UPDATE April 12: The APK can be sideloaded from APKMirror.
This article was originally posted on March 30th.
Netflix is one of the most popular streaming services that’s continuing to deliver a wide range of content for a relatively cheap price. Their collection of media is growing 185% each year and their original content continues to win awards and viewer praise.
One thing that really makes their service successful is that it runs on many devices: laptops, phones, and the myriad of smart TVs. Netflix on Android TV can be a great cinematic experience, although it often falls short of taking full advantage of Google’s operating system. Text can only be entered using a custom on-screen keyboard, there’s no recommendations, and it doesn’t integrate with global search. While this experience may be consistent across all smart TVs, it’s disappointing to users who expect a better than mediocre experience. This is especially true as Netflix comes bundled as a stock app on many Android TV devices.
Is Netflix working on it? A recent app update to the Play Store suggests that they are. The change log for the new version, 3.0.1 (build 1277), is showing voice search as one new feature, plus more optimizations. It’s a major bump from Netflix 2.5.0 in January.
* Voice search capability. Press the microphone button on your remote control while in the Netflix application, and search for your favorite show or actor. Support for this feature is being rolled out slowly and not available immediately on all devices.
* Performance enhancements. Navigation and Playback are now better optimized for your Android TV device.
Voice search should now work much how it works in YouTube. While browsing, you can tap on the microphone button. A search box will appear in the app to read and decode your voice. Then it will open a search results screen. This will be an easier way to do searches in Netflix. Keep in mind this is while in the app, you can’t do voice searches outside of the application (yet).
Does this one feature mean that more built-in features will be integrated with Android TV? That’s not entirely clear. The performance enhancements should improve navigation and playback, but exactly how isn’t clear either.
The app is rolling out slowly to users, and is a server side update as well so you may not see it right away when updating. If you do, let us know.