Remember back in August when I highlighted a Hack that allowed you to download movies to your hard drive from Netflix's "Watch Instantly" streaming service? The Download/Rip hack still works, but Netflix is now watching for those who use the hack and is then putting those users on indefinite hold who use it.
ABOUT THE HACK
The hack was reported by a user in the Rorta forums. There is a detailed step-by-step guide to save Netflix "Watch-Instantly" movies to your hard drive so you can watch it without the DRM and browser restrictions. It required IE6 or above, Windows Media Player 11 and FairUse4WM. Doing this isn't easy and the instructions have been modified to keep up with the various restrictions Netflix continued to add to prevent the Hack. The hack does still work but you should know that Netflix is watching and there will be consequences if you use the hack too much.
NETFLIX IS WATCHING YOU AND WILL SUSPEND YOUR ACCOUNT
It seems that Netflix has now developed a way to put the kibosh on the movie ripping. In basic terms, Netflix watches for streaming that happens without receiving back the proper "authentication" from the person viewing (or downloading in this case) the movie. If they see multiple instances of this type of activity on an account, Netflix will put that account on hold indefinitely. This means that user will not be able to stream movies from Netflix and also will not be able to rent any further movies from Netflix by mail either. Some users on the forum are saying they still download the occasional movie, but not very often. For instance, one user on the forums says the following:
"And while we now know how to take their stream and decode it, we can't really use that info for anything other than what it should have been intended for -- to make an occasional non-DRM copy of a movie to watch on non-windows OS. I've been doing one a week, and nobody's come knocking on my door."
I personally don't see how the hack is really worth the trouble anyway as the selection of watch-instantly isn't the greatest and I would rather just use the service as intended anyway. I love Netflix and would rather see them able to stream a much larger selection of movies and shows through the service, but I would imagine the movie makers are waiting to see how Netflix does with locking down the content.