new netflix

Netflix caused quite a bit of commotion last night when it unveiled its all-new user interface that it’s been testing for the past several months. The new design facilitates easier content discovery and unifies the user experience across platforms.

The updated UI will begin rolling out to smart TVs, Roku boxes, PlayStation consoles and Blu-Ray players today. But there are some devices that won’t be getting the makeover, which Netflix executives are calling the service’s largest to date…

Apple TV users are among those that won’t be getting the Netflix update, as are future Xbox One owners. The reason, as explained by AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka, is because Apple and Microsoft have specific rules on how apps can present content.

“But the reason Netflix can’t overhaul its look for other devices — like Apple’s Apple TVs, and Microsoft’s new Xbox One — is because the device manufacturers have specific rules about the way app developers can present their stuff on their devices.

Apple, for instance, requires all of its developers to hew to a grid design, which is why HBO’s app, ESPN’s app and Netflix’s app all basically look and feel the same. The new Xbox console plays off the “live tiles” Microsoft is using on Windows 8 and its mobile OS.

The Netflix guys are too polite to talk about any of that, of course.”

Here’s what the new interface looks like:

It’s a shame Apple doesn’t give developers more control over how their TV apps display content, but it’s not surprising. The company has always had strict guidelines for iOS developers to keep users secure, and the experience uniform.

Netflix has added new features to its Apple TV app in recent months though, including My List and Profiles. And next year, the service hopes to be a major supplier of streaming 4K (or Ultra HD) video.

  • Nitsud

    I wish Apple TV would let you auto play next episode. Great feature especially for kids watching their shows. Then they don’t have to bother dad

    • BoardDWorld

      Best way of doing that is to download direct to iTunes on a Computer and play it through iTunes Home Sharing. Create the playlist in iTunes by dragging what you want to the right of the window, a pane will automatically appear. Then you must enable playlists on Apple TV under the settings.

      • Mike Colacone Saal

        That’s exactly what I do with Big Bang theory!

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Seems a bit of a hack…

      • BoardDWorld

        Yeah it is a bit, pretty slack that there isn’t at least a cue of sorts.

      • Nitsud

        Or I use my xbox 😉 thanks for the tip though!

  • chumawumba

    I ain’t even mad

  • Ted Forbes

    Apple TV is great it makes watching stuff from Youtube (history, lectures, documentary, video books, etc) very convenient.

    It would be even better whenever it upgrade or update iOS and ATV with more functionality, integration and features such as picture in picture, in picture menu features, remote with more buttons, etc…

  • Obsidian71

    Netflix …I just want some new GD content. #h8r

  • Site Untitled

    What about the Wii U? It doesn’t even support profiles yet.

  • David Fabian

    Hulu plus on Apple TV seems to have a better layout than Netflix. I think Netflix could stand to make some improvements on Apple TV even with the restrictions that Apple has in place. Hulu shows more related content, and is better about season management IMO.

  • blog_craft

    Apple TV experience is very bad… the grid design is terrible!

  • Aric Bolf

    I don’t see any changes. Same old rows and rows of crap i don’t want to watch and no way to say “I don’t want to watch it” without it suddenly thinking I want more crap like what i just said I DON’T want.

  • Shane Fela


  • Esoge

    If you’ve used the new interface you might have noticed it sucks dick. It’s 1000 times harder to find anything and you can’t even search through genres directly like every other iteration of their interface ever. Meanwhile I’ll keep my perfectly simple, working, easy to use Apple TV interface thank you very much. This is specifically the reason, companies like Apple feel they have to control their apps because of poorly designed interfaces like this latest Netflix update. I used it on my Xbox a week ago and hot so frustrated trying to find a B-Horror movie (that used to be easily findable by simple going to the god damn category that no longer exists in this new interface) that I just went into my other room and used the Apple TV

  • Am I the only person here who finds this super weak?

  • Matt Testerman

    The layout of youtube and Netflix is a joke on apple tv. I have to go through unecessary menus everytime I open the app.

  • It’s a shame. The Netflix experience on Apple TV seems intentionally bad. Having to click through 3 menus and then confirm every time I want to watch a movie isn’t good UX at all. It seems they did no testing at all on this and just slapped the app together in 15 minutes as a last minute idea.
    It’s a shame and I think Apple will be loosing big time if they keep this attitude up.

  • Kendra

    Great article Cody. For those who live outside US like me, you can access Netflix, Hulu and similar media stations on your Apple TV by using UnoTelly or similar tools.

  • jodeo

    We recently got an Apple TV 4th gen with the new Netflix UI. We hate this new UI.

    In the old Apple TV you could scan a full-screen of items in your list or any category in a 4×5 grid. The new UI uses half the screen height and shows 4 items per category, forcing the user to tediously scroll through to find something in their list. It’s horrible.

    We may hook up our old ATV for Netflix as it was easier to use.