Netflix: Streaming Not Limited to One Device at a Time

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Put down your pitchforks, people. Contrary to some reports, Netflix is not limiting streaming video to one device at a time—at least not on purpose.

“No Netflix member is limited to less than two concurrent streams,” Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey told Techland in an e-mail. “A few Netflix members have heard differently from us, which is an error that we are correcting.”

(MORE: Netflix Shakes Up Plans: $8 for Streaming, Another $8 for DVDs)

On Monday, the blog Stop the Cap reported that Netflix was suddenly enforcing a rule that restricted streaming video to one device per subscriber at a time. Users who tried to watch Netflix on concurrent devices saw an error message, the blog said.

But I had no problem streaming different movies to my Playstation 3 and my PC at the same time. (My current plan is one DVD at a time, plus streaming.) Techland’s editor Doug Aamoth streamed Netflix videos to his computer, iPhone and iPad simultaneously. Those who saw an error message, it seems, had run into a glitch.

However, Netflix does allow for a limit on concurrent streams, according to its terms of service:

“Some membership plans allow you to watch simultaneously on more than one personal computer or Netflix ready device at the same time. If you are on the 1 disc out at-a-time plan [or stream-only plan], you may watch only one device at a time. If you are on the 2 discs out at-a-time plan, you may watch on up to two devices at the same time. Members on the 3 disc plan can watch on up to three devices. The maximum is four devices simultaneously, and that is available for members on the 4 or greater discs out at-a-time plans.”

The rule just isn’t being enforced right now. That’s good for Netflix, which after raising prices and losing Starz content doesn’t need any more bad publicity this month.

MORE: Why Netflix’s Price Hike Doesn’t Bother Me