Netflix is the best streaming service. Period. Just like Samsung charges through the nose for the Galaxy Fold because it was the first manufacturer to launch a foldable smartphone, Netflix commands a pretty penny for its top-tier subscription — because it can. It revolutionized content consumption as we know it and is home to what’s without a shadow of a doubt the finest selection of both original and licensed material — for now, at least.
So, how much does Netflix cost? Well, that depends on what you need from it. If you can make do with the most basic offering, you’ll get away with forking out just $9 per month. However, if you find yourself needing a bit more than what comes with the base plan, you could see as much as $16 leaving your bank account (or piling on top of your mountain of credit card debt) each month. Here’s what you need to know.
Netflix 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 Basic subscribers having access to the same material as those on a Premium plan. Instead, the limitations come in the form of streaming resolution — Basic can’t stream above Standard Definition, while Standard is restricted to Full HD. The most expensive option, Premium, can tap into material in 4K Ultra HD.
There’s one other notable difference between Basic, Standard, and Premium, and that’s 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 (even the same one) on the same account, at the exact same time, from anywhere in the world. Split the cost with four friends and it comes out to just $4 per month.
Here’s a look at how much each plan costs:
|Plan||Price||Number of screens at once||Resolution|
|Premium (streaming)||$16||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. As of February 2019, 2.7 million people are still using the firm’s mail-in service, checking out DVDs and Blu-rays instead of (or while) taking advantage of its near nearly limitless catalog of both original and licensed digital content.
The Standard tier is priced at $8 per month for access to an unlimited amount of DVDs, or $10 per month for the same treatment with Blu-rays thrown into the mix. Those on a Standard plan can only rent one disc at a time. However, customers looking to have an exciting night in front of the TV can upgrade to Premium, which costs $12 per month for DVDs or $15 per month to access Blu-rays as well. They can also borrow up to two discs at once.
|Plan||DVD Price||Blu-ray Price
||Total discs per month
||Number of discs out at once|
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, we recommend opting for either a Standard or Premium subscription option. That’s because the Basic membership can’t stream content in Full HD, instead reverting to Standard Definition (SD). So, unless your internet speed is too slow to handle HD streaming (check to see if that’s the case here), the $4 leap from Basic to Standard is 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 4K Ultra HD content — such as NBC’s The Blacklist and the lauded series Breaking Bad — allowing you to watch material at a resolution considered four times better than Full HD (that’s because there are four times as many pixels in a 4K Ultra HD screen).
To find this content, just type “UHD,” “4K,” or “Dolby Atmos” into the search bar in Netflix.
- Netflix vs. Apple TV+: An early comparison of the soon-to-be streaming rivals
- Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime
- Hulu vs. Amazon Prime Video: Which streaming service is best for you?
- The best Netflix Original series
- The best stand-up comedy on Netflix right now (September 2019)