Netflix finally available in 8-bit

More like 2-bit. I didn’t know about this until reading it yesterday, but Netflix hosts a hack-day event in which its employees can develop new, possibly useful features for the streaming service. This year there were some sensible hacks, such as a dual login that would prevent someone watching a show without their partner, some maybe not so practical hacks such as the “Binge Encouragement and Enforcement Platform (BEEP)” that plays an ear-shattering noise when you look away from the screen, and a very interesting one that shows a globe with real-time viewing activity superimposed on it.

However my absolute favorite one was – I’m not making this up – Netflix being run on an original Nintendo Entertainment System.

To give a technical context before showing the results, the NES ran on an 8-bit CPU and had 2048 *bytes* of RAM and the same amount of video RAM. That could be expanded through including RAM on a cartridge, and that’s (I believe) what this does since it runs off a cartridge. Of course, you could just build an NES PC and watch Netflix on that instead.

Remember this thing?

Remember this thing?

But this is actually a functional, workable version of Netflix running on circa-1985 gaming hardware, although not actually streaming, unless you consider streaming from the cartridge “streaming.” The NES had no network capabilities.

Here’s a video of the NES-flix, which they dubbed DarNES for reasons I haven’t figured out, but it really is worth watching. That is actually House of Cards streaming in glorious 2b resolution. You can see videos of the other hacks at the Netflix blog.

Going Up