Courtesy Casey Johnston, Ars Technica
Netflix announced plans to introduce a "family" tier of the streaming service that will allow up to four devices to play video from one account simultaneously, according to a letter to shareholders released Monday. Netflix stated that large "families" are often cramped by the two-simultaneous-stream limit, so the company will add an expanded plan to better serve the groups of people who are trying to watch three or more things at once and are definitely blood relations of one another.
Netflix experienced a small dust-up in the fall of 2011 when some users hit a glitch that seemed to limit them to a single stream at a time. The actual limit for a regular $7.99 plan is two simultaneous streams.
While Netflix claims that it expects "fewer than one percent" of its members to take advantage of the plan, clearly enough of its customer base has run afoul of the streaming limit to merit a new plan in Netflix’s arsenal.
The four-stream option will be priced at $11.99 a month. Netflix did not specify when you and your eight or ten closest friends, I mean family members, will get access to the plan. The company only said that the option will be added "shortly." The question until then—who will pay that four extra dollars?
Developers, Netflix wants you to come up with new ways to improve the video service’s features, usability, quality, reliability, and security.
Netflix wants to make the cloud a sunnier place for its members.
The video distribution powerhouse today unveiled the Netflix Cloud Prize, a competition with a total of $100,000 to award to developers who come up with better ways to deliver computing resources over the Internet. Those "resources," of course, would include streaming video from the likes of Netflix itself.
As the company points out, "every piece of the Netflix experience" for its 33 million worldwide members is delivered over the cloud, from browsing TV shows to watching movies on a variety of devices to the service’s personalization and bookmark features. The new Cloud Prize aims to elicit ways to improve the service’s features, usability, quality, reliability, and security.
Broadly speaking, cloud computing encompasses any digital product and service that doesn’t reside solely on a person’s desktop PC, laptop, or tablet but rather relies heavily — or entirely, really — on a server elsewhere. That can include shared Google documents, Dropbox storage, Hulu or YouTube videos, and gabbing on Facebook.
Just yesterday, Netflix announced a long-delayed social networking tie-up with Facebook through which its U.S. members can share details on what they’re watching and how much they like it. Members outside the U.S. got access to that capability some months back.
"Cloud computing has become a hot topic recently, but the technology is still just emerging," Neil Hunt , chief product officer at Netflix, said in a statement. "No doubt many of the key ideas that will take it to the next level have yet to be conceived, explored, and developed. The Netflix Cloud Prize is designed to attract and focus the attention of the most innovative minds to create the advances that will take cloud to the next level."
There are 10 categories in the Netflix Cloud Prize stakes, each of which carries a $10,000 award. Contestants have until September 15 to submit their entries, and the winners will be announced in October.
This isn’t Netflix’s first foray into this sort of contest. In 2009, the $1 million Netflix Prize went to a team called Pragmatic Chaos that improved the accuracy of Netflix’s recommendation engine by 10 percent.
I use Netflix and my Xbox$7.99 a month compared to $65. Yes,, I can’t watch current TV programs but it’s all infomercials anyways. From CNET…