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Uproar Over Netflix's New Instant Viewer

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the one-way-beta dept.

Movies 575

almechist writes "Many Netflix customers are up in arms over the new instant-watch player powered by Microsoft's Silverlight. The official Netflix blog is full of complaints from users who decry not only the new player's quality but also the way it's being distributed, with many claiming they were deceived into downloading it. Once you opt for the new player, the old Windows Media based player won't function, not on any computer associated with the account. The new player is supposedly still beta, but NF members are strongly encouraged (some say tricked) by NF into the so-called 'upgrade,' which is permanent — there is no way to opt out. The marked decrease in video quality seen by those who have switched is perhaps not surprising, since the old player could utilize bit streams up to twice as fast as the new one, but this information is nowhere given out by NF. So far NF has been answering all complaints with variations on 'tough luck pal, you're stuck with it,' but many customers are so disgusted they're ready to cancel their NF membership. This could be a public relations disaster in the making for Netflix."

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575 comments

Frisky Pornstar!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27034883)

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ABOUT SIZES: Because we do not make the clothing ourselves, we can only offer sizes that we currently have in stock. All available sizes will be listed in our auctions or in our eBay store. If a size is not listed, it is because we are currently sold out. On average, we receive new shipments of clothing twice a month, and are always on the lookout to replenish popular items, so check back often.

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    inmyparentsbasement always has hundreds and most times thousands of auctions and store items available for purchase through our ebay store In My Parents Basement. In My Parents Basement is one of the largest sellers of Video Games, Action Figures, and Geek and Music Related T shirts on eBay.

QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS AUCTION?

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* IMPORTANT INFORMATION *

At In My Parents Basements we strive to provide the best possible customer service. We appreciate you taking the time to view our items and shopping in our store. Most people don't know that ebay/paypal charges almost 25% commission on transactions made on their site. Because of these high costs, we have to strive for five star ratings. Please rank us as a five star seller.

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Shipping Destination & Method Estimated Time in Transit Shipping & handling cost for 1st Item Each Additional Item

UNITED STATES EXPEDITED

3 to 7 days

6.95

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UNITED STATES EXPRESS

1 day

29.95

7.00

CANADA

7 to 14 days**

7.95

3.00

ALL OTHER COUNTRIES

7 to 21 days**

15.95

4.00

*AK, HI, APO FPO, PR, and US territories pay US shipping rates

** Some packages, especially those containing electronic parts, can experience significant Customs related delays.

IN MY PARENTS BASEMENT offers are large variety of items to choose from in our store. Due to this combined shipping charges are is always determined beginning with the largest item and highest shipping cost first.

SHIPPING TIMES: In most cases, items ship the business day directly following receipt of cleared payment. We do not ship items on Saturday or Sunday. We are not responsible for transportation time, which can be extremely unpredictable especially when shipping items outside the US, around holidays, or when inclement weather is involved.

PAYMENT: At inmyparentsbasement, we currently accept paypal for payemnt We do not ship any items until payment has cleared, so if you are paying by eCheck, please be aware there maybe a delay in shipping. If you have any concerns with payment methods please contact us via the ebay messaging system. There may be other alternatives.

TAXES: inmyparentsbasement is located in TEXAS. THEREFORE ALL TEXAS RESIDENTS MUST PAY 8.25% in state sales tax.

RETURNS: IN MY PARENTS BASEMENT accepts returns for up to 30 days on any item - provided that it is in the same condition as when it was sold. Please contact us via the ebay messaging system for help in case of return.

Secret reason for this change! (4, Insightful)

gravos (912628) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035137)

The real reason for this change is that there are tools that rip the old Windows Media stream and let you save the instant movies on your computer. So far I haven't seen a similar tool for the Silverlight streams.

Re:Secret reason for this change! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27035331)

if it will work in moonlight, someone's bound to figure out what to do.

Re:Secret reason for this change! (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035415)

The real reason for this change is that there are tools that rip the old Windows Media stream and let you save the instant movies on your computer. So far I haven't seen a similar tool for the Silverlight streams.

True. Most things are secure for a day or two... But once it is a big enough target for people to care...

APK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27034905)

Is a tool.

So is your mom!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27034957)

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Measurments front collar to bottom: 28 Inches

Measurements from Pit to Pit: 23 1/2 Inches

ABOUT THE QUALITY OF OUR CLOTHING: We sell only brand new, licensed clothing. All of our shirts, hoodies, jackets and beanies are fully licesned by their respective trademark holders. Unlike many sellers, we do not print the images ourselves, and we do not deal in knock-offs or fakes. We do guarantee all of our items - please see information below about out return policy.

ABOUT SIZES: Because we do not make the clothing ourselves, we can only offer sizes that we currently have in stock. All available sizes will be listed in our auctions or in our eBay store. If a size is not listed, it is because we are currently sold out. On average, we receive new shipments of clothing twice a month, and are always on the lookout to replenish popular items, so check back often.

Please read the section below for important information:

    inmyparentsbasement always has hundreds and most times thousands of auctions and store items available for purchase through our ebay store In My Parents Basement. In My Parents Basement is one of the largest sellers of Video Games, Action Figures, and Geek and Music Related T shirts on eBay.

QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS AUCTION?

Please contact us via eBay's Messaging system! eBay and PayPal send us hundreds of emails a day, which can make it difficult to spot buyer questions. For the fastest response, please contact us by using the "Ask Seller a Question" link at the top of this auction.

