Netflix members from around the world helped break the company’s latest streaming record earlier this year: Netflix streamed more than 250 million hours of movies and TV shows to its members on January 8, according to the company’s VP of content delivery Ken Florance.
Florance made this announcement during a presentation during Netflix’s Lab Day at the company’s headquarters in Los Gatos, California Thursday, a press event the company used to highlight some of the technology it uses to distribute its TV shows.
On average, Netflix members currently stream 125 million hours a day. The company has been spending a lot of energy into making sure that all of these streams don’t affect the rest of the internet.
This includes placing caching appliances directly in the networks of internet providers and central internet exchanges. “If Netflix was serving all of its traffic from here, all of Netflix’s traffic would exceed the total internet capacity,” said Florance.
Netflix is also working on refining its encoding technology to make file sizes smaller and at the same time deliver better-looking videos to users with slower internet-connectivity.
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To achieve this, the company has for some time tweaked its video encoding settings for each and every video. Now, it is moving even further: Netflix’s director of video algorithm Anne Aaron told journalists Thursday that the company is now getting ready to change encoding settings for each and every shot.
Computers analyze the visual complexity of each and every shot and then tweak encoding settings accordingly. As a result, Netflix is able to deliver some videos with an average bit rate that can be about half of what it would use for traditional encoding while preserving the same image quality. Netflix plans to roll out this new type of per-shot encoding within the next 12 months, according to Aaron.