Netflix "throttling"

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Netflix "throttling"

Postby Gheorghe Zamfir on Sat Feb 11, 2006 6:52 pm

'Throttling' Angers Netflix Heavy Renters

Just ran across this article, figured I'd post it since there are probably a few other netflix users out there. I was just a victim of this myself recently, had gotten myself into a nice pattern of receiving and sending back DVDs that always got me the new Tuesday releases. But come the last week of the month all the sudden my DVDs sat on my list with the "shipping soon" label, ended up being a full week until I actually got them, compared to the one-day shipping I'd been getting otherwise. Thought maybe netflix might be doing it on purpose to slow me down, but let the thought slip cause I didn't want to be that paranoid, blah.

On the one hand, fine, its a business, yadda yadda etc and so on, I can even live with being shoved to the back of the queue for renting more frequently than others, that even makes sense. But still, purposely delaying shipping of DVDs that are available and ready to go (which is what happened to me) just seems underhanded, don't provide a service if you aren't willing to follow through on it. Anyways, mild venting over.
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Postby JoMovie on Sat Feb 11, 2006 7:04 pm

I just cancelled NF but will start up again later on. They did this to me cuz I was a heavy renter. I was getting about 14 a month and then all of a sudden I cant get past 8 a month. (including older movies)

Hollywood Video has revamped their MVP program and now offers different "levels" I chose the one where I can take out 2 at a time whether new releases or from their library (middle section of the store) No due date and I can come back as many times in a single day as I want to pick more flicks.

It costs me 19.99 for the first month and then $24.99 after. Yeah its higher than NF, but HWV is a 5 minute drive from my house, and I am averaging 40 movies a month! 2 a day, 5 days a week. I am also more willing to try lesser known movies cause I dont have that psychological stigma of if it sucks, I just wasted massive turn around time on a crappy movie.

I will re-sign with NF (but still keep HWV) cuz they do have many uncut, docus and TV stuff, these brick and mortar stores will never carry. I will have the best of a walk in AND an online.
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Postby Brocktune on Sat Feb 11, 2006 7:23 pm

i think this shit is weak. i mean, im still going to keep my account, because if i dont, its going to be a 40 mile round trip jaunt just to rent a movie, as my local video stores dont have the movies i want to see. but, i had been wondering why it was taking longer and longer to get my goddamned movies. now i guess i know. i think they should "throttle" the ones that watch fewer movies, after all, if they arent watching them that fast to begin with, then fuck em, they can wait. my fuckin queue is consistantly at over 200 flicks, so i need to keep them coming. its funny, its like at first, netflix is this small deal that only a few know about, and its awesome. but now that everyone has an account, its just not as good as it used to be. oh well, what are you gonna do?
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Postby Agent Alonzo on Sat Feb 11, 2006 7:26 pm

This is well known, and they have done it for a long time. It only kicks in after you have been a member for a certain amount of time, so you can always cancel, and rejoin a week later with a new id and you'll be back in the 'lets make the new guy happy' club and get your DVDs faster...
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Postby Flumm on Sat Feb 11, 2006 7:37 pm

I just signed in for the UK version, and after reading up on it first, I chose the medium, 2 DVD's at a time service, purely because of this whole "throttling" thing

. I would have loved to get more movies, but if this means I'm going to get better service, then I would be foolish not to do it. We can only hope as this becomes more mainstream, after a while they make enough profit to have enough stock to satisfy everyone...

Brock, Alonzo's got a good point, there seems to be a trend with the bigger more established firms, of showing the new customers the premium quality service. There's a company over here that are getting great reviews, largely because they have a small userbase, and are still growing. The compromise, and the thing that made me not choose them, was that they have a more limitied selection... No doubt once they get bigger, the same thing will happen to them. Is there any legitimate competition to netflix that you could use?

Or, as Zo says, you should just make a note of all your movies, cancel, then rejoin...

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Postby nodforlife on Sat Feb 11, 2006 8:07 pm

It seems like they should have an option where you pay a little more each month but they guarantee no throttling.
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Postby monorail77 on Sat Feb 11, 2006 8:21 pm

This is bullshit, pure and simple. They only can do it because they've got you by the balls. If you could drive to a video store and pick up their $7 for 7 days packages, you could do that as many times as you wanted - every couple of days, if you had the time to watch them all and then return them.
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Postby El Scorcho on Sat Feb 11, 2006 8:23 pm

I quit Netflix after a month because I would get the DVDs in a few days, but they wouldn't "receive" them back for like a week after I sent them. So fuck 'em.
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Postby Ribbons on Sat Feb 11, 2006 8:24 pm

Agent Alonzo wrote:This is well known, and they have done it for a long time. It only kicks in after you have been a member for a certain amount of time, so you can always cancel, and rejoin a week later with a new id and you'll be back in the 'lets make the new guy happy' club and get your DVDs faster...


lol... trust him; Umagaa Ombongo knows how to con people.
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Postby bluebottle on Sat Feb 11, 2006 8:34 pm

It is bullshit, and Netflix should just come clean and admit, "In our original business model, we did not account for nerds"
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Postby Kilgore on Sat Feb 11, 2006 8:39 pm

Bluebottle wrote:It is bullshit, and Netflix should just come clean and admit, "In our original business model, we did not account for nerds"

With an addendum: 'We also assumed we would never need to stock more than three copies of Eraserhead total, nationwide.'
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Postby fried samurai on Sat Feb 11, 2006 8:40 pm

Yep this is very true.I've known about it for sometime.If your a heavy renter like me and can watch 3 films a night no problem.Lets say you get 3 flicks on a Mon. you may think you'll get to see another 6 by Sat.Wrong.

Lets say you get the 3 at a time program.The most you'll get is another 2 making it five films a week.Right now I have the 4 at a time and the most I'll get is six films a week.

Dont get me wrong even if i just got 4 films a week its still a great deal.Thats 16 films a month for 27.00.But I usually average 20-22 rentals a month.

The only thing that sucks is my queue stays at 500 so I'll probably die before I get to see everything.
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Postby MiltonWaddams on Sat Feb 11, 2006 9:26 pm

I have 4 at a time, and I watch several movies a night, usually sending my netflix back the same day. I've always wanted to resubscribe and then plot my shit on a graph, I'm pretty sure that the longer you keep the account the longer they keep the movies. It went from day returns, then longer and longer. I sent movies on a friday and didn't get more movies until not the next saturday, but the one after that.

Man, fuck you netflix. I'm cancelling my account after my next batch arrives.
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Postby Agent Alonzo on Sat Feb 11, 2006 9:57 pm

Someone even did a class action lawsuit, and Netflix settled without admitting they did it, some lawyers made a bundle, and the members during that period got either (a) A one month trial subscription if they had since canceled or (b) an upgrade to a higher movies out level for one month *cough* we won't bump it back down so if you don't remember to go change it you will get billed more. HeeHee *cough*
This is to be implemented at some future date.
I hate the bullshit, but I love the concept and it is better than the only other viable option Blockbuster.com, which is the evilest company in the history of evil companies.
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Postby El Scorcho on Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:12 pm

I was with Blockbuster Online before Netflix, and I was actually happier with them. If I ever go back, it will probably be with them. Netflix sucks.
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Postby Bob Samonkey on Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:13 pm

They just have more foreign movies then Blockbuster
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Postby Agent Alonzo on Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:19 pm

Blockbuster's HQ is located within Satan's scrotum...
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Postby Bob Samonkey on Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:20 pm

I know I used to work there. Man is it hairy.
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Postby RogueScribner on Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:23 pm

