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Netflix Denies Limiting Streaming Access

8 Sep, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

An online report said streaming service imposed restrictions during Labor Day weekend that limited one stream per subscriber

Netflix Sept 8 said it has not capped streaming access to one stream per subscriber — an alleged policy shift that was seen as preventing multiple-device streaming access from one account in a household.

During the Labor Day weekend, StopTheCap.com reported the streaming limitations, including posting official subscriber notifications denying multiple stream access from one account.

The alleged caps come as Netflix has imposed a 60% rate hike on combined disc and streaming subscriptions — a move that resulted in outrage among many subscribers and analyst projections Netflix could lose more than 2 million members due to the price increase.

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based online disc rental pioneer also just bowed streaming service in Latin America, with service rolling out in 43 countries, the Caribbean and Mexico through Sept. 12.

In a statement to online media outlets, Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey said scuttlebutt to the contrary was wrong, and households subjected to limits during the Labor Day weekend had been done so by technical error.

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

Yet, a quick study of FAQ regarding streaming restrictions on Netflix’s website found that the official policy for streaming is predicated by the number of rental discs out at a time.

In other words, if a subscriber has unlimited streaming and one disc rental, s/he is limited to one stream. If the subscriber has unlimited streaming and two-discs, streaming access is available to two devices, and so on.

Online comments regarding the issue ran the gamut from outraged to supportive.

“I suspect it was an intentional change to test the waters that didn’t go too well, and now they are backpedaling,” wrote one poster on HackingNetflix.com.

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