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Netflix Redesigns TV Experience for Nearly All Devices

CBSNews -- Netflix is launching a major overhaul of its user interface on a number of devices, including the Roku, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Netflix is launching a major overhaul of its user interface on a number of devices, including the Roku, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Two years in the making, the new interface is a more visual experience and shifts the focus from navigating the menu to highlighting the content.

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"This is the biggest update we've done in the history of the company, " Chris Jaffe, vice president of product innovation at Netflix, told CBSNews.com.

The Netflix staff plays a greater role in curating images and writing punchy descriptions. Title now feature three large images, a short summary and interesting facts to entice viewers. Previous menu items were imported from content partners. Subscribers who are connected to Facebook will also see friends who have watched the same video.

Jaffe says the goal was to create a more seamless experience by rethinking the TV experience. For example, instead of going back to the Netflix menu after a show ends, the screen stays in the show's screen for a faster playback. PlayStation 3 users will notice that each episode of a TV series will now have a preview image, instead of a stack of episode titles.

"We wanted Netflix to get out of the way, and let all of this great content come through," Jaffe said.

Roku 3 will get the biggest upgrade. Along with the new look, Roku users will also get Netflix's autoplay and kids search feature.

The new look was tested in the spring with about 100, 000 subscribers viewing on the PS3. Jaffe says what they found was that people spent more time watching videos on Netflix, but did not disclose any statistics. 

When asked about Netflix's content strategy, Jaffe said "we're focused on exclusive content -- things you can't get anywhere else."

The redesign will roll out over a two-week period to Netflix's 40 million subscribers. The new look is coming to Roku 3, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, select smart TVs and Blu-ray players. Older Roku devices will get the update next year. The viewing experience on computers and smartphones will not change.

Apple TV and Xbox One will not have the new look. Apple's design standards do not allow for app developers deviate far from its own user interface. Netflix on the Xbox One will have Microsoft's metro style, which aligns with game console's new look.

Netflix's stock prices have tripled this year. Last month, Netflix reported over 31 million subscribers in the United States, surpassing HBO.

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