So, you’ve settled in to watch the perfect movie from Netflix’s collection of instant videos, when all of a sudden … poof! The movie grinds to a halt, replaced by a rude “connection error” message. What gives?
Well, it’s always possible that something’s up with your home Internet connection—like, say, a problem with your modem, a downed cable, or too many neighbors trying to stream Netflix movies at the same time.
Then again, maybe it isn’t you—maybe it’s Netflix that has the problem, as it did for a solid eight hours this past Sunday. (Netflix has since offered an apology and a small service credit, by the way; the offer should appear in your email inbox.)
OK, so what’s the best way to pinpoint the cause if your instant Netflix movie starts to sputter? Before getting stuck on hold with your cable carrier or Netflix’s customer support line, give these online resources a try.
First, we have Downrightnow, a website that tracks the status of more than a dozen online services, including Facebook, Gmail, Skype … and yes, Netflix.
The site culls data on Netflix’s streaming performance from a variety of sources—including user complaints on Twitter, official updates, and reports submitted directly to Downrightnow—and compiles the information into a handy line graph charting Netflix service issues over the past 24 hours.
As of Tuesday morning, for example, Downrightnow listed Netflix “Watch Instantly” service as “up.” About 12 hours prior, however, it looks like there were a flurry of complaints about spotty video streaming—although nothing as severe as Sunday’s instant-video outage, which (according to CNET News.com) left millions of Netflix subscribers high and dry for about eight hours.
You can also try dropping by Netflix’s official support feed on Twitter, where subscribers can find updates on Netflix’s streaming service and/or vent their frustrations directly. Unfortunately, Netflix says its customer support Twitter feed isn’t staffed on weekends … which is when most of us find the time to sit back for a movie.
Another resource: Netflix’s official blog, which posts updates on company news and service changes, although the blog has yet to note Sunday’s streaming snafu.
Last but not least, you can go the old-fashioned way and pick up the phone. The number of Netflix’s 24-hour support line: 866-716-0414.