Blog Post

Outage Fever: Netflix Streaming Was Down Last Night

Is it coincidence that around the same time that the trailer for the movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s apocalyptic The Road comes out that Google (s GOOG) and Netflix (s NFLX) experience their own breakdowns? You can check out Stacey’s coverage of #googlefail over at GigaOM, but Netflix is of more interest to us. According to a post on the official Netflix blog:

From about 5 to 11 Pacific time last night, most Netflix members who tried to instantly watch movies or TV shows on their PCs or Macs were unable to do so.

During this time period, our members could instantly watch movies and TV shows on their TVs via Netflix Ready Devices (Xbox 360, Roku, LG Electronics and Samsung Blu-ray disc players and TiVo HD DVR).

When contacted for further explanation, a Netflix rep just emailed us saying, “It was a technical issue that affected instant watching on the PC and Mac. We haven’t said anything about the cause.”

While this is the first time we’ve heard of an out-and-out outage for the streaming service, Netflix has had some difficulty with the quality of its streaming before.

We are still huge proponents of Netflix streaming and its ilk here at NewTeeVee — this is a good reminder that these type of hiccups (and six hours is a long hiccup) are bound to happen when relying entirely on the Internet for video needs.

3 Responses to “Outage Fever: Netflix Streaming Was Down Last Night”

  1. There is little surprise that consumers have the same expectations of service from open broadband delivery as they do from closed PayTV networks. Perhaps, then, it is refreshing to hear that these types of issues are the exception and not the rule.

    Going forward, though, we’ll all be watching the scalability of the Internet to support the skyrocketing demand of video and the frequency of these types of issues.

    But the question remains will the explosion of usage equate to an implosion of deliverability?

    NAB showed some very promising technologies that will help alleviate the growing bottlenecks (check out companies like Verivue), but availability and quality are just part of the equation. The virtual services (like Netflix) are working to offer expanded choice of content directly to the television set. Once truly high demand content is widely available, that will be when this nascent market enters mainstream and we truly test the limits of our infrastructure.

    Chris – thanks for continuing to cover this topic.

    Some related opinions fro more exploration:

    Quality! Who Cares? Give Me Choice (

    Can Blockbuster Be Saved?

    • Chris Albrecht

      Hi Andy,

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment. We’ll definitely be following this space and any user issues. People have a very low tolerance for shenanigans with their TV set.