THIS DEAL ISNT GOOD ENOUGH?

It's your lucky day because the basement is over flowing, Inmyparentsbasement has added several clearance categories to our ebay store. The first four sections of our ebay store contain heavily discounted items that we need to move. This means more savings for you and with combined shipping you can save even more.

TAKE THE TIME TO CHECK OUT THE BEST DEALS IN THE BASEMENT

CLICK for CLEARANCE CLOTHES

CLICK for CLEARANCE GAMES

CLICK for CLEARANCE TOYS

CLICK for CLEARANCE EVERTHING ELSE

* IMPORTANT INFORMATION *

At In My Parents Basements we strive to provide the best possible customer service. We appreciate you taking the time to view our items and shopping in our store. Most people don't know that ebay/paypal charges almost 25% commission on transactions made on their site. Because of these high costs, we have to strive for five star ratings. Please rank us as a five star seller.

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Shipping Destination & Method Estimated Time in Transit Shipping & handling cost for 1st Item Each Additional Item

UNITED STATES EXPEDITED

3 to 7 days

6.95

3.00

UNITED STATES EXPRESS

1 day

29.95

7.00

CANADA

7 to 14 days**

7.95

3.00

ALL OTHER COUNTRIES

7 to 21 days**

15.95

4.00

*AK, HI, APO FPO, PR, and US territories pay US shipping rates

** Some packages, especially those containing electronic parts, can experience significant Customs related delays.

IN MY PARENTS BASEMENT offers are large variety of items to choose from in our store. Due to this combined shipping charges are is always determined beginning with the largest item and highest shipping cost first.

SHIPPING TIMES: In most cases, items ship the business day directly following receipt of cleared payment. We do not ship items on Saturday or Sunday. We are not responsible for transportation time, which can be extremely unpredictable especially when shipping items outside the US, around holidays, or when inclement weather is involved.

PAYMENT: At inmyparentsbasement, we currently accept paypal for payemnt We do not ship any items until payment has cleared, so if you are paying by eCheck, please be aware there maybe a delay in shipping. If you have any concerns with payment methods please contact us via the ebay messaging system. There may be other alternatives.

TAXES: inmyparentsbasement is located in TEXAS. THEREFORE ALL TEXAS RESIDENTS MUST PAY 8.25% in state sales tax.

RETURNS: IN MY PARENTS BASEMENT accepts returns for up to 30 days on any item - provided that it is in the same condition as when it was sold. Please contact us via the ebay messaging system for help in case of return...

Frog, pot, increased heat (5, Insightful)

speedlaw (878924) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034909)

Really. No one wants DRM. The process of taking your computer from you is slow and incremental.

MOD PARENT DOWN! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27034921)

Be sure to add me to your favorites list!

You are bidding on the following item from inmyparentsbasement where Worldwide bidders are always welcome:

XL MENS T SHIRT

GRAVE DIGGER - OFFICIAL MONSTER JAM TEE

Material: 100% Cotton

Measurments front collar to bottom: 28 Inches

Measurements from Pit to Pit: 23 1/2 Inches

ABOUT THE QUALITY OF OUR CLOTHING: We sell only brand new, licensed clothing. All of our shirts, hoodies, jackets and beanies are fully licesned by their respective trademark holders. Unlike many sellers, we do not print the images ourselves, and we do not deal in knock-offs or fakes. We do guarantee all of our items - please see information below about out return policy.

ABOUT SIZES: Because we do not make the clothing ourselves, we can only offer sizes that we currently have in stock. All available sizes will be listed in our auctions or in our eBay store. If a size is not listed, it is because we are currently sold out. On average, we receive new shipments of clothing twice a month, and are always on the lookout to replenish popular items, so check back often.

Please read the section below for important information:

    inmyparentsbasement always has hundreds and most times thousands of auctions and store items available for purchase through our ebay store In My Parents Basement. In My Parents Basement is one of the largest sellers of Video Games, Action Figures, and Geek and Music Related T shirts on eBay.

QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS AUCTION?

Please contact us via eBay's Messaging system! eBay and PayPal send us hundreds of emails a day, which can make it difficult to spot buyer questions. For the fastest response, please contact us by using the "Ask Seller a Question" link at the top of this auction.

THIS DEAL ISNT GOOD ENOUGH?

It's your lucky day because the basement is over flowing, Inmyparentsbasement has added several clearance categories to our ebay store. The first four sections of our ebay store contain heavily discounted items that we need to move. This means more savings for you and with combined shipping you can save even more.

TAKE THE TIME TO CHECK OUT THE BEST DEALS IN THE BASEMENT

CLICK for CLEARANCE CLOTHES

CLICK for CLEARANCE GAMES

CLICK for CLEARANCE TOYS

CLICK for CLEARANCE EVERTHING ELSE

* IMPORTANT INFORMATION *

At In My Parents Basements we strive to provide the best possible customer service. We appreciate you taking the time to view our items and shopping in our store. Most people don't know that ebay/paypal charges almost 25% commission on transactions made on their site. Because of these high costs, we have to strive for five star ratings. Please rank us as a five star seller.

SHIPPING INFORMATION

Save on shipping bid on multiple items!

