Your Netflix viewing experience is about to get fancier, even before you actually start watching a video. The company is constantly changing its interface to look more like traditional television, with trailers for every TV show or movie that’ll automatically play whenever you open the Netflix app or load the Netflix web page on your desktop or laptop PC or Mac.
Talking to Gizmodo at MWC 2016, Netflix executives talked about the way the interface has evolved in the last few years, moving from a generic thumbnail grid layout to incorporating ratings, episode lists and the company’s signature extremely granular categories — think “Dark Action Movies With Strong Female Leads”. Up until now, though, the Netflix home screen has been effectively static, with large high-res images for movies and series rather than any kind of video.
Netflix knows that most of its users come from watching traditional TV, where there’s always something playing, and where changing channels instantly gets you a new video feed without delay. That’s really hard to do on the ‘net, but adaptive bit-rate streaming and efficient codec optimisation for each different title on the service have reduced trailer file sizes to the point where it’s now possible for Netflix to do.
Just like the company’s imminent data saver option on mobile, the auto-playing video home screen is still in beta testing but it should roll out in a similar form to what you see below.
Here’s the current (static) home screen as a JPEG:
And here’s the updated (dynamic) home screen as it loads on a fast ‘net connection, in GIF format: