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Does it mean they’ll pay me back for the 4K package?

Sounds like it's effective immediately, so if you don't like it, cut your plan. No one's on contract.

you pay a month in advance

Well, I hate to tell you the devastating news... you might have to eat the $3 this month.

It’s still bullshit.

While the whole world is trying to deal with the worst pandemic in 100 years, you are going to have to adjust your expectation levels for bullshit.

Yeah, but not this kind of bullshit. How is COVID stopping Netflix from lowering their rates accordingly?

Taking actions like changing billing code requires time and effort.

COVID-19 requires spending time and effort on lots of things.

Everything has an opportunity cost.

Spend time and attention on things that matter.

There has to be code in place for people switching to cheaper plans. It can’t be that much effort to switch everyone to a cheaper plan. Especially for a huge company like Netflix.

> Spend time and attention on things that matter

Like what? Just because there’s a pandemic doesn’t mean every single person in this world suddenly has tons of important stuff to do.

Some people do. Most don’t. For most people, “things that matter” in the context of this pandemic doesn’t go beyond washing your hands and avoiding social contact.

What do you imagine the opportunity cost of a couple Netflix devs moving people to a cheaper plan to be? Millions of deaths? Ridiculous.

Considering how often Netflix has jacked up my plan prices, I imagine they already have the billing code in place.

They have raised the rates 4 times in their history, from $8 up to $13... although you can still get basic for $9

Doesn’t seem that often or that excessive.

The pandemic doesn't affect what are good business practises. I understand that Americans might be more lenient in those terms, but Europeans tend not to be.

are you serious? not offering a refund when you fail to deliver the product is something that makes americans absolutely furious. it's one of the only sacred consumer protection issues here. I've already received billing credits or refunds for every service I'm subscribed to that's halted for coronavirus.

Looking at how bad you let your ISPs treat you, I'm quite serious, I think.

Right now apparently they're treating us a lot better than the European isps. Outside the HN bubble no one is really surprised to hear about a service quality problem in Europe though.

Are they? I disagree. Monopolistic, terrible support, terrible speeds, terrible coverage, terrible pricing.

I also disagree that there's an uniform service quality problem, there really isn't. Such a blanket change is simply stupid.

I assure you that Americans are just as annoyed as Europeans when it comes to abrupt changes in service.

The technical needlessness of this decision has been thoroughly reviewed in this thread; therefore this is just a fear-based decision because of the panic. Why should anyone tolerate pointless moves like this to appease people that are panicking?

I don't think it's a fear based decision, it would without a doubt reduce their costs considerably.

Netflix runs on AWS and while they are paying a special rate they are still paying through the nose.

Netflix is operating at a loss, has a mountain of debt and it's most profitable when people maintain their yearly sub and binge 1 show ever 2-3 months basically the same way gyms make their money you pay for a year, go for 3 weeks in January a week before easter, few more weeks in late May - June and maybe then a bit after thanksgiving.

Also I asked Netflix chat if this will be applied in the UK they told me yes but also told me 2 interesting things.

1) It will not affect all customers all the time, 2) it's up to 25% bitrate cut.

I have a very strong suspicion that what Netflix is doing is basically a population wide A/B study on how reduction in bitrate will affect viewing habits during a time when people aren't likely to unsubscribe from their service.

This will be quite invaluable to Netflix especially if they'll will find out things like different countries and different user profiles may have different tolerances to lowered bitrates.

I don't care if people would think this is a tin foil hat conspiracy anyone who's thinking that Netflix would not have the data profiling how every user reacts to this change which could allow them to tweak bitrates on a per-user basis in the future hasn't seen any of their talks about just how they use viewer data to tailor their service.

Netflix is not serving streams through AWS. They use AWS for everything except serving streams. They're spending around 15 billion per year on content, bandwidth costs are far lower than that.

This is not how Netflix distributed their content at all. Most ISPs use their open connect system, which places a Netflix box inside their network. Content is streamed from there, which is cheaper for both the ISP and Netflix.


If you subscribe to an ISP of a decent size, then most of Netflix content is served directly from your ISPs network. Netflix has servers at edge locations all over the world. They want to serve as little content as possible from Amazon.

I'm fairly sure they don't serve any content from Amazon.

edit I'm pretty confident I'm right: https://www.computerworld.com/article/3427839/ten-years-on--... , https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/02/netfl...

It's not a fear based decision. ISP companies sell more bandwidth than is actually available during peak times but because of everybody staying home now their services are oversubscribed creating slow downs or outages.

