Netflix Showcases Oculus Rift Interface Test

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A certified heavyweight in the market of content consumption, Netflix allows us to sit back and binge-watch our favorite television shows or movie franchises in one readily available go. Famed for its ease of use and boasting no ads and no lengthy waiting times between one episode to the next, it's not hard to see why the service has over 40 million paid subscribers across the world.

Netflix's success is also boosted by original TV shows such as prison comedy/drama Orange is the New Black and political thriller House of Cards, both of which have hoovered up a proud handful of Emmys. The fact that shows broadcast in non-traditional ways (e.g via a cable subscription) can prove to be so popular is likely played a part in the creation of Powers and Halo: Nightfall, two new series preparing to broadcast on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, respectively.

But if Netflix is going to continue to gobble up our free time like a hungry, media-providing hippo then it will need to innovate. Netflix wants to foster such innovation by hosting semi-regular Hack Days and their latest event has presented us with some of the most promising new Netflix features yet.


Possibly the most intriguing feature out of this Netflix Hack Day is "Oculix", a version of the service with Oculus Rift support. As detailed on the Netflix Tech Blog, Oculix is a 3D room version of our UI for the Oculus Rift complete with gesture support and while yes, it does look extraordinarily cool, Oculix could actually offer up some genuine benefits.

One of the long-standing advantages of Oculus Rift is its level of immersion; which is why it has such a potential with games. With Ocuflix's 3D room-like interface it could even help us recreate the feel of watching our favorite movie at the cinema.

Unfortunately, virtual reality devices like Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus have not yet hit the consumer market so it's unlikely that Netflix would feel the need to integrate VR features just yet. However it does make other Hack Day projects, Netflix Mini and Dropflix, a lot more likely.


Dropflix is promising if only because it combines two popular things: watching things on Netflix and talking about what we're watching on Netflix. As detailed in the video above, Dropflix lets users drag and drop the movie or TV listing onto the icon of our social media site of choice and post an update about them in a flash. Although great, the popularity of Orange is the New Black and House of Cards were certainly aided by the chatter on social media and so from a business perspective, Dropflix makes perfect sense.


Netflix Mini, meanwhile, lets us to do other things while watching Netflix. Working much in the same way that the Xbox One Snap feature does in that it lets you attach a Netflix window to the side of the screen, Netflix Mini would do that too except it would be within your Google Chrome window.

So what's the likelihood of any of these Netflix Hack Day features making their way to us? Although the above hacks were the highest-rated features by Netflix employees during the event, Netflix says that 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." So for now Ocuflix & Co. will remain a very intriguing and very promising pipe dream.

Source: Netflix Tech Blog

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