EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Rent what you want, watch when you want, and exchange as often as you want. Idea is catching on. Netflix now boasts 11.1 million subscribers. That's a lot of people, who may or may not be washing their hands as often as you'd like.
We, literally, put Netflix under the microscope.
We delivered six different sealed Netflix envelopes, with six different Netflix DVD's inside to the pathology lab at the University of Texas Health Science Center of Tyler.
For help with our experiment, we went to Dr. Richard Wallace who is board certified in infectious diseases.
"My biggest concern for the DVD's would be the community MRSA that people pick up," he explained.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a potentially deadly bacteria that resists certain antibiotics. It starts with skin infections that can penetrate the body and spread to the bones, joints, and bloodstream. The infections cause about 20,000 deaths each year in the U.S.
We began our test by unsealing each Netflix envelope. We removed each disk from its sleeve, and the lab supervisor swabbed them front and back. Once each petri-dish was swabbed, the plates were placed inside an incubator.
A few days later, we found at least four different kinds of bacteria growing inside the plates. But it wasn't what Dr. Wallace expected.
"They were fairly clean," said Wallace. "If I took my fingers and laid them on the top of the plates, this is what you'd grow."
As for the disks themselves, Wallace said he found nothing that could potentially cause disease.
Steve Swasey, vice president of communications with Netflix, said on a typical day, more than 2 million DVD's pass through 58 distribution centers across the country. He said associates remove each movie and wipe them down with window cleaner so that they are clean and in good playing condition for the next user.
Swasey said Netflix replaces the sleeves when they're too worn, or stained.
So we moved on to a second experiment. We swabbed each sleeve, front and back, and those plates joined the others inside the incubator.
"The sleeves were as contaminated, or more contaminated than the disks," said Dr. Wallace. "This is pretty good compared to a lot of other things that could be heavily contaminated."
But, Dr. Wallace said no news is not necessarily good news.
We only tested six movies and six sleeves--a small sampling.
"This doesn't mean that they couldn't pick up any bacteria here, or any bacteria that's dangerous, we just didn't see any," he explained.
Netflix said it was not surprised by the findings. Swasey said his company goes to great lengths to make sure its disks are clean and playable for subscribers.
Netflix expects a million more users by next year, and has plans to go global with their service by 2010.
Friday, May 17 2013 7:33 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:33:11 GMT
A six-vehicle wreck brought east bound I-20 to a standstill for most of the afternoon Friday. It happened around 1:30 near the Barber Road exit in Smith County. One woman was so close to the accidentMore >>
A six-vehicle wreck brought east bound I-20 to a standstill for most of the afternoon Friday. It happened around 1:30 near the Barber Road exit in Smith County.More >>
A New York City artist has turned his neighbors across the street into subjects for his latest exhibit.More >>
In one photo, a woman is on all fours, presumably picking something up, her posterior pressed against a glass window. Another photo shows a couple in bathrobes, their feet touching beneath a table. And there is one of a man,...More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 12:14 AM EDT2013-05-18 04:14:44 GMT
There was some controversy at an East Texas school district special board meeting on Friday night, after the school decided to cut several faculty and staff positions.Several employees of Winona ISD wereMore >>
Winona ISD officials say that at the beginning of the decision-process, as many as 15-20 positions were being considered for removal.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:09 AM EDT2013-05-18 14:09:50 GMT
A train derailment was reported near the Bridgeport and Fairfield city lines Friday night. Few details have been released on the derailment, but the incident was reported around 6:30 p.m. in the area ofMore >>
Dozens of passengers and employees were among those injured when two Metro-North trains collided near a station in Fairfield Friday night.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 11:30 PM EDT2013-05-18 03:30:12 GMT
It might be 60 or 70 years later, but residents at Greenhill Villas of Mount Pleasant nursing home haven't forgotten how to have fun at prom. "It's been a long time since I've been through something likeMore >>
It might be 60 or 70 years later, but residents at Greenhill Villas of Mount Pleasant nursing home haven't forgotten how to have fun at prom.More >>