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

Netflix is the best on-demand streaming service out there, and it knows it. That’s why it charges more for its Premium membership than its rivals. This is hardly a surprise, though: Keeping millions of subscribers around the world immersed in what is hands-down the finest, largest, and most diverse selection of both licensed and original content out there isn’t cheap.

So, how much does Netflix cost? Well, that depends on what exactly you need from it. If you can make do with the most basic offering, you can get away with handing over just $9 each month. However, if you find yourself needing a bit more than what the base plan has to offer, you could see as much as $16 piling on top of your credit card debt month after month.

Streaming plans

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. Limitations come in the form of resolution — Basic can’t stream above standard definition, while Standard is restricted to just Full HD. The most expensive option, Premium, can tap into content in 4K Ultra HD.

There’s one other notable difference between Basic, Standard, and Premium: 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 just $4 per month.

Plan Price Number of screens at once Resolution
Basic $9 1 SD
Standard $13 2 HD
Premium $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.

In February 2019, 2.7 million people were still using the company’s mail-in service, checking out DVDs and Blu-rays instead of (or while) taking advantage of its almost limitless catalog of 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 with Blu-rays thrown into the mix, 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 Premium, which costs $12 per month for DVDs or $15 per month to access Blu-rays as well, for the option to borrow up to two discs at once.

Plan DVD price Blu-ray price
Discs per month
Number of discs out at once
Standard $8 $10 Unlimited 1
Premium $12 $15 Unlimited 2

Which subscription is best?

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, reverting instead 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 for big bucks for a 4K TV, you might as well spend a few extra dollars on 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).

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