I've never really had a problem with Netflix. They usually get the movies a day or so after I mail them and the turn around time is about the same. Within 3, maybe 4 days I'll have new movies to watch again. Not bad, especially considering I don't have to travel anywhere for the pleasure.
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Postby Agent Alonzo on Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:30 pm

Simply put they have an equation that calculates at what point you leave their minimal profitability range, if they figure you are heading there, they will make sure it takes an extra day for your movie to get to them so they can get you back in the range. It makes perfect business sense, but it can be frigging annoying.
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Postby freak2thec0re on Mon Feb 13, 2006 5:02 am

is there really something evil about blockbuster.com, or your just saying that because they're a huge corporation? Because I've been perfectly happy with them since I signed up. And even if my movies were to start taking a bit to be shipped, I now can get one free in-store rental a week.

It being the same price as netflix plus free in-store rentals is what made me choose it over them
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Postby Petri on Tue Feb 14, 2006 6:36 pm

I've also never had a problem with Netflix and I've had it for almost 2 years. But I'm not an extremely high volume renter. In fact, I got Netflix because I was tired of having to return my movies before I got a chance to watch them. Now Battlestar Galatica Season 1 the wife and I have been storming through.
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Postby Sworn 42 Enemy on Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:49 pm

I was the victim of the throttling. So I canceled NF, went to Blockbuster and was even more pissed off. Blockbuster would send my picks completely out of order. So I went back to NF, but what I did was create a brand new account. Doing so= no more throttling. Which I thought was weird because I used the same credit card just a new email address.
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Postby matthew on Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:57 pm

there was a piece of CNN business/finance the other day basically ripping Netflix a new one, saying basically their business model entailed faulting their best customers.

I would like to hear more from people that tried blockbuster. Is blockbuster not even worth looking into?
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Postby RogueScribner on Sat Feb 25, 2006 3:58 pm

I'm sure whoever you rent from, they are going to cap your maximum number of rentals per month or charge you a higher fee. It only makes sense. These are businesses out to make money. Paying $20 a month to rent 3 movies at a time, and then sending them back fast enough to end up with 30 or so rentals a month is insane! You know in their business projections they are expecting a turnaround of a week, maybe a little less for each plan. Considering that they are paying for the postage and are a for-profit company, it's understandable.

Now, I do think any company who "throttles" should be upfront about it and not try to hide it, but there's nothing wrong with wanting to turn a profit on their customers, especially those who are high volume renters. Would you rather they simply charge you more money or delay shipment for a day or two? I would suggest that people quit trying to milk everything they can out of an already good deal and deal with the reality at hand. If you need more DVDs that bad, pay for a bigger disc plan or start going to your local rental store.
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Postby cghgph on Sat Feb 25, 2006 4:03 pm

Here's how to get around throttling w/o cancelling. Go to your account and create a new profile. Move most of you selections to the new profile, and assign 2 of 3 discs to that profile. (if you have a 3 disc acct.) They treat a new profile like a new acct.
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Postby Gheorghe Zamfir on Sat Feb 25, 2006 4:19 pm

Being self-interested, or for profit, isn't an end all excuse to any business practice. I understand that profit is important, and agree that of course there isn't anything wrong with a company wanting to turn a profit, but if a company is going to offer a service, than it needs to fulfill that service, if its profit margins dictate it can't do so, than it simply shouldn't offer it, rather than seeking ways to undermine its customers. Paying $20 a month to get 3 movies at a time and sending them fast enough to get 30 movies may sound insane, but to some customers that may be exactly why the service was appealing in the first place, and since they're purchasing a package of "unlimited" rentals, there's no reason for them to think that being a frequent renter would be something they can't do. You shouldn't get to essentially subvert these customers when you decide the profit margins aren't favorable any longer.

