Commentary

Some Smart TVs Will Get Netflix Seal of Approval

People love Netflix. Even if they don’t like “Marco Polo” so much, they do like/respect/trust Netflix. Today, the online pay service says it will begin giving its stamp of approval — “Netflix recommended TV” — on certain new smart TVs.

Those include sets made by LG, Vizio, Sharp and new smart sets made that include Roku units built in. Those have included Hisense and TCL models, but as of today, Roku says new smart sets from Best Buy’s brand, Insignia and Haier will also come equipped. At the CES show, Roku also said it will begin adding 4K technology to its stand-alone boxes, and TCL will add that new version to its Roku-equipped smart TVs.

And Netflix will become Roku’s first 4K content provider.

Brilliant, and I’m not just talking about the picture quality. Netflix is the water carrier for online video’s future on big screen TVs. So what it does to push sales, and to push smart TV makers to make them actually smarter, is good news for the online industry and for advertisers that want to get into living rooms via online content providers like YouTube and Hulu and all the others.

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Gigaom.com. says Netflix has a checklist of seven items it wants from manufacturers before it gets this modern-day version of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, including an instant-on function so that OTT viewers don’t have to start at ground zero in the app section every time they turn their sets on.  

The downside, obviously, is that if you buy a dog smart TV based on a Netflix recommendation, it might lose you as a subscriber.

But Netflix and manufacturers are wise to capitalize on Netflix’s era of good feeling. The old All Things D reported that by a wide margin, streaming consumers like Netflix best—and young viewers were the most approving.  Last summer, Leichtman Research Group reported that 48% of consumers who don’t have a subscription TV service do have a Netflix subscription.  

Other manufacturers at CES are also stepping up to the plate with OTT improvements, including TiVo, which is improving its user interface, and Dish TV, which detailed its long awaited OTT service, called SlingTV offering 20 cable networks (but no DVR).

 pj@comcast.net

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