Netflix Hack Day Produces Cool New Features Like 'Hue,' 'Nerdflix,' and 'Oculix'
Hackathons are awesome for a number of different reasons, but the big one is that they can sometimes yield really cool inventions. Such is the case of Netflix's Hack Day, which the company held this past week. Not only were there a number of really neat uses of Netflix's technology designed in a mere 24 hours, some of them could prove to be actually useful.
The project that first stood out to me is "Netflix Hue", a system that utilizes Philips' popular Hue lightbulbs to change the room's ambient light color based on what's seen on the screen. If background on the screen is dominated with orange, then likewise, the Hue bulbs would turn orange. While cool, this might not be too practical, as constant color changes might be more distracting than complementary to the content.
There are few things hotter than the Oculus Rift at the moment, so of course a hack had to revolve around it. The result is Oculix, a system that allows you to browse Netflix's catalog in probably the coolest way possible. Moving your head in whichever direction will let you view title cards floating in the air; once one is selected, the content plays normally inside the device.
I might be a little bit of a Linux nerd, so Nerdflix also grabs me. It's, in effect, a command-line version of Netflix, requiring full manual effort to find something to watch. With it, you're still able to search via special catagory, or search for something directly. Ultimately, a solution like this would be great for anyone who already knows what they're wanting to watch, but that doesn't make it any less cool.
The one hack that I think could be truly useful for some people is Netflix Mini, a Chrome extension that allows Netflix to broadcast content to a small window, such as one in the corner of your screen. The kicker here is, because of Chrome's design, this window would be visible regardless of what you're doing in your OS. You could be working on a Word document, as seen in the video below, with content streaming from whichever corner you'd like it to be.
If anything becomes available from this Netflix's Hack Day, I'd suspect it could be this.
You can hit the link below to check out a couple of more hacks, as well as photos from the event.