Real Simple Video
Roku for Netflix
Before the Netflix Player by Roku hit the market, the streaming video experience was confined to small computer screens—not very satisfying for Doctor Zhivago or Lord of the Rings, especially if watching with other people. Existing solutions required adding unwanted and complicated hardware to the home media center. Roku asked frog to address these two main hurdles, and the result is a simple-to-use, paperback-sized, wireless device that gives consumers easy access to thousands of online films straight from their living room television sets.
“This [player] could not be simpler. I was watching my first movie six minutes after opening the box.”
Netflix and their partner Roku hired frog to design a product that could be easily set up and unobtrusive so that customers could get right to the movie watching as soon as they opened the box. In other words, Roku wanted their users to be watching movies while other consumers were reading instructions. This required a seamless integration of the player with the Internet, and a user experience childlike in its simplicity.
Although the player can be cabled to the Internet, it also allows you to effortlessly go cordless. “It found and connected to my wireless network instantly and flawlessly,” wrote David Pogue in a review of Roku for The New York Times. He goes on: “This thing could not be simpler. I was watching my first movie six minutes after opening the box.”
The Design: Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
The Netflix Player was designed to have the smallest footprint among the overcrowded stacks of stereo and home theater equipment. With dimensions of just 130 x 130 x 40 milimeters (5 x 5 x 1.5 inches) it takes up about as much space as a paperback book. The goal was to make it unobtrusive so that it could blend in.
The Remote Control
To drive the Zen-like simplicity of the experience home, we also focused on the remote control. We pared down the buttons on the small remote to only the most necessary for navigating the Netflix streaming interface. The buttons were sculpted in an appealing concave surface were given firms (not the usual silent mush of most remotes). To change the batteries, a convenient sliding panel replaces the usual cheap removable door.
Roku’s Netflix Player successfully delivers an intuitive and minimalist design that allows people to access thousands of films minutes after opening the box.