Skip to main content

Netflix’s recommendations will soon be even more on point, with Amazon’s aid

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Chances are good that, at some point, you’ve been bewildered by Netflix’s movie recommendations. You just watched a Jackie Chan kung fu flick, and somehow that means you might be interested in watching Steel Magnolias. Don’t be too rough on Netflix, though. It turns out making recommendations isn’t easy, but Netflix is working on a solution, and you might be intrigued by how it’s going to work, and even more so by the central involvement of Amazon, a clear Netflix competitor in the online streaming realm.

Very simply put, Netflix currently calculates what you might want to watch next by statistically breaking down your viewing habits into different categories: movie or TV show? Action or romance? Mainstream or indie? But imagine if the movie-streamer could actually learn about your tastes over time, enabling it to mimic that (semi-annoying, but still useful) movie buff you share a cubicle with — “Oh, so you like Jackie Chan?! Pff… check out Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” and get back to me…”

By using Amazon Web Services (specifically, its cloud servers), Netflix hopes to eventually implement the “deep learning”-based algorithms it’s been developing into the recommendation process, without having to build intricate GPU (graphical processing unit) farms.

Deep learning, a subcategory within the larger “machine learning” discipline, is an algorithm-focused field of study aimed at tackling complex problems with computer systems designed to sift through data and reach conclusions the same way the human brain does — both behaviorally and structurally. Today, most commercial applications of deep learning require GPUs for their intense processing power: they’re capable of multi-tasking on a very extreme level.

Netflix’s ideal end-product would essentially be a neural network made up of a bunch of computer graphics chips.

So, instead of being pushed into the “Dark Futuristic Romantic Comedies with a Strong Female Lead” category because you watched “The Matrix” last night, your mother laughed, cried and drooled over “Love Actually” for the eighth time and your little brother is a massive fan of “The Hunger Games,” Netflix will soon be able to actually meditate on your film tastes. Surprisingly hand-in-hand, Netflix and Amazon are crafting a much more intimate and interactive experience for the quickly evolving company.

Editors' Recommendations

Alex Tretbar
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Alex Tretbar, audio/video intern, is a writer, editor, musician, gamer and sci-fi nerd raised on EverQuest and Magic: The…
Netflix Recommended TVs explained: What to know
Netflix Recommended TVs: What does it mean, and why do you want one?
best 4K content

You know you love Netflix, and Netflix knows you love Netflix, so it makes sense that the streaming behemoth might have a thing or two to say about the TV you use to watch Netflix. To help new TV buyers identify the TVs that will help them get the very best Netflix experience (according to Netflix, of course), it launched its "Netflix Recommended" program back in 2015. Think of it like the Energy Star sticker on your appliances -- it's used to distinguish the TVs that are optimized for Netflix with "fast" streaming and the ability to play Netflix just as it intends.

It's a cool idea; after all, everybody wants a better streaming experience. But what does it really mean? According to Netflix, every recommended TV must meet five out of seven criteria:

Read more
Anker’s Soundcore Sleep A20 earbuds are next-level sleep aids to block out noise
Anker Soundcore Sleep A20 earbuds worn while sleeping on side

If you had asked me years ago what kind of earbuds I'd be wearing while I sleep, I would have called you crazy. To sleep, I need silence, and anytime someone has a TV or tablet on or makes any noise, it makes me restless. With two kids and a wife who are all loud sleepers, it's safe to say I often have trouble sleeping. Believe it or not, there are earbuds for that. Anker's Soundcore Sleep A20 TWS earbuds, for example, are the second generation of its sleep-aid product. They're specifically designed to be worn while you sleep, thanks to a sleek form factor that doesn't protrude out of your ears or create discomfort while resting your pretty little head -- they're meant for side sleepers.

They also purportedly offer much more substantial snoring reduction than the previous generation via soft ear tips and ear wings that help block out ambient noise. If you like a little background audio, they pair with a mobile device that’s using the Soundcore app and allow you to play sound effects to serenade your slumber. A 4-point noise masking system uses not just the twin-seal ear tips and wings but also masking sounds and smart volume controls to drown out distracting noises. If you snore or your partner snores, it won't wake you up anymore as long as you're wearing these.

Read more
Nothing’s new earbuds upstage Apple, Google, and Amazon by embedding ChatGPT
Nothing's ChatGPT integration in Nothing OS.

Niche smartphone company Nothing has two new sets of wireless earbuds that go after Apple's AirPods Pro in more ways than one. The Nothing Ear ($149) and Nothing Ear (a) ($99) both offer noise cancellation, hi-res audio, and tight integration with Nothing's phones, but they also provide pinch-to-speak access to ChatGPT, arguably the most popular AI service in the world.

That's a full-frontal assault on the three major voice assistants that currently dominate on smartphones: Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. These assistants are very capable when it comes to simple voice commands like pausing your music or asking about the weather, but they haven't kept pace with Open AI's ChatGPT, which offers more sophisticated tasks and turn-based conversations.

Read more