Since 2007, Netflix has dominated the streaming service industry. From its massive library of films and television shows to its ever-growing catalog of original programming, Netflix is the brand name synonymous with over-the-top streaming video today. But what do their subscription plans actually look like? And which one is best for families? Let’s look at Netflix’s four subscription tiers, paying close attention to the priciest one: Netflix Premium. What are the terms and conditions of these plans? And is Netflix Premium ultimately worth it for you?
|Founded||August 29th, 1997|
|Streaming Arm Launched||January 15th, 2007|
|Service||DVD-by-mail service (1997-2023)|
Over-the-top streaming platform (2007- )
|Key Figures||Reed Hastings (Executive Chairman)|
Ted Sarandos (Co-CEO)
Greg Peters (Co-CEO)
|Subscribers||232.5 million (2023)|
|Standard With Ads Pricing||$6.99 (monthly)|
|Standard Pricing||$15.49 (monthly)|
|Premium Pricing||$19.99 (monthly)|
The History of Netflix
While most know Netflix best as a streaming service, the site was initially a DVD-by-mail subscription service in 1997. It was the brainchild of Silicon Valley tech legends Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph. Netflix originally thrived as an online rental website with a collection of DVDs, both new and old. Their service effectively revolutionized the video rental market, simplifying the process and doing serious damage to video stores too. Then came their streaming service.
First launched in 2007, Netflix Instant (as it was initially called) marked yet another major turning point in the company’s storied history. Customers didn’t have to wait for the next DVD in the queue to arrive in the mail. They could stream movies and TV shows instantly from the Netflix site. This smart move effectively allowed Netflix to stretch far beyond its initial DVD rental model and compete with the biggest names in cable television. The streaming service started small but grew exponentially over the years that followed.
In the early 2010s, Netflix kicked off production on a string of original shows and movies. While risky, the move proved a game-changer for the company and the television and film industry. By 2013, Netflix officially prioritized streaming over DVD rentals. By 2016, Netflix’s streaming service had launched in almost every country in the world. While they face plenty of competition in the industry today, they remain a leading brand in the streaming space.
Benefits Of Netflix Subscriptions
With the introduction of Netflix Standard With Ads in the fall of 2022, the streaming titan now offers four unique subscription plans. These include Standard With Ads, Netflix Basic, Netflix Standard, and Netflix Premium. What are the benefits of each of these four plans? How do they compare in terms of pricing? And which one of these is the best choice for families (especially in light of Netflix’s recently announced crackdown on password sharing)? Let’s break down each plan below.
Netflix Standard With Ads
|Price||$6.99 a month|
|Benefits||Ad-supported movies and TV shows|
Unlimited mobile games
2 simultaneous streams
Full HD quality
|Price||$15.49 a month|
|Benefits||Ad-free movies, TV shows, and mobile games|
2 simultaneous streams (with downloads)
Full HD quality
Can add 1 extra member
|Price||$19.99 a month|
|Benefits||Ad-free movies, TV shows, and mobile games|
4 simultaneous streams (6 with downloads)
Ultra HD quality with spatial audio
Can add 2 extra members
Netflix spatial audio
How Netflix Subscriptions (Including Netflix Premium) Came To Be
In 2010, Netflix Instant broke away from Netflix’s DVD plans. They called it the Netflix Unlimited Streaming Plan, and it allowed users to stream unlimited movies and TV shows for a low monthly fee. The move officially marked Netflix’s transition from DVDs to streaming. Netflix would grow from one streaming plan to four in the following years. Each plan has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.
Netflix Basic, Standard, and Standard With Ads
Netflix Standard With Ads gives subscribers access to almost all of Netflix’s library of movies and TV shows (save for a selection of Netflix Originals not available worldwide). The catch? They’re all supported by intermittent ads in between content to keep the plan’s price low. Users also have access to unlimited Netflix mobile games, which are also supported by ads. While subscribers can stream from two different devices simultaneously, they cannot download anything for offline viewing. All content is available in Full HD quality for $6.99 a month.
At the top of the heap is Netflix Premium. It’s also given the “Premium” name for a good reason. Subscribers enjoy ad-free movies, TV shows, and mobile games in Ultra HD quality with spatial audio and up to four simultaneous streams to boot. That number bumps up to six devices available to download content for offline viewing and you can add up to two members who don’t live in your household. It’s a pretty good Netflix plan for anyone who cares about optimal streaming video and audio quality, not to mention the best for families looking for the ideal Netflix subscription plan.
Of course, the Premium name also speaks to its pricing. $19.99 monthly is exponentially higher than all of Netflix’s other streaming plans. Beyond this, it’s much higher than other streaming services charge monthly. Hulu’s top tier, Hulu (No Ads), costs just $14.99 a month and can be bundled with Disney+ for just two bucks more a month. Likewise, HBO Max’s ad-free plan is only $15.99 a month. (Granted, when they switch to their Max moniker, their top-tier plan will be $19.99 monthly for Max Ultimate Ad Free.)
Pros And Cons Of Netflix Premium
|Access to Ultra HD movies and TV shows with support for spatial audio||At $19.99 a month, one of the most expensive streaming services around|
|Allows for downloads on up to six different devices for offline viewing||Only allows up to four simultaneous streams at a time, which is a problem for large families|
|All streaming content is available ad-free, with no content hidden or blacked out||Upcoming crackdowns on password sharing could make sharing an account more difficult|
|Full access to Netflix’s growing library of mobile games||While Ultra HD is advertised, only a fraction of all content is available in true 4K UHD|
Is Netflix Premium Worth It For You?
As you can see, being a Netflix Premium subscriber is advantageous. The list of pros more than fends off the list of cons, and if you can reasonably afford to spend $19.99 on a single streaming service, then you can’t go wrong with Netflix Premium. This is especially true if you’re part of a family of streamers. Four simultaneous streams available, two additional members who don’t live in your household, up to six devices with offline viewing downloads, and no ads — plus Ultra HD content with spatial audio? It’s all precisely the sort of stuff an excellent family plan needs.
That said, Netflix Premium might not be worth it for those not planning to share their service with others. If it’s just you (or even you and a friend or partner) in the home, you’re much better off subscribing to Netflix Standard. All you’ll be missing is the Ultra HD streaming and the other number of simultaneous streams, which you won’t even need if there’s just one or two of you. If you can stand ad breaks, you might consider Netflix Standard With Ads for an even better deal.
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