Netflix Engineers Built A Virtual Reality Video Store

Netflix Engineers Built A Virtual Reality Video Store

Every few months, Netflix holds a hack day where it encourages product development staff and other employees to try something new. They’ve put Netflix on 1950s fishbowl TVs, and while some hacks are pretty straightforward and smart, there are also weird ones — like this virtual reality Video Ezy.

Called ‘Netflix Zone’, the virtual reality app for the HTC Vive puts the viewer inside a very basic video store, with a couple of racks of VHS video tape boxes and posters for Netflix’s Originals series up on the walls.

Using the Vive’s hand controllers and room-scale VR for motion support, the prospective video renter streamer can pick up titles and throw them around, but holding one up transforms the walls into an interactive viewing screen in the style of the title — in this demo, Daredevil is the example.

Throw the title into the screen that pops up, and voila — your chosen video starts to play. It’s a basic look into a future where we all might be watching our TV and movies in virtual reality, but without the vestiges of actually putting a VHS tape into a player and sitting down in front of a screen.

This isn’t the only hack to come out of this season’s no-rules dev day. Two of the hacks, that may well make their way into a customer-facing version of Netflix in the future, were how far other profiles are into movies or TV.

Netflix is more than happy to share these resulting hacks, but it’s very clear in that there’s absolutely no guarantee they’ll ever make it to the real-world Netflix you watch on your TV or phone or PC:

As a reminder, while we think these hacks are very cool and fun, they may never become part of the Netflix product, internal infrastructure, or otherwise be used beyond Hack Day. That said, we wanted to share them with you to simply share the spirit of the event and our culture of innovation.