What'd I miss? Netflix hack pauses playback when you fall asleep


We've all been there. You're watching your favorite TV show or movie on Netflix. It's 11 o'clock and you woke up at 6:30 a.m. this morning. Your eyelids start to droop and then - BAM! You're asleep. It happens all the time.

Well, not any more! During the two-day Netflix Hack event, a bunch of engineers found a way to make video playback automatically pause when you fall asleep. Apparently there are a lot of narcoleptic people out there, because Netflix engineers Sam Horner, Rachel Nordman, Arlene Aficial, Sam Park and Bogdan Ciuca all decided to work together to discover a fail-proof method of stopping playback at the exact moment that you nod off.

The engineers managed to connect the FitBit wearable to any other connected device - be it a tablet, smartphone or laptop - streaming Netflix videos, so that Netflix can tell when you have fallen asleep while watching your favorite TV show or movie. The FitBit, which monitors when you fall asleep, will then alert Netflix to stop your video playback. When Netflix pauses your video it says, "Looks like you fell asleep!" on your screen and proceeds to mark the exact moment you conked out with a sleep bookmark.

That way, the next morning when you wake up with your face on top of your tablet, smartphone or laptop (which is hopefully not covered in drool,) you can resume playback right where you left off the night before. It's an incredibly convenient and great idea, but it has two major drawbacks: One, you have to own a FitBit for it to work and two, this awesome feature may never even come to the Netflix platform.

"While we think these hacks are very cool and fun, they may never become part of the Netflix product, internal infrastructure, or be used beyond Hack Day," Netflix said. "We are surfacing them here publicly to share the spirit of Netflix Hack Day."

Still, since this particular hack is such a great idea, it may actually become a reality someday. 

During the Netflix Hack event, several other cool ideas surfaced, including one called Netflix Beam, which uses iBeacon to allow multiple users to access different Netflix accounts on the same device without the hassle of signing in and out of each users' account.

Here's to hoping that Netflix incorporates the best of these creative hacks into its video streaming platform soon.

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