FORTUNE—America's obsession with Netflix goes well beyond recent hit shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. It spans genres and generations, and accounts for 1 billion hours of viewing a month—nearly one third of all downstream Internet traffic.
Now Netflix (NFLX) wants to ensconce itself even further in our living rooms. On Wednesday, the company will begin to roll out a radically revamped look and feel for those who watch the movie streaming service on their television set.
The new interface, which has been two years in the making, is a visually striking departure from the familiar grid of movie tiles and boxes, and it is designed to be mirror the experience of TV watching: you click the remote and something happens.
In the new Netflix for TV, a click delivers a full-screen, image rich description for each title, along with more details on why Netflix suggested it for you. As you slide to the next title, a new immersive display pops us, with multiple images, rather than just one, that rotate in sequence to better illustrate the movie or television show and make it easier to discover and choose new shows. Search for a movie is also a more visual experience. "This is the biggest change in how Netflix looks on a TV," says Chris Jaffe, Netflix's vice president of product innovation.
Jaffe says he's extremely confident that the change will result in people spending more time on Netflix. Why such certainty? Because the company has quietly rolled out the new interface to new users on some devices and has seen the results. "People are going to watch more," he says. "We've proven it."
More usage on TVs could help the company retain subscribers, as more than half of Netflix use is on television sets, either smart TVs equipped with Internet access, or via devices like Blu-ray players, Roku, Apple TV and gaming systems like Xbox and PlayStation.
Importantly, Netflix completely rebuilt the technology it uses to stream shows and movies onto televisions. Instead of using different versions of its technology for different devices, Netflix has unified all of it in a new platform. As a result, the changes will roll out simultaneously to all devices. Or almost all: owners of Apple TV, one of the most popular Internet television devices, will not receive the new look or technology because the device has "specific templates that are set by Apple," according to a Netflix spokesman. Only some recent models of Internet-enabled televisions will get the update, as will the Roku 3 media player, but not earlier versions of that device.
The new look is visually appealing, and an improvement over the old one. But my first question upon seeing it: why can't Netflix show trailers instead of, or at least in addition to, the stunning promotional artwork for each movie? It turns out that the new technology platform may allow for just that. "We have a whole set of projects for the next year," Jaffe says. "Video is an obvious one. This is the beginning of a long journey for us."
Fortune's curated selection of the day's most newsworthy tech stories from all over the Web. Sign up to get the newsletter delivered to you every day.
* Microsoft teased Windows 8 yesterday at All Things D's D9 conference, unveiling a versatile user interface heavily inspired by its Windows Phone 7 platform. While users will be able to access the classic Windows desktop experience they'll also experience the Start screen above, which presents users' apps MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jun 2, 2011 10:24 AM ET
A curated selection of the day's most newsworthy tech stories from all over the Web.
Meet the Sony PSP2, codenamed NGP. Sony's next-generation handheld gaming device will focus on the following areas: Revolutionary User Interface, Social Connectivity, Location-based Entertainment, Converging Real and Virtual (augmented) Reality. Features include a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, 5-inch touchscreen OLED display with 960 x 544 resolution, dual analog sticks, 3G, WiFi, GPS, a rear-mounted touchpad, the same accelerometer MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jan 27, 2011 8:36 AM ET
Matias Duarte talks Honeycomb and why there might not be any buttons on your next tablet or smartphone.
Here's a fantastic interview from Engadget with Matias Duarte, the man brought in to polish the Google (GOOG) Android interface in May.
You couldn't ask for a more impressive resume. He's the guy behind one of the first smartphones, the Danger Sidekick as well as the Helio interface. Most recently, he came from Palm after the MORESeth Weintraub - Jan 14, 2011 9:52 AM ET
I'm not so sure Google wanted it to be released like this but here you go...
Notables include the Google Talk video chat, the new UI and the integration of Books, Youtube, Gmail and Google's other properties.
The video was briefly posted to YouTube in the Android developers account, then taken down. Android Police then reposted it and Google has yet to pull it from YouTube since the cat is now out MORESeth Weintraub - Jan 5, 2011 5:49 PM ET
|GM's recalled Cobalt was a failure from the start|
|Pope Francis challenges the free market - The Buzz|
|Americans have fallen in love with real estate once again|
|Why you should pay off your car loan ASAP|
|Your Internet security relies on a few volunteers|