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Debra, there is hope. Lowell McAdam, CEO of Verizon, said Tuesday that he expects to reach a deal with Netflix to prioritize traffic and deliver better service. Such a deal would be similar to the one Netflix inked with Comcast. See Verizon CEO: We see a Netflix deal ahead. Of course, that is not the same thing as having actually signed a deal. By the way, I saw another interview with Dan Rayburn and he indicated it may be another couple of weeks before the Netflix servers are fully deployed and connected to Comcast, so the ramp-up of streaming quality may still require some patience for us Comcast/Netflix streamers.
I generally have no problems before 4pm on normal weekdays. However, a recent attempt to view a movie during prime time got 2 dots (0.5Mbps) on my first-generation Roku and 240p resolution when I switched over to the Netflix Applet on my Vizio "Smart TV", with only brief times hitting a high of 480p. Last night (Friday night), however, at 7pm I got 4-dot + HD on the Roku, but had to stop it and switch to the Vizio for streaming because of the need of subtitles (the beekeeper comments in "More Than Honey" are German, which I don't understand, and the first-generation Roku doesn't have subtitle capabilities), and the TV reported 1080p, dips to 720p, and only two brief times did it get down to 480p between 7pm and 8pm. ("More Than Honey" is longer than that, but I had watched the first part of it earlier that day.) So, at least based on that one hour, there appears to be some improvement, but I wouldn't want to draw any conclusions based on just one hour.
Netflix lists several of their RSS feeds at I am using New discs: New Watch Instantly: I have set up Thunderbird to collect these feeds, and indeed new titles have been arriving. Sorry, I can't report on them because usually after looking up additional information, I delete the items from Thunderbird. Unfortunately, the RSS feeds for these titles have very little information: the title (in the Subject line), a thumbnail of the box cover, a description, and a link I can paste into a browser address bar. But that's enough for checking if any of the titles look really interesting. Netflix also has a New to Streaming page, but that page seems to have stuff going back to months, or at least it did the last time I checked it out, without any way of looking at just new to streaming the past week.
Last night (after midnight, PST) the ratings were unavailable. Now it appears that if you try to access the main page or a DVD title, you get the message that the Netflix web site is unavailable. However, if you access an IW page or the IW queue, you get right in. Direct link to your Instant Watch queue: I suspect more than the web interface for the discs is broken; I hadn't received the email that a disc that they should have received by today had been scanned in, and usually such emails would have gone out by now.
PS: I haven't tried streaming on my old Roku--I have DVDs at home and I haven't quite finished working through a bunch of Doomsday and Christmas movies and specials on the HD DVR, so I haven't had time to test my Roku 1 today.
It's probably no comfort to those experiencing problems, but in 2008 when I purchased my Roku, come late December 2008 and even into early January 2009, the Netflix servers were so loaded in the evenings that many posts were made on the Roku forum of Netflix not working. Eventually that was fixed. But still it seems that most Christmases there is a sudden influx of new customers that overwhelms whatever service is supplying the streams. One news story I saw said this is the third Netflix outage this year caused by the Amazon AWS, and these well-publicized outages aren't helping Amazon sell their Cloud Services. (Besides, just how prudent is it to rely on your competitor?) Eventually this outage will be fixed, but it strikes me that Amazon or their customers (I don't know which) haven't learned how to gracefully "fail over" to a working server farm when there is a problem with one of the server farms.
TM, if you want New Releases, take a look at this page: (Look at the release dates, not the page title that suggests last week instead of this coming Tuesday.)
Right now the web site IS confusing. If you want to view what episodes can be streamed, you have to first go to a Watch Instantly page and then search the title you are interested in. With some titles, if you want to see what discs are in a season, you have to go to a DVDs page and then search because the streaming title page for some shows don't have links to the DVD title page for the same show. The genre pages from the Streaming titles are also very inefficient because you cannot see ratings without having to stop and hover the mouse over each picture long enough that it pops up the information. Fortunately, the search results are better. I still don't see why Netflix has decided that their streaming genre pages have to match the limitations of the streaming device GUIs instead of presenting basic information like title and predicted ratings like they used to.
Lately I have been unable to view my current DVD plan. When I navigate to "Your Account" and click on "Change plan" under "You have a DVD plan", the top of the screen displays "Our web services are currently unavailable. You will not be able to change your plan at this time." and there is no indication of which of the options is my current plan, unlike before. I first noticed this several days ago. Also, from the credit card history there is a link to see membership details, but those details correctly show my DVD plan but claim I have 0 hours for streaming, even though I am on the unlimited streaming plan, too. Fortunately my Roku is still able to stream Netflix content.
"Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies" is an Asylum Studios production. Asylum's main strategy is to make movies that have titles that are easily confused with the current blockbusters. In this case, it is capitalizing on the name of "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter".
I was starting to get worried, but I am really glad you were able to take a vacation, a real vacation where you can wind down instead of working with just a different view from the window! (And, no, I wouldn't have announced a vacation over the Internet, either, until I got back. "Hey, criminals, my place will be vacant from ___ to ___ so come right on in!")
