Netflix 'Doubling Down' on Interactive TV Shows, Unclear if Any Will Be Available on Apple TV

Netflix plans to output even more interactive television shows similar to the Black Mirror episode "Bandersnatch", but it's unclear as of now if any of these will work on the Apple TV. Netflix vice president of product Todd Yellin announced the company's intent to make more interactive content at a conference in Mumbai today (via Variety).


These shows, and potentially movies, will extend beyond the science fiction setting of Black Mirror and could even include romances, comedies, and more, where the audience gets to choose the outcome. Yellin said that the output of these stories will increase over the next two years.
“[Bandersnatch] is a huge hit here in India, it’s a huge hit around the world, and we realized, wow, interactive storytelling is something we want to bet more on,” Yellin said. “We’re doubling down on that. So expect over the next year or two, to see more interactive storytelling. And it won’t necessarily be science fiction, or it won’t necessarily be dark. It could be a wacky comedy. It could be a romance, where the audience gets to choose, should she go out with him or him.”
When "Bandersnatch" released in December 2018, Apple device users had to watch the episode on an iPhone, iPad, or web browser to get the full experience. When selected on the Netflix Apple TV app, a brief apology video would play and point users toward the correct device with which they could watch the episode.

Despite being unavailable on Apple TV, "Bandersnatch" can be viewed on TV streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Android TV. Netflix has launched interactive TV shows before, including "Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale" and "Minecraft: Story Mode." While some of these kids' shows are playable on Apple TV, like Puss in Book, they are linear versions that automatically choose the outcomes for you.

Others, like Minecraft, display an apology message on Apple TV and ask you to visit a supported device to watch the show. Although the Apple TV remote lacks the more complex controls provided by game consoles, computers, and smart TVs, it's unclear why Netflix hasn't figured out a way to get these shows to work on the Apple TV with the Siri Remote.

Still, this isn't the first time Netflix has been at odds with an Apple platform or service, as the streaming company continues to resist support for Apple's TV app. We've reached out to Netflix regarding future support for its interactive shows on the Apple TV, and will update this article if they provide a comment.

Tag: Netflix


Top Rated Comments

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1 week ago
A Netflix engineering manager commented on the issues regarding implementing such interactive TV shows on the Apple TV:

"I can’t get into all the reasons around this, but Bandersnatch and other interactive titles on iOS are indeed built with AVFoundation and UIKit. Branching playlists are not supported by Apple’s APIs, so the implementation we have to achieve seamless playback is non-trivial."

https://twitter.com/stroughtonsmith/status/1079471892946391040

Edit: corrected role
Rating: 8 Votes
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1 week ago
Bandersnatch was terrible. The “plot” was boring and unoriginal.

Interactive movies have existed for decades and they’ve always been a gimmick. Bandersnatch was no different.

Just invest in traditional shows and cut out the filler that Netflix Originals are starting to become known for and the service will succeed. Invest all your money in gimmicks and B tier shows and it will flounder.

Your move Netflix.
Rating: 6 Votes
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1 week ago
I love Black Mirror, but I haven't watched Bandersnatch yet because watching tv shows on my iPhone or computer is annoying and reminds me of air travel, which is bad.
Rating: 6 Votes
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1 week ago
It still won't work on Apple TV?
Rating: 4 Votes
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1 week ago
Netflix is getting to a point of being very lackluster with overwhelming amount of barely average shows and less quality...if T-Mobile stops bundling it with their service, I won't continue.
Rating: 2 Votes
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1 week ago
That's disappointing that it's still not Apple TV. I haven't watched it yet but would like to. I'm not going to watch on a tablet or phone though.
Rating: 2 Votes
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1 week ago
Netflix is one of the most user hostile software service going. They treat their users like crap. Judge them but what they do, not what they say. I hold Apple to the same standard. Stop talking and show me.
Rating: 2 Votes
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1 week ago

That's disappointing that it's still not Apple TV. I haven't watched it yet but would like to. I'm not going to watch on a tablet or phone though.


You’re not missing out on much. It was an experiment and in my opinion it failed. It might have worked better with a comedy.
Rating: 1 Votes
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1 week ago
I’m of the opinion that if I’m going to watch tv, I want to sit my ass on the couch and be mindless.:D I want good entertainment fed to me, not me having to come up with good entertainment by choosing a story path.

And besides, “interactive tv” to me is gaming.
Rating: 1 Votes
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1 week ago
Why won't they support ATV? Is this Netflix being lame and considering Apple competition in their space, so they are watering down content on Apple devices?

The ATV has way more power then my Roku streaming stick - there's no way that it does not have the processing power to handle this.

With all of this exclusive content to streaming platforms, pirating will eventually make a comeback after the industry solved the issue.
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That's disappointing that it's still not Apple TV. I haven't watched it yet but would like to. I'm not going to watch on a tablet or phone though.

Do shows like this work if you watch on your iPad and stream it to the Apple TV, instead of just playing it on the ATV?
Rating: 1 Votes
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