Convenience is everything today. From two days of delivery from Amazon to almost fast food delivery from companies like Grubhub, anything that saves time or money or effort is worth the cost. And that̵7;s exactly why the dedicated Netflix button on virtually every remote control is so fascinating.
Why make a dedicated button?
In 2011, Netflix announced its upcoming look at remote controls for TVs and set-top boxes from several major electronics companies. In the press release, Netflix stated that “streaming from Netflix on TV will soon be as easy as a click on a remote control”, which promises the convenience of the streaming service’s customers. There was no longer a need to go through a dozen steps to get the service up and running – just press the button to launch the Netflix app.
The release also stated that the Netflix button would be “prominently placed on remote controls that control some new Blu-ray disc players from a variety of companies, including Best Buy’s own Dynex brand, Haier, Memorex, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba. Sharp, Sony and Toshiba also place Netflix with a click on the remote controls for new Internet-connected TVs. Remote controls for the Boxee, Iomega and Roku digital boxes will also have the Netflix remote control with one click. ”
So the announcement was not just a simple button – it was the announcement of a comprehensive partnership between the major electronics companies to put a few brands in consumers’ homes before they ever knew it. No one ever asks to see the remote control that comes with a TV in the store; rather, it is something that only comes with what you will probably use for five years or even a decade.
However, this is not to proclaim Netflix specifically. Lots of other companies have also competed for the coveted product placement over the years – such as Hulu, YouTube, Crackle, Sling TV and others). Netflix was simply the first to do so. That’s exactly why the Netflix button made a splash when it first appeared in 2011, and one of the many reasons why the streaming video service is a well-embedded household name today.
All of this is simply about brand visibility and money. The companies that manufacture TVs and other electronics can charge these services a small fortune to have their names displayed on these remote controls. It does not matter if consumers use the button. It is that Netflix and these other streaming services found a way to advertise their brand in consumers’ homes every day without lifting a finger.
An article from Bloomberg Businessweek stated that “Hulu, Netflix, Showtime and YouTube have paid Roku to build brand-specific buttons on their remote controls; these lead users directly to these services. With $ 1 per customer for each button, the cost can quickly add up to millions of dollars in monthly fees. “
With the balance of convenience for long-term brand visibility, this marketing program is brilliant. The button is a subtle reminder to those who do not have any of these services that they should probably sign up for them, and those who already do should log in and use them.
Can you reprogram the buttons?
Although it is a highly coveted option, you can not reprogram the Netflix button (or others) in most cases. They were designed specifically by TV manufacturers and have hard-coded IR or RF codes built into the remote control firmware. Unless the manufacturer decides to release an update that allows users to control what the button does, there is no way around it.
However, someone figured out a way to remodel the Netflix button on NVIDIA Shield TV and the Shield TV Pro remote in late 2019. It’s not a built-in option in the device’s software, but an app called Button Mapper (Android only) lets you map about the button. So if you have Shield TV, congratulations, you’re in luck.
But everyone else? Sorry.
What are your options?
Since it is not possible to reprogram these large-sized signs (unless you have expert coding and electronic technology), you may be wondering what other options are available. There is always the choice to ignore them, or you can cave in and sign up for the proposed services so that you can quickly access them with the button.
Or you can switch remote controls and upgrade to a universal remote control. These remove the hard-coded button option for these services, which solves the problem. Most can even control additional electronics in your home entertainment center – such as Blu-ray players, satellite boxes, soundbars and more – which ultimately provides a more streamlined setting anyway.
If you want to make the leap, we found some solid choices. They range from cheap and extremely simple to more expensive premium remote controls loaded with features and functionality.
GE Universal remote control
GE Universal Remote Control works with up to four video and audio components, so you can control your TV, turntable, satellite box and Roku stick with a single remote control. It is pre-programmed to work with Samsung TVs and Roku cases, but it can work with devices from all major brands. The remote control is available in five colors and is easy to install and program.
GE Universal Remote
GE Universal Remote Control for Samsung, Vizio, LG, Sony, Sharp, Roku, Apple TV, RCA, Panasonic, Smart TV, Streaming Players, Blu-ray, DVD, 4-Device, Black, 34457
This simple universal remote control can work with your TV and with a variety of other electronics.
Logitech Harmony 665
With the Logitech Harmony 665, you can start watching TV, listening to music, or watching a movie by pressing an activity key. Pressing one of these buttons turns on the corresponding electronics, so all you have to do is sit back and relax. It can replace up to 10 remote controls, so you can control your sound system, game console, turntable, TV and more with a single remote control.
Harmony 665 is compatible with over 270,000 devices from more than 6,000 brands, so it’s ready to use in your living room today. And with more devices being added every day, the remote control will be compatible when you upgrade your electronics. The remote control is backlit for easy button identification in the dark and you can customize up to 23 channels on the remote control’s small color screen.
Logitech Harmony 950
The Logitech Harmony 950 is an exciting universal remote control. It is compatible with over 270,000 entertainment devices such as game consoles and CD players from more than 6,000 brands, so it can centralize your home’s existing entertainment center for real convenience. You can create a custom activity with the remote control such as “Play Games” and when you press it, the remote control automatically switches on the correct devices according to your specifications.
The Harmony 950 also has a built-in 2.4-inch color touch screen, so you can easily browse through your favorite channels, activities, devices and controls. Built-in motion-activated backlight controls ensure you never fumble around in the dark, and vibration feedback lets you know when the button has been pressed successfully. It also comes with a small charging station.