You can access Netflix using a wide variety of platforms, including but not limited to streaming TV hardware, but it turns out that Netflix wanted to build its own set-top box. Apparently work had come so far along back in 2007 that the company had even started to shoot promotional videos that were destined to appear on the website, but it shelved the project at the last moment and has kept it a secret ever since.
All this according to Barry Enderwick, ex-director of global marketing at Netflix. He explains that Netflix decided to shelve the project that it had sunk a lot of time and money into developing because the company’s vision had become greater.
Instead of trying to expand its service by becoming its own major hardware vendor Netflix’s strategy became to have its service on every device capable of connecting to the Internet. For that reason it would have to convince giants like Microsoft, Samsung and Sony to bring Netflix to their devices like Blu-ray players, gaming consoles and streaming devices.
Netflix would have met with resistance from these giants if it was also selling its own hardware production, one that could be viewed as a potential competitor for a similar product that those giants were selling.
None of this makes it seem like the unreleased Netflix set-top box wasn’t good enough, it never saw the light of day because Netflix ultimately decided that it would be better for its business if it played nice with the giants instead of taking the fight to them. A cursory glance at its performance over the past couple of years will make you agree with the company’s vision.