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Netflix Christmas Eve outage caused by Amazon Web Services crash

Christmas is a time for family, eggnog, unwrapping gifts...and apparently, streaming movies.

Not this year, though, thanks to an outage at Amazon's Virginia data centres.

According to Wired, Netflix's streaming video service began to falter around 15:30 EST (20:30 GMT) on Christmas Eve, when customers began reporting the outage. Later that night, the company said on Twitter that the partial outage affected "some, but not all devices that can stream from Netflix."

"We're aware the some members are experiencing issues streaming movies and TV shows," the @Netflixhelps Twitter account wrote Monday afternoon. "We're working to resolve the problem," which seemed to affect certain users in only the US, Canada, and Latin America.

Offering tips like visiting the "Cannot Connect to Netflix" support page, the team manned its Twitter feed constantly, responding directly to many members and offering apologies for the service disruption - even in Spanish.

The service was restored by Christmas morning, according to the Netflix Twitter feed.

"Special thanks to our awesome members for being patient. We're back to normal streaming levels. We hope everyone has a great holiday," a 25 December message said.

Netflix's system runs on Amazon's cloud computer service, managed by the mega-company's engineers and tasked with ensuring that the servers never go down, according to Wired. "So any kind of high-profile outage is a big embarrassment for the company," the site said.

This isn't Netflix's first tango with disaster, though. The site was knocked out by an Amazon cloud outage in August 2011, which also left popular services and sites like Foursquare and Reddit in limbo. Severe thunderstorms near Amazon's North Virginia facilities in June left massive power outages in their wake, affecting Amazon's Elastic Computer Cloud, which powers Netflix, Instagram, and Pinterest.