Netflix: Restricting Streams To One Per Account Was A Glitch

Netflix continued its recent tightening and price-raising by making it so there can only be one streaming video feed per account. UPDATE: Netflix has clarified and said that all accounts can support at least two concurrent streams. The users who saw/heard that they could only have one stream were experiencing a glitch which Netflix is fixing.

netflixstreamingerror.jpgThe concern started after several Netflix customers reported that they got the above error message when they tried to stream from multiple devices, which told them to “stop playing at least one movie.” Mashable said they were able to generate the same error message which was seen by readers and editors of StopTheCap.

Netflix VP of Communications Steve Swasey said, “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.”

For families that share accounts and want to be able to watch more than one instant stream at the same time, they’ll have to sign up for an additional Unlimited Streaming account at $7.99 a month or increase the number of DVDs in their package. To get two streams, you need to pay $19.98/month for two DVD’s at a time, or $23.98 for three streams and three DVDs, or four of both for $29.98.

Here’s the relevant passage from Netflix’s TOS:

Some membership plans allow you to watch simultaneously on more than one personal computer or Netflix ready device at the same time. If you are on the 1 disc out at-a-time plan [or stream-only plan], you may watch only one device at a time. If you are on the 2 discs out at-a-time plan, you may watch on up to two devices at the same time. Members on the 3 disc plan can watch on up to three devices. The maximum is four devices simultaneously, and that is available for members on the 4 or greater discs out at-a-time plans.

It’s always been an unenforced Netflix policy that you should only watch the number of concurrent streams as the number of DVDs in your package. But in the past they didn’t do anything to prevent it besides a sporadic pop-up warning. Now an error message will appear if you try to watch more than your designated number of streams and you won’t be able to watch more than you’re allowed.

With the price increases, Starz removing its programming, and now this move, Netflix’s cherry-red teflon shell could be losing some of its luster.

Netflix Cracks Down on Sharing: One Stream Per Customer Unless You Pay More [Stop The Cap]
Netflix Now Enforcing Limit of One Movie Stream at a Time [Mashable]
Netflix: We’re not cracking down on simultaneous streams [GigaOM]

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