One of the more compelling demos during Netflix’s latest Hack Day was a virtual reality showroom using HTC Vive’s room-scale VR. Developers Joey Cato, Marco Caldeira and Adnan Abbas created “The Netflix Zone,” where subscribers can peruse titles on shelf racks arranged by categories and personal recommendations. Movies and original shows such as “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards” appear on shelves as VHS cassettes. When you select certain cassettes, the shop morphs into a setting that reflects the title.
For example, selecting “Daredevil” converts the room into the show’s New York City setting (although this would likely be too large an endeavor for all titles). To watch a title, you simply toss the selected cassette tape into the video window that lowers from the room’s ceiling.
Last September, Netflix unveiled a living room for Oculus Rift. “That app maxed out at 720p resolution video; there’s no information on what kind of picture quality The Netflix Zone can deliver,” reports Wired. “Sadly, nor is there any indication that the company intends to actually release it into the wilds, though early virtual reality adopters would likely jump on it if given the chance.”
Netflix points out that the hacks featured at these events are often “cool and fun,” but will not necessarily become part of the company’s infrastructure or product offerings.
However, one component of this particular project has promise. “Creating a virtual Blockbuster is an obvious development,” notes ETC’s Phil Leyveld, “but including a recommendation engine to it could be an interesting way to monetize the back catalog.”
For additional information (including videos) regarding The Netflix Zone and other projects presented at the recent Hack Day, visit The Netflix Tech Blog.