Netflix engineers working on ways to bring their video streaming service into the immersive realm have released this video of their prototype room-scale virtual reality reality experience modelled on an 80’s VHS video rental store. Yes, it is as odd as it sounds.
Have you ever thought to yourself “I know what would make this cutting-edge and hyper-convenient video streaming experience complete! If only the user interface was modelled on an entirely defunct and anachronistic VHS video store from the 80s and 90s!”? I thought not.
But clearly Netflix’s R&D team are feeling the loss of their local grimy video rental outlets as a team has set about to recreate them inside VR, using the HTC Vive and room-scale VR, with some pretty quirky interaction mechanics to go along with it.
Aside from the accurate recreation of that 80s/90s vibe, and the startlingly limited choice of films to actually watch, you can pick up VHS representations of them and take a closer look. In the demonstration video, holding it still closer initiates a mini set piece unique to that video. In this case, the store is semi transformed into a Daredevil themed theatre, replete with large projection screen. Throw the video at the screen to initiate the plating of the show’s trailer.
The concept VR experience is the result of a Netflix “Hack Day” thrown by the Open Source R&D arm of the video streaming giant a couple of times a year. But the firm has already shown commitment to immersive video streaming with the unveiling of their GearVR app at Oculus Connect in September last year.
We suspect this is one Hack Day project that may not see the light of day, although perhaps it could be added to the existing GearVR app as a optional, skinnable environment. Perhaps an idea for the next Hack Day.