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Netflix streaming service hit by outage

Company's streaming service apparently was offline sporadically for about eight hours yesterday.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Netflix's streaming service was down and unavailable for much of last night but has since been restored.

In a tweet posted around midnight Pacific time by the official Netflixhelps account, the company acknowledged that the streaming issues reported early had been fixed and offered an apology to its customers. This followed an earlier tweet from the account and a posting on the Netflix Facebook page at around 10 p.m. PT yesterday in which the company said it was working on the issue.

The outage had been brought to light a few hours earlier by several sources, notably a slew of tweets from disgruntled customers. Capturing the tweets and other reports, the Web site recorded the outage starting at around 4 p.m. PT yesterday and lasting at least sporadically throughout most of the night.

Responding to an e-mail from CNET late Monday, Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey confirmed that "streaming was unavailable for most members for a few hours" on Sunday night and attributed the outage to an "internal technical issue that was identified and fixed."

Yesterday's outage is a case of bad timing as it follows Netflix's announcement last week of new pricing plans designed to push people away from mail-order DVDs and toward its streaming options. The company's decision to bump up monthly subscription rates on its DVD and DVD/streaming plans prompted a swarm of online complaints from irate customers.

Netflix's streaming service has been taken down by its share out of outages over the past year, including one less than a month ago.

Updated at 4:30 a.m. PT July 19 with comment from Netflix.