How Netflix Could've Looked in the 1950s

By Jamie Condliffe on at

The Phlico Predicta was a TV that, in design terms at least, was way ahead of its time. But what if it had come loaded with Netflix?

Well, that’s what a bunch of Netflix engineers wondered, too—so they decided to adapt one of the 1950s TV sets so that they could watch the streaming service on its ageing screen. The video below, points out The Verge, shows that they succeeded during a dedicated hack day.

The resulting set has a simple analogue control on the side to scroll through menus, allowing modern shows and movies to flicker into life on its grainy black-and-white screen. Incidentally, the Predicta was was one of the first televisions to feature a nearly flat screen, though it looks pretty ropey these days.

The hack day also spawned some other, more useful, results too—including an app called OK Netflix that can identify a show you want to watch from lines of script, and an algorithm called Smart Channels that can create curated channels for users based on their viewing histories. Some of those may yet turn into real features—though the Predicta probably won’t. [Netflix via Verge]