In just a few years, the media company Netflix has brought its subscription streaming service all around the world. They have been a great model for a new era of software: get your service everywhere, so users can use it anywhere. You can start House of Cards on your phone while on the bus and resume on your smart TV when you get home that night.
But if you want to get the best Netflix experience on your smart TV, which one should you use? To answer that question, they started the “Netflix Recommended TVs” list. This is an annual list, which they started last year, which shows off new smart TVs that work the best with the service.
The criteria for a recommended TV fall into three main categories: Features, Performance, and Ease of Access. A smart TV needs to meet five of seven specific criteria in order to receive the “Recommended” designation.
Features consists of three key criteria: does your TV have instant on? Does it allow users to pick up where they left off in an app, resuming the previous state? Does your TV have the latest version of Netflix?
Performance has two criteria, both of which are related to app responsiveness. The TV is judged both on how fast Netflix is opened from cold and how fast the app is to resume where you left off.
Ease of access consists of the final two criteria based on how easily users can find and open Netflix. The TV gets a point if its remote has a dedicated button to launch Netflix. It also gets a point if there is an easy to access Netflix icon.
Readers who have an Android TV may find many of these criteria familiar. Android TV gives TV OEMs a lot of these criteria out of the box. The device can wake up from a lower power state nearly instantly. It’s app structure allows users to resume the state of an app, and Android N brings even easier multitasking. The Google Play store gives users automatic app updates, so the user always opens the latest Netflix app.
Android TV’s Leanback Launcher allows apps to prominently display their banners for quick access. A TV OEM, such as Sony, is able to take that further by pinning a particular app’s banner in its own category.
Sony took the Android TV software and implemented it in their own hardware to create a high quality smart TV that receives Netflix’s recommendation.
2016 Android 4K UHD TVs
X85D series | X93D series | X94D series
TV has Instant On feature so your TV wakes and apps are ready to use right away. In addition, TV turns on and launches Netflix with one press of the Netflix button on remote. The TV Resume feature means that when Netflix was the last used app, the TV comes right back to Netflix when turned back on again. Apps launch quickly and return where you left off. Android TV interface enables easy navigation and switching between apps and inputs.
Sony’s 4K Android TVs that they launched this year are one of the only two TVs to receive such a designation, the other being LG’s webOS TVs.
As more TV manufacturers continue to look at Android TV for their TV’s operating system, it’s likely that they will be added to Netflix’s recommended list. The competitive drive to improve their hardware will improve the user’s overall experience which means they’ll be watching more movies. The streaming service relies on third party hardware to display their content and having a recommended list program like this should hopefully provide the needed incentives for a better viewing experience.