Netflix Hack Day — Winter 2018
About a week ago, Netflix hosted another successful Hack Day. This event gives Netflix employees a chance to take a break from everyday work, collaborate with new people, and experiment with new technologies. It’s also where product ideas can get sparked.
Like previous Hack Days, we saw a wide range of projects. Everything from hacks designed around improving the product, to increasing our internal efficiency, to some that were just meant for having fun. Below, we’re sharing videos produced by the hackers of some of our favorite hacks from the event. If you’re curious, you can also check out highlights from our past events: August 2017, January 2017, May 2016, November 2015, March 2015, February 2014, & August 2014.
While we’re excited about the creativity and thought put into these hacks, they may never end up becoming part of the Netflix product. However, we still believe in the value of this work, and in sharing it in the spirit of both the event and our culture of open innovation.
Thanks again to the teams who assembled another round of really impressive hacks in just 24 hours.
Netflix in Space
As a nod to a well-known spacefaring industrialist, we thought it’d be fun to see if we could watch Netflix in space. We did this with an iPhone with downloaded Netflix content, a GoPro camera to watch the phone and the Earth, some heaters (lithium batteries don’t work well at -60°C / -76°F!), and an avionics package which measured GPS location, altitude, temperature, and pressure. All of this was hoisted to the heavens by a helium-filled meteorological balloon which reached an altitude of approximately 35,000 meters / 115,000 feet, at which you can see the curvature of the earth and the blackness of outer space. A special thanks goes to the Stanford Student Space Initiative for helping us out with this hack.
Altered Carbon Home Page
Altered Carbon is set in Bay City, a futuristic version of San Francisco filled with towering buildings and neon advertisements. For Hack Day I created a virtual 3D Bay City which is also a functional Netflix home page. The city is procedurally generated based on your Netflix account. The glowing billboards advertise titles recommended for you. Use your flying car to explore the city. When you see a title you want to watch, you can open it to play on Netflix.
Panning Vertical Player
Millions of people around the world take crowded public transit to work. Watching landscape video on a mobile device while commuting means you’re often elbowing your neighbors as you hold your arm out to rotate the screen. Our hack lets you watch full screen portrait video, while still letting you pan and scan around the video by tilting the device or swiping on the screen. It’s more polite without sacrificing control.