“Television is a visual medium,” says Netflix VP of Product Innovation Chris Jaffe, using a remote control to flip through his Netflix account on a Playstation 3. “For decades, people come home, sit on the couch, press one button, and there’s something visual happening on the screen. The Netflix experience has been, ‘Okay, I need to turn it on and then I start navigating through things and then I select something,’ and it’s not that rich.”
Two years ago, Jaffe started a project that would make viewing Netflix on television feel more like the visual, instant experience of traditional channels. Today he’s set up in a New York hotel suite, decked out with large-screen TVs, to show off what he calls the biggest change to the Netflix television-viewing experience in the company’s history.