Shipping Destination & Method Estimated Time in Transit Shipping & handling cost for 1st Item Each Additional Item

UNITED STATES EXPEDITED

3 to 7 days

6.95

3.00

UNITED STATES EXPRESS

1 day

29.95

7.00

CANADA

7 to 14 days**

7.95

3.00

ALL OTHER COUNTRIES

7 to 21 days**

15.95

4.00

*AK, HI, APO FPO, PR, and US territories pay US shipping rates

** Some packages, especially those containing electronic parts, can experience significant Customs related delays.

IN MY PARENTS BASEMENT offers are large variety of items to choose from in our store. Due to this combined shipping charges are is always determined beginning with the largest item and highest shipping cost first.

SHIPPING TIMES: In most cases, items ship the business day directly following receipt of cleared payment. We do not ship items on Saturday or Sunday. We are not responsible for transportation time, which can be extremely unpredictable especially when shipping items outside the US, around holidays, or when inclement weather is involved.

PAYMENT: At inmyparentsbasement, we currently accept paypal for payemnt We do not ship any items until payment has cleared, so if you are paying by eCheck, please be aware there maybe a delay in shipping. If you have any concerns with payment methods please contact us via the ebay messaging system. There may be other alternatives.

TAXES: inmyparentsbasement is located in TEXAS. THEREFORE ALL TEXAS RESIDENTS MUST PAY 8.25% in state sales tax.

RETURNS: IN MY PARENTS BASEMENT accepts returns for up to 30 days on any item - provided that it is in the same condition as when it was sold. Please contact us via the ebay messaging system for help in case of return..

Re:Frog, pot, increased heat (4, Informative)

fyrie (604735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035107)

The original player has DRM as well. It uses MS's COPP protection.

Re:Frog, pot, increased heat (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035277)

The thing is, this is one use of DRM that I think I might be able to live with: when you're renting content. Most of the things that I believe make DRM inherently unacceptable come from someone else trying to exercise control over something that I purchased and "own".

Uninstall Reinstall? (0)

Prysorra (1040518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034915)

How permanent, exactly?

Re:Uninstall Reinstall? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27034931)

I mean, no one RTFA, but not even the summary?!

Once you opt for the new player, the old Windows Media based player won't function, not on any computer associated with the account.

It looks like a flag is set for the account when you "upgrade."

Re:Uninstall Reinstall? (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035231)

It looks like a flag is set for the account when you "upgrade."

So just cancel your account and sign up for a new one. Not like you get any special deals for your long-term loyalty.

Re:Uninstall Reinstall? (5, Informative)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035367)

except that new accounts get no choice.

I recently signed up and never new about anything other than the silverlight player.

Re:Uninstall Reinstall? (4, Insightful)

powerspike (729889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035001)

well from the summary, it sounds like it's server side, because other computers on the same account can't use the old player anymore either, so a simple uninstall and reinstall wouldn't work.

I see comments in the thread linked to... (3, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034919)

I see comments in the thread linked to by the original post. But I don't see any information saying there's really widespread unhappiness. There are 483 comments in the thread, most negative but I have no idea how large or how representative a sample that is. I can't tell how much of this is the standard negative reaction to any major upgrade. Does anyone have any data on complaint levels for prior Netflix upgrades?

Re:I see comments in the thread linked to... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27035005)

it's also, if you notice, not exactly a NEW problem.
And if you look deeper, you'll see that the quality has been increased quite a bit over the past few months.

add in that the compression used in the new streams is much better than the old one, allowing for better quality over lower bandwidth.

but then, why use facts at all.

why do i feel that this is more of a post by some disgruntled linux user who "can't get teh fee service that i pay nothing extra for to work on my selected OS" than any real news....

oh wait, it's because that's what this is and it's on /. for a reason.

fuck off freetard.

Re:I see comments in the thread linked to... (5, Insightful)

jackchance (947926) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035305)

I am a mac user, so i only saw the silverlight version. But the video quality is way better than youtube. It is not DVD quality, but it is close. I haven't used it in a few weeks. It is totally possible that the increased popularity of the service has choked their bandwidth.

I just logged in to check, and the quality is fine. About as good as standard TV.

I think it is sort of funny that netflix gave this service to existing customers for free. and now people are bitching about the quality of this service that i see as basically icing on my dvd subscription cake.

so just quit (5, Insightful)

groslyunderpaid (950152) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034945)

no, really. cancel your membership. now. everyone. then they will change. consumer whining does nothing. comsumers taking their money elsewhere does everything.

Re:so just quit (5, Informative)

fyrie (604735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035127)

Netflix has responded to complaints in the past. At one point they were going to ditch multiple profiles/queues per account, but they decided to keep them after the uproar.

Re:so just quit (1, Troll)

RMingin (985478) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035225)

Actually not, they did dump that feature, and to widespread annoyance/grief.

Re:so just quit (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27035289)

Slashdot is useless, even +2 posters have no clue what they are talking about. See here: http://blog.netflix.com/2008/06/profiles-feature-not-going-away.html

Re:so just quit (5, Interesting)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035193)

>"This could be a public relations disaster in the making for Netflix."

>"...consumers taking their money elsewhere does everything."

I'm sure there are 'investments' in place by MS that will ease any pain in the short term.

Reed Hastings, Netflix founder and CEO, holds a seat on Microsoft's board. Microsoft purchased, (purely for investment reasons) 1% of Netflix stocks. Netflix will do what MS wants.

