A report on Monday at data cap advocacy site Stopthecap spread troubling news for Netflix subscribers: a limit on the number of streams they could simultaneously run. The group reported that its own attempts to run concurrent streams from a single account were met with an error message. Horrifying to imagine, but with the streaming giant’s other recent cutbacks and tweaks in mind perhaps not all that hard to believe.
Several outlets ran with the story, arming readers with more ammunition to use against a company that’s already been beat up by the media and Wall Street this summer.
Trouble is, Netflix says it isn’t true.
Two days after Stopthegap put the spurs to the horse, Netflix spokesperson Steve Swasey has finally spoken out. He told Time’s Techland blog that the error message is just that – an error.
“No Netflix member is limited to less than two concurrent streams,” said Swasey. “A few Netflix members have heard differently from us, which is an error that we are correcting.”
The error message in question — N8107- 154-5006 — read: “There are 1 movies being watched, which is the limit for your membership. Please stop playing at least one movie and try again later.”
Stopthegap has since amended its original story to include Netflix’s comment, but fell back on the conspiracy card: “Technical glitch or last-minute policy shift? You decide.”
In the past, Netflix has officially announced user interface changes to its service on its blog or through press releases – even when those announcements elicit anger from subscribers. On the other hand, Stopthegap and Techland both noted Netflix’s official stance on multiple streaming from a single account is that it’s plan-dependent. For example, a member can run two streams if they’re signed up for a two DVD rental plan. In that case, Netflix arguably wouldn’t need to make an announcement if it indeed cracked down on multiple streaming; the catch is already in the Terms of Service.
Have you encountered any issues simultaneously streaming Netflix in the past few days? Let us know in the comment section.