Carrying Rich Experiences to Memory-Constrained TV Devices

Netflix has over 148M paid individuals spilling on the greater part a billion gadgets spreading over more than 1,900 unique sorts. In the TV space alone, there are several gadget types that run the Netflix application. We have to help a similar rich Netflix experience on top of the line gadgets like the PS4 as well as memory and processor-compelled customer electronic gadgets that run a comparative chipset as was utilized in an iPhone 3Gs.

Rich Collection Row

One of our most aggressive UI undertakings to date on the TV application is the vivified Rich Collection Row. The objective of this experience from a UX structure point of view was to unite a firmly related arrangement of unique titles that, however particular substances all alone, likewise share an associated universe. We estimated this structure would net a far more prominent visual effect than if the titles were disseminated independently all through the page. We needed the experience to feel less like looking through a column and progressively like investigating an associated universe of stories.

For the accumulations beneath, the column is made out of characters speaking to each title in a gathered universe overlaid onto a mutual, full-drain foundation picture which delineates the common subject for the accumulation. At the point when the client first looks down to the line, the characters are gathered into a lineup of four. The name of the gathering vivifies in alongside the logos for each title while a sound clasp plays which inspires the state of mind of the mutual world. The characters slide off screen to show the amc activate principal title is chosen. As the client scrolls evenly, characters slide over the screen and the common background looks with a parallax impact. For a portion of the accumulations, the character pictures themselves energize and a full-screen tint is connected utilizing a shading that is illustrative of the show’s imaginative.

When the client stops on a title for over two seconds, the trailer for that title cross-blurs with the foundation picture and starts playing.


As a component of building up this sort of UI experience on any stage, we realized we would need to consider making smooth, performant movements with a harmony among quality and download size for the pictures and video sees, all without corrupting the exhibition of the application. A portion of the measurements we use to quantify execution on the Netflix TV application incorporate liveliness outlines every second (FPS), key information responsiveness (the measure of time before a part’s key press renders an adjustment in the UI), video playback speed, and application start-up time.

UI engineers on the Netflix TV application likewise need to think of some as difficulties that designers on different stages frequently can underestimate. One such territory is our illustrations memory the executives. While internet browsers and cell phones have gigabytes of memory accessible for designs, our gadgets are obliged to minor MBs. Our UI keeps running over a custom rendering motor which uses what we call a “surface store” to enhance our utilization of illustrations memory.

Surface Cache

Surface reserve is a held pool in fundamental memory (or separate designs memory on a minority of frameworks) that the Netflix application utilizes for putting away surfaces (decoded pictures and stored assets). This advantages execution as these assets don’t should be re-decoded on each edge, sparing CPU time and giving us a higher edge rate for activitys.

Every gadget running the Netflix TV application has a constrained surface reserve pool accessible so the rendering motor attempts to boost the utilization of the store however much as could reasonably be expected. This is a positive for the end experience since it implies more surfaces are prepared for re-use as a client explores around the application.

The measure of room a surface requires in surface reserve is determined as:

width * tallness * 4 bytes/pixel (for rgba)

Most gadgets as of now run a 1280 x 720 Netflix UI. A full-screen picture at this goals will utilize 1280 * 720 * 4 = 3.5MB of surface store. Most of inheritance gadgets keep running at 28MB of surface store. At this size, you could fit what could be compared to 8 full-screen pictures in the store. Holding this measure of memory enables us to utilize change impacts between screens, layering/parallax impacts, and to pre-render pictures for titles that are simply outside the viewport to permit looking toward any path without pictures flying in. Gadgets in the Netflix TVUI biological system have a scope of surface reserve limit, somewhere in the range of 20MB to 96MB and we can empower/debilitate rich highlights dependent on that limit.

At the point when the cutoff of this memory pool is drawn nearer or surpassed, the Netflix TV application attempts to free up space with assets it trusts it can cleanse (for example pictures no longer in the viewport). On the off chance that the reserve is over spending plan with surfaces that can’t be cleansed, gadgets can carry on in unusual ways extending from application crashes, showing trash on the screen, or radically hindering movements.

