Let Netflix Tell You Which Smart TV To Buy

Surely hoping to encourage the perception that Internet-connected TVs are de facto ‘Netflix boxes’, the on-demand streaming service is setting up a recommendation program for consumers wishing to identify the Internet TVs that are most Netflix friendly.

The “independent” program will test TVs on performance factors, such as how quickly a TV turns on, how fast apps can be launched and how speedily video playback resumes, as well as considering the nuances of menu navigation. It will also look at whether any additional features add positively to the overall user experience.

Those smart TVs that pass muster with the Netflix engineers performing the evaluations will be able to be badged by their makers with a ‘Netflix Recommended TV’ logo — in a virtuous circle of co-branding opportunity. Netflix assures us that no money will be changing hands for gaining certification.

“When you see a TV with the Netflix Recommended TV logo, it means that TV will provide an excellent Netflix experience, based on criteria our members tell us matter most,” said Neil Hunt, chief product officer at the streaming media company, in a statement.

The recommendation program was announced today at LG’s CES presser, which likely explains the omission of Samsung from the inaugural list of name-checked brands, given the rivalry between the two Korean electronics giants.

The first smart TVs to be Netflix badged will be coming this Spring and are slated to include TVs made by Sony, LG, Sharp, VIZIO and manufacturers of Roku TVs. A full list of criteria for the program will also be published then, according to Netflix.

Asked whether Samsung TVs will be likely to make the cut down the line a Netflix spokesman said: “You’d have to ask Samsung.” Which, given it’s Netflix’s own recommendation and evaluation program is a little odd. But we’ve asked Samsung for input and will update this post with any response. Last year the company announced its new smart TV platform would run its Tizen OS — and has since confirmed all its 2015 smart TVs will run Tizen.

The Netflix Recommendation program is initially US-only. Netflix notes it will cover smart TVs of various screen sizes and price points, so won’t just be a list of the most expensive TVs.