Netflix Shows Might Look Different on Your Phone Soon

The streaming service is looking into alternate cuts tailored for mobile devices.

The traditional way to watch a Netflix original series is to sit, unmoving on a couch while you binge the entire season in one sitting, but the streaming service is looking into a new method for making mobile viewing a better experience.

The Verge reports that Netflix is considering creating different cuts or versions of their original series using shots or techniques that are specially tailored to be watched on a smartphone or tablet.

“It’s not inconceivable that you could take a master [copy] and make a different cut for mobile,” Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt explained at a Wednesday press briefing. Hunt says they haven’t done anything like this yet — everyone saw the same Stranger Things regardless if they watched it on a laptop or an iPhone — but he said the idea was “something we will explore over the next few years.”

Certain shots, like those that are dark or extremely detailed, can be hard to make out on a small phone screen, especially if the viewer is watching somewhere with crappy lighting conditions. Netflix, which knows which platform users are using to fire up an episode of House of Cards, could show mobile viewers a version of the episode that includes clearer scenes or a more immersive phone experience.

A character from Netflix's 'House of Cards' uses a phone and nothing goes wrong.


Viewers in established Netflix markets, like the United States and Canada, still do most of their bingeing on a TV, but Hunt says the majority of users in many Asian countries, like India, are majority-mobile.

The idea is, at this point, still an idea, so don’t expect to see a specialized smartphone version of Iron Fist when you hit play on Episode 1 this weekend. It’s just something that Netflix is looking into as part of a long-term strategy.

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