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Netflix’s TV Apps Are Getting a Screensaver

Variety logo Variety 4/5/2017 Janko Roettgers
© Provided by Variety

Netflix has found another way to remind you of its originals: The company added a screensaver to its TV apps this week that displays a rotating gallery of images from the company’s original TV shows after a prolonged period of inactivity.

Reddit users were first to discover the screensaver, and a Netflix spokesperson confirmed that the company added it to smart TVs and streaming devices Tuesday. Some legacy devices were excluded from the roll-out.

There’s some debate on whether modern TVs really need screensavers. Oldschool tube televisions and CRT computer screens, which were common before the advent of LCD monitors, were susceptible to a phenomenon called burn-in. When displaying the same image for a long time, parts of that image would remain active even after the TV or monitor was turned off, at times leading to permanent damage.

Modern LCD and LED screens don’t suffer from the same problem, but can sometimes show what’s known as ghosting — remnants of a previous image that disappear over time.

However, Netflix is famous for testing all of its features with subsets of its audience, meticulously measuring the results against control groups. In case of the screensaver, the company likely tested for results on its originals, which can feature unknown actors and stories, especially as the company is expanding around the world.

The fact that Netflix now launched the feature means that it passed these tests. In other words: Netflix’s screensaver may not prevent any burn-in on your TV, but it’s been successful at burning images of its originals into your memory.

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