Netflix Button Debuting on Remote Controls

One of the biggest early news items coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show isn't about tablets, 3D or 4G phones, but a little red remote control button from Netflix. The video rental company recently announced major manufacturers including Sharp, Sony and Toshiba would add a one-click Netflix video-streaming button to Internet-capable TVs, Blu-ray disc players and other devices in 2011.

The button will provide instant access to Netflix's streaming library, and save you from having to navigate through your device's menu options. In some cases the little red button will have the Netflix logo on it; others will simply feature a prominent red button.

Netflix has a long list of Blu-ray disc player manufacturers intending to use the one-click access button such as Haier, Memorex, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba. Dynex, Best Buy's in-house brand, will also adopt the button for its line of Blu-ray players. Just three TV makers have been tapped for one-click Netflix access including Sharp, Sony and Toshiba. The Netflix button will also show up on remotes for Boxee, Iomega and Roku set-top boxes.

Remote of the Future?

Now that Netflix has embedded itself on remote control devices, will other services be clamoring for space on your remote? What about one-click access to Amazon Video on Demand, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Hulu or streaming services from professional sports such as MLB or NHL? Perhaps some manufacturers foresee a programmable one-click button for special online services, which is why they opted for a plain red button instead of a Netflix-branded option.

Whatever happens, expect to see a lot more of Netflix in 2011 when shopping for new TVs and set-top boxes for your living room. And for good reason: Netflix recently said it has more than 16 million subscribers, and 66 percent of the company's users streamed 15 minutes or more of Netflix video content in the third quarter of 2010.

Network management company Sandvine recently said Netflix streaming accounts for 20 percent of US broadband activity during peak evening usage periods. Netflix's popularity is also booming at a time when people may finally be bringing Internet-connected TVs and set-top boxes home. Internet-connected TVs currently make up 12 percent of all flat panel sales in the United States, according to market research firm NPD Group.

Now that Netflix has grabbed a spot on your remote control, the company stands to gain even more recognition as the first option to find streaming video online.

Want more CES coverage? Check out PC World's CES 2011 page with all the tech news and analysis you'll need to stay informed about this year's tradeshow.

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