Netflix‘s “Watch Instantly” service went on the blink for a time last night, reminding some subscribers (including myself) that there are still perils in streaming video from the cloud.
Hacking Netflix reports that the outage went across the Roku, PC and Xbox platforms, and messages from across the country in the Roku support forums complain of problems. For me, the service hiccuped a few times between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. PDT last night while I was using the Roku. In each case, the video I was watching would stop and a message would pop up asking me to check my network settings. The settings were always fine, and the video restarted and played…until it stopped again.
The service is back up and working now, but it looks like Netflix sticking with its hybrid DVD/streaming strategy is a smart move, as all the kinks and idiosyncrasies of streaming video are still being worked out. This isn’t the first patch of trouble to hit the “Watch Instantly” service. In May, streaming to PCs and Macs konked out for six hours, and in March some customers complained of diminished video quality they believed stemmed from Netflix’s move to Microsoft’s Silverlight player. At that time, the company posted a message to its official blog outlining the difficulties in providing a consistent streaming experience.
We contacted Netflix for an explanation and will update when we hear back.