5 Things We Learned About Netflix at MWC
While in Barcelona for the MWC, we were invited by Netflix to visit their house in the suburb. It’s actually just a residential house they probably rented over the week to accept media guests and share more information about their technology.
We talked to Todd Yellin, VP of Product Innovation at Netflix, and discuss what they’re doing over at Netflix to make their service better for subscribers.
Netflix Server Boxes
These are CDN servers (Netflix Open Connect Appliance) that Netflix give away to ISPs around the world for free. The servers serve as mirrors of the most popularly streamed videos in that country.
As a part of the engineer’s tradition at Netflix, they asked us to leave a movie quote or sign a message on these servers which will be deployed to a random ISP.
By locating these boxes with ISPs, the streaming experience is faster for local subscribers. In the Philippines, their partnership with Globe Telecom means better experience for subscribers whether on wired or mobile networks.
Lower Bit Rate for the Same Video Quality
Using more advanced video codecs such as Google’s VP9, Netflix is able to stream the same quality of videos at a lower bit rate. This reduces stress on the network and also helps reduce bandwidth cost to users who have limited allocations (bandwidth caps).
Netflix is about to roll-out a new compression strategy that will only require just about 277Kbps connection.
Netflix employs a complex compression strategy to maximize the output in terms of delivering lower streaming requirements yet ensuring the best video quality.
Viewing Experience over Video Quality
The main focus with streaming is to be able to deliver an almost-flawless user experience, making sure that there is no or minimum lag or buffering (adaptive streaming).
This is why you’ll notice that when your connection is unstable, the video quality degrades (becomes pixelated) a bit just to make sure that the stream will continue.
Support for HDR Video
If bandwidth is not an issue, Netflix can really push more data to the subscriber. In this case, it will also switch to HDR video to devices that support it (like HDR TVs and new smartphones like the LG G6 and the Sony Xperia XZ Premium).
Personalized Recommendation Engine
Neflix has a pool of data scientists and mathematicians to dig into their big data and create an algorithm that provides an intelligent recommendation engine. Each subscriber is given a unique set of recommendations based on their personal viewing habits.
To know more about our discussion with Todd Yellin, check out the video below: