Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Netflix in the cloud and HTML5

One of the fun things about working at Netflix is that we are always "leaning forward" and looking for new technologies to leverage. As we roll out our website to run on the Amazon cloud, we are also re-architecting the code base, adding internationalization support and bringing in the latest technologies. One of these is HTML5, which is raising the bar for cross browser support for advanced user interface features, and is now supported by a large and rapidly growing percentage of the visitors to In addition many TV based devices now embed webkit, which is the HTML5 compatible technology that underpins the Safari and Chrome browsers. The user interface engineering team is looking to hire the best and brightest to work on these cutting edge technologies. Here's a write-up for one of the open positions:

Are you passionate about building great website experiences used by millions of visitors each day? Come to Netflix where we are using HTML5 based web technologies to move ecommerce directly onto televisions in our customers’ living rooms. As part of our Customer Acquisition team, you will lead the way to our internationalized television user interface designed to help new customers find Netflix and start streaming movies in seconds. This new experience will be deployed to HTML5 capable embedded browsers and served from our cutting edge cloud based backend service.

Update - Hacking Netflix and TechCrunch picked up on this posting. MG Siegler at TechCrunch decided that I was talking about streaming video and Silverlight, which I wasn't. I was thinking of HTML5 features that let us build very cool user interfaces with drag-and-drop, canvas transforms etc. for the web site, and for embedded TV devices specifically. The Silverlight player is used for PC/Mac playback only, and the basic HTML5 Video doesn't have a viable DRM solution at this point. I'm the Cloud Architect for Netflix, so my involvement is to architect robust and scalable support in the cloud for these new user interfaces.


  1. This would be great if you could get Streaming Videos to work within Ubuntu 10 Linux Operating System. Video On Demand videos can be seen in Ubuntu Linux Operating System as well as and many other video sites -- it would be good if could as well!!! :)

  2. Desktop Linux works for other video sites because they use Flash. If full Silverlight with DRM worked on desktop Linux then Netflix would probably just work as well. I don't think there is enough unit volume in generic desktop Linux to make a business case to do special engineering work on a desktop Linux port. The interesting end-user volume in Linux is on Android at this point, and there are open jobs to hire Android developers at Netflix....

  3. Doesn't netflix work on Moonlight 3 alpha in linux? I know the olympics worked on it.

  4. It's a shame the Tivo implementation isn't portable.. Though it does leave rather a lot to be desired, at least compared to the XBox 360..

  5. If HTML5 had a viable solution for DRM, then would there still be compelling reason to stick with Silverlight?

  6. @Adrian, Linux on the desktop may be a small market but Linux on embedded devices is far bigger and just getting started. Think set top boxes, tv's, phones, tablets, cars, etc.


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