If Netflix can't provide unlimited rentals to those who purchase said plans, than it should simply stop providing it as a plan, it'd be as simple as amending options, instead of offering 3 movies at a time and unlimited rentals, which this practice makes clear they won't provide, just give each level a few different pricing options, offering different prices for 3 movies at a time and x amount of movies per month (and I know they do this to an extent, but not to a point where it provides customers options in light of their actual service). That way they'd be able to have a clearer picture of their profit margins, knowing the maximum amount of movies each customer could get, and customers wouldn't be paying for a service the company has no intention of providing.
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Postby RogueScribner on Sat Feb 25, 2006 4:23 pm

I agree with you on the fact that Netflix and any other company should be upfront about their rental caps, I just don't think there's a problem with having such caps.
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Postby Petri on Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:54 pm

Well I finally got throttled. My wife stuck a movie in the mail and it took them 6 days to receive it (it normally takes 1), I noticed that they don't allow you to report it as "lost in the mail" until after 6 days have passed.... just the amount of time it took them to get my movie... convenient.
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Postby Bob Samonkey on Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:56 pm

Mine has been taking a while too as of late
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Postby Adam Balm on Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:59 pm

I'm having flashbacks to the Simpsons episode where Homer sued the all-you-can-eat restaurant for closing the place before he could have "all-he-could-eat".

I think I have about as much sympathy here as I did for Homer. Just an opinion.
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Postby RogueScribner on Tue Feb 28, 2006 7:19 pm

I'm of the same mind. It's not like people aren't still getting their money's worth.
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Postby Adam Balm on Tue Feb 28, 2006 7:22 pm

That said, it would be nice if they offered an option, say a higher grade of membership with associated higher cost, where they could guarantee you would not be throttled.

There's no reason why protecting their bottom line has to be at odds with the unlimited viewing that they promised. It's not exactly their fault that gas prices went up and hence stamp prices went up, cutting into their profits.
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Postby Petri on Tue Feb 28, 2006 7:37 pm

Honestly, I have no problem with it since I really shouldn't watch more than 9 movies in 30 days anyway.
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Postby MasterWhedon on Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:00 pm

The only problem I have with this--I am a Netflix member--is that frequent renters are "delayed" from getting access to new releases. I can't tell you how long I had Cinderella Man at the top of my queue before I gave up and got a screener from work.
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Postby St. Alphonzo on Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:16 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:The only problem I have with this--I am a Netflix member--is that frequent renters are "delayed" from getting access to new releases. I can't tell you how long I had Cinderella Man at the top of my queue before I gave up and got a screener from work.


I had "40 Year Old Virgin" at the top of my queue from the moment it was released... I only just got it on Saturday. I changed my subscription to 1-at-a-time, and, lo and behold, "Walk The Line" is shipping today, even though it said short wait in my queue. Bastards. If they weren't the only service that offers all the weird cult/foreign films I'm wanting (in addition to the new releases) I'd be outta there.
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Postby Theta on Tue Feb 28, 2006 9:13 pm

This strikes me as stupid. Frankly, you should be rewarded for how quickly you return the damn movies. The quicker on the turnaround you are, the better the service you get. A friend of mine tried to rent a fairly obscure cult flick and it took him forever because some asshole sat on the disc for something like six months.
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Postby Adam Balm on Tue Feb 28, 2006 9:30 pm

Theta wrote:This strikes me as stupid. Frankly, you should be rewarded for how quickly you return the damn movies. The quicker on the turnaround you are, the better the service you get. A friend of mine tried to rent a fairly obscure cult flick and it took him forever because some asshole sat on the disc for something like six months.


The irony is that said asshole was costing them a lot less money than the guy who is returning the movies quickly, and using up one of their pre-paid postage envelopes every other day. That's the economics of the situation.
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Postby Theta on Tue Feb 28, 2006 9:41 pm

Adam Balm wrote:
Theta wrote:This strikes me as stupid. Frankly, you should be rewarded for how quickly you return the damn movies. The quicker on the turnaround you are, the better the service you get. A friend of mine tried to rent a fairly obscure cult flick and it took him forever because some asshole sat on the disc for something like six months.