Surface Cache and the Rich Collection Row

From creating past rich UI highlights, we realized that surface reserve use was an interesting point with the picture substantial plan for the Rich Collection push. We made a point to test memory utilization right off the bat during manual testing and did not perceive any overages so we watched that case and continued with improvement. When we were moving toward code-total and getting ready to reveal this experience to all clients we ran our new code against our memory-utilization mechanization suite as a once-over to verify everything seems ok.

The diagram beneath demonstrates a start to finish computerized test that explores the Netflix application, activating playbacks, look, and so on to reenact a client session. For this situation, the test was estimating surface store after each progression. The red line demonstrates a trial with the Rich Collection push and the yellow line demonstrates a keep running without. The specked red line is set at 28MB which is the measure of memory held for surface store on the test gadget.

Oh goodness! We discovered some gigantic pinnacles (set apart in red) in surface store that surpassed our greatest prescribed surface reserve utilization of 28MB and demonstrated we had an issue. Surpassing the surface store point of confinement can have an assortment of effects (contingent upon the gadget usage) to the client from missing pictures to out of memory crashes. Time to put the brakes on the rollout and investigate!

Surveying the Problem

The initial phase in surveying the issue was to penetrate down into our robotization results to ensure they were legitimate. We re-ran the computerization tests and found the outcomes were reproducible. We could see the pinnacles were going on the home screen where the Rich Collection column was being shown. It was odd that we hadn’t seen the surface store over spending plan (SCOB) mistakes while doing manual testing.

To close the hole we investigated the design settings we were utilizing in our computerization and balanced them to coordinate the settings we use underway for genuine gadgets. We then re-ran the mechanization and still observed the pinnacles yet in the process we found that the issue appeared to just present itself on gadgets running a variant of our SDK from 2015. The manual testing hadn’t got it since we had just been physically trying surface store on later forms of the SDK. When we did manual testing on our more established SDK rendition we had the option to repeat the issue in our advancement condition.

During conceptualizing with our stage group, we went over an inner bug report from 2017 that portrayed a comparable issue to what we were seeing — surfaces that were set apart as purgeable in the surface store were not being completely cleansed in this more seasoned rendition of our SDK. From the ticket we could see that the wastefulness was fixed in the following arrival of our SDK in any case, in light of the fact that not all gadgets get Netflix SDK refreshes, the fix couldn’t be back-ported to the 2015 adaptation that had this issue. Taking into account that a critical portion of our effectively utilized TV gadgets are running this 2015 form and won’t be refreshed to a more up to date SDK, we realized we expected to discover a fix that would work for this particular variant — a comparable circumstance to the pre-2000 world before programs auto-refreshed and engineers needed to code to explicit program renditions.

Finding a Solution

The initial step was to investigate what surfaces were in the surface store (particularly those set apart as un-purgeable) at the season of the overage and see where we may probably make gains by diminishing the size of pictures. For this we have an investigate port that enables us to review which pictures are in the reserve. This shows us data about the pictures in the surface reserve including url. The connections would then be able to be drifted over to demonstrate a little thumbnail of the picture.

From previews, for example, this one we could see the Rich Collection push alone filled about 15.3MB of surface reserve which is >50% of the 28MB complete designs memory accessible on gadgets running our 2015 SDK.

