Longtime Netflix customers may have been annoyed by price hikes over the last couple years, and prospective customers may be wondering whether the service is right for them. After all, the streaming game is booming and there are several worthy services vying for your credit card number in 2018.
The fact is, what you pick says a lot about what you like to watch. If you like network television’s best, Hulu might be a good fit. If you prefer premium, Emmy-targeted programming, try one of HBO’s offerings. Already a Prime subscriber? Amazon’s selection of TV and movies could be for you. All that said, Netflix still boasts the biggest library of hosted content alongside a quickly growing (and already awesome) stable of original programming.
Below, we outline each of the Netflix plans so you know exactly what you are getting (and if those extra add-ons are worth the added cost to you). After all, while it might only be a $3 per-month leap from the Basic plan to Standard, perhaps you would rather save your cabbage for Hulu’s Showtime add-on, or a premium slice of pizza. The choice is yours.
Netflix has three different plans when it comes to streaming: Basic, Standard, and Premium. Plans start at $8 and increase incrementally, bringing the Standard and Premium plans to $11 and $14, respectively. Of course, things do change, and given the company’s recent stock surges and continually increasing subscriber numbers, Netflix may raise streaming prices sooner than usual. Below is a breakdown of what each plan offers:
|Plan||Price||Number of screens at once||Resolution|
|Premium (streaming)||$14||4||HD + Ultra HD|
DVD and Blu-ray
The folks at Netflix certainly pride themselves on their streaming platform (and for good reason), but that does not mean the service ditched discs altogether. The company still offers DVD and Blu-ray plans — none of which include streaming access — starting at $5 and going up from there. The monthly cost determines how many discs you can check out at a time, as well as how many you want per month.
|Plan||DVD Price||Blu-ray Price
||Total discs per month
||Number of discs out at once|
What is simultaneous viewing? (streaming only)
This is a huge perk for Netflix streaming customers who want to share their Netflix account with roommates, friends, or family. The Basic Netflix plan allows you to stream content on only one screen at a time, though the number of screens on which you can simultaneously stream content increases with each plan upgrade.
If you opt for the Standard plan, you can use the same account to watch content on two different devices at once or four different devices at the same time with the Premium plan. The number of devices and people you want to share your account with will likely influence which plan you pick.
Additionally, your choice dictates how many devices you will be able to download content on for offline viewing. The numbers here are the same: One for Basic, two for Standard, and four for Premium.
What are HD and Ultra HD? (streaming only)
Even if you never plan on sharing your Netflix account or watching on two screens at the same time, opting for the standard or premium plan is likely worth it because a Basic subscription limits you to standard definition. The Basic plan doesn’t offer high-definition content and unless your internet speed is too slow to handle HD streaming, the quality difference between the two resolutions is enough to make the $3 leap worth it.
High definition isn’t the end, however. If you’ve shelled out the bucks to buy a 4K TV or monitor, you might as well spend a few extra dollars for a Premium account. Doing so will grant you access to Ultra HD content — such as NBC’s The Blacklist and the lauded Breaking Bad — allowing you to watch shows and films at a resolution considered four times better than 1080p (HD).
Netflix continues to add more stuff to its UHD stable and will continue to do so as the format becomes more commonplace (and more affordable for content creators to produce). Just type “UHD” or “4K” into the search bar in Netflix to find the high-resolution programming.
Those who are interested in watching Ultra-HD content may also be interested in high dynamic range content. Though Netflix currently doesn’t offer an HDR-supported tier, there are rumors that may be in the pipeline soon. We recently reported on Netlfix Ultra — a tier above the Premium tier — that may be coming to Europe soon, giving users the option to watch Netflix content in HDR for $20 per month. We’ll update this post as we learn more.