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What to watch on Netflix and everything else you need to know

It's still the biggest streaming service in the world, and there are good reasons for it.
By
January 20, 2023
Netflix dramas on smartphone stock photo 2

Though it has much stiffer competition than it once did, Netflix is still the indisputable king of streaming. The company, which launched more than 20 years ago, has since transformed its business model completely to match the ever-changing tech landscape.

Check out: How well do you know Stranger Things? Take our quiz to find out!

As a result, the company now boasts more than 223 million subscribers (as of October 2022) worldwide. It’s also one of the biggest media publishers globally with its Netflix Originals program.

If you’re new to the platform or just want to learn more about how it all works, you’ve come to the right place. In this extensive guide to the world’s largest premium streaming platform, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Netflix. Want to get started? Click the button below to sign up!

Netflix icon
Netflix
Netflix is still the leading premium streaming service, with over 200 million worldwide subscribers. It offers thousands of movies and TV shows to binge watch, including its always growing list of original films and series, including Stranger Things, The Witcher, Bridgerton, and many more.

What is Netflix?

Netflix is the world’s leading premium media streaming platform, hosting thousands of films and TV series in nearly 200 countries and territories.

Initially, a mail-order DVD rental service launched in 1997, the company quickly dominated the streaming sphere when it launched its subscription video-on-demand service a decade later in 2007, the same year that Hulu launched.

The field has become quite a bit more crowded since then, and Netflix now competes with the likes of Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, and many more, including niche streamers like The Criterion Channel and Shudder.

What is on Netflix?

While Netflix’s streaming options were originally all licensed titles that had originally aired elsewhere, the streamer has been developing its own shows and movies for more than a decade now.

When you look through options, you’ll find entire seasons of TV shows and a variety of movies, including those in-house and third-party shows and movies. The third-party titles are usually available for a limited time, with new titles added every month as old ones leave.

The best Netflix movies: Our top 3

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 139 minutes
  • Director/Creator: Rian Johnson
  • Main cast: Daniel Craig, Janelle Monáe, Edward Norton, Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn
  • Genre: Mystery/comedy
  • Ratings: 7.2 – IMDB / 92% – Rotten Tomatoes

Detective Benoit Blanc is back in this new mystery. This time, he’s invited to a tech billionaire’s private island in Greece, where friends will gather for a weekend of murder-mystery fun. But when a real murder is committed, Blanc has to get to the bottom of it. As always, everyone’s a suspect.

One of the most high-profile Netflix acquisitions of the last few years, the Knives Out sequel is one of two follow-ups to the 2019 whodunnit planned at the streamer. It’s a terrific bit of fun, drawing on classic Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes tropes, all with a fresh, topical twist. Daniel Craig is back as the expert detective Benoit Blanc, and he’s joined by a huge cast of terrific actors.

Ready to watch? You can find the movie right here on Netflix.

The Harder They Fall (2021)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: R
  • Runtime: 139 minutes
  • Director/Creator: Jeymes “The Bullits” Samuel
  • Main cast: Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo
  • Genre: Western/action
  • Ratings: 6.6 – IMDB / 88% – Rotten Tomatoes

Nat Love has spent his life bringing those who killed his parents to justice. Now, ready to hang up his guns, he learns that his mortal enemy Rufus Buck has escaped from prison. Love puts together a gang to ride one last time and take on Buck.

This revisionist western is a stunning, gorgeous piece of western cinema, with a killer soundtrack and an all-star cast. It more than earns its place among the best movies on Netflix.

Ready to watch? You can find the movie right here on Netflix.

Cam (2018)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Runtime: 94 minutes
  • Director/Creator: Daniel Goldhaber
  • Main cast: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Melora Walters, Devin Druid, Imani Hakim
  • Genre: Horror/thriller
  • Ratings: 5.9 – IMDB / 93% – Rotten Tomatoes

In Cam, a camgirl suddenly finds herself locked out of her accounts, and thus her livelihood. But soon she realizes a doppelganger is continuing to stream, posing as her and replacing her. Now, she has to get to the bottom of this invasion and theft to reclaim her identity and her autonomy.

A dark and twisted thriller written with intelligence and compassion by Isa Mazzei, this indie movie offers a fascinating look at sex work in the 21st century. It’s a great choice for fans of Hitchcock’s thrillers and other classics like Peeping Tom and Body Double.

Ready to watch? You can find the movie right here on Netflix.

Also watch:

  • Da 5 Bloods — Spike Lee directs this war film about veterans returning to Vietnam, in search of buried treasure they left behind during the war.
  • Roma — A big winner at the Oscars, this 2018 film from director Alfonso Cuarón follows a family in Mexico City in the 1970s.
  • Marriage Story — A portrait of divorce, this Academy Award-winning film is a thoughtful look at the complexities of marriage and separation.

Looking for even more to watch? Check out our guide to the best movies on Netflix. 

The best Netflix shows: Our top 3

Stranger Things (2016-ongoing)

The kids from Stranger Things outside the emergency room
Netflix

What you need to know:

  • Rating: TV-14
  • Runtime: 42-150 minutes per episode
  • Director/Creator: The Duffer Brothers
  • Main cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard
  • Genre: Sci-fi/fantasy/horror/drama
  • Ratings: 8.7 – IMDB / 92% – Rotten Tomatoes

In a small town in Indiana, a group of youngsters work to fight the forces of evil and the government as a portal into another dimension opens, threatening reality itself.

