The Dark Side of Netflix

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3/02/2009

Silverlight Instant Viewer Angers Some Netflix Subscribers

Slashdot is reporting an uproar among Netflix subscribers over Netflix’s instant viewer application, which is powered by powered by Microsoft's Silverlight.

Some subscribers are complaining the new player makes permanent changes to their media viewing options. Many are complaining the new player’s quality is poor and unacceptable. Some subscribers feel Netflix misled them into installing the player. What is your opinion of the Silverlight player employed by Netflix?

39 comments:

Art Diaz said...

I'm a regular guy who likes watching movies. The old Netflix viewer worked better for me than the Silverlight version. Although my connection is slow as I use an aircard, I could always let the show run during the night and usually the entire show would be ready for me to watch the next day, by moving the progress bar to the beginning. Not so with Silverlight. Moving the progress bar to the beginning causes the viewer to start buffering all over again, rendering this portion of Netflix unusable for me. I spoke with a tech at Netflix, a very nice, but giggly woman who apologized and told me that the process was irreversible. I would recommend to folks out there not to use the new version until its many problems are resolved.

Anonymous said...

I love the way silverlight makes the screen go blank every 17 minutes or so while I am watching a feature. That really adds to the dramatic experience. Well done Netflix. Well done! The more frosting and female genitalia you keep dumping into your site the better. Perhaps you should offer free tampon coupons with the next upgrade of silverlight! Or, better yet, why not just change the logo to a big clit with fangs, and call it NETCLITS, because that's the way you are going.

Christian said...

To the moron above me. Perhaps you should check your screen saver settings.......

However, with that being set, I have mega-issues with the silverlight plug in, the video is choppy, and putting it to full screen just makes the problem even more noticeable. Hopefully netflix can fix this issue soon.

Anonymous said...

To the moron above: No, screen saver settings don't change a Silverlight issue. I have my screen saver settings set properly, Netflix movies still blank after 20 minutes.

Netflix clearly doesn't care or they would have had an opt-back-out. Yes, I may need to upgrade the hardware (it's only 3 years old), but doing so before Windows 7's release would be stupid.

Silverlight sucks, MS paid Netflix, and the customers get hosed.

KurlyQue said...

I can't use this new stupid viewer at work. Netflix really needs to do better.

Anonymous said...

The only way I know of to make the Netflix Silverlight display go blank after 20 minutes is your power settings. Do you have your monitor set to turn off after 20 minutes?
The Netflix Silverlight viewer on Vista 32 is working fine for me.

Niko said...

Netflix sucks we should all cancel! They don't care about their customers. Call them and you will see. THe new viewer is trash. Hulu works great, Silverlight player works great on other sites. Netflix just have morons for engineers and blind deaf customer service. I hope the crumble.

Rob said...

Since the upgrade? I have not been able to play a movie full screen on my TV. I'vew tried to change the video config but no settings allow me to play my netflix video full screen to the TV.

Anonymous said...

Silver Light has a long way to go before it can compete with Flash. I'll wait till version 5 before I start wasting my time with developing silver light apps. Netflix should provide two players for watching their movies. Too much free stuff on the web. I just canceled my Netflix account.

Anonymous said...

I was just forced to update from the Netflix viewer to Silverlight only a week ago. It was bad enough when they made me get Media Player 11 if I wanted instant viewing, but this is horrible. I keep seeing what could only be described as horizontal motion blur lines. This happens with both animation (South Park) and live action (Xena). As this has only been a problem since "upgrading" to Silverlight, I have reason to believe that's the problem. I don't what to make it sound like I think someone (Microsoft) greased someone else's (Netflix) palm, but it sure wouldn't surprise me. Netflix should offer people a choice as to which viewer they want to use. Either the old good one, or this new horrible one.

Anonymous said...

Silver Light sucks. This will kill Netfix bussiness. It was good while it lasted but now quality is so poor and constant re buffering interruptions. Its time to find an alternative if they do not offer the old player again.
chase

Anonymous said...

Silverlight is a joke, it will not install in my computer just not compatable

Anonymous said...

You're lucky it doesn't install on your computer, trust me.

Now I haven't tried playing Netflix "watch it now" using an extender (XBOX 360), but as everyone else has said, it blows on VMC. I have to play the video in a very small window in order for it to work well enough.

That said, Netflix on the XBOX 360 with XBOX Live is superb.

Anonymous said...

