Showing posts with label streaming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label streaming. Show all posts

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Recent Site Change

We've recently made a slight change to the Netflix Web site to highlight movies and TV episodes you can watch instantly on your TV or computer. When you visit the first tab you’ll see is “Watch Instantly” followed by the “Browse DVDs” tab. As always, you use these tabs to browse movies and TV episodes you’d like to watch instantly or receive on DVD in the mail.

Using the “Watch Instantly” tab, just find something you want to watch, click Play and the movie will start on your computer, often in as little as 30 seconds. Or, you can click “Add to Instant Queue,” which immediately puts the title in your instant Queue for you to watch any time on your TV via a Netflix ready device like the Xbox 360, PS3, Blu-ray disc players by LG Electronics, Samsung, Sony, and Insignia, the Roku, or TiVo, or on internet connected TVs by LG Electronics and Sony. DVDs and Blu-ray discs continue to be easily found and added to your Queue using the “Browse DVDs” tab. We’ve also moved the “Friends” link from the top of the home page to the bottom.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Closed Captions and Subtitles

This is Neil Hunt, Chief Product Officer at Netflix. We've had some inquiries about why Netflix doesn't yet provide closed captioning or subtitles for streaming movies and TV episodes. Captioning is in our development plans but is about a year away.

You might be asking how it could be so hard, since we already subtitle foreign language streams with English subtitles. These subtitles are "burned in" to the video stream at the time of encoding - they are so-called "open captions" that cannot be turned on and off by the viewer. The majority of viewers would object to English captions on English content, so we have to figure out how to let individual viewers turn them on and off.

Encoding a separate stream for each title is not an option - it takes us about 500 processor-months to make one encode through the entire library, and for this we would have to re-encode four different formats. Duplicating the encoded streams is prohibitive in space too.

So we are working on optionally delivering the SAMI file (Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange), or similar, to the client, and having it render the text and then overlay it on the video at playback time. Unfortunately, the tools for rendering SAMI files in Silverlight, or in CE (Consumer Electronics) devices, are weak or non-existent, and there is some technology development required.

I would expect to deliver subtitles or captions to Silverlight clients sometime in 2010, and roll the same technology out to each CE device as we are able to migrate the technology, and work with the CE manufacturer to deliver firmware updates for each player.