Netflix Denies Enforcing One Stream Per Customer/DVD Rule

Paul Lilly

The Internet community is once again pissed off at Netflix (what else is new, right?), this time over reports that the DVD-by-mail and streaming movie service is actively enforcing a policy that limits the number of simultaneous streams per account, which in some cases is as low as one. That means you have to kick the kids off of SpongeBob if you want to catch a Starz flick while Netflix is still allowed to stream them.

Netflix outlines the rules for streaming in its FAQ section , which reads:

"Some membership plans allow you to watch simultaneously on more than one personal computer or Netflix-ready device. If you are on the Unlimited Streaming plan, the Unlimited Streaming + 1 DVD out-at-a-time plan or a limited streaming plan, you may watch only one device at a time. If you are on the Unlimited Streaming + 2 DVDs out-at-a-time plan, you may watch on up to two devices at a time. Members on the Unlimited Streaming + 3 DVDs out-at-a-time plan may watch on up to three devices at a time. The maximum is four devices at a time -- available for members on the Unlimited Streaming + 4-or greater DVDs out-at-a-time plan."

According to reports , this has pretty much always been the case, only up until recently, Netflix wasn't actively enforcing this policy. Now it is, and for users forced off of a DVD rental plan following Netflix's controversial price hike, those who thought they'd suck it up and make do with a streaming-only plan are having second thoughts about the Netflix experience altogether.

"Add in the loss of their Starz contract and there's absolutely no reason for anyone to subscribe to Netflix streaming. Validates my cancelling service after their increase due to a total lack of value," a commenter posted on, where news of Neflix enforcing its streaming rule first broke.

So what does Netflix say about this? According to a blog that popped up following the backlash, El Diaro Del Ecommerce claims to have gotten in touch with Netflix VP of Corporate Communications, Steve Swasey, who had this to say via email:

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

As the story goes, those who received a streaming error during Labor Day weekend were the victims of an unfortunate glitch, and not a policy enforcement that would limit some accounts to just a single stream. What's odd, however, is that Netflix's official wording still indicates that, at any given time, some users could be locked down with a single stream.

We're trying to get an official response from Netflix and will report back when/if we do. In the meantime, have any of you noticed any streaming glitches? And if Netflix does enforce this policy, would you cancel or keep your account?

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Update 9-7-11

We were able to get in touch with Netflix VP of Corporate Communications Steve Swasey ourselves, who told us reports that Netflix is enforcing a single stream policy are "not true," and that a few people received a message in error about this. He went on to offer the same quote reposted above from El Diaro Del Ecommerce.

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