Netflix remains to be one of the world’s most visited website to watch shows. It offers many well-known shows on its library. The company does not stop at streaming shows but even comes out with their own critically acclaimed TV shows and movies. In addition, Netflix has one of the lowest subscription rates. The company started what is now called as binge watching as changed how people watched TV shows and movies.
These are a few of the many reasons why Netflix continues to have a solid grasp on the market. Unknown to most people, the company has an ace up its sleeve that other streaming sites are unlikely to match.
There is a reason why everyone enjoys watching shows on Netflix the way they do. This is all thanks to an Engineer named Anne Aaron. She is currently the head of the company’s video algorithms team composed of academic engineers. What they did was to find a way to improve streaming quality while at the same time looking for ways to lower the bandwidth usage.
If that sounds too technical for you, here is a simple example. Suppose you have a 4 GB data plan on your mobile. Generally, this would allow you to stream around 7 hours’ worth of shows. Season 1 of Stranger Things had 8 episodes estimated to be between 40 and 60 minutes per episode. With that amount of data, you would barely make it through the entire season.
So, what did Anne and her team do? They came up with an algorithm that would allow you to watch a total of 26 hours’; worth of TV shows. That’s right. A total of 26 hours on the same data plan with the same quality.
Making this feat significant is when one considers that about 57% of the company’s subscribers are outside the US. These are subscribers that do not have access to reliable internet connection. It comes as no surprise then to know that Anne has been named by Business Insider as one of the most powerful female engineers of 2017. This achievement has also resulted in Anne being named by Forbes as one of America’s Top 50 Women in Tech for 2018.
Hailing from the Philippines, Anne finished at the top of her class in Philippine Science High. School before graduating with a Physics degree at the Ateneo de Manila University. She then proceeded to take up and finish both a master’s and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. During her time at Stanford, she pioneered what is now known as the subfield of distributed video coding.
That’s not all. Netflix early this year allowed users to download shows so that they can watch it even when offline. Anne was instrumental in coming up with what is called the Smart Downloads feature. What the system does is that once you have connected to a Wi-Fi network, it downloads automatically the next episode of the series you currently have stored in your device and deletes an episode. This saves you the time to download and help save storage space.
Even with all of these, Anne continues to prefer to work behind the scenes and knows she has a long way to go being a woman in a field once limited to men. That does not stop, and it only makes us even more excited on what she comes up with next.
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