Technology is constantly evolving, and companies that want to survive in the long term had better keep up with current trends while pushing the boundaries of what is possible. This is the idea that drives Netflix’s annual Hack Day – a day when the company’s employees can come up with new ways to make the video rental and streaming juggernaut cooler and more advanced.
The biggest hit of this year’s event is Oculix – a demo that shows how a user might interact with Netflix’s various screens using the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. If you’ve ever watched Tom Cruise in Minority Report, this might look a bit familiar (only Cruise didn’t have to strap a giant VR headset to his noggin for the cool effects in the film).
The video demonstration is really cool – placing the cover art of the movies you’d find on the site’s homepage in a sort of floating, 3D environment. The inclusion of motion-sensitive controls means that turning your head or making gestures with your hand moves your perspective inside the virtual space. It’s the future!
While no one’s sure that Oculus Rift will ever catch on as a mainstream piece of tech equipment (well, no one save for Facebook, which spent $2 billion acquiring the tech in the first place), seeing practical uses for the device should dispel the notion that all it will be good for is playing video games and watching porn. That said, our Erik Davis has tried it and thinks it may be the future of movies, too.
Netflix always hopes something cool will come out of Hack Day, and while the Oculix was the top tech this year, there were some other cool and hilarious creations on display alongside it.
Pictured: A user tries out Oculus Rift at the Tribeca Film Festival (photo by Erik Davis)
Netflix Mini, which allows users to watch their Netflix movies and shows in a smaller window while still doing other things in their browser is something we’ve wanted for ages. Dropflix, which allows users to share clips, art and other things by dragging and dropping them from Netflix to other social media, seems like a solid idea as well.
Still, the best idea of all may very well be Nerdflix, which allows users to interact with the site with a DOS-esque interface that totally eliminates the mouse. Obviously a joke, but it’s still pretty funny.
What do you guys think? Can you see a day when you don your VR headset to watch movies or is that an idea that seems like more trouble than its worth?
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