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Streaming video service Netflix is rolling out a spanking-new design for its website’s video player today, which may make people think twice about favoring their set-top box over the web browser.
As you can see in the screenshots below, the new player is gorgeous. The design better matches the user interface on Netflix’s main navigation pages. Player buttons are larger, as is the text displayed, both of which will be helpful for people who have a big enough screen to sit a few feet back when watching videos.
Another huge improvement is the navigation between episodes of a TV series. Previously, the Netflix web video player was pretty bland, and didn’t provide you with much more than the title and episode number of a show. I suspect this is because more people are primarily using Netflix to watch TV content instead of movies (which don’t really require navigation). Now, when a video is paused you can hover over the “forward” button to bring up a thumbnail of the next episode and a short description. Clicking the button next to it will bring up a full list of episodes within the current season of a particular TV series. There’s even a progress bar for each episode to show you how far along you’ve watched.
I’ll admit, I rarely use the website when it comes to Netflix because it lacks these basic pieces of functionality. But that could change now that the company has wised up.
The new video player design should work fine in most browsers, provided you have the most current version of Microsoft’s Silverlight plugin downloaded. Let us know what you think of the design changes in the comment section below.