In an attempt to partially merge with the classic television industry they have been helping to redefine, Netflix has announced a partnership with Samsung to make its streaming service available on Samsung Smart Cable Boxes. With the combined interface, users will be able to search for movies and television on Netflix the same way they do in their standard guide.
This type of interface has been tried in Britain via Virgin Media over the past month, and the trial has proven that integrating into the cable box does not negatively impact the concept of Netflix, nor does it threaten normal television. Instead, adding Netflix into the normal television experience allows Netflix to feel less like an after thought and more of part of television.
Being part of television means that Netflix will essentially change from an additional service that you have to have something special to watch, into a series of interactive premium channels. HBO and Showtime have proven for years that premium channels are something that people want and will pay for, so operating under that model could enhance their subscriptions.
Netflix CCO Jonathan Fiedland said in an interview this week,
Having the Netflix app on a set-top box is a natural progression. Our goal is to make it as simple as possible for consumers to enjoy Netflix while cable operators see value, too, because it makes their broadband service more attractive.
In this new world, no longer do you have to have a Roku on top of your existing cable box, or try to interact with the always painful smart TV apps available on some televisions, but instead use your existing cable box and remote as you always have. As Fiedland said, making it easier will be better for people who are not entirely comfortable with technology.