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Netflix denies cracking down on simultaneous streaming

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Netflix says it is not preventing customers from playing multiple streams at the same time, reports GigaOm. The clarification comes in response to a report from the anti-broadband-cap website Stop The Cap!, which stated that Netflix has begun to enforce a rule in its terms of service, which barred users from simultaneous streaming. Netflix says the confusion is due to a glitch in their system.

“No Netflix member is limited to less than two concurrent streams,” said Netflix Vice President of Corporate Communications Steve Swasey, in an email to GigaOm. “A few Netflix members have heard differently from us, which is an error that we are correcting.”

This error might explain why, as Stop the Cap! puts it, “Netflix streaming customers who happen to share their account with other family members [had] a frustrated Labor Day weekend as Netflix completes implementation of strict new limits on the number of concurrent video streams available for viewing.”

The “strict new limits” they refer to is a bit in the ToS, which state:

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.

News that members would no longer be able to watch multiple streams at once, from multiple Netflix-enabled devices caused an immediate uproar, which is likely why the company was so quick to clarify the issue.

Netflix has had a rough couple of months. First, they created a PR nightmare after announcing that its plan prices would go up by $6.00-per-month for customers who want both streaming and DVD rental. Then, last week, it’s primary new-movie supplier, Starz, announced that it was discontinuing its relationship with Netflix — a move some see as a major blow to the company.

Then came this concurrent streaming debacle yesterday. And, according to Stop the Cap!, the problem is still ongoing for some customers — something we’re certain Netflix is working to fix as quickly as possible.

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Andrew Couts
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