyzing the speed of a user’s Internet connection

Seeya, SpeedTest.net?

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  April 19, 2016

A periodic roundup of relevant news…

amazon-echo

marriott-netflix-youtube

As promised back in January, Marriott has started deploying a suite of streaming applications to their Enseo set-tops and televisions… and Cord Cutters News has gone hands-on. Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Hulu Plus and Crackle are available at select higher-end Marriot properties and it’s believed the plan is to expand to more and more diverse properties. At the moment, there aren’t any television-specific fees but you’ll be required to use your own subscription with Netflix and Hulu Plus. Even should the lineups shift over time, this is a great option and sure beats trying to get a Roku or Amazon Fire TV Stick working in the hotel (via WiFi Marriott once blocked). Or sadly “watching TV” via phone or tablet in bed, as I have on too many occasions. Two more interesting tidbits: Marriott’s Enseo TV remote has a dedicated Netflix button and supposedly the hotel will clear your credentials upon checkout.

roku55-update

At a press event earlier this week, Tom’s Guide learned that Roku will be rolling out software updates beginning June 24th. And the key improvement appears to be support for a faster-loading Netflix channel. The firmware and Netflix updates are earmarked for the Roku 3 and Streaming Stick, with vague references to potential support of other models down the line. While we’re obviously not opposed to a speed increase, I’d say the Roku 3 already provides the fastest Netflix STB experience and is my go-to streamer. For reference, my Roku 3 currently runs version 5.4 build 3340, with the demo-ed model sitting at 5.5 319 – we’ll keep our ears to the ground regarding any additional changes.

Netflix gets DreamWorks Dragons, Hulu may revive Community

Netflix to expand…

Dave Zatz —  May 21, 2014

netflix-bwlogoIn a pair of back to back public communiqués this week, Netflix has announced their intentions to expand both their geographic coverage and programming breadth. First, at a finance conference, CFO David Wells indicates the streaming service will “expand the content library meaningfully” via additional “four- and five-star” video — which has been Netflix’s biggest knock and why I’ve been more reliant on the effectively free Amazon Instant Prime streaming in recent months. Beyond, content and as expected, Netflix will increase its European footprint to include Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg later this year.

rcn-tivo-netflix

Well that was quick. Netflix had informed investors that their streaming video service would be available via US cable operators “this quarter” … and, just a few days later, here we are with RCN, Grande, and Atlantic identified as the first partners to serve up Netflix via customer-leased TiVo hardware. At this stage of the game, as we’d presumed, Netflix subscriptions are managed independently by customers without the cableco’s involvement. However, folks can subscribe to Netflix directly from the TiVo set-top and we wonder if the providers get a little kickback. Related, while Netflix has clearly resolved the content licensing issues that previously prevented this sort of deployment and beyond an Open Connect implementation, we’d sure love to know more about the nature of these relationships – if and how money changes hands. Sources tell us Netflix will appear on RCN TiVo hardware Monday, April 28th.