I have also had terrible problems with the Silverlight Player on Netflix. I am using Firefox and all my software is up to date. I rarely have problems viewing any other videos online. Just video footage on Netflix using Silverlight. The video is choppy and the sound is out of synch. It is just terrible! I tried to report the problem to Netflix through their online customer support but could not. The video I was watching is not listed under the movies I have watched instantly so you can't file a complaint about it. How convenient right? I did not have problems viewing movies on Netflix before the Silverlight player was installed. But then I had to switch over to IE to watch. I have heard that Silverlight works fine with IE. Surprised right? I could switch over to IE and watch the Instant Movies from Netflix but I refuse. IE is not a safe browser. It's filled with security breeches and the updates that attempt to make it safer just take up more and more hard drive space while still not fixing all the vulnerabilities. IE is pure crap! With a firewall up and Firefox running, exploring the internet is much safer. Plus when it updates it replaces information instead of just adding more and more files like IE. But to get back to my original complaint, Silverlight on Netflix sucks! I will not be using the Instant Movies features anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

It's November 2009 and SILVERLIGHT STILL SUCKS. Haven't been able to watch a movie without the screen going blank more than once since Netflix forced us to change to the SILVERLIGHT viewer. Their response to complaints is "you dont like it please leave". Nice. Great company. Thank you Microsoft. Stupid Stupid Netflix for using this pile of #*#@.

Anonymous said...

"We don't care.. we don't have to.. we're Microsoft"...

Anonymous said...

I fixed my NETFLIX instant viewer like this: 1. Openned Control Panel 2. Openned "Add & Remove Programs" 3. Went to "Microsoft Silverlight" and uninstalled the add-on, but left the main component of MS Silverlight. It played the very next try. The thing is it played great months ago when it first switched to Silverlight, but a month ago it installed an add-on automatically, and then it never worked again. It froze the web browser moments after clicking PLAY. Now it works again.

Brent said...

I hate silverlight. I installed it originally and it worked ok for a while until I needed to update it. Something went wrong and I have never been able to get it to work again. I have tried to uninstall it and delete all traces of it with programs like file shredder, but it must have altered my regstry like itunes does (I had a similar problem with itunes as well) because I have never been able to reinstall it. I am currently getting one of those Roku players so I can just use my TV, but Netflix really needs to show some customer love and kick silverlight to the curb.

Anonymous said...

My daughter just informed me that her AMD does not have SSE instruction set. So no netflix on her computer because of that effen
silverlight!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this sucks the big one. How does "new technology" make streaming video like I am on dial up in the early 90's.
Microsoft sucks.
That's why I use a Mac and it is terrible that we are continued to be force to use their non-functional products. I do appreciate all the the linda and bill gates foundation does, but that doesn't change the fact that streaming video with silverlight sucks.

Anonymous said...

This is still a problem. The movies play fine on my Wii, but are jerky/blocky on my Windows 7 PC (which can play Blu-ray and 1080i streams at 7% CPU, I also have 25/25 FiOS internet).

I would advise against joining Netflix until they fix this problem.

Anonymous said...

God, Netflix's silverlight player is so choppy when it actually feels like working for me. Go to Flash, Netflix. I can stream 720p smoothly in Flash, why can't I stream a 480p or below video in Silverlight smoothly? Oh, that's right, Silverlight is buggy as fuck.

Anonymous said...

