Netflix tacks $1 onto its basic streaming plan, adds $8 budget plan

This morning, the leader of the free (movie-streaming) world confirmed its plan to increase the price of its popular $8-per-month streaming plan. Netflix announced via blog post that it will hike the price of its 2-screen, HD-capable streaming plan by $1, bringing the total cost for new subscribers (who will still get a free trial of whatever plan they end up choosing) to $9. Current members will get to keep their current $8 price for two years and continue enjoying HD content simultaneously on any two screens. The move marks Netflix’s first price bump in its largest market in three years.

In addition to the 12.5 percent price hike, Netflix also introduced a new $8/month plan with SD-quality viewing and a one-screen maximum. The company’s DVD-by-mail plan remains unchanged, with its entry-level package starting at $8. U.K. customers will pay an extra pound per month for their Netflix Instant streaming subscriptions, and monthly prices throughout the rest of Europe will go up by one euro, even.

We went in to see for ourselves what the options were for a new subscriber, and it appears Netflix has already altered its subscription packages to reflect the new announcement. Here’s what we found:

  • $8 per month – Watch on 1 screen at a time in Standard Definition.
  • $9 per month – Watch on 2 screens at a time. High Definition available.
  • $12 per month – Watch on 4 screens at a time. High Definition available.

Almost exactly three years ago, Netflix did away with its very well-liked $10 dual-DVD/instant queue package and met extreme customer disapproval (despite investors’ optimism and the success on Wall Street that followed the unpopular adjustment), forcing CEO Reed Hastings to make a public apology and account for his company’s actions. But here we are nearly halfway through 2014, and the still-ubiquitous service hasn’t just prevailed as a veritable powerhouse. Netflix’s stronghold within the over-the-top realm appears to be impenetrable at the moment, and what with Netflix’s increasing interest in 4K content – including its latest reveal that Breaking Bad is next in line for a high-resolution makeover with the burgeoning format – it doesn’t look like this fact is going to change any time soon.

If this is just one more reason for you to stay away from the Big Red Streaming Service, check out our guide to the leading Netflix alternatives. Otherwise, for you Red Faithful, here’s our tightly curated list of the best TV shows on Netflix Instant right now.

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