Toggle Commented Jun 20, 2012 on Back From a Much-Needed Break at Hacking NetFlix
For 404.25 hours, if this is the highest standard def stream, it would be up to 404.25GB. The video shows him using a hand-held device as well as sitting by a TV, and the hand-held device would have used a standard def stream. Also, he stated the 30 days was April 16 through May 15, so this would be about 202GB in April and 202GB in May if using mostly standard def streams. (The roughly evenly split between months is confirmed by his May 1 blog entry, where he states he had watched 201.59 hours in the first 15 days.) If using Comcast with the 250GB/calendar month limit, as long as streaming was fairly limited the first half of April and last half of May, and the bulk of the viewing was standard def, he could have kept within the Comcast limits. Or he could have watched a lot of the movies through a private ISP. Either way, it is possible to watch so many hours of streaming without going over the Comcast limit. Oh, by the way, I went to check my usage meter and couldn't find it, and discovered that Comcast is revamping their usage limits, starting with a couple pilot programs, one with tiered usage limits, the other with additional charge for buying additional 50GB blocks of usage. See
And here I thought I was the one without a life! The most titles I had watched in a month (where my plan month runs the 25th through the next 24th) was 85 titles, and that was two years before I retired! :) In the year and few months since I retired, I have more extracurricular activities than I dreamed of, and lately I have been viewing only around 40 titles a month. (Well, ok, some of those titles are a season of a show, but still less viewing than that one month when I was employed but we had so many snow days that I was at home with nothing to do, and that turned out to be the second highest month for my streaming activity.) Personally, I think I would go stir crazy if all I did was watch movies at home. No wonder Mark Malkoff finally said in day 29, "I should really invite some chatty friends and a crying baby over to simulate the movie theater experience." :)
I checked my database, and so far this year (2012) I had received one bad DVD (out of 135 DVDs received so far this year, or 0.74%) and one bad blu-ray disc (out of 30 blu-ray discs received so far this year, or 3.33%, but the number is small enough to not be statistically meaningful). Last year (2011) 2 out of 403 DVDs were bad (0.50%), but 6 out of 110 blu-ray discs were unreadable (5.45%), but that includes when a $101 part in my blu-ray player was going out and that would account for 4 of the discs being unreadable. The worst year for bad discs was in 2005, when 13 out of 325 discs (4.00%) were unreadable. 12 of those 13 discs were older discs and were probably shipped from out of state--my records aren't that detailed but I do remember dreading getting the email stating that the discs were coming from outside my local area because the bulk of unreadable discs were cracked discs arriving from out of state. My records don't count discs that were originally unplayable but became playable after cleaning the discs and the player. So my data doesn't support deterioration of disc quality since Netflix decided to separate disc and streaming operations.
My biggest frustration is whenever I get into the redesigned part of the web site--you have to hover the mouse and let the pop-up show you basic things like the title, the predicted (or your assigned) rating, whether or not the title is also available on disc. These are readily available on the old interface and it was totally stupid to hide all that information. And it is really convoluted adding a disc to the DVD queue: you have to click on the title in the pop-up (which, by the way, the web designer failed to show as a link), to take you to a movie page, and sometimes you have to navigate to yet another page before you get to the place where you can add the title to the DVD queue. Is there a better way to sabotage the DVD side of the business? About two months ago I had also reported the "Display all instant activity" link from the DVD/Instant queue is broken: if you exit out of a stream and then later you resume the stream, each exit gives you another line on that display. It's still broken in the same way. However, if you go through "Your account & help" and click on "See all instant watching activity", you are taken to a different URL that displays the information correctly. I don't like it when the Netflix description shows a number of specials on a disc, and when you go to the specials menu on the disc, you are told to purchase the retail version of the disc. If the specials aren't on the disc shipped, why is Netflix telling us they are? Also, why doesn't Netflix offer a "manage vidoe quality" quality that is equivalent of 4 stars (the best before getting into HD)? There are a lot of TV shows that render just fine on my 46in HD TV with my old Roku set to stream the 4-star stream but a 3-star stream would show compression artifacts and an HD stream would be a waste of my monthly quota. But the day my Roku dies, I'll have to use the Netflix web site to manage the video quality when it doesn't give me precisely what I often want.
Mr. Hollywood just reminded me of a couple more issues I have had over the past couple of months: 1. Sometimes during the day I'll be asked to rate a movie I had already rated. I would go into the "All DVD activity" and that title would already be rated, but back at the home page it will continue to ask me to rate that same title until I rate it again. This has happened to me several times during the past month or so. 2. I have noticed from time to time other titles I had rated some time ago (some as recently as 2 years ago) are suddenly no longer rated. Some are individual movies, some are a TV series. (I have an Access database where I keep track of what discs I had received and returned, and what I rated the discs, and likewise what I had streamed and how many stars I rated them, so I can quickly re-rate the titles as I come across them. However, I don't keep a systematic track of how many titles Netflix claims I rated.)
@GeeEmm, my coupon, immediately below the red box, says: Bonus DVD rental offer expires January 20, 2012. I'm thinking of using my coupon before one of the two 3-day weekends, since the Post Office is having postal holidays on December 26 (Christmas, observed) and January 2 (New Years Day, observed).
