[darNES] Stores Cached Netflix On NES Cartridge

Let’s play a quick word association game: Peanut butter…jelly. Arches…golden. NES…Netflix?  That last one sounds like a stretch, but the [darNES] development team had a Hack Day and a dream.  They started with cached Netflix data and ended up playing it on an ordinary NES. (YouTube link)

The data was pre-converted so that the video frames were stored as tilesets and stored in the ROM image. [Guy] used the NES memory mapper (MMC3) to swap the frames. [darNES] had originally planned to use a Raspberry Pi in the cartridge to handle the video conversion and networking, but had to change gears and make a static ROM image due to time constraints and resource availability.

Accessing the Netflix data is just like the days of yore – load the cartridge into an unmodified NES and hit the power button (they didn’t even need to blow on it!). A bare-bones Netflix gallery appears. You can move the white cursor on the screen with the NES controller’s D-pad. House of Cards was the choice, and true to form, the next screen shows you a synopsis with a still image and gives you the option to Play. Recommend is also there, but obviously won’t work in this setup. Still, it got a chuckle out of us. [darNES] admits that due to time issues they did not optimize the color palette for the tilesets. They plan to release more of the technical info this week, but have already given us some hints on their Hacker News thread.

Check out the videos after the break to see the video they fit onto a 256K NES cartridge.

[Thanks, bluewraith!]

15 thoughts on “[darNES] Stores Cached Netflix On NES Cartridge

  1. When did Hackaday lower themselves to pimping “hacks” that aren’t even hacks? This was faked. It’s silly, but certainly not a hack. Come on Hackaday, you are better than this…

    1. Why would you think it’s faked? There’s nothing about it that’s beyond the capabilities of the NES.

      In fact, given more time on their side, they could have gotten a lot better results with real hardware.

      1. They said “unmodified” NES, while an original NES had no ethernet connection.
        Besides, streaming video and rendering it on the screen *is* beyond the capabilities of the NES. Trust me.

        Besides, come on, who seriously bought this?

        1. I’m certain I’ve done more development for the NES than you have. I know full well what the NES can or cannot do, and what extra hardware could or could not do.

          If “streaming video and rendering it on the screen is beyond its capabilities”, please justify Bad Apple. Or were you pedantically repeating the mantra “there’s no ethernet therefore it can’t stream”?

  2. Very impressive. :) Now, while the NES probably can’t run its own TCP/IP stack and render frames even if you hooked up hardware for Ethernet, it would probably be possible to have a computer sitting between the NES and the network to push frames to it.

  3. A few months ago now someone made a real SNES stream Twitch chat through its controller ports using a copy of Pokemon red and a Super Gameboy cart exploiting the game and taking full control of red, then full control of the SGB, and then the SNES itself. but converting a few frames of a video into sprites and running them artifacts and all as an b/w animation is cool too i suppose…

    1. So, i guess we all should stop doing things, since someone probably has done something cooler already. This goes for you, oldbitcollector and everyone else whining about this.

      I think it’s a nice little demo. Anything done with a NES today is pretty much useless, because even if you made a new game, there are not that many people who will play it. The same goes for the SNES. Impressive hack, but useless. That’s why you have to see these thing as they are. Nice, impressive demos made for fun/to better oneself. Why would you whine about something like that?

      1. I love DOING things, but certainly there is a difference between a “hack” and a silly joke. Having Hackaday feature things like this opens a can of worms that I’d rather not see on this site. Do a little code, make a couple screens, and grab your camera. Heck my Commodore 64 could probably run Netflix like this, but it doesn’t mean that I’ve actually done a real project. I’d be more impressed if they wouldn’t have passed it off as a hack and shared more detail on how they coded the cart that they ran the program from.

        1. Give a Commodore 64 sixteen Megs of RAM and it can stream one minute of full-screen full motion 16 colors video. The Nintendo needs an MMC3 chip to do that. Commodore does what Nintendon’t :-)
          Also if you have fun using or playing any system no matter how old, it’s not useless.

      2. Way to wildly misinterpret my statement and intentions entirely. My intentions where a blatent prod at the HaD staff for saying the Triple exploit I mentioned above wasn’t worthy of a post but they deemed this 100% worth posting, and seriously? A slippery slope fallacy?

        I think you confused their intentions for the project and the final result that isn’t in any way definable as a “hack” by any sense of the word, this is a burnt epprom on a PCB, and as far as I can tell they even reused a old 10NES Key chip too, thus it’s a standard reproduction cartridge and if we let this repro pass as a hack then we have to give ALL other repro carts equal consideration as “hacks” out of equality.

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