Netflix has announced the first of the Web-connected TV sets that qualify for its new “Netflix Recommended” program, which the company unveiled in January.
Many if not most of the hassles involved in trying to watch TV over the Internet have to do with network problems, something that neither TV manufacturers nor streamers like Netflix or Amazon can do much about. But Netflix has for years been working with makers of TVs and TV-connected devices to make streaming video more consistently easy to use.
The criteria for getting on the list are generally limited to the streaming experience. Most consumers presumably will weigh all the other usual factors: picture and sound quality, price, size, the remote layout, the installed interface, etc.
But as Internet video becomes ever-more popular, ease-of-streaming becomes ever-more important. Netflix judged the TVs on how quickly they launch the Netflix app, the loading time of streams, and how quickly users can get to both the Netflix app and its streams. Two of the requirements: whether the Netflix app is displayed prominently enough, and whether the remote has a dedicated Netflix button.
All very self-serving for Netflix, certainly, but also very handy for people who use the service a lot. The giant Netflix logo that will be affixed to the TVs on store displays will attract just those people.
Netflix announced the program last January during an LG media event, and several LG sets using the WebOS 2.0 platform are on the list.
Others use the Roku interface, which puts apps, including Netflix, at the center of the TV-viewing experience, right on the home screen. Those sets are from TCL, Insignia, and Hisense.
Also included are Sony’s coming Bravia sets, which will run on the Android TV platform, and offer similarly easy access to apps, and a remote button dedicated to Netflix—press it, and the TV turns on and Netflix instantly appears.
More than half of the sets aren’t available for purchase yet, but will be in the coming weeks and months. Netflix said it would continue adding sets to the list as it approves them. Expect entries from Sharp Electronics and Vizio, since Netflix mentioned both companies during its January announcement.
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