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Netflix Denies Shooting Itself in the Foot

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After imposing new pricing plans which boosted many customers' monthly charges by 60%, Netflix can't afford to pull another PR gaffe so soon.

While customers were already dealing with their anger over Netflix's decision to split unlimited streaming and unlimited DVD rentals into two different plans, digital consumer advocacy blog Stop the Cap! reported that the online rental house had put the hammer down on simultaneous streams.

"Netflix streaming customers who happen to share their account with other family members are having a frustrated Labor Day weekend as Netflix completes implementation of strict new limits on the number of concurrent video streams available for viewing," wrote Phillip Dampier.

Although regulations had been in place for accounts -- one-disc-at-a-time members could only stream one movie at a time, two-discs-at-a-time members could stream two at a time, and so on -- they never were never strictly enforced. However, over the weekend, customers were receiving errors which told them to stop streaming more than one movie at a time. Stop the Cap! confirmed the change as the site which used to run three movies simultaneously could only run one.

One reader chimed in, "Netflix never liked two streams at the same time on the same browser, but if you have several family members, two or three people could watch different shows on their own devices at the same time, but no more," wrote reader Jared Ustel.  "As of this weekend, streaming customers can only watch one show at a time."

But before you grab your pitchforks and torches, Netflix VP of Corporate Communications Steve Swasey wrote the Stop the Cap! to say no such restrictions have been imposed.

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

But as Netflix tinkers with its code, Dampier is left holding his breath. Two days since publishing the original article, he and reader Ustel are still unable to stream more than one program at a time and points to the company's FAQ which states "Unlimited Streaming customers are limited to a single stream."

"Mr. Swasey can help his own customers by ensuring concurrent streaming is restored and the FAQ updated to reflect the information he shared," Dampier adds.

And if Netflix doesn't want to add to an already sizable chunk of irate customers, it better do it fast.

(See also: Yahoo Staffers Despised Carol Bartz as CEO and Despite Promises, Google Has Yet to Defragment Android)

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