SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix is reprogramming the way its Internet video subscription service appears on millions of television screens in an attempt to hook viewers for even longer periods.
The makeover of Netflix’s TV menu was to start showing up Wednesday on televisions that connect to the Internet through recently released Blu-ray disc players, PlayStation and Xbox video game consoles and the Roku 3 set-top box.
Netflix’s appearance will not change on its applications for mobile devices and its website, as well as on TVs that rely on Apple TV and other gadgets that stream Internet video.
Netflix Inc.’s revamped TV menu will continue to highlight entertainment that the company’s automated recommendation system picks based on each subscriber’s viewing preferences.
But the new design includes more visual thumbnails and details about the recommendations, including a capsule explaining why a particular movie or TV series might appeal to the interests of each subscriber.
If a subscriber has enabled his or her Netflix activity to be tied to Facebook’s social network, the new format also will list friends who have previously watched the video.
Netflix’s move marks another step in the company’s push to make its online streaming service as compelling as any of the channels on cable and satellite systems. Unlike those channels, which are bundled in subscription packages, Netflix Inc. pipes its service through high-speed Internet connections and sells it as a stand-alone option for $8 a month.
Netflix has 31 million U.S. subscribers — an audience that just surpassed that of HBO’s older pay-TV channel. HBO, owned by Time Warner Inc., still has a larger global audience, with 114million worldwide subscribers compared with 40 million for Netflix.