All I know is I can't install silverlight at all, and everything I look up on this problem involves BS from microsoft over needing to be logged in as administrator, uninstalling previous versions (which are nonexistent on my PC). There are various options from geek/techies that seem to work for them, but none of them are straightforward enough for me to figure out. A program that is so "easy to install" should not require three pages of computer-ese to run. I joined netflix partially for the benefit of watching on my PC and now I can't even get the damn program on the drive. Fail.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm sure I'm just fanning the flames but, having worked at Netflix in the call center handling these calls, I can assure you the problem is not with the silverlight player. Generally, the problem is with older computers and/or the computer owners perception of how the service is supposed to work. I will try to touch on all the complaints in the most concise way possible. First off the switch was not the idea of Netflix, the movie studios demanded better security for movies streamed online. Plain and simple. Silverlight only buffers small amounts of information to remove the need not only for having up to 7 gigs of free space to buffer a HD film( generally not that much for SD) but also stops "pirates" from using that buffered file to "burn" the movie or simply keep it. Blame the criminals for that one. Blank screen after a set amount of time, the previous post about either screen saver setting or power saver setting is spot on. The issues with choppy video have been addressed ( silerlight now uses the video card to render the video no longer relying solely on the processor). The AMD thunderbird processors were a known issue with no solution, those processor are no longer installed in computes so it goes back to the older computer reason. Here is a big one: Internet speed. I understand some people only have access to dial up but that percentage is growing smaller by the day. Netflix is in fact a business and not a community center. They, like any other business, will focus on moving forward to benefit the majority. Sucks? Absolutely, but that is capitalism at it's finest. I'm sure I missed a gripe or two but some parting words: there are some genuine 1 off problems that occur and NF support will work to identify and correct issues but not even allowing the support personnel to suggest solutions due to you "knowing that's not it" well there is no help for you. Please feel free to fire away.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm sure I'm just fanning the flames but, having worked at Netflix in the call center handling these calls, I can assure you the problem is not with the silverlight player. Generally, the problem is with older computers and/or the computer owners perception of how the service is supposed to work. I will try to touch on all the complaints in the most concise way possible. First off the switch was not the idea of Netflix, the movie studios demanded better security for movies streamed online. Plain and simple. Silverlight only buffers small amounts of information to remove the need not only for having up to 7 gigs of free space to buffer a HD film( generally not that much for SD) but also stops "pirates" from using that buffered file to "burn" the movie or simply keep it. Blame the criminals for that one. Blank screen after a set amount of time, the previous post about either screen saver setting or power saver setting is spot on. The issues with choppy video have been addressed ( silerlight now uses the video card to render the video no longer relying solely on the processor). The AMD thunderbird processors were a known issue with no solution, those processor are no longer installed in computes so it goes back to the older computer reason. Here is a big one: Internet speed. I understand some people only have access to dial up but that percentage is growing smaller by the day. Netflix is in fact a business and not a community center. They, like any other business, will focus on moving forward to benefit the majority. Sucks? Absolutely, but that is capitalism at it's finest. I'm sure I missed a gripe or two but some parting words: there are some genuine 1 off problems that occur and NF support will work to identify and correct issues but not even allowing the support personnel to suggest solutions due to you "knowing that's not it" well there is no help for you. Please feel free to fire away.

Anonymous said...

I just tried this on what I would consider not a really old PC. IBM ThinkCentre with 2.4GHz P4 and 1.5GB RAM. We have cable internet. It has been about 19 minutes. I got a blank screen. I can see increased network traffic since I started trying to view instantly to my PC.

There are a few points I would like to argue against in the last post by the person who says they worked in the call center and some questions.

Your post is anonymous. Does you post represent Netflix?

If one day it turns out that there is an actual problem with the Silverlight player, how much will you refund netflix members who have had problems?

You claim the switch was not Netflix's idea; movie studios. Does this mean that any wish of the studios will be blindly granted by netflix even to the detriment of their customers?

You say netflix will move forward to benefit the majority. Can you not do basic math? Do you not realize that if you add all the movie studio people and the netflix members together, the netflix members are the clear majority? Why not listen to them instead of the studios? You do not seem to understand that capitalism is not designed to benefit the majority. It is designed to benefit the providers of capital.

Lastly, and here is the only thing that truly pissed me off. I was told the reason to install silverlight was so I could view movies over the internet to my computer. AFTER installing silverlight, and not getting anything but a blank screen for several minutes, I right-clicked to get the silverlight options box. I see a WebCam/Mic tab. I am puzzled, why is there a Webcam tab on a program to VIEW movies. Maybe it lets me view cool webcams from around the internet. I click on it and see the view from MY webcam. There was no mention of the fact that my webcam would be accessed.

Are there any parents out there who are concerned a hacker could be watching children in their bedrooms via a program that you were told was for viewing movies instantly?

Why is this not disclosed up front when members are asked if they would like to install it?

Anonymous said...