The irony is that said asshole was costing them a lot less money than the guy who is returning the movies quickly, and using up one of their pre-paid postage envelopes every other day. That's the economics of the situation.


Geez, just jack up the subscription cost by a buck with a letter of apology saying "the post office is ass-raping us. Write your congressman so we can get a postal exemption or something."
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Postby nodforlife on Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:13 pm

That's what I think they should do, they should offer a $25 a month plan for 3 films that guarantees no throttling. Like a 'for geeks only' plan or something.
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Postby Adam Balm on Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:26 pm

I agree. There are people who want that the 'unlimited movies' that they were promised. If people are willing to pay for it, netflix will just be losing customers if they don't offer the option.
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Postby Eric G on Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:33 pm

This whole thread is quite funny if you take into consideration "Throttle" or "Throttling" is a slang (Australian?) for Choke. For example;


It seems like they should have an option where you pay a little more each month but they guarantee no throttling.


:lol:
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Postby kortanaskew on Thu Mar 09, 2006 3:39 am

When you get movies back to back save your Extra envelopes and dump two of them into one. When they start to really throttle you is when they ask that you return your films to their SAN JOSE office if your in the east coast, or worse yet Honolulu. I live in Miami Florida, it would take several days for them to recieve it in Honolulu. But with the extra envelopes I just send them right back to the FT. LAUDERDALE, FL office and get 'em there quicker.

It really is all a big game of cat and mouse. Some months i get only 13 movies. Some months i can get myself up to 21 movies a month. But it remember it costs them 39 cents to ship it to you both ways. so .78 x 21 = 16.38, and the subscription costs only 17.99. Not much profit there especially if you take into account how much Postal Worker theft of movies there are.

Like cghgph said creating new profiles works for a short time. Until you end up costing them money again.

I balance it out by accepting the free Trials from Blockbuster. With whom i cant report movies LOST a lot quicker, So I do so while I'm waiting for movies to be shipped especially on Weekends. Neither Netflix nor Blockbuster ships on weekends.

I usually generate about 25 movies a month with Blockbuster. Plus their 4 free in store rentals per month. Then you cancel accept a discounted rate of 5.00 or a free month, let that run tis course and start all over again with a new credit card. A Few months later they'll beg you to come back for a dollar or for free.


Also those looking for rare asian flix check out http://www.nicheflicks.com/ They carry all the IMPORTS that are viewable only on Multi Region Players. But its sweeting getting that SUBTITLED POLICE STORY 1-3 instead of the badly Dubbed Supercop Miramax DVD.


Also check out http://www.hackingnetflix.com for Netflix cheats, news and third party programs that help you organize your Queue.
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Postby tstreet on Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:07 am

I use to be a Netflix user, and I loved it, but I felt this happening to me but I never thought too much about it. But it all makes sense when you read something like this, well it doesn't make sense, they should not do it, but unfortuneately they do.

I have a video stor one block from me and I have unlimited rentals for 20 bucks a month, two out at a time, so this works out better for me.

But I know I will need Netflix again one day, and it sucks that i will be screwed, because I watch so many damn movies.

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Postby Cabiria on Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:43 am

I've been a victim of this as well. However, something else has just happened to me with my queue. I've lined up 6 discs of a tv show to watch as the first 6 dvds on my queue, hoping to get them in order so I can have a little festival over Spring Break. Last week, Netflix skipped over all but the first disc, and shipped everything after the show. I figured this was some weird anomaly or shipping thing- no big deal.

Then today, it happened again. Discs returned, all 5 tv show discs in queue listed as "available now" and yet all were skipped over in favor of the films later in my queue.

It's frustrating. I mean, I'm happy to see the films coming, but I've been waiting for the tv dvds. Weird.
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Postby Lenny Nero on Thu Mar 09, 2006 8:35 am

I've really never had this problem after two years with Netflix. Sure, sometimes they don't receive what I send immediately, but then I usually either let them know I sent it (I have 4 at a time so 1 late doesn't hurt me much) or just report it damaged and immediately get a replacement.