The biggest un-purgeable pictures we found were:

  • Character pictures (6 * 1MB)
  • Foundation pictures for the parallax foundation (2 * 2.9MB)
  • Obscure — a full screen clear white square shape (3.5MB)

Character Images

A portion of our rich accumulations highlighted the utilization of enlivened character advantages for give a considerably more extravagant experience. We made these advantages utilizing a Netflix-exclusive liveliness arrangement called a Scriptable Network Graphic (SNG) which was first upheld in 2017 and is like an enlivened PNG. The SNG records have a moderately huge download size at ~1.5MB each. So as to guarantee these benefits are accessible at the time the rich accumulation column enters the viewport, we preload the SNGs during application startup and spare them to circle. On the off chance that the client relaunches the application later on and gets a similar gathering column, the SNG documents can be perused from the circle reserve, evading the need to download them once more. Gadgets running a more seasoned form of the SDK fallback to a static character picture.
At the season of the overage we found that six character pictures were available in the reserve — four on the screen and two preloaded off of the screen. Our first reserve funds originated from just preloading one picture for a sum of five characters in the store. Immediately this spared us nearly 7% in surface reserve with no discernible effect to the experience.

Next we made trimmed forms of the static character pictures that got rid of extra straightforward pixels (that still tally toward surface store use!). This expected changes to the picture pipeline so as to trim the whitespace yet keep up the general size of the characters — so the overall statures of the characters in the lineup would in any case be saved. The trimmed character resources utilized just 50% of the surface reserve memory of the full-size pictures and again had no noticeable effect to the experience.

Parallax Background

So as to accomplish the fantasy of a ceaselessly looking over parallax foundation, we were utilizing two full screen foundation pictures basically put one next to the other which together represented ~38% of the experience’s surface store use. We worked with configuration to make another full-screen foundation picture that could be utilized for a fallback experience (without parallax) on gadgets that couldn’t bolster stacking both of the foundation pictures for the parallax impact. Utilizing just one foundation picture spared us 19% in surface store for the fallback experience.

Obscure Widget

After experimentation expelling React segments from our nearby form and investigating the surface reserve we found that the obscure gadget that appeared as a full screen clear white square shape in our troubleshoot apparatus was included by the full-screen tint impact we were utilizing. So as to apply the tint, the designs layer basically makes a full screen surface that is hued progressively and overlaid over the obvious viewport. Evacuating the tint overlay spared us 23% in surface store.

Evacuating the tint overlay and utilizing a solitary foundation picture gave us a fallback experience that utilized 42% less surface store than the full understanding.

At the point when all was said and done, the surface store utilization of the fallback experience (counting less preloaded characters, trimmed character pictures, a solitary foundation, and no tint overlay) checked in at about 5MB which gave us an all out reserve funds of practically 67% over our underlying usage.

We had the option to focus on this fallback experience to gadgets running the 2015 and more seasoned SDK, while as yet serving the full rich experience (23% lower surface reserve utilization than the first execution) to gadgets running the new SDKs.


Now our robotization was passing so we started gradually revealing this experience to all individuals. As a feature of any rollout, we have a dashboard of close ongoing measurements that we screen. To our mortification we saw that another class of gadgets — those running the 2017 SDK — additionally were announcing higher SCOB mistakes than the control.

On account of our work on the fallback experience we had the option to change the design for this class of gadgets on the fly to serve the fallback experience (without parallax foundation and tint). We found on the off chance that we utilized the fallback experience we could even now pull off utilizing the enlivened characters. So one more kind of the experience was conceived.

Upgrades and Takeaways

At Netflix we endeavor to move quick in advancement and gain from all ventures whether they are triumphs or disappointments. From this undertaking, we discovered that there were holes in our comprehension of how our basic designs memory functioned and in the tooling we used to screen that memory. We commenced a push to comprehend this illustrations memory space at a low level and arranged a lot of best practices for engineers starting work on an undertaking. We additionally reported a lot of tips and devices for troubleshooting and advancing surface reserve should an issue emerge.

As a component of that exertion, we extended our suite of work over-form robotized tests to build inclusion over our diverse SDK forms on genuine and reference gadgets to recognize spikes/relapses in our surface reserve use.

We started logging SCOB mistakes with more detail underway so we can focus on the particular regions of the application that we have to upgrade. We additionally are currently surfacing surface reserve mistakes as warnings in the dev condition so designers can get them sooner.

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