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More details emerge on Netflix's abandoned hardware effort, Project Griffin

Donald Melanson, @donmelanson
January 23, 2013
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Netflix's ultimately abandoned foray into the hardware business with its own streaming device has been known for some time -- Wired revealed many of the details in a 2009 article -- but Fast Company has now uncovered some more on the effort that hadn't yet seen the light of day. That includes the actual name Netflix was using for it, Project Griffin (apparently inspired by Tim Robbins' character in The Player), and a newly-revealed internal video that offers a look at the device itself (and detour to Foxconn that Netflix would no doubt have preferred remained internal).

Despite what was said to be enthusiasm for it at the company, the set-top box would be shelved just weeks before launch and instead spun out to Roku, which released a strikingly similar-looking device itself -- Frog Design is said to have worked with Netflix on the original design. Netflix would then quickly move on to partnerships with LG and other companies on their boxes in place of its own branded device. As for the reason for the change in plans, one source said to be at a high-level tells Fast Company that Reed Hastings once said that "I want to be able to call Steve Jobs and talk to him about putting Netflix on Apple TV," adding, "but if I'm making my own hardware, Steve's not going to take my call." You can see the full internal video after the break.

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