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How much does Netflix cost? A breakdown of the streamer’s plans

When it comes to the myriad of streaming options available to us, Netflix still reigns supreme. One of the original platforms for web-connected viewing, the O.G. streamer is home to thousands of movies, shows, and exclusives. While many of us are already subscribed, there are still some users who may be opting into their first Netflix membership. Or maybe you’re just curious what the company is charging these days.

Editor’s note: Netflix announced new, higher prices for the U.S. and Canada on January 14, 2022. This article reflects those changes.

So, how much do Netflix plans cost? Well, that depends on what exactly you need from it. Netflix’s streaming plan features tiered offerings based on the price you’re willing to pay. If you can make do with the most basic offering, you can get away with handing over just $10 as a Netflix subscriber each month, which is less than you’d pay for streaming competitor Hulu with no ads. However, if you find yourself needing a bit more than what the base plan has to offer, you could see as much as $20 for a Netflix plan piling on top of your credit card debt month after month. Here’s a breakdown. 

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Streaming plans

Screenshot of the Netflix menu.

A Netflix account has three different streaming plans: Basic, Standard, and Premium. But what do each of those tiers translate to in terms of on-demand content?

The actual catalog remains consistent across the board, with a Basic subscriber having access to the same material as those on a Premium monthly plan. Limitations come in the form of resolution — a Basic plan can’t stream above standard definition, while a Standard plan is restricted to just Full HD. The most expensive option, the Premium plan, can tap into content in 4K Ultra HD. Netflix remains one of the few streaming video services that requires a more expensive plan for features like 4K, HDR, and Dolby Atmos.

There’s one other notable difference between a Basic, Standard, and Premium Netflix subscription: How many people can use the same account at once — starting at one user with the most economical option and topping out at four with the priciest. That means that four friends and family members can all watch a show on the same account, at the same time, from anywhere in the world.

Split the cost with four friends and it comes out to $5 per month.

Plan Price (U.S.) Price (Canada) Number of screens at once Resolution
Basic $10 $10 1 SD
Standard $15.50 $16.50 2 HD
Premium $20 $21 4 HD + Ultra HD

DVD and Blu-ray

Netflix has remained true to its roots, continuing to run its DVD-by-mail rental service, which preceded the arrival of its streaming platform in 2010 and the meteoric rise of smart TVs and various Roku devices. The only difference these days is you won’t find DVD and Blu-ray options on Netflix’s site. Instead, disc plans have been relegated to DVD.com — a Netflix-owned company that deals with all things DVD and Blu-ray.

The Standard Netflix subscription tier is priced at $10 per month for access to an unlimited amount of DVDs and Blu-rays, with rentals limited to just one disc at a time.

However, customers looking to have an exciting night in front of the TV can upgrade to Premier, which costs $15 per month for the option to borrow up to two discs at once.

Plan Price
Discs per month
Number of discs out at once
Standard $10 Unlimited 1
Premier $15 Unlimited 2

Which subscription is best?

Netflix on a TV.

The Standard or Premium plans are great places to get started. Each of these plans allows viewers to get the full HD experience. The stream quality you get with Netflix’s Basic plan will never reach the same standards as these two. Netflix Basic plan subscribers have access limited to standard definition (SD) streams. As an added perk, both the Standard and Premium subscription plans offer sharing, meaning you can view Netflix content on multiple devices.

Of course, users in certain areas are limited to standard definition because of the speed of their internet connection, in which case it is not worth paying the higher price. The $5.50 price increase from Basic to Standard is money well spent if you can take advantage of the boost in resolution.

If you have a 4K TV, a Premium account is an excellent upgrade from Standard or Basic. Because a 4K Ultra HD screen has four times the pixels, that means it has four times the resolution of a Full HD screen. Paying a few extra dollars a month to get the most out of your 4K devices is a worthwhile investment, so go with Premium to access Netflix’s 4K Ultra HD content. If you do, you’ll be able to stream popular TV shows like Bridgerton in glorious 4K Ultra HD.

How to save money on a Netflix subscription

There are a number of ways to save some dough when it comes to enrolling in Netflix. As previously mentioned, one of the most common options is sharing the cost of a Netflix account with friends and family. In this case, you’ll probably want to opt for the Premium streaming plan ($20), which unlocks 4K streaming and allows Netflix to be viewed on four screens at once.

Another way to net the service for a reduced cost (or for free in some cases) is to be on the lookout for Netflix bundles from internet service providers, TV/smart device companies, and cell phone providers. For instance, T-Mobile subscribers can get a number of Netflix perks via the company’s Netflix on Us offer.

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