Yes, for a few days the "At Home" section of my DVD Queue had been messed up but the "All DVD activity" had been correct. I figured the "At Home" display was probably messed up. The problems I observed are: 1. Even though I had received the email confirming that a disc had been scanned in, and the "All DVD activity" screen showed today as the return date, the DVD Queue "At Home" section would still show that title as at home, and would continue doing so through midnight (and last Friday's scanned-in discs continued to display through Saturday morning). 2. The shipped disc would still show in the DVD Queue "At Home" as still "processing" up through midnight, even though I received the email that the disc had shipped sometime in the late morning or early afternoon and "all DVD activity" screen also showed today's date as date shipped. Today things seem to be back to normal. Now it's just a matter of titles that had no waits seem to acquire a "short wait" when they reach the top of my DVD queue. :)
Have any of you gone over 500 titles, and then a saved title go to multiple discs? (E.g., "V: Season 2" was in my saved as just one line, but when Netflix knew it was two discs and were going to be available soon, it changed to two lines: "V: Season 2: Disc 1" and "V: Season 2: Disc 2".) In the past, when such a change would push the total of DVD + Saved to over 500, I would see an error that there was a problem adding that title to my DVD queue and it would be moved back to the Saved queue until I had freed up enough room in the DVD queue (usually by watching and returning enough titles). I probably won't be testing that feature, though. When the Netflix queue gets long, it takes longer to load the queue page in my browser, so I try to keep my Netflix DVD queue in the neighborhood of a mere 150 or so. (Oops! Right now it is 242; it goes up quickly when one adds a multi-season TV show, and then inserts other movies so one alternates the show and some other title so it isn't 100% that show for a month. Even a great show can get monotonous if that is all you watch for some time.)
I think it is a strong possibility that Reed Hastings is seriously considering selling the DVD operations. To sell the DVD operations, you would need to: 1. Decouple billing. Since most credit card processors charge a flat fee plus a percent, having two billings instead of one means twice the number of processing fees for that estimated 12 million customers who they think will be making use of both services. You don't blindly increase your expenses without a very good reason. 2. Decouple web sites and databases. We soon will have separate web sites, no sharing of billing data, address data, or even ratings data--the two will be completely separate. That is what the Information Technology department would need to do to sell off a division. This is what is planned in the very near future. 3. Move the disc operations away from the Netflix headquarters so there is no concern about co-location of Netflix with some other company's operations. This is being done. 4. Pick a company name that doesn't tie the disc operations to Netflix. There is no hint of "Netflix" in the "Qwikster" name, making the disc operations more palatable to potential buyers. (The continuing of red envelopes is to not shock the existing 14.2 million disc subscribers. So my suspicion is that Netflix is grooming Qwikster to sell so they can raise cash for licensing more streaming content, preferably content that the majority of the 21.8 million streaming subscribers will enjoy watching. (I read a recent article that said the majority of the high ratings don't go to old movies, but to TV shows, and that is what Netflix will be interested in acquiring. And when I think of the streaming I have done in the past few months, looking at hours, not numbers of titles, TV shows come out on top on both hours watched and 4 and 5 star ratings given. And TV shows, on the most part, don't show off the compression artifacts like an action & adventure movie.) It may be interesting for Netflix in the next few years because you can raise cash by selling off the disc operations only once. And I hope whoever buys the disc operations is really interested in keeping it up to snuff instead of just draining it dry.
I'm on the 6-out with blu-ray and unlimited streaming plan. My price is going from $48.99/mo to $47.98/mo, so I'll be saving $1.01/mo. I am hoping that by having DVDs be under a separate management team from the streaming, maybe they will start filling in some of their holes, such as getting the blu-rays of titles for which blu-ray discs are available.
Update on Netflix DVD Queue: The "At home" section is now finally displaying what I would expect it to display: no phantom "processing" lines, the scanned in discs are removed from that display. However, the real test will be tomorrow when they should receive a couple of discs and ship a couple of discs. (What they scanned in this morning was a disc that was shipped from a remote processing center in addition to my 6 out, so they aren't shipping any discs to me today.)
I probably didn't try getting to the website when it was down, but yesterday and today I noticed anomalies in the "At Home" section of my Netflix DVD queue: movies that had already shipped are still showing as "processing", and discs that they had received today still show as "at home". However, when I click on "show all DVD activities" link, it does correctly show the dates the discs shipped and the dates they were returned, including the disc that was scanned in this morning as having been received today. I'm going to chalk up the anomalies on the "At home" section of the Netflix DVD Queue as a display problem and not worry too much about it.
I haven't been able to get to the web site for the past hour. However, my Roku is streaming Mission: Impossible, Season 6, Episode 21 and now Episode 22 just fine. On June 15 I got "content unavailable" for all multi-episode titles in my Roku here in Oregon, but people in other states were streaming just fine. It was fine the next day. Ironic that now I'm doing just fine and others are having the problems. However, it wouldn't surprise me if it dies with Season 7, Episode 1.
As part of trying to track down the problem I am having with my Roku, I did set the video quality to "Best quality". Roku still says "content unavailable" whenever I click on a multi-episode title.