I have had it with Netflix referring me to microsoft to fix my Silverlight problem. Haven't been able to "instant watch" for several months, now. A techie from Microsoft finally attempted to help me via email instructions that only a geek would understand. And, even after following the instructions to uninstall, install, uninstall, install, I still can't stream. I gave up and uninstalled, on my own, for the last time, and voila! The audio on my machine came back, loud & strong! Obviously, my audio disappeared 11 months ago, because of Silverlight upgrade, or something. All I know is that without Silverlight installed, I no longer have to hold the extra speakers (that I had to buy to get a little bit of occassional audio back) up to my ears, just to hear just a little bit of sound while I watched entire movies. That really sucked. Now, I have audio, again, after 11 months! I am so happy, not to have to hold speakers up to my ears for movies, anymore. The microsoft techie is still trying to "help me" fix Silverlight, after I told him that my audio returned without Silverlight in my system. Microsoft said it is a Netflix problem. Netflix says it is a Microsoft problem. Two more movies that I really want to see. I will let Netflix ship those two, then I am outta here!!! Bubbye, Netflix! I plan to cancel before end of this year of 2010. Netflix does not give a crap about my not getting my money's worth in fees by not being able to stream, for the last several months. By the way, Hulu streams with no problem.

Anonymous said...

I was so excited when I learned that netflix would work on macs. In order to do so I was forced to download this silverlight to view the videos. Yet again, microsoft has developed another winner. I just love that my viewing is constantly interrupted by this plug-in crashing on me. It makes both my browsers freeze up and forces me to do a force quit. I love that this happens on no matter where I am or what computer I'm on. I love that I have to do this more than once during one showing. Netflix needs to use a different plug-in preferably not developed by microsoft.

amyt said...

The Silverlight Viewer makes the watch instant quality horrible on my MacBook. I am thinking of stopping my subscription if they don't come up with an alternative. I use Watch Instantly 90% of the time and watch a lot of television programs through Netflix. I am not sure how they will troubleshoot this issue. I know there are a lot of complaints here, which is a good step, but does anyone have solutions?

Timothy said...

I got fed up with the choppy pixelated view i was getting on my mac mini, (2.26 processor snow leopard 10.6.7 8gb ram) after calling netflix first they tried to tell me it was my internet connection. I have an 18mbps connection plugged directly into my mac through a two foot ethernet. brand new hdmi cable with no adapters plugged directly into my tv. Then when i told them i had a new tv that i use as a second monitor for my computer they said they didnt support that. say what? you mean to tell me they dont support watching through your computer to a tv? then they tried to tell me that my cpu was overloaded. my cpu usually runs around 50% when I am streaming netflix. When i mentioned maybe it was the silverlight plug in they balked at that. After trying to figure out what was the latest version of silverlight with no success netflix told me to click on silverlight and click the check for updates option. only problem is you cant update silver light without uninstalling it first. after sending an email to microsoft they told me the options fixed by administrator cant update option was set by design. they said i would be notified if there was an update from netflix and told me i could check on the netflix website to see what the latest version of silverlight was(which i am unable to find with the directions they gave me). anyhow long story short, netflix blames the internet and my computer, cable company blames netflix and microsoft tells me its not them either. all i know is i can stream video from lots of other sources with no problem. oh yeah and tonight i was having the screen go darker and then back up issue for a while too. once again, only happens watching netflix. go figure. and no, its not my screensaver!

one last point to ponder, i had to laugh when the person at netflix told me my processor was overloaded. they said they saw it at 85% when i called in. funny thing was i had been watching it for the last two hours and it hadnt gone over 60. I know people that watch netflix just fine with a wii and have no issues with picture quality. Im not an expert, but i think the cpu on my computer is probably as good as the one on the wii, which brings it back to silverlight.

wish i didnt enjoy watching movies on netflix or i would just can them. thinking about maybe getting a roku for $60 and being done with it.

Anonymous said...

I'm on Linux and netflix hasn't worked with moonlight since inception.

Anonymous said...

Well Netflix has done it again, not only is there service going down the shitter..but now they are raising there prices 60% .. Bet the ceo is in hog heaven what do you think.. Anyway some fairly good alternatives in case you decide to dump the already substandard services of Netflix Try Hulu.com they have a fairly large selection of movies(live stream) and many are in HD format.. There site is very uncomplicated and easy to navigate through, the picture quality is great, better then the big red Netflix rip off..as well Hulu has a large selection of television series.. classic and current.. the great thing about hulu is that it is free.. yes free.. now thats a good price....

Anonymous said...

Very disturbed not being able to view a movie, when you want. Let's just cancel our subscriptions.There are other offers to view films.

Anonymous said...

