Google TV, Apple TV and Roku all have access to movies and TV show streaming from Netflix, but each device has a very distinct interface. Apple’s Netflix UI for example looks like Front Row. Google TV on the other hand looks so far pretty outdated.

apple tv netflix ui

Netflix has been a big selling point for connected TV devices, and it’s no surprise that big players like Google and Apple are embracing the company’s Watch Instantly service on their new devices as well. However, the way Google TV and Apple TV handle Netflix is quite different. Apple designed an entirely new interface, whereas Google is relying on a first-generation look and feel. Check out our video below to compare Netflix on Google TV, Apple TV and a Roku set-top box:

It’s worth noting that Apple completely redesigned the Netflix UI for its implementation, giving it the look and feel the Apple TV media browsing experience. Apple TV also offers Netflix search, but doesn’t provide any fast-forwarding only provides basic fast-forwarding within a movie or TV show episode without any Roku like scene-selection feature.

Google, on the other hand, is relying on the now slightly outdated first-generation Netflix UI. Google TV users will have to compile their Instant Queue on the web, and they won’t have any access to search — not for now anyway. Representatives from Google and Netflix told me that the plan is to roll out an updated Netflix UI some time down the line.

Roku finally has pioneered the use of Netflix on a set-top box, and the company has also put some work into the second-generation interface, offering not only search and discovery across the entire Netflix online catalog, but also fast-forward with scene selection.

Which Netflix UI do you like the best? Let us know in the comments!

Related content on NewTeeVee: Google TV Apps Compared to Apple TV, Roku & Boxee

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  1. LOL, I had not even noticed the FF was missing from the Apple UI for netflix. Now, that is totally going to bother me. Hopefully it will get added, but with no nonclericals to skip through it’s it not my top on list feature request (DLNA dammit, just DO IT).

    1. You haven’t noticed its absence because it is there:) I love how blogs are edited according to people’s comments. Creates an impression of interactivity:)

  2. You’ll have to pry my Tivo from my cold dead hands.

    I can’t see changing to any of these systems. And, Google needs to give the UI a higher priority with all of their products.

  3. “Apple TV also offers Netflix search, but doesn’t provide any fast-forwarding within a movie or TV show episode”

    BS. I can fast forward by pushing right on my Apple TV remote, for both movies AND tv shows. Better update your article.

    1. Janko Roettgers Adam Monday, October 11, 2010

      You’re absolutely right. Corrected.

      1. And guess what it also supports skip forward and backwards. I downloaded the Apple TV setting for my Harmony Remote and I was able to skip forward and backwards.

      2. “only provides basic fast-forwarding within a movie or TV show episode” is also incorrect. As noted, it support “skip forward” and “skip back” with a Harmony remote

      3. You can also skip forward and backward using the AppleTV Remote as well. (The only thing it doesn’t support is a scene by scene forward) that I can do for instance on the Netflix web.

        I think it would be useful to perhaps capture the difference user interfaces in a table of sort. I think the AppleTV UI is very intutive

        One thing It might be useful to call out is the integration of AppleTV with other iOS devices (like iPad and iPod Touch, iPhone) which makes the whole interface become much smoother. (for instance search, much easier to type on the iOS virtual keyboard than the Roku box, i think).

        Overall solution, if the AppleTV Netflix UI adds scene selection, it is the top of line IMO.

  4. Should note that the FF and RW is only down while you are in play mode on the Apple TV.

  5. Apple tv absolutely fast forwards and rewinds netflix and everything else. You must hold the right or left buttons. A quick tap does nothing. Also the iPhone remote app supports ff and rew with swipe gestures.
    Do your homework.

  6. Netflix demonstrated on Google TV, Apple TV, and Roku (video) | GTVHub.com Monday, October 11, 2010

    [...] [via NewTeeVee] [...]

  7. Netflix on Google TV, Apple TV & Roku Compared – NewTeeVee • Apple TV Australia Monday, October 11, 2010

    [...] Netflix on Google TV, Apple TV & Roku ComparedNewTeeVeeHowever, the way Google TV and Apple TV handle Netflix is quite different. Apple designed an entirely new interface, whereas Google is relying on a …New Apple TV focuses on 'what works'ComputerworldFaster Forward: Battling media boxes: Apple TV vs. RokuWashington PostApple TV tethers computer to TVMilwaukee Journal SentinelTopINews -Australian Macworld -The Associated Pressall 169 news articles » [...]

  8. I have netflix on the apple tv in canada and it ff and rw just fine. Imo the best ui is clearly the appletv one.

  9. Really? You gave about 20 seconds to Google TV, not even showing how it functions when playing a show… but you devote 4 minutes to Apple TV and 1+ to Roku. Thats a comparison?

  10. As others have pointed out, fast forward works fine on Apple TV, with 3 speeds available. However, it shows only a single thumbnail at a time, not the row of thumbnails shown by Roku. I prefer the Roku approach. I have also encountered a few videos where the thumbnails do not display properly when fast forwarding. This seems to be a bug, since the same videos showed no problems on another Netfilx device.

    Two features make the Apple TV preferable to me over other Netflix clients. The first is that when browsing the queue, Netflix shows 21 titles at once, and scrolling is very fast. This is important to me, because I have over 300 titles in my queue, and I like to browse before selecting what I am in the mood to watch. A disadvantage, however, is that you have to click on a cover to get details, and when you return to your queue, you aren’t where you left off, but all the way back at the beginning. I’d rather have a pop-up when I hovered over a show, like in the Roku interface.

    The other advantage is that the Apple TV seems to be consistently a bit more snappy than other clients I’ve tried in cueing up a show, and in restarting the video after a fast forward or rewind.

    One significant deficiency is that it doesn’t remember what episode you last watched of a TV series, or how much of each episode you’ve seen. Many other Roku clients offer this feature.

    1. Nice summation – I agree with all of your points.

    2. Roku is also fast at scrolling netflix que and but you get most if the description before you click on the title. You do wind up where you left off in the que after viewing the title info on roku. I have like 411 titles in my que, so I’m glad I CSM scroll fast :-)

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