No, it’s not an April Fools’ joke. Remote controls that come bundled with smart TVs in Europe will feature a dedicated Netflix shortcut button.
A common sight on American remotes, us Europeans will soon be able to get a direct line to the commissioner. This is the first time a Netflix button will grace products on this side of the Atlantic.
Smart TVs from Panasonic, Philips, Sony, Toshiba and Vestel hitting shelves this year will come with a shiny red Netflix button front and centre.
Bill Holmes, head of business development for Netflix said: “The new Netflix button on remotes in Europe makes watching Netflix as easy as changing the channel on traditional TV, allowing viewers to enjoy our great programming much quicker.”
Right now Netflix is easily accessible on most connected TV platforms in the UK. You can get it on Virgin Media TiVo, YouView-based TV services (BT TV and TalkTalk TV) and most games consoles, but it’s often tucked away in a separate on-demand menu that would require three or four button presses to access.
Virgin Media has made things easier by featuring Netflix in its EPG (channel 204) and if you’ve got Chromecast, launching Netflix content from your phone is a piece of cake. However, nothing beats being able to simply tap one button to launch your favourite on-demand service.
It’s testament to the popularity of Netflix, home to hits such as Better Call Saul, House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black and Marco Polo that it’s able to convince TV makers to feature a button on their remotes. While Amazon’s launched its own Fire TV streaming box and Prime Instant Video is available on a wide number of devices, it could be a while before we see an Amazon shortcut occupying British remotes.