The ISPs came out and said bandwidth isn't an issue.

Is there a link to the source? (not that I don't believe that but just want to know the details)

All you need is a handful of small court claims to wake Netflix up. They'll spend a magnitude more on sending Netflix employees to represent them, than all these prorated refunds would cost.

The idea of many small claims "waking up" a company is nice in theory, but not reality. In reality, the entity being sued asks the courts to consolidate them into a class action, that's part of why class actions exist, because it makes very little sense to have to play out the same legal case a dozen or a hundred etc. times around the country.

I'm sure a law firm somewhere is already looking to form that "class" and rake in their % of a settlement, and I'm sure Netflix understands that and has factored it into their plans, so it's all a moot point except that at some point in the next 3-7 years you'll get a $5 service credit. Maybe.

Also, most contracts have a "force majeur" clause that would cover this sort of thing. And even if it didn't, if enough businesses start having to modify or breach service agreements in these ways through a world-wide crisis then governments will step in and legislate them out of liability. There won't be too much sympathy for the "victims" of Netflix either. Not from the public at large, especially those who lose friends or family to the pandemic, over someone's pixelated experience of End Game or The Office. I know people who are sick, one closely, and I don't know if they're going to survive. Suffering through SD quality (or worse!) isn't what I concern myself with at the moment.

Good luck with your small claims case for $3. Hope you brought your $25 filing fee!

$3? Where I live (in Europe) the 4K plan is 15.99€ a month. That's $17 USD. I pay less for my phone's data plan!

What's the next tier below that? Now subtract the one number from the other number, it should be less than 15.99.

I'd be pretty sure they'd refund you in Europe?

Aren't we talking about Europe?

Yes. Did they ask for a refund for unused services as part of their cancellation? It sounded more like they were just moaning (my fave past-time!).

The "Europe" qualifier seemed necessary as many people on here aren't in Europe.

Many people here aren't in America either, but from the American perspective:

You have a right to demand partial refunds for service outages. I once spent several hours of my life getting a <$5 credit from Comcast for a day-long outage.

They sent a tech over to install a new router and I enjoyed faster, uninterrupted service for the remainder of my tenancy, so I count it time well spent.

That's truly a good question - they could pull that data quickly and prorate people somehow. Maybe not for a bill already gone out, but perhaps going forward (even if they re-enable it).

I'm not going to knock them for this, given that we're talking about keeping critical infrastructure from being overrun while the remainder of the economy works distributed.

You should not knock Netflix at all. The request came from the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services. Netflix helped out when they were asked to. If Europeans are upset about this decision they need to take it up with their elected officials not Netflix.

It was just a request. If any Netflix consumers have an issue with this they should take it with Netflix.

Yes, a request made on the behalf of all Europeans by their government.

What if it's still 4k with reduced bit rate ? It's not like netflix 4k looks good anyway, chances are you won't tell the difference

> It's not like netflix 4k looks good anyway

I can definitely see a difference between 1080 and 4K on Netflix. Compared on the same internet connection and streaming device in the same house. One 1080 tv and one 4K tv.

That's not what I'm saying. Try to watch a 1080p bluray, even on a 4k tv it looks (much) better than netflix 4k.

I would not compare those two because I don’t even have any type of disk player in my house. My only comparison is Netflix vs Netflix.

My point is, you’re saying nobody would notice the quality difference if Netflix lowered their quality. I think I would notice a bit.

100mbit/s h.265 is going to look better than most anything.

Man, if I was paying for me Netflix, I’d be upset...


First of all, that kind of tone is not appreciated here.

But beyond your tone, why do you think right now "staying alive" means that a business should be collecting an extra $5 per person, instead of it staying with people?

Considering the difficulties many people are going to have making rent etc... it seems like the default sympathetic position here should lie with the customer, not the business. To me, that's "getting your head straight." Siding with the common person over a corporation.

It baffles me how anyone could defend the current situation as an opportunity for more profits that customers should just shut up about.

I don't mean to strawman but are you saying luxury businesses should be able to get away with not delivering on what their customers pay for because we are in an unexpected situation?

I'm no lawyer but I would think that there would be exceptions to their policies in times of crisis

Yes because the luxury business customer's wants to have the UHD they paid a small sum for do not trump other people's needs to be able to work from home in order to eat and keep the real economy working because of a pandemic.

that's fine, but how is that a retort to giving someone their money back after you can't provide that service anymore

It's not a retort to that -- It's a retort to the person asking for their money back.

