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Thinking of signing up to Netflix? Wondering how much it costs? Well, that all depends on how much Netflix you want.
In this article we’ll look to explain what Netflix is, the different plans the service offers, what features each plan comes with, and of course, how much they cost. All with a view to helping you find the best plan for you.
If you just want to know what’s the minimum you can pay then Netflix costs $8.99 per month in the U.S.
What is Netflix?
Netflix is a subscription streaming service available in a number of countries around the world. Subscribers pay a set fee each month and in return gain access to a wide selection of content.
In general, the content on Netflix varies. In other words, what’s available today might not be available this time next year. The one exception to this rule is Netflix Originals.
Most, but not all, Netflix Originals are made by Netflix. They are not only the provider but also the producer. This means Netflix is the only place you can stream these shows or movies.
Examples of some popular Netflix Originals includes “Stranger Things,” “House of Cards,” and “Orange is the New Black.”
If you’ve never seen Stranger Things before, then you’re missing out on one of the most talked about shows to date. To avoid later season spoilers, here’s the trailer for Stranger Things season one.
How many Netflix plans?
Now that you know what sort of content you can expect from Netflix, it’s time to talk turkey. How much Netflix costs depends again on how much Netflix you want.
That’s not necessarily how much content you want, but how many streams you want or what playback resolution you want. Both of these factors greatly affect the price.
In total, there are three main plans: Basic, Standard, and Premium. We’ll briefly go over each plan before summing up their main differences.
The Netflix Basic plan
As the name suggests, this is Netflix’s entry-level streaming plan. This also means it’s Netflix’s cheapest plan. The Basic plan in the U.S. costs $8.99 per month.
With this being a basic plan it comes with the most limitations. However, it is Netflix and if access is all you need, the Basic plan is more than enough. With the Basic plan you do get access to all of the content available through Netflix. That is, you get exactly the same amount of content you would with the more expensive plans.
What you don’t get is as many features as the other plans. The first major limitation is the resolution. The Basic plan only allows playback in standard definition (SD). This might not be an issue for some subscribers, but for others it is likely to be a deal-breaker.
The second major limitation is the number of streams. One of the big advantages of streaming is that you can watch content on almost any device. This means your smartphone or your tablet, as well as your TV.
This also means it is very easy for more than one person in the same household to watch Netflix at the same time. This is where the number of streams matter and the Basic plan only allows a Netflix account to stream on one device at a time.
- Pros: Netflix’s cheapest plan.
- Cons: No HD or 4K. Only one stream at a time.
The Netflix Standard plan
It is best to think of the Standard plan as the plan that’s likely to appeal to most people. It’s not the best Netflix experience available but it does come with enough features to suit most consumers.
The Netflix Standard plan currently costs $12.99 in the U.S.
Unlike the Basic plan, the Standard does include high definition (HD) support. So there’s no issues here in the playback quality. While the Standard plan does not include 4K UHD support, most content on Netflix is only available in HD anyway.
In addition, the Standard plan also allows for two streams at the same time. This is another of the major differences between the Basic and Standard plans making the Standard plan more suitable for households with more than one person.
Besides HD and two streams, the rest of the features provided with the Standard plan are the same as the Basic plan.
- Pros: Best balanced plan. HD. Two streams at the same time.
- Cons: No 4K. Not the best option for busy households.
The Netflix Premium plan
For those that want the ultimate Netflix experience then the Premium plan is the way to go. This is Netflix’s ultimate plan (for now) although that also means it is the most expensive.
The Netflix Premium plan currently costs $15.99 per month in the U.S.
While the Premium plan costs almost twice as much as the Basic plan you do get a lot more for your money. First of all, this is the only Netflix plan that supports 4K playback. If 4K matters to you, then the Premium plan is the best plan for you. However, it should be pointed out again that not all content on Netflix is available in 4K.
Another of the major differences between the Premium plan and the Basic and Standard plans is the number of streams. The Premium plan allows four streams at the same time. This allowance makes the Premium plan an ideal option for busy households.
Besides the 4K and number of streams, the rest of the features provided with the Premium plan are the same as the Basic and Standard plans.
- Pros: HD and 4K. Four streams at the same time. Netflix’s best plan overall.
- Cons: Expensive.
Basic, Standard and Premium plans compared
While we’ve discussed all the different Netflix plans and how they differ, sometimes it is just easier to see the differences rather than read them. Here’s an overview of the three plans and their main features.
Will Netflix increase prices?
While we can’t say for sure Netflix will increase its prices anytime soon, it likely will at some point. The company spends a lot of money on its service and original content, and each year its costs seem to go up. As a result, eventually, so does the cost to the consumer.
The last Netflix Price rise came in early 2019. This price rise saw the Basic plan increase from $7.99 to the current $8.99 and the Standard plan increase from $10.99 to the current $12.99 price. At the same time the Premium plan rose from $13.99 to its current $15.99 per month.
The last price increase before that came in late 2017. That increase resulted in the Standard plan rising from $9.99 to $10.99 per month and the Premium plan increasing from $11.99 to $13.99 per month. The Basic plan was unaffected by the 2017 price increase.
To sum up this point, since late 2017, the Basic plan has increased $1 per month while the Standard and Premium plans have increased $3 and $4, respectively.
Is there a free trial?
Yes. Netflix offers a one-month free trial. What’s more, the free trial applies to all the different plans.
Tip: Even if you only expect to sign up to the Basic plan there’s nothing stopping you signing up to the Premium plan during the free trial. This gives you access to all the premium benefits, including 4K and multiple streams, at no extra cost.
Just make sure to downgrade or cancel the plan before the free trial is up.