Re:so just quit (5, Interesting)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035213)

We are talking about Netflix. Yes, they are a company looking for making profit, but they are also one of the few companies who have a solid record of listening to their customers. I have nothing but positive experience with Netflix. Give them a chance - let's see how they will react to this.

How it happened. The usual story: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27035269)

I suppose you're wondering how it happened that Netflix would decide to choose the public relations disaster of partnering with Microsoft. My guess doesn't differ much from company to company, because executives don't differ much.

Netflix executives were sitting around one day at a 3-hour lunch getting drunk and making rude remarks to the waitress. One of them said, "How can we sink the company?" After considerable deliberation, one of them had an idea. "I know, we'll get ourselves on Slashdot for doing something terrible for the customers." Another executive said, "Brilliant! That will get us a lot of bad press and account cancellations."

Then they had to think of something sufficiently rotten and abusive, because not every story of technological abuse is accepted by Slashdot. That's difficult for a drunk person, especially a drunk person that makes millions of dollars a year. That kind of money decreases initiative. Not only that, but to be professionally abusive it's necessary to have years of intense practice.

Then one of the executives said, "We'll just partner with Microsoft! A lot of what they do is sneaky or mean. They can show us the way!"

And that's what they did.

Warning: Some of this may be fiction. Or, it may be true.

Re:so just quit (1, Interesting)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035427)

no, really. cancel your membership. now. everyone. then they will change. consumer whining does nothing. comsumers taking their money elsewhere does everything.

I for one won't be supporting your boycott. Netflix delivers my DVDs in a quite timely manner, and it's a great convenience (price-wise and otherwise) over Blockbuster and the like. Oh, and I don't stream my content. Why would I? DVDs allow me to view on my own schedule, and I can keep them as long as I want.

I have a hard time believing there are those who were duped into downloading software that ended up hosing their system. Sounds like some sour grapes to me by a few unhappy individuals.

Viewer Quality (5, Insightful)

Roxton (73137) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034961)

I was one of the early adopters. Within a week of the release of NetFlix streaming on the XBox, my PC feed became useless. It would keep stopping to buffer, and eventually stop indefinitely. When I called NetFlix to complain, they suggested I try the Silverlight player. The quality was roughly on par with YouTube, but the buffering problems went away, so I went with it.

I'm wondering if the problem is not so much poor software quality as it is a bottleneck in the feed itself. Perhaps the servers can't take the load, or perhaps they simply don't have enough well-placed bandwidth. Their instant viewing subscriber base has been climbing tremendously.

Re:Viewer Quality (1)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035047)

Perhaps the servers can't take the load, or perhaps they simply don't have enough well-placed bandwidth.

That's what they want you to think. Next thing you know, they'll heroically solve the problem by offering you a free "upgrade" to Octoshape.

Re:Viewer Quality (1)

N7DR (536428) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035103)

I'm wondering if the problem is not so much poor software quality as it is a bottleneck in the feed itself. Perhaps the servers can't take the load, or perhaps they simply don't have enough well-placed bandwidth.

I don't see how that can be the problem. I just watched a program on my Roku box, and it was the same quality (4 stars on their bandwidth indicator) as usual. I watch several movies or programs a week in this manner, and it's always the same quality.

Re:Viewer Quality (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27035229)

I think it might be your Internet connection more than anything else. Every time I have ever pulled something from Netflix it ran at decent speed (5+ Mbit at least). Of course even if it would have run slow, I would not have had problems with buffering because I would always just download the whole thing before watching it (the Microsoft DRM doesn't care).

With that said, the DRM crap pisses me off because I can only watch movies in a VMware Windows machine because I don't have any actual Windows machines. So I haven't used it in ages.

Talk about buffering problem! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27034971)

It only took five months for Slashdot to jump on this news! Faster than usual by at least a month or two...

Microsoft Quality (1)

DesertBlade (741219) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034979)

That is the first mistake, Netflix should embrace better standards. They are using MS SQL server, if MS can make a case, see how it works so awesome with Netflix and see how it is protected(DRMed) lots of other content providers will pay them for it.

netflix silverlight (2, Informative)

jboker (990329) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034985)

I have netflix and have never seen the old version, this blog post is from october 2008, this seems like old news. Also, the player works pretty nicely, I don't have any problems.

they did tell you ahead of time (5, Interesting)

Vorpix (60341) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035011)

when i first saw the silverlight player i considered trying it out. but when i looked into it, netflix made it clear that this would make silverlight your only option. i didn't really want to go full-on with silverlight so I just passed up on it.

it's not like netflix hid the fact that you couldn't use the WMP version. it wasn't discreetly placed in the fine print.. it was pretty clear.

now, i don't really understand why they are forcing it to be an all-or-nothing decision.. but don't blame them for something they told you ahead of time about, and you had to opt into.

Re:they did tell you ahead of time (2, Insightful)

SpudB0y (617458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035169)

I read that part too and decided to leave well enough alone. People are trained to click on upgrade buttons.

Bigger disaster for Microsoft? (4, Interesting)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035017)

Even though they were running both players... This situation certainly associates silverlight with poor quality.

Re:Bigger disaster for Microsoft? (3, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035297)

Really?

The old Netflix Instant Viewer required you to download a bunch of crap as well.

The new one is the exact same way, and provides better video quality to every user I've talked to. What exactly is the issue here? It honestly sounds like a paranoid anti-MS rant. I suppose there might be some bugs, though anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that the Silverlight-based system is more stable.

