Netflix Launches Snazzy New In-Browser Video PLayer

Netflix Wednesday rolled out a much-needed update to its in-browser video player. The new player features a revamped control bar, the ability to browse other episodes during playback, and informative text overlays that pop up when you pause the video for a few seconds.

The new player appears to have some issues with Google Chrome on Mac OS X -- if you try to start the player in Chrome running on OS X, you get a warning pop-up that says the browser is not yet supported. That said, it may still work on your particular machine -- if you click through the warning, you may still be able to get Netflix to run with no issues.

A Netflix representative explained to GigaOM that "Chrome on Mac support is a limitation of Microsoft Silverlight, not Netflix. It works on some Macs but not on others, so we allow it and give users a warning."

The first thing you'll notice when you open up the new Web player is that the picture now hits the edges of the browser window -- you're no longer looking at a little box within your browser. This is because Netflix has moved the control bar onto the picture -- it appears as an overlay when you move your mouse over the video.

The new control bar has a couple of new buttons, including a button that lets you change the language (if applicable) of the video and turn subtitles on or off.

If you're watching a TV show or a series, you can now preview other episodes from within the video. The "preview" gives you an image from the episode, as well as a brief synopsis. You can jump directly to that episode by clicking anywhere within the preview box.

The last major visual change is the lightbox-like text overlay that appears when you pause the video. After the video has been paused for a couple of seconds, the image dims and an informative text overlay pops up with the title of the movie/show you're watching, the rating (if applicable), the season and episode (if applicable), and a brief synopsis. This overlay disappears when you move your mouse over the video.

Netflix's browser app redesign comes after the company updated a few other platforms, including its tablet app and its Xbox 360 app.

Follow Sarah on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.

Shop ▾
arrow up Amazon Shop buttons are programmatically attached to all reviews, regardless of products' final review scores. Our parent company, IDG, receives advertisement revenue for shopping activity generated by the links. Because the buttons are attached programmatically, they should not be interpreted as editorial endorsements.

Subscribe to the Now Playing Newsletter

Comments