Netflix’s flagship show, Stranger Things draws on the works of Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, and more. It’s a terrific genre show full of surprises and terrific action. The series is a great choice for fans of The Goonies, It, Firestarter, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Thing, and more.

Ready to watch? You can find the show right here on Netflix.

GLOW (2017-2019)

Two women in a wrestling ring in GLOW - best hidden gems on netflix
Netflix

What you need to know:

  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Runtime: 26-46 minutes per episode
  • Director/Creator: Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch
  • Main cast: Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Sydelle Noel, Britney Young, Marc Maron
  • Genre: Comedy/sports/drama
  • Ratings: 8 – IMDB / 93% – Rotten Tomatoes

In the 1980s, a group of women work together to found the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, a women’s wrestling league that dominates the airwaves and eventually becomes a live show in Vegas, all as the wrestlers find their voices in a traditionally male sport.

A wonderful sports drama and comedy, GLOW is among the best shows on Netflix. The series is brimming with terrific performances and compelling characters, all set to a killer 80s soundtrack. If you have even a passing interest in the 80s, wrestling, or women’s sports, you won’t want to miss GLOW.

Ready to watch? You can find the show right here on Netflix.

The Crown (2016-ongoing)

The Crown season 5
Netflix

What you need to know:

  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Runtime: 47-61 minutes per episode
  • Director/Creator: Peter Morgan
  • Main cast: Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Elizabeth Debicki
  • Genre: Drama/historical
  • Ratings: 8.7 – IMDB / 86% – Rotten Tomatoes

Follow the ins and outs of the British Royal family through the decades in this historical drama, one of Netflix’s biggest hits. Each season follows different formative periods, with new cast members taking on roles within the British upper class, starting with the early days and coronation of the late Queen Elizabeth.

While The Crown has drawn criticism for its fictionalized depictions of the Royals, it’s a massively popular show, offering an often unvarnished look at the family’s past, providing context for much recent political history.

Ready to watch? You can find the show right here on Netflix.

Also watch:

  • The OA — A trippy science-fiction drama, The OA is a dark mystery that travels across realities. It was sadly cancelled after two brilliant seasons on Netflix.
  • Sex Education — The son of a sex therapist sets off a revolution at his school when he starts selling advice to his classmates in this hilarious, smart comedy.
  • Ozark — A dark crime family saga, Ozark sees the Birds relocating to the Ozarks when husband and father Marty gets in trouble laundering drug money in Chicago. Soon, Marty’s back to his old tricks in their new home.

Looking for even more to watch? Check out our guide to the best shows on Netflix, as well as a look at the best Netflix originals.

How does Netflix work?

Netflix, like most subscription services, works quite simply. When you sign up, you can choose between different plans at different price points. These offer different resolution qualities, numbers of concurrent screens, and ad-supported or ad-free streaming experiences.

Once you’re signed up, you can access the full Netflix library at your convenience. Titles are grouped by category and allow you to click through to watch.

How much does Netflix cost and where can I get it?

Netflix pricing has become one of its most controversial features, with frequent price hikes to cover the cost of new Netflix Originals and licensing deals. The cheapest plan in the US is the new Basic with Ads at $6.99 a month, with four to five minutes of ads per hour, and one 720p resolution stream. The ad-free Basic plan is still $9.99 a month, with 720p resolution and with all of Netflix’s content included.

See also: Everything you need to know about Netflix account sharing

The standard plan bumps this up to HD quality and two streams for $15.49 a month, and the most expensive premium plan features full 4K quality and four streams for $19.99 a month.

All plans allow you to download content to view offline, although the number of devices you can download is the same as the number of simultaneous streams. So on the standard plan, for example, you can only download content to two devices.

  • Basic with Ads: $6.99 per month
    One stream in 720p quality
  • Basic: $9.99 per month
    One stream in 720p quality
  • Standard: $15.49 per month
    Two streams in 1080p HD quality
  • Premium: $19.99 per month
    Four streams in HD or UHD quality (if available)
  • DVD-Blu-ray mail-order plans: $9.99/$14.99 per month
    Rent one/two DVD or Blu-rays at a time, with no late fees. Only available to US subscribers

The service is available in most of the world. Prices and selection will vary depending on where you sign up to watch. When you travel, certain titles you are used to accessing in the US won’t necessarily be available abroad, while new titles not available at home may show up.

Netflix icon
Netflix
Netflix is still the leading premium streaming service, with over 200 million worldwide subscribers. It offers thousands of movies and TV shows to binge watch, including its always growing list of original films and series, including Stranger Things, The Witcher, Bridgerton, and many more.

FAQ

The answer depends on which plan you have. The Basic and Basic with Ads plans each support just one stream, the Standard plan supports two streams, and the Premium plan supports four.

Some content is available in 4K, but you will need a Premium subscription to stream it in 4K quality.

If you sign up for the Netflix Basic with Ads plan, in the markets where it is available, you will see about four to five minutes of ads per hour. The other more expensive plans do not feature ads.

Netflix has started charging users who share their accounts outside of one household. If you have roommates or live with family, however, you can share your account with them.

he service has previously forbidden the use of VPNs, but some VPNs work with Netflix.

There are many reasons for Netflix is slow. Learn more about how to fix using our guide.

Yes, you can download certain shows and movies on as many devices as your plan allows simultaneous streams. Learn how our download guide.

Netflix icon
Netflix
Netflix is still the leading premium streaming service, with over 200 million worldwide subscribers. It offers thousands of movies and TV shows to binge watch, including its always growing list of original films and series, including Stranger Things, The Witcher, Bridgerton, and many more.