The angry comments on the blog come primarily from users who have PPC macs -- users who weren't supported under the old system either. Although this comes down to being Microsoft's fault, the VC-1 codec is currently the only DRM'd solution that the movie studios see as being viable. Like it or not, DRM is going to be the reality for streaming video for some time to come.

Unfortunately, Microsoft have chosen not to support PPC machines with the codec, primarily because there are very few PPC machines powerful enough to decode VC-1 video in real-time. It sucks for PPC Mac users, but you should be able to see their logic.

Re:Bigger disaster for Microsoft? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27035337)

A stupid summary on slashdot? God. Who would have thought? I bet the writer doesn't even subscribe to NF; they were very upfront that you could not go back.

kdawson (5, Informative)

Drive42 (444835) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035021)

=FUD. I have never seen an article penned by him (or her) that does not over-exaggerate the facts of the matter. The silverlight player has been out for a few months now. To have 480-odd complaints in that time, considering the size of Netflix's user base, while not great, is not that significant.

The implementation of silverlight is still an important problem because of the DRM and the possible incompatibilities and bugs, but it is nowhere a "disaster".

kdawson does nothing positive for slashdot. He should be removed. His entries sound like the worst kind of hellraising politics.

Re:kdawson (2, Informative)

caladine (1290184) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035111)

Hear hear. I should know by now to filter anything posting by this "moderator". I mean, do they let kdawson continue to post articles (and I use the term loosely, since they've posted things without even citations lately) just to see what kind of stupid crap kdawson will come up with?

MOD THIS UP!!! KDAWSON SHOULD BE FIRED (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27035203)

kdawson is the worst "editor" I've ever seen. He wouldn't be hired to write for a high school newspaper. This is what slashdot has come to though, circling down the drain.

Re:kdawson (4, Informative)

massysett (910130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035391)

kdawson does nothing positive for slashdot. He should be removed. His entries sound like the worst kind of hellraising politics.

Please, please mod this up. kdawson always, always posts absolute garbage. I didn't even look at Slashdot for months due to all the total garbage posted by kdawson. Now I have come back, and I have no idea why.

I understand users posting dumb comments, and I can even understand dumb comments getting modded up...but dumb summaries of total crap articles? I might as well read Digg for that. Maybe I'll start ignoring Slashdot for a few months again, or until they get rid of this absolute garbage that kdawson always posts.

m$ (1)

jrozzi (1279772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035027)

This doesn't surprise me... anything utilizing the technology (if you want to call it that) of Silverlight is bound to be a disaster. Netflix should definitely act appropriately if they're receiving this many complaints or else it will do more harm than good.

Re:m$ (1)

ToxicBanjo (905105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035191)

This doesn't surprise me... anything utilizing the technology (if you want to call it that) of Silverlight is bound to be a disaster. Netflix should definitely act appropriately if they're receiving this many complaints or else it will do more harm than good.

The problem isn't the technology, Silverlight plays media very well and if the CONTENT is encoded properly in very high quality. No, the problem here is Netflix and there choice to provide poor content and even poorer customer service.

OS X Support (5, Informative)

georgevulov (547520) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035033)

Personally, I am very happy with the new Silverlight-based movie player. The Windows Media Player-based solution offered no OS X support and I was forced to use VirtualBox to watch NF movies.

Also, in my experience the new player loads much faster and fast forwarding and rewinding works much better. I have not noticed a decrease in quality, probably because my Internet connection wasn't fast enough in the first place to get the highest-quality streams.

Re:OS X Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27035059)

Yeah, but IT'S SILVERLIGHT.
It's like some horrid Flash variant.

Re:OS X Support (1)

fyrie (604735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035147)

It's closer to Adobe Air than flash.

Re:OS X Support (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035303)

No actually. Silverlight 1.0 is very close in philosophy to Flash... Silverlight 2.0 is fairly close to Flex's later incarnations (well, not -quite- from a technical perspective, but the use cases are similar-ish). Adobe Air is just a platform to use web-like technologies on your desktop. Silverlight 1.0 is a vector-based graphics engine for the browser, and Silverlight 2.0 is a runtime based on the first one to make rich apps in a browser. Adobe Air -kindda- has the same end result as WPF, but the philosophy is totally different...its somewhat unique, really.

Re:OS X Support (1)

fyrie (604735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035333)

I forgot the 2.0 qualifier. It's a subset (and extension at the same time) of WPF, but what I was getting at is that you can build rich enterprisey type apps with Sliverlight (2.0), which is something that is out of scope for Flash IMHO, although I'm not saying it can't be done.

Re:OS X Support (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035395)

well, Flash (even without Flex) has form and input support, can communicate via web services and other protocols, etc. Flex is a framework built on top of that to make it -easier-, but the functionalities are still there out of the box in Flash. In any case, I think we can agree SL2 is better compared to Flex than Adobe Air.

Re:OS X Support (5, Insightful)

Draconix (653959) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035125)

Seconding this. I've been using the Silverlight-based player, and it's been ace on OS X. The quality isn't stellar, but it's not bad enough to bother me either. It's a lot better than say, Youtube, but not as good as Quicktime streaming. It's maybe a little worse than DVD for me, which is perfectly fine by my standards.