It is saying "what you are upset about does not matter. Don't bother someone else with it", which is both an insult and correct.

It's not Netflix that can't handle the load, though. It's your ISP. If there's anyone to be angry with, it's them.

I'm not claiming that Netflix and other services shouldn't help out the ISPs, because you're right that WFH > Netflix, but if they can't deliver what their customers paid for, they should be sending partial refunds.

It's really the issue on the part of the ISPs for not being able to provide enough service to support everyone's internet activity.

If Netflix wants to help them out with that issue they also have to bear the cost of helping them out with that issue.

If a university closes because of the pandemic they sure as hell won't charge room/board, and (if they're kind) won't charge as much for online courses.

The price factor is irrelevant ("a small sum"), and if it is, Netflix should have no problem refunding "a small sum".

Now we just need to establish that Netflix streaming is actually hurting working remotely.

It's not like the employees of Netflix are the downtrodden proletariat. This company that spends billions on content can afford a few refunds.

Now if this was a similar comment directed at a co-op that had fallen on hard times, then your comment would be more appropriate.

But this is a completely unnecessary measure. Most ISPs in the EU don't have any problems keeping up with the increased demand. To make matters worse most Netflix content is served directly from the ISPs network.

This is a retarded symbolic policy to make it seem like a certain EU politician is doing something, when in fact it makes no difference what so ever.

How about next Monday, when all of the EU are trying to remote-school and remote-work simultaneously. Will there still be bandwidth to spare? (genuine question, I don't know the answer)

They should not remote school and watch netflix at the same time.

Can I use this argument to the people/corporations I owe? "Oh just get over it and accept things, it's not yesterday anymore you can't just expect delivery on contracts!"

That's exactly what a force majeure is. It depends on the specific contract and the jurisdiction whether a pandemic counts as one but it very well could.

Agreeing: If a pandemic isn't a force majeure then wtf is?

Perhaps if you signed up last week, then you could argue they should have foreseen the current situation from then. Prior to that, then it seems "best effort" is all one could or should expect. Perhaps with a monetary credit/refund if the mitigation is less costly than normal service.

Really? ISP's don't seem to be having issues with bandwidth anywhere, the only party which might be affected by this is Netflix itself since it's costs have likely skyrocketed since the quarantine and self-isolation began.

This is a new and surprising way to argue for corporations against people using a pressing external issue.

Please don't be unnecessarily condescending on this forum. They're asking a simple question.

I think GP is probably being sarcastic...

So companies can charge for products they can't deliver? Why should consumers bear the full brunt of the contractual price and not receive promised goods? It's not like we are stealing refunds from ordinary folks, these are heartless corporations (in USA) who squeeze every dime they can.

Like the travel industry does with their non-refundable charges?

This is a fake problem, as evidenced by many network operators commenting on Twitter that traffic is only slightly higher. If people are having problems, it’s because their ISP has oversubscribed the last mile and are defrauding customers.

yes it is. i pay for 4k and my country has no problem with internet speed (we do have Gbps connections at home). this is not something we need.

Pretty sure they will have a clause in their TOS agreement to the terms of "we cannot control your ISPs network quality, or regulations placed upon us"

No one has forced them to do so, not a single ISP seems to be having any issues.

Why would they? Do they pay you back when your ISP can't provide enough bandwidth for 4K? How much is 4K on top of regular Netflix service? Is it worth worrying about?

Why would they? Because they charge extra for it and they're themselves have stopped providing this service.

>and they're themselves have stopped providing this service //

Is it them, or is it overselling by ISPs?

There's no evidence the ISPs were overloaded by Netflix traffic recently. Note that this conversation was with politicians, not ISPs.

Weren't they told (or asked) to?

Does it matter? If a company is told to stop selling a service by any other governmental organization (e.g. due to privacy or health concerns), they also should stop charging the subscription.

The EU commission stopped them providing 4k, not netflix

>How much is 4K on top of regular Netflix service?

4 euro a month (or 33% increase).

No, in the same way that you wouldn't expect a refund if you personally chose to use less than 4K for a stream. In this case Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, has made that downgrade choice for all Europeans.

> In this case Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, has made that downgrade choice for all Europeans.

They did not force Netflix to do it. Rather, they asked them.

Isn't the EU just lovely?

Question to downvoters: does it make sense that every part of the EU gets this degraded quality even if they have competently built IT infrastructure?

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