Besides, my queue is near 400 now, and I don't want to restart that shit.
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Postby Petri on Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:49 pm

I can complain about it all day, but when it comes down to it, I love Netflix like I love Angelina Jolie's topless scenes. And while I may not ever get enough of either, I still love them both.

I especially love how Netflix has alot of movies you can't necessarily get at your local video store.
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Postby JabberJaw on Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:30 pm

Brocktune wrote:i think this shit is weak. i mean, im still going to keep my account, because if i dont, its going to be a 40 mile round trip jaunt just to rent a movie, as my local video stores dont have the movies i want to see. but, i had been wondering why it was taking longer and longer to get my goddamned movies. now i guess i know. i think they should "throttle" the ones that watch fewer movies, after all, if they arent watching them that fast to begin with, then fuck em, they can wait. my fuckin queue is consistantly at over 200 flicks, so i need to keep them coming. its funny, its like at first, netflix is this small deal that only a few know about, and its awesome. but now that everyone has an account, its just not as good as it used to be. oh well, what are you gonna do?


Wow, a "Bless The Beasts & The Children" signature
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Postby kortanaskew on Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:36 pm

Cabiria wrote:I've lined up 6 discs of a tv show to watch as the first 6 dvds on my queue, hoping to get them in order so I can have a little festival over Spring Break. Last week, Netflix skipped over all but the first disc, and shipped everything after the show. I figured this was some weird anomaly or shipping thing- no big deal.




It is. They dont want to break the order that you recieve the items in and the first disc will have a short wait while the rest are available nows and you'll be screwed.
If you are umm COPYING the movies from Netflix for future reference ;) then just BREAK the order this discs are in, you will recieve everything miuch quicker. like instead of 1-6, have 354261 or whatever. In case there's some clown ahead of you taking too long to watch the first disc of LOST.

I remember before i umm ARCHIVED discs i rented for um LATER VIEWING i would hold on to a movie for weeks at a time, and something I wasn't in the mood to watch, for MONTHS. I feel sorry for anyone whow as trying to watch the THUNDERBIRDS in any sort of Order. That was a nine disc set and I would hold on to the discs for a long time. I even had them spaced out. Finally i got stuck with THREE thunderbirds discs. I just sent them all back and gave up. Theyre fun to watch now and then. but not back to back to back.
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Postby Theta on Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:38 am

kortanaskew wrote:
Cabiria wrote:I've lined up 6 discs of a tv show to watch as the first 6 dvds on my queue, hoping to get them in order so I can have a little festival over Spring Break. Last week, Netflix skipped over all but the first disc, and shipped everything after the show. I figured this was some weird anomaly or shipping thing- no big deal.




It is. They dont want to break the order that you recieve the items in and the first disc will have a short wait while the rest are available nows and you'll be screwed.
If you are umm COPYING the movies from Netflix for future reference ;) then just BREAK the order this discs are in, you will recieve everything miuch quicker. like instead of 1-6, have 354261 or whatever. In case there's some clown ahead of you taking too long to watch the first disc of LOST.

I remember before i umm ARCHIVED discs i rented for um LATER VIEWING i would hold on to a movie for weeks at a time, and something I wasn't in the mood to watch, for MONTHS. I feel sorry for anyone whow as trying to watch the THUNDERBIRDS in any sort of Order. That was a nine disc set and I would hold on to the discs for a long time. I even had them spaced out. Finally i got stuck with THREE thunderbirds discs. I just sent them all back and gave up. Theyre fun to watch now and then. but not back to back to back.


Dude, talking piracy on any legitimate forum gets you booted. PMs, my friend, PMs!
This comment is in no way meant to insist your opinion is wrong or be considered an edict, solely this poster's opinion. That said, you are still a fool and will kneel before me in supplication.
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