Only problems I've had with it were occasional movies with audio out of sync, but it's a rare problem. (I've had it happen two or three times out of at least 50)

The DRM doesn't really bother me in this case. I'm renting these movies, not buying them. The DRM isn't depriving me of anything. (I'm really anti-DRM for things one owns, but seriously, for rental services, DRM makes perfect sense to me.)

Re:OS X Support (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035291)

The DRM doesn't really bother me in this case.

Sure it bothers you in this case. As you said, the quality isn't stellar. And you have no choice in clients due to the DRM.

If Hollyweird would dump all this protection nonsense, you would have the option of open MP4 streams or downloading with any software of your choosing.

Re:OS X Support (1)

Kopiok (898028) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035329)

That would be a valid criticism if these movies were being purchased, but these are rentals and are designed, and rightly so, so you can't keep them indefinitely.

Re:OS X Support (1)

Draconix (653959) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035433)

No, it really, truly doesn't bother me in this case, it just bothers you. I am not you, and I'd appreciate it if you didn't put words in my mouth.

Re:OS X Support (1)

AngryNick (891056) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035279)

I'm confused by all the bitching. Here NF is offering a viewer that will work _without_ IE or Windows and people are complaining? Sure the quality is a little worse, but the WMP-based video wasn't much better and I haven't come to expect HD quality when watching streaming yet. I'm just happy I can watch on my Mac.

Re:OS X Support (2, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035429)

How could the 'rewinding' be any worse? From what I've seen, wanting to rewind for even a second requires a complete buffer dump and redownload of the content (IE I get to wait for ~10 seconds minimum for it to buffer again).

I often get a 'wait one' moment and want to go back ~10 seconds or so and see something again, so it really annoys me.

Keeping ~10-30 second of buffer data even after playing would be useful.

As would a non-browser player program, I'd like to get rid of the frames and such and have a 'force on top'- basically a PiP on my computer.

I've also had a number of audio synch issues like Draconix.

This stuff gets really annoying; I want to pay, I really do. That's why I got the netflix membership. Couldn't they make my viewing at least as pleasurable as downloading the video from some torrent site?

Let them fry! (1, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035061)

This isn't the first time Netflix has canned a popular feature in favor of an inferior solution for unfathomable reasons. Anyone remember being able to have multiple queues on your (shared) account with someone? Thrown out, in the name of "efficiency" to much booing. Now they're signing up with Microsoft to force Silverlight onto the world, reminding me of Medica's website -- which is completely inaccessible in anything but Internet Exploiter thanks to them deploying Sharepoint for everything. Ironic, for a company that's federally mandated to be accessible to the disabled. If your accessibility software isn't "Microsoft Compatible", I guess you're S.O.L. Sorry, a little off topic there... point is... Yeah, it's underhanded, but not intentionally so.

Here's what really happened:

1. Management got a phone call from Microsoft, or an MSCE Certified Bonehead, who said "Switch to Silverlight, they will wuv you 4ever!"
2. Management, knowing absolutely jack fricking crap about their tech infrastructure, says "We can't go wrong with Microsoft, make it so!"
3. The developers get the order From On High, and beg and plead with their supervisors... "please god, don't do it."
4. God (aka the department manager) says to the developers "So it is written, and so shall it be... for I like my job, and fear retribution."
5. The developers rolled out a crap implementation (beta) and it pleased Management, who decreed it shall become the Law of the Website.
6. The change was implemented half-arsed, rushed through testing, and the web developers and database people really didn't want to spend a lot of time revamping the entire
      engine just to support the latest management whim, so the "undo" bit was left off. Minor oops!
7. The users came forth on the Anointed Day and screamed and flailed, and conspiracy and deceit was cried throughout the Thousand Forums.
8. Management... hears nothing.
9. The poor bastards making $10 an hour in Support do though, and several take up the habit of smoking (what? Well, whatever was convenient, of course).

Epilogue:

10. In about 4 weeks, enough meetings from stressed Support managers will percolate to the board room that "there's a problem of some kind."
11. Management will spend another two weeks in meetings, phone calls, emails, and putting their thumbs up their arse.
12. A decree will come down... "Fix it." It will be vague, badly-defined, and cause all who hoped for resolution to cringe.
13. In the end, a lone Developer will smote the demon upon the mountain-side, adding an "undo" feature... and probably getting fired later for not getting approval. But it will save thousands of complaints and hundreds of cancelled accounts.

Isn't Real Life fun?

Re:Let them fry! (4, Informative)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035123)

Anyone remember being able to have multiple queues on your (shared) account with someone? Thrown out, in the name of "efficiency" to much booing.

They reverted that decision after the public outcry. We still have multiple queues on our account.

Re:Let them fry! (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035157)

They reverted that decision after the public outcry. We still have multiple queues on our account.

I just searched on this and you are correct. Thanks.

Re:Let them fry! (2, Informative)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035159)

Anyone remember being able to have multiple queues on your (shared) account with someone?

I thought they backtracked on this and changed their minds.

Re:Let them fry! (2, Interesting)

fyrie (604735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035167)

From a technical side, Silverlight offers them a lot more than the old player. Being able to support Mac and hopefully someday Linux via Moonlight is something that should increase their customer base with their streaming only plan looming.

Re:Let them fry! (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035183)

They didn't can the multiple cue feature. After they took their lumps, the planned removal was canceled, and nobody was deprived.