Just purchased a EeeBox PC EB1021 to use as a HTPC. It can play every HD source I threw at it, except NetFlix in HD. Hulu Plus HD looked spectacular. NetFlix looks fine on my MacBook, Wii, iPad, Xbox and Roku ... But on Windows 7, as soon as the video switches to HD, it looks like a slide show. I uninstalled Silverlight 4 and tried Silverlight 5 Beta, as there was some info on the Silverlight website that indicated that SL5 had better GPU support ... Well, it doesn't! The guys at Microsoft obviously do not know what they are doing, as I have seen complaints about this issue for quite a long time while searching for the reason for my issue. Shame on NetFlix for sticking with Silverlight, as there is obviously issues with SL causing a lot of disappointed customers. It seems like lately MetFlix is doing everything they can to piss off their customer base. Anyway, seems like neither NetFlix nor Microsoft really gives a crap, so I guess there will not be a fix, or even an acknowledgement by NetFlix that there is an issue that needs to be fixed.

Anonymous said...

Micrsofot Silverlight is a heaping pile of shit. Every single movie I try to stream through Netflix, the processor just seems to be over weighed by just the stream alone. It happens completely at random, sometimes it will start within the first 5 minutes of streaming and do it every 10-15 minutes, and sometimes it will do it only 2 or 3 times during the stream. Silverlight constantly bogs my processors (dual cores) down causing my computer to freeze. Please fix this issue. It takes 10 minutes to watch 5 minutes worth of video. Netflix please choose another method for streaming video content other than Silverlight. Get rid of it!!

Anonymous said...

I was forced to download it and now I can't watch anything at all!If this isn't fixed they're losing my business!

Anonymous said...

Netflix sucks, This post has been here for 4 years and they still haven't fixed anything. When it was a flash player there was no problem at all. Now that it's silverlight, the damn player crashes constantly. Every 20 minutes. It's not a hardware issue, my machine is a beast built for rendering heavy 3d scenes. I would cancel my subscription to netflix if I didn't have a roko and netflix is so incompetent in their programming that I use the same account at several locations, sometimes at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Desktop: Intel i5-3570, 32 GB, GTX 460, Windows 8x64
Laptop: AMD E-350, 3 GB, Radeon HD 6310, Windows 7x64

A little change of pace, I have no stuttering, stopping, skipping at all on either machine. My biggest gripe is that Silverlight won't disable my screensaver while the movie is playing, but I'm usually doing something on monitor 2 anyway.

If it makes anyone feel any better, internet connections sometimes just plain suck. Thing is, it may not be your ISP. From your computer, there are many devices that direct traffic around the world to the server at the other end. Your ISP usually controls less than 10% of this process, and the connection is typically pretty robust from your computer to the end of their network. That's all they can promise you.

That said, if you're running dial up or even some slower DSL services, it very well could be your ISP. Heck, there could be a lot of packet loss from your modem to the head-end, your node could be flooded at certain times of the day, or even just bad lines involved. Calling them to get a tech out to check things out couldn't hurt, but don't blame the tech if they can't find anything.

Your computer, on the other hand, may be running:
1) ... spyware/viruses - Really odd that it degrades performance. You'd think they'd develop something that runs smoothly so they can steal your personal information unnoticed. Might be time to get ol' bessie the once over at your local computer shop (a.k.a. your geeky niece's house).
2) ... a troublesome antivirus - Crazy, huh? Overly aggressive antivirus software just ages your computer an extra 10 years. Not pointing fingers at any specific service here, but try uninstalling it for an hour or so just to see (don't forget to write down your serial numbers for the reinstall).
3) ... with really old parts - But it's brand new! ... with technology from 2005... that I just bought at BargainComputers.com. Ask your nerdy nephew if it's really a *new* computer. You might be surprised.
4) ... with software that is running amok - You've been running for roughly 5 years now and have tried every piece of software under the sun. Your desktop looks worse than mine, and that's saying a lot. You could try every piece of optimization software under the sun, but really nothing fixes your computer like a good OS reinstall. Again with the nerdy relative - they come in handy.

Not saying it's necessarily a computer issue, but there are literally millions of users without the problems described, and, from end to end, there are only so many things involved in getting movies to your computer. Your ISP isn't trying to screw you, the networks between ISPs are incredibly robust and account for heavy traffic routing, and the software involved is tested under a variety of circumstances.

The best bet is a clean reinstall with an OS running nothing but your browser and Silverlight. If things are still looking bad, start with your ISP, and work outwards. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Silverlight? more like Silversh**e