Netflix is giving this show away for free to make TV better for all
It might not be the next Daredevil or House of Cards, but Netflix’s latest production, called Meridian, might end up having the biggest impact on the world of video streaming.
But whereas a show like Orange is the New Black pushed the boundaries of diversity in television, Meridian is looking to push the boundaries of an entirely different kind. It wants to push the industry’s streaming technology to its limit.
It attempts to do this by virtue of how visually complex it is, combining multiple sources of visual noise such as cigarette smoke, fog, and some film footage for good measure into a single shot of its 60 fps, 4K, HDR footage.
The reason for producing such a complicated bit of footage is to push Netflix’s streaming technology to its limit.
If you’re working to optimize your codecs or streaming technology you might end up simplifying a part of the process that makes the technology unable to deal with a visually complex scene.
Having a piece of footage available such as Meridian means that you can very quickly check to see if your technology is up to the task of dealing with the worst case scenario of footage.
Free for all
But better yet is the fact that Netflix is making the footage available under a Creative Commons license, meaning that other streaming companies will be able to use the footage to test their own technologies.
Following open-source principles such as this is common in the software industry, but is much less prevalent in Hollywood where studios have maintained a tight grip on their intellectual properties.
This has resulted in a relatively small pool of test footage being endlessly reused across the industry.
Netflix is hoping that by sharing this footage it can get companies cooperating more effectively and speed up the adoption of new standards such as Interoperable Master Format (IMF), a standard which greatly simplifies the process of having multiple copies of a film for use in different territories.
So while it might not be the next big hit from Netflix, the impact of Meridian might just end up being felt for years to come.