The Dark Side of Netflix

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3/22/2009

Netflix Once Blamed USPS, Now They Blame ISPs

Netflix’s Chief Product Officer, Neil Hunt, has addressed Netflix streaming content problems on The Netflix Blog.

Many subscribers are suspicious that Netflix is throttling streaming content for heavy users. Netflix is flatly denying this practice, but the company has no credibility, because they have abused subscribers through throttling before and denied it.

Netflix’s denials of throttling streaming content are somewhat like the denials they used when they lied about their practice of throttling through the mail. Netflix used to blame USPS for the check-in and shipping delays for DVDs. We later discovered the fault largely did not rest with USPS, and the delays were mostly due to Netflix. Now that Netflix is being accused of throttling streaming content, Netflix is blaming the ISPs for the delays. First they blamed USPS, now they are blaming ISPs. We found out USPS was mostly innocent. What we will find out about the ISPs?

As of now, Netflix is on record as officially denying the practice of throttling streaming content for some users. If someone later finds Netflix is lying, there will probably be more lawsuits and ill will toward Netflix.

By the way, Neil Hunt’s most infuriating point in Netflix’s denial is that Netflix “hopes” to solve the streaming content problem by the end of the year. Why is this not a higher priority for Netflix? Netflix should be talking about having this resolved by the end of April.

3/17/2009

Throttling Suspicions for Netflix Streaming Content

The latest controversy surrounding Netflix is about the throttling of streaming content over the Internet. Some Netflix subscribers have strong suspicions that Netflix is limiting their ability to view streaming content by forcing unusually long data buffer times that can force a viewer to wait for many minutes or hours before viewing a movie or show. Netflix and their defenders say some Internet service providers must be limiting their users’ data downloads through these buffer delays.

Regardless of who is causing these buffer delays, they are a problem, because they can greatly limit a Netflix subscriber’s ability to view streaming content. The real problem here is we do not know the true cause or culprit. We cannot trust the ISPs, because they are sometimes unscrupulous companies who hide behind technology and defend themselves with nonsensical industry lingo. We absolutely cannot trust Netflix, because, a few years ago, they were caught throttling subscribers through the mail and would not admit it until lawyers got involved.

Both the ISPs and Netflix have the ability to throttle customers and both could benefit by throttling. Since neither side can be trusted, throttled Netflix subscribers are in the dark. As of now, it appears that some Netflix subscribers who access streaming content might be getting throttled over the Internet. The question is: If this throttling is intentional, who is doing the throttling?

Click below to read Riyad Kalla’s article on The "Break It Down" Blog about streaming content throttling at Netflix.
"Netflix Throttling Instant Video Streaming Performance for Viewers"

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?