36 Comments

Summary:

Some Netflix users reported earlier this week that the company has started to crack down on streaming to more than one device at any given time. Netflix denied any policy change when contacted by us and said the error messages were the result of a glitch.

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Netflix is denying charges that it has started to crack down on users streaming to more than one device at any given time. Rumors of such a crackdown appeared online earlier this week: The blog Stop the Cap! posted a report that suggested the changes went into effect during the past weekend.

From the blog post:

Netflix streaming customers who happen to share their account with other family members are having a frustrated Labor Day weekend as Netflix completes implementation of strict new limits on the number of concurrent video streams available for viewing.

Netflix has in the past told its subscribers that the number of possible simultaneous streams depends on the subscription tier. Subscribers with a one DVD plan could access a single stream at any given time, subscribers of the two DVDs plan could access two streams, and so forth. However, these limits were never really enforced, and they made even less sense after the company separated its DVD and online subscriptions this summer.

Stop the Cap! has now reported that a number of users were getting error messages, telling them to “stop playing at least one movie” in order to access a new stream. However, this was a glitch and not a policy change, according to Netflix VP of Corporate Communications Steve Swasey, who told us via email:

No Netflix member is limited to less than two concurrent streams. A few Netflix members have heard differently from us, which is an error that we are correcting.

Netflix has been facing a substantial backlash over its decision to split up its subscription plans and in effect raise prices for some of its members by up to 60 percent. It’s understandable that the company would want to avoid any other action that could further enrage its customer base.

  1. Randell and Koko Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Who?..oh those guys I canceled a few mos back..don’t miss ‘em a bit.

    1. why are you commenting then?

      1. Because he’s showing the Interwebs that he is going against the grain by not having a very popular service that a lot of people like. He is an Internet Bad Ass (TM)

    2. cause he’s cool and showing the Interwebs that he’s going against the grain by not having a popular service! He is an Internet Bad ass(TM)

  2. Has anyone experienced worse streaming on Netflix in the past few weeks? I just moved and had to switch to Comcast, so that could be the obvious culprit, but for the past few weeks, it’s rare for me to get through even a single TV episode without the stream stopping to buffer. Some times, streaming is totally unwatchable now.

    1. comcast was horrible for my streaming

    2. Yes, I recently signed up and I’m about to cancel because the service always buffers! It worked much better during the trial month but now that I pay it’s shit. Even in the middle of the night during the week it needs to buffer. My internet connection works fine to other services so it’s netflix servers failing.

    3. Worked great during trial month, now that I pay it buffers all the time. I’m going to cancel. It even buffers on a Tuesday at 2am so I know it’s not heavy server load. My internet works fine on all other sites like Hulu so it’s defiantly Netflix failing.

    4. Worked great during trial month, now that I pay it buffers all the time. I’m going to cancel. It even buffers on a Tuesday at 2am so I know it’s not heavy server load. My internet works fine on all other sites like Hulu so it’s defiantly Netflix failing.

    5. I’m on a low-tier Comcast connection (12 mb here) and almost never have to buffer in the middle of a movie or show. I did notice it a lot more when my connection was 6 mb. I suggest running some random speed tests on your connection and see where it averages over a few days.

  3. As of 11:45am this morning, the streaming restriction is still in place here. Screen shot attached:

    http://stopthecap.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/2011-09-07-11.50.22.jpg

    1. It’s not a restriction, it’s a bug! It’s being fixed!

      1. A bug would be error# . This is a specific detailed error message.

      2. @DemiGuru I’m guessing you’re not a programmer; the trickiest bugs don’t display errors, they cause the software to operate differently than you meant for them to.

      3. @Matthew Fredricks you’re right I’m not a programmer. However I find it curious that the error message would even reference multiple devices streaming, without it being an issue referenced anywhere in the code.

  4. how many others have canceled? we did. I’m voting with my wallet. No CAble, no netflix. We redbox, bit torrent and youtube/amazon it.

    1. Cancelled here. Went with Amazon Prime instead.

  5. If they started doing that I’d cancel my service right away.

    It’s common for my home to stream from an iPad and from a computer at the same time, specially at night.

  6. Can you cite some official Netflix channel for this info?

    1. Well, I quoted their VP. That should do, right?

  7. end of last week i had had problems with my internet but the last couple of nights netflix has been great.

  8. Being the devil’s advocate, I wonder if Netflix is experimenting with a low-cost subscription. Whereby you can choose a subscription for a single or multiple devices.

  9. Netflix is causing the confusion, I can stream two shows but when i start a third here is the error I got https://picasaweb.google.com/todd.proffitt/20110907?authuser=0&feat=directlink

  10. It’s haphazard. Sometimes my Wii, and both iPad’s can stream simultaneously, and other times, only one can. Quite annoying.

    1. This is usually not going to be the fault of Netflix, but more likely a bottleneck somewhere between you and your ISP, or the ISP is throttling your connection for some reason (which most of the cable companies have gotten busted doing at one time or another). The best place to start is with a set of speed tests to various timing sites to get an average download speed.

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