updated 12:00 am EST, Fri December 27, 2013
Problem likely due to high demand; cause not publicly revealed
With so many people engaging in post-Christmas celebrations, there are scattered reports of service outages or other problems due to unusually high use for a weekday or because an usually large number of consumers happened to call upon a service at the same time. Netflix on Thursday saw an issue that caused its service to be unavailable for a little over an hour or so, interrupting evening viewing plans for many but quickly resolved.
In years past, long-distance telephone service used to get jammed up as families communicated with each other simultaneously on Christmas afternoon and evening, and the few gas stations or other retail services that were open on Christmas day would often run out of key items. The first reports we can find of Netflix being disabled came just before 7PM, and the service appears to have been fully restored a little over an hour later for most customers.
The problem caused irregular behaviour on some devices, with services working on some machines but not others with no obvious pattern of outages. Netflix last had a problem like this -- with PC and Mac users unable to stream video -- a few days before Thanksgiving, on November 26. It had also experienced an outage on November 12.
The relatively brief outage brought forth some humorous replies to the @Netflixhelps Twitter account, including "Got an ETA? We're about to switch to 'reading books' over here. The situation is dire," and "Apparently [Netflix] is down. That means there is almost twice as much bandwidth available on the Internet." The company, as usual, apologized for the problem and thanked users for their patience.