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How Much Is Netflix? Plan & Price Differences Compared

The cost of Netflix depends on the plan, how many people will be sharing an account, and the maximum resolution subscribers want to watch at.

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Netflix costs between $8.99 and $17.99 per month, depending on which of the three plans an individual or household signs up to. Understanding the differences between the plans, and how much they cost, should help to make the decision easier to make for new subscribers. Likewise, existing subscribers may also find they get more (or can save more) by switching from their current plan to one of the others.

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Netflix likely needs little introduction considering it is such a popular subscription streaming service, and one that’s available in a number of countries around the world. Subscribers pay a set fee each month and gain access to a wide selection of content in return, including the company’s own originals and exclusives. There are three main subscriptions to choose from when signing up. These are the Basic, Standard, and Premium plans, and they are all designed to cater to different streaming needs.

To be clear, how much Netflix costs depends on how much Netflix an individual or household wants. More specifically, how many additional features are needed, and how many people are likely to be sharing the same account or watching at the same time. For those that just want to stream Netflix at the cheapest price possible, they can sign up for as little as $8.99 per month in the U.S.

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More specific information about each of the main plans is included below. However, for those just wanting to know the primary differences between the Basic, Standard and Premium plans, here they are.

Netflix planBasicStandardPremium
Price (p/m)$9$14$18
HD
UHD
Streams124
Downloads (devices)124

The Netflix Basic plan ($8.99 p/m)

The Basic plan is Netflix’s entry-level streaming subscription and this also means it’s the cheapest plan overall, with the price currently set at $8.99 per month. As this is the cheapest plan, it is the most limiting in terms of features and support. Still, for those just looking to stream Netflix at the lowest possible price, it is the plan to consider.

With the Basic plan, subscribers do get access to all of the content that’s available to stream through Netflix. In other words, subscribers don’t have to worry about missing out on any of the shows, movies or Netflix exclusives – the Basic plan features the same unlimited access as the more expensive plans. What you don’t get, however, is as many features. The first major limitation to be aware of is the resolution considering the Basic plan only allows playback in standard definition (SD). While this might not be an issue for some subscribers, it could be a deal-breaker for others and especially those looking to watch on a larger TV. Another major limitation is the number of streams.

One of the big advantages of streaming in general is the ability to watch content on almost any device, whether it’s a smart TV, smartphone, tablet, a laptop or a PC. Streaming also usually makes it easy for more than one person in the same household to watch at the same time. However, Netflix’s Basic plan intentionally limits homes to just the one stream at a time. A follow-up to that limitation is that videos can only be downloaded and stored on a single device at a time.

Pros: Netflix’s cheapest plan with unlimited access to all shows and movies.
Cons: No HD or 4K support, only one stream at a time, and only able to store videos on one device at a time.

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The Netflix Standard plan ($13.99 p/m)

“Standard” really is a suitable name for this plan as it is highly likely to be the one that appeals to most individuals and households. It’s not the best Netflix experience available but, at the same time, it does come with enough features to suit the needs of most homes.

The Netflix Standard plan currently costs $13.99 in the U.S. Unlike the Basic plan, Standard does include high definition (HD) support. Due to this, there are no issues in the quality of playback other than the fact that there is no 4K UHD support on offer with this subscription. Still, with 4K video availability severely limited compared to HD, this might not be a major issue for many people.

Another important difference compared to the Basic plan is the number of streams. While the Basic plan limits subscribers to only one stream, the Standard plan allows households to stream shows and movies on up to two devices at the same time. This alone makes the Standard plan more suitable for households where a Netflix account is going to be shared with someone else. The same limitation also extends to downloads, with the Standard plan allowing downloads to be stored on up to two devices at the same time.

Besides HD, the number of simultaneous streams, and the number of devices that can store downloads at the same time, there are no other differences between the Standard and Basic Netflix plans.

Pros: Best plan for most people, HD playback, two streams at the same time, and the ability to download on two devices at the same time.
Cons: No 4K. Not the very best option for busy households.

The Netflix Premium plan ($17.99 p/m)

For those looking for the ultimate Netflix experience, there is the Premium plan. As this is Netflix’s ultimate plan, it is also the most expensive subscription overall. At $17.99 per month, the Netflix Premium plan currently costs almost twice as much as the Basic plan. Of course, it is not just a more expensive plan for no reason, as subscribers do get a lot more in return for the higher monthly cost.

One of the main reasons to consider the Premium plan is 4K. At present, this is the only Netflix plan that offers the option to watch videos in ultra HD. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all titles available through the streaming service can be watched at the higher resolution, but if 4K is important to an individual or household, then the Premium plan is the best one to go with.

Another major difference between the Premium plan and the others is the overall number of streams, which will directly impact busier households. For example, the Premium plan allows Netflix to be streamed on up to four devices at the same time. As Netflix also allows subscribers to download videos to watch offline, there is also a difference here, with the number of devices that are allowed to store downloads increased to four.

Besides 4K support, the number of streams, and the higher number of devices that can store downloads at the same time, there are no other differences between the Premium plan and the cheaper Basic and Standard plans.

Pros: Netflix’s best plan overall with support for HD and 4K, as well as the ability to stream or download videos on up to four devices at the same time.
Cons: Expensive.

Netflix costs and plans summary

Netflix offers three main plans with consumers able to choose between Basic, Standard and Premium. None of these subscription tiers actually differ in terms of content, with all three offering unlimited access to all of the shows and movies available to watch through the service. Where they do differ, however, is in the playback quality and the number of devices that can watch videos at the same time.

If a single subscriber, or in a household where everyone is likely to be watching together, then the Basic plan is likely to be fine. For those that need a minimum of HD and the option to watch on two devices at the same time, then the Standard plan is the one to go for. For those homes that do want the ultimate Netflix experience, there is the Premium plan.

Of course, subscribers can always start out with the Basic plan and then upgrade to one of the other plans at any time during the current billing cycle. Likewise, they can also start with the best Netflix plan and downgrade to a cheaper one if they feel it is more than they actually need. For new subscribers, it is worth noting that Netflix does not offer a free trial, so they will need to make the first payment when signing up.

By John Finn

John started Streaming Clarity to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingclarity.com or on Twitter

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