Netflix Traffic Jams and the Cord Cutter

The Netflix’release of  season 2 of House of Cards  on Valentine’s Day was met with huge success. Suddenly reports of “binge viewing” were everywhere. Now even though I’m a cord cutter I tend to be a late adopter of hit TV series. I  had just started watching the FOX series  24 when it was on it’s last season.  So I figured it was time for me to check out House of Cards, season 1 episode 1

photo: nayukim via flickr

photo: nayukim via flickr

Easy enough, I thought. All of season 1 is still there on Netflix. I queued it up on a weekday night at about 9 pm  PST. But what’s this? About 2 minutes in that dreaded Netflix red  “loading” status bar appears and stalls everything for a couple minutes. Annoying.  This happens a few times at least.

According to  my download speed is  10 Mbps, and Netflix only requires a  1.5 Mbps connection so  what’s the problem?  The problem is I have a 10 Mbps connection only from my home  to TWC’s server, not all the way to Netflix. Next comes news that Verizon FIOS customers are being throttled when it comes to watching Netflix.

These recent slowdowns could signal hard times ahead for cord cutters by the way of price increases. All the  happy House of Cards binge viewers paying  only $7.99 per month may be living in a golden era.  Netflix has certainly shown us they can evolve as a business but the next change may be more painful.

When Netflix started losing content that they didn’t control, they reacted by adding their own exclusive programs: House of Card, Orange is the New Black and more.  Very smart. But now CEO Reed Hastings may find himself in a battle not for content but for internet bandwidth. Unfortunately for Netflix the solution might be a bit more expensive or drastic. Either pay for more bandwidth or build out your own network. Or some even worse scenario.

It will be interesting to watch Netflix’ next move.  In any case I hope it’s merely a coincidence that Netflix’ biggest hit ever is called House of Cards.


Update 2-24-13Netflix cuts deal with Comcast to speed service


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5 Responses to Netflix Traffic Jams and the Cord Cutter

  1. Len Mullen says:

    PlayOn is the answer. Install PlayLater, download the shows when everyone is sleeping and watch them when you like.

  2. Greg says:

    Thanks for the tip Len. Is that what you are doing?

  3. Len Mullen says:

    To some extent. If I want to watch a series, I will record the whole series then watch at will. There is no buffering that way. Mostly, though, I let my Simple DVRs record the series I want to watch then view at my leisure. Less work for me and, generally, better quality. I don’t mind commercials or logos.

    • Greg says:

      How well does Simple.TV work with Netflix?

      • Len Mullen says:

        It doesn’t. STV is OTA and Clear QAM only. So, right now, I am recording Bones, House, Monk, The Closer, White Collar, Friends, Modern Family, Rules Of Engagement, That ’70s Show, The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Ask This Old House, and Travel Thru History. Now you know what I watch on TV and why I don’t miss cable 😉

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