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Netflix Went to Space During Recent Hack Day

Commercial space travel may still be out of reach for most of us, but Netflix is ready whenever we are: Employees of the streaming service recently demonstrated that the service does indeed work in space as part of a project for the most recent edition of company’s semi-annual hack day.

To be fair, the team didn’t themselves participate in any expansive space travel. Instead, it used a helium-filled meteorological balloon to send an iPhone with downloaded Netflix content and a GoPro camera to an altitude of 115,000 feet, which apparently is enough to see the curvature of the earth.

Netflix regularly does hack days during which dozens employees work 24 hours on a Netflix-themed pet project. Some of these hacks are spectacular exploits involving porting Netflix to telegraphs and old-timey TVs, but more often than not, it’s actually about improving internal workflows at the company.

Some of those internal hacks actually end up being used by employees going forward, but hack day creations usually don’t find their way into consumer-facing products. “It’s not about innovation for the product,” Netflix VP of engineering Daniel Jacobson told Variety last year, when the company gave us a behind-the-scenes look at their summer hack day.

This time around, some of the other more notable hack day creations included a Netflix homepage design based on the Sci-fi world of the company’s “Altered Carbon” show, as well as an interesting take on watching vertical videos, complete with the ability to pan within the video with a swipe of your finger.

That hack may not show up in Netflix’s official apps any time soon either, but the company did recently announce that it is embracing vertical video for mobile previews. Next month, Netflix is bringing 30-second clips to its app that can be used similar to Instagram Stories to discover new content.

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