More than 80 per cent of the TV shows people watch on Netflix are discovered through the platform’s recommendation system. That means the majority of what you decide to watch on Netflix is the result of decisions made by a mysterious, black box of an algorithm. Intrigued? Here’s how it works.
Netflix uses machine learning and algorithms to help break viewers’ preconceived notions and find shows that they might not have initially chosen. To do this, it looks at nuanced threads within the content, rather than relying on broad genres to make its predictions. This explains how, for example, one in eight people who watch one of Netflix’s Marvel shows are completely new to comic book-based stuff on Netflix.
To help understand, consider a three-legged stool. “The three legs of this stool would be Netflix members; taggers who understand everything about the content; and our machine learning algorithms that take all of the data and put things together,” says Todd Yellin, Netflix’s vice president of product innovation…
You can read the full article at Wired UK (originally published 22 August 2017).
A mural in the newest building at Netflix’s Silicon Valley HQ features characters from its original series (Netflix)
WIRED went behind the scenes at the Californian HQs of Netflix and Dolby for an exclusive peek at how your favourite shows are brought to the screen
Netflix first launched in the UK in 2012 and, along with catch-up services like BBC iPlayer and streaming rivals like Amazon Prime, has completely transformed the way we watch television.
WIRED was invited along to the firm’s recent Netflix Labs Day at its Los Gatos headquarters in the heart of Silicon Valley for the global release of Marvel’s Iron Fist and to hear more about the innovations that brought it to the screen.
The firm is renowned for its ever-expanding range of original series from political drama House of Cards and 80s sci-fi throwback Stranger Things to 13 Reasons Why – one its latest offerings telling the disturbing story of why a teenaged girl took her own life. Unlike Amazon, Netflix has ditched the expensive process of producing pilot episodes, opting for a more direct approach.
A simulation of SDR vs HDR output for Marvel’s Iron Fist (Netflix)
“It really starts with a great idea, and a team wanting to bring it to life,” explained Cindy Holland, VP of Originals Series at Netflix. “We use data to work out what’s the minimum threshold audience size that we need, in order to justify the economics of a project that we’re thinking about”.
Marvel’s Iron Fist is one of the latest arrivals, with the comic book brand’s global clout helping Netflix conquer countries where it’s not so well known. It’s also the first of Netflix’s Marvel series to be shot using Dolby Vision – the audio and video firm Dolby’s enhanced version of HDR…
You can read the full article at Wired UK (originally published 14 April 2017).
Netflix offers unlimited online streaming of movies and TV for just £5.99 a month, but can it take on main rival Lovefilm? Find out here…
Netflix has been offering online movie streaming in the US since 1999, but it’s taken until now for the service to make its way over the pond to the UK. For £5.99 a month, you’ll get unlimited access to the Netflix library of films and TV programmes, which means that the service will be going head-to-head with the Lovefilm Instant offering, currently priced at £4.99. The gloves are off in the Netflix vs Lovefilm rumble, but how does the new kid on the block fare?
There’s no denying that just six quid a month will get you a sizable chunk of films and TV to choose from, although it’s worth considering how much strain it could place on your Broadband data cap. If you go above the set limit on your ISP package, you could well end up getting charged for the extra data – an important point to keep in mind if you’re planning on getting the most out of your monthly £5.99
As well as streaming from your computer, Netflix works on pretty much all of the major platforms, including Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360,Apple iPhone and Apple iPad. There are also client for various web TVs from the likes of Samsung, along with LG Blu-ray players and LG home theatre systems, along with media streamer boxes from brands like Roku.
The fact that Netflix works on Apple TV as well as across numerous Androiddevices is also a major boon, and something that Lovefilm doesn’t currently offer (there is an Android app where you can manage your list and settings, but no streaming).
However, Lovefilm is aiming to be make its service available on as many devices as possible so it’s a reasonable assumption that we won’t have to wait too long to see streaming capability on Android devices.
The ability to stream Netflix via the iPhone app using 3G is also great news, although it probably depends on what the 3G signal is like where you live, or more likely what it’s like at your gym or on your commuting route, as we’re guessing those are the the places where most people will want to watch Netflix on their phone’s relatively tiny screen.
Buffering on both the iPad and Android tablet apps is surprisingly swift meaning that you get get stuck into watching your chosen title pretty much straight away.
Syncing between devices is a nice touch, which means that you could start watching something on your laptop, and then pick up where you left off at a later time on another device. The UI is simple to use and more or less the same across different platforms, so the whole experience is pretty much uniform, no matter what you’re gadget you’re watching on.
You can read the rest of the article on T3.com (originally published 1 February 2012).