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Netflix: Pricing, content, and everything else you need to know

It's still the biggest streaming service in the world, and there are good reasons for it.
September 27, 2023
Netflix with popcorn stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

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.

As a result, the company now boasts more than 238 million subscribers (as of September 2023) 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 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 with popcorn stock photo 2

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, Max, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, and many more, including niche streamers like The Criterion Channel and Shudder.

How much does Netflix cost?

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.

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)

Note that Netflix’s oldest plans, which shipped physical media to your home, are no longer available.

The streaming service, however, 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.

Share Netflix outside your household

While Netflix has cracked down on sharing accounts between households, the service does allow you to pay to add members to your account. This ended one of the few remaining ways to get Netflix for free.

Extra members get their own standalone accounts with their own passwords, but they’re billed through your account at a discounted rate of $7.99 per extra member.

This feature is only available to Standard and Premium subscribers, who can only add up to one or two extra members, respectively.

Netflix icon
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.

Netflix connection requirements and data usage

Many consumers still have data caps and low bandwidth plans, so data usage on Netflix can be a significant concern. Whether you’re connected to Netflix on a mobile phonelaptop, or smart TV, it could hinder the streaming experience without a good connection.

Netflix lists the lowest possible connection at .5 Mbps, but the recommended speed for a decent streaming experience is 1.5 Mbps. You can see a complete list of recommended internet speeds for Netflix below, and use this guide to learn how to do a Netflix speed test.

  • .5 Mbps — Minimum required speed.
  • 1.5 Mbps — Recommended speed.
  • 3.0 Mbps — Recommended speed for SD and 720p streaming.
  • 5.0 Mbps — Recommended speed for Full HD streaming.
  • 15 Mbps — Recommended speed for UHD (4K) streaming.

Data consumption is also a concern for many, so we’ve run some tests to see just how much data Netflix uses. You can see the results in the table below or read more analysis in this article, where you’ll also find tips on how to reduce Netflix data consumption.

ResolutionNetflix estimatesOur measurements
Low (480p)
Netflix estimates
300MB per hour
Our measurements
200-350MB per hour
Medium (720p)
Netflix estimates
700MB per hour
Our measurements
650MB-750MB per hour
High (1080p)
Netflix estimates
3GB per hour
Our measurements
2.8GB-3.3GB per hour
Netflix estimates
Our measurements
4.2GB per hour
4K (with and without HDR)
Netflix estimates
7GB per hour
Our measurements
6.5GB-11.5GB per hour

What devices does Netflix support?

Netflix supports just about any device with a Wi-Fi connection. This includes PCs, smartphones, tablets, most smart TVs, set-top boxes, Amazon Fire TV devices, Blu-ray players, and game consoles. It’s one of the most accessible streaming platforms out there, with more than a decade’s worth of integrations in popular tech.

The Netflix app works with Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices. The latest Android app requires Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher, and for Apple devices, you’ll need iOS 5.0 or higher.

Netflix can also be cast to any compatible Chromecast device on older TVs, although it no longer supports AirPlay.

One of the most notable devices that Netflix doesn’t support is the Nintendo Switch. Given that both Hulu and YouTube are already available on the Switch, hopefully, it’s just a matter of time before it’s officially supported.

Is Netflix worth it?

Netflix dramas on smartphone stock photo 1

Netflix is the premier streaming service with an enormous content catalog, but it’s also one of the most expensive. With so many great competitors out there, it’s worth asking the question: Is Netflix worth it?

The answer for the vast majority of users is yes. The basic plan at $9.99 unlocks a truly game-changing amount of media to stream for casual streamers, although it’s limited to 720p. Netflix recently launched its Basic With Ads plan at $6.99 a month, but not all of the service’s content is included. However, it is a perfect plan to bring in users who can no longer afford the no-ads Basic plan.

For couples and small families, the standard plan at $15.49 lets you stream on two devices simultaneously and bumps the quality up to 1080p (HD). This is a baseline for those looking to stream on a bigger screen or TV.

The answer gets a bit more complicated if you want to stream in 4K quality. Unless you plan on sharing the account with friends and family in the same household (up to four streams are allowed), the $19.99 a month price tag is pretty steep. This is especially true compared to other streaming services, which offer 4K quality at a much lower price. Disney Plus, Prime Video, and Apple TV Plus all offer 4K as part of their base plans, all of which cost less than the cheapest Netflix offer.

What the experts think

There’s no question about it: experts agree that Netflix is the streaming service to beat. With an enormous catalog that no other streaming service can hope to match (for now) and lots of must-watch originals, Netflix is one of the few streaming services that can completely replace your cable subscription.

However, being the top dog means everyone is gunning for you, and there are now a host of Netflix alternatives to choose from. Most of these compete on price, and if Netflix continues to bump the cost of its service, experts think it may start losing out on more budget-conscious consumers. Indeed, for the first quarter of 2022, the company admitted that it lost 200,000 subscribers, which is the first time it lost users in 10 years.

To combat this, Netflix tested a cheaper mobile-only subscription in specific markets, but it’s unclear if this will catch on. Like the now defunct Quibi, other mobile-only services ultimately failed to capture an audience, although Netflix does offer a better spread of quality content.

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

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

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

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.


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.

The 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 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.