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Netflix teams with AWS to launch VHS-as-a-service

'Brown edition' delivers TV's equivalent of a vinyl revival

Streaming video titan Netflix will shortly launch a variant of its service in which classic 1980s programs, and modern content, are streamed in a form that approximates the unbelievably bad video quality of the VHS video cassette.

The Reg understands Netflix has worked with Amazon Web Services to tweak the cloud giant's Elastic Transcoder service so it degrades video to VHS quality.

The VHS variant will be used to promote a new trove of content, including 1980s soaps like Dallas and Dynasty, plus then-blockbuster miniseries. The Reg has learned that this option will be branded “Netflix Brown” and will be marketed as TV's equivalent of a vinyl revival. We further understand that Netflix developers used the slogan “Netflix Brown turns gold into sh*t” during in-house testing.

“A small but influential group of Netflix users is complaining the service is not authentic enough,” a Netflix insider told The Reg. “This group overlaps significantly with the big-bearded, vinyl-listening, artisanal pickles and ancient grains sourdough crowd, which is taking over youth culture. We need a service for that demographic.”

“It doesn't make sense to remaster the likes of Dallas or Dynasty,” our mole said. “Those shows can only be properly celebrated in a low-fi format. And audiences actually deserve the chance to see newer shows, like House of Cards, in VHS, because the performances shine even brighter if the images don't. It's a lesson in acting to see Robin Wright's Clare Underwood look completely and utterly bloodless, instead of just ice cold.”

The new service looks terrible. “Thanks to Netflix Brown, orange really is the new black,” our source said.

The Reg understands Netflix will announce a 41 day countdown for the service's commencement, starting at 4:01 today.

“Subscribers won't believe the Netflix Brown experience,” said our source. “The day after they relive VHS, they'll wonder how they let themselves be fooled into buying stuff on the format back in the day.” ®

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