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
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 Speedest.net 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 2-24-13: Netflix cuts deal with Comcast to speed service