Netflix feels like its always been on board with Chromecast. As far back as I can recall, the streaming service has worked with Google’s video dongle. As a matter of fact, having YouTube and Netflix up and working convinced me to adopt the Chromecast before I was really a die-hard Google fan. Back then, the ability to plug in a device, hit a button, and seamlessly watch a movie or show on the big screen with such little hassle felt like a real piece of magic.
Though Netflix has been Chromecast-ing longer than most, the look and feel of those casting sessions hasn’t changed much in all that time. Their utilitarian way of displaying your current session has worked quite well for some time and I don’t know that anyone was really clamoring for an updated look. After seeing it in action, however, I can appreciate the update and really enjoy all the new effort that has gone into this new interface for users. It looks great, feels fresh, and makes the whole process of casting feel a tad more polished and less function-based than prior.
If you don’t recall, the old interface is simple and has been the same for years. Hit cast on your device and you’ll see a black screen with the Netflix logo in the center and a small message beneath that read ‘Ready to Cast.’ That’s it. No frills and it worked, but it was nothing exciting to look at. Starting the cast session would bring up your show’s name and episode number if applicable and then playback would begin. Take a look at the old UI below.
The new UI is a breath of fresh air by comparison. Though it doesn’t allow you to really do anything more than what you could before, it really feels like Netflix is taking advantage of the biggest screen most people own now and using that real estate to show off a handful of shows or movies you may be interested in. Between watch sessions, this is a far more attractive thing to have sitting up on your screen. Check out what the new UI looks like below.
There are other little touch-ups here and there, mostly encompassed by updates to the overall font size, type and layout. Again, nothing from a functionality standpoint is any different with how the service works. The change just feels so pronounced due to the fact that Netflix has been casting for so long and doing so with the same UI that this refresh feels like a much-needed overhaul.