But, really it's largely moot since the quality available via the Roku or 360 is better anyways. Even before this downgrade.

Aside from that, anybody that expects a subscription service of this sort to be both inexpensive and free of DRM really needs to consider how exactly the movies are produced. Somebody has to pay for the content otherwise it won't exist. Netflix isn't selling the content, it's selling access to the content. Removing the restrictions would require them to charge a huge monthly fee.

Re:Let them fry! (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035189)

they're signing up with Microsoft to force Silverlight onto the world, reminding me of Medica's website -- which is completely inaccessible in anything but Internet Exploiter thanks to them deploying Sharepoint for everything.

Of course, Silverlight can do some very impressive streaming. http://www.smoothhd.com/ [smoothhd.com]
This is just Netflix who goofed up.

And Sharepoint works fine in non-IE browsers, including the javascript and stuff. There's a few integration features with office that require ActiveX, but if its used as a website, those wouldn't matter.

Re:Let them fry! (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035207)

And Sharepoint works fine in non-IE browsers, including the javascript and stuff. There's a few integration features with office that require ActiveX, but if its used as a website, those wouldn't matter.

O RLY? [medica.com]

Re:Let them fry! (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035233)

Sharepoint can be customized completely. That includes modifying the core templates from A to Z. So you can MAKE it not work.

That said, that site works just fine for me in Chrome.

Re:Let them fry! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27035399)

Care to elaborate on the issues you see with non-IE browsers? I just went to that site and, although I didn't really dig into it, it seemed fine in Firefox. Could you be more specific as to the problems you're referring to?

Re:Let them fry! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27035403)

Did you prove something? I don't understand...

FUD FUD FUD (0)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035245)

I call bullshit on you, because they listened to us (the users) on "Anyone remember being able to have multiple queues on your (shared) account with someone? Thrown out, in the name of "efficiency" to much booing.". Go spread your MS hatred somewhere else.

Re:Let them fry! (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035251)

WMP was already a serious thorn in the side of NF. Look up the WMP DRM renewal problems and you'll find a never ending stream of complaints.

Silverlight might not be what you wanted, but it did fix a lot of the problems with playing movies that a lot of people were having.

Re:Let them fry! (3, Insightful)

SensitiveMale (155605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035317)

Here's what really happened:

Nope.

Here is what really happened:

Microsoft called Netflix and said "We'll pay you a ton of cash if you use our software"

Re:Let them fry! (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035357)

Possibly. Just as an alternate theory, I'm going to throw this out there as an alternative-- instead of this:

1) Management got a phone call from Microsoft, or an MSCE Certified Bonehead, who said "Switch to Silverlight, they will wuv you 4ever!"

It may have been something like this:

1) Management got a phone call from a movie studio exec saying, "Do you know that people can get around the copy protection on your download service? Fix it now, or I'm going to sue your ass, you'll lose all of our content, and god help you in trying to get rights to stream my movies ever again."

1.3) Management called Microsoft and said, "Do you know that your copy protection is useless? How do we stop people from capturing the movies that we're streaming?"

1.6) Microsoft tells management, "Just use Silverlight! It will solve everything, and we promise that we're not pushing a sub-par solution in order to displace Flash."

Musings of a satisfied user (2, Insightful)

Reddragon220 (890851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035083)

While I am remiss over the lower quality streams when compared to the old windows media player stream the added mac compatibility as a result of using silver light goes far in making my mixed os household a lot happier.
So far I have not experienced any of these buffering problems and I hope they get fixed soon for the users experiencing them.
If anything I think users should be pressing netflix to be more aggressive in adding more movies to the instant watch service - I can only watch 30 rock so many times. Expanding the program's feature set by adding things such as subtitles or alternative language audio streams would also be welcome.

Boycott Silverlight (1, Troll)

XanC (644172) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035097)

There's no excuse for Silverlight, in any circumstance.

Re:Boycott Silverlight (1)

carlzum (832868) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035261)

That's like boycotting spoons because a steakhouse didn't give you a knife. This wasn't the right application for a Youtube-like Silverlight player. You can't blame the MS for Netflix's terrible decision.

If Netflix rolled out a Silverlight player with high quality video and didn't force customers to use it exclusively, I doubt there would have been any complaints. Bad features and poor service can be implemented on any platform.

Re:Boycott Silverlight (0, Troll)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035375)

"That's like boycotting spoons because a steakhouse didn't give you a knife."

Did BadAnalogyGuy change accounts? Allow me to fix your seriously broken analogy:

It is exactly the same as insisting that the plate that the waiter brings doesn't have a steaming pile of shit on it .

Re:Boycott Silverlight (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035383)

I'm not blaming MS for Netflix's mistake; I'm just saying there's no excuse to use Silverlight for anything. Whether it's well-done or not.

Tivo, Xbox 360, Roku, etc. (1)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035113)

It's pretty absurd that several third parties offer superior viewing options (eg. HD streams), and NetFlix can't be bothered to offer a decent client on a PC. I have NF pretty much solely for the streaming options on my Tivo & Xbox, but if I didn't have either device I'd cancel their service in a heartbeat. What's even worse is they don't make a Linux client (probably because the DRM goes so deep). I don't see why they can't do a simple flash player (i.e. Hulu) which obviously supports HD, or work directly with an open source project like Boxee (which will be cross platform) instead of having Boxee/XBMC come up with a hack to get it to work.

Re:Tivo, Xbox 360, Roku, etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27035223)

The answer to some of those questions is obvious: piracy. Especially on the open source front.

It's the encoder, stupid. (5, Informative)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035181)

There are pretty much three choices for streaming video right now:

1. Crappy encoder, low bitrate. This is what Youtube went with originally--they used FLV1 (Sorenson H.263) video, which at the time was the only real option (other than VP6, which wasn't much better). They went with 350kbps video. The result was pretty awful, but it worked for Youtube videos. It's free, so people will tolerate it. But for a paid service, such quality is absurd.

2. Crappy encoder, high bitrate. This is what Stage6 did; they used DivX, which, while better than FLV1, wasn't too much better. But what they did was allow absurdly high bitrates; I saw bitrates over 12 megabits per second for standard definition video! Of course, we all know what happened to Stage6; upon realizing the sheer amount of money that such bitrates cost, they went out of business, sort of like Wile. E. Coyote falling to the ground only after realizing that he was standing on air.

3. Good encoder, low bitrate. Facebook does ~600kbps standard definition video, and it looks great. Vudu does 1080p video on demand at 2.8mbps. Youtube now does 720p HD at 2 megabits. What do they have in common? They use x264 for encoding.

NetFlix chose to use VC-1 instead, and as a result they have 1.5 megabit standard definition streams that look like crap. And they don't even have an excuse anymore, because Silverlight supports H.264. Which is rather odd, actually, as Microsoft has been pushing for years to try to replace H.264 in the marketplace with their vastly inferior VC-1. Maybe they've given up because their campaign just isn't working.

Public Relations Disaster? I doubt it ... (2, Insightful)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035201)

This could be a public relations disaster in the making for Netflix.

Since most Netflix members still use the service to watch DVD's I highly doubt it.

Here's my little story: (0, Troll)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035227)

I run minimal microsoft software as possible other than the operating system itself. I generally keep the processes as stripped out as possible.

Of these processes, Windows Update is included. A couple weeks ago, I decided to run Windows Update for the first time in 3 something odd years because I figured that by now, M$ would have gotten their act together and I wouldn't have any problems with the update. In the past, I'd had profiles corrupted, crapware installed, and a host of registry problems that came with updates.

So... I downloaded a Windows update, only picking the most necessary security updates (left out the WGA bs) and allowed it to install Windows SP3.

After a few reboots (3-4), I thought I was good to go. I kicked back, relaxed, and turned on Netflix to watch Akira Kurosawa's Dreams only to find that the player was having DRM validation/retrieval problems.

I went to a few forums, followed their fix-it-yourself instructions to no avail, and despaired for a few days. I was too busy to put more than 4 hours into the problems, but I was still pretty pissed that Windows Update had *again* screwed me over somehow.

A week later, I decided to give it another go, but instead was surprised with the MS Silverlight download request. I installed it, figuring it wouldn't do much harm to try and *voila*! I got my movie.

I know that it was probably against my libertarian values to install something without investigating it, but it *did* work and I *did* get my movie.

I really couldn't care less about WMP since I don't use that POS software anyways.

Re:Here's my little story: (0)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035417)

"I was still pretty pissed that Windows Update had *again* screwed me over somehow.

What, pray tell, did you think was the purpose of Windows update? Its purpose is to push code you didn't originally buy, or even want on your computer for that matter, onto your computer without your consent.

Third time's the charm? (3, Interesting)

undertow3886 (605537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035249)

Don't know if this has been mentioned yet but this post is from last October.

MLB.tv did something similar a year or so ago where they switched from something that is actually meant to play video (WMP) to something that I can't really tell what it's meant to do (Silverlight). They had a similar deal where once you opted in you couldn't change back to WMP. They had (have?) all the same kinds of problems with it not working for people or just being worse quality.

Now this has happened a second time with a completely separate content provider and I don't know what to think other than that Silverlight is synonymous with crummy picture quality and choppy playback.

Re:Third time's the charm? (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035423)

Just disable silverlight in firefox (tools->add-ons->plugins) and it will go back to using windows media. I am one of those MLB.tv people who saw the same thing. The problem it looked like to me was that silverlight was only using software rendering or something, the bitrate was the same and yet the quality was worse, the framerate lower, and it was choppier.

And of course, dont get me started with me having silverlight installed but MLB.com accusing me of not actually having it installed, on both firefox and IE!

They reversed course on the single queue downgrade (5, Insightful)

sottitron (923868) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035281)

Back in June of 2008 Netflix was going to shutdown the feature for managing separate queues. They sent an email and I canceled my account that day. Not sure how many of us there were, but they reversed course quickly. If you're pissed about the silverlight player. Close your account and email them a note to say why you did it. Maybe this will be a non-issue in the morning... Here is a link to the original plan on Ars Technica: Netflix killing extra queues [arstechnica.com]

Beta testing bonanza! (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035343)

Somebody at Netflix realized, "Hey, why pay or go to any effort finding qualified beta testers when we can just corral our users for free and re-brand them as beta testers?"

"Honest, it'll only hurt for a moment, the sting will go away."

Wrong again, Mr. Jefferson (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27035349)

"but many customers are so disgusted they're ready to cancel their NF membership."

They won't cancel shit, because they're sheeple. Don't you have a story that's a surprise, or entertaining or something?

The solution.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27035369)

Consume less entertainment.

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