Want to subscribe to Netflix? Read our review article below for a list of the advantages and disadvantages of using Netflix as your preferred streaming service provider.
Whether you are fond of online streaming or not, you must have heard of Netflix in some capacity. If you are not a subscriber yourself, you might have glimpsed Facebook memes sporting ‘Netflix and chill’ or overheard your colleagues discussing shared Netflix accounts.
So what is the fuss all about?
What is Netflix?
Netflix was a breakthrough app in online streaming when it was launched. It is an American media service provider that caused many households to cut cords with their cable connection.
With a wide array of television shows, documentaries and movies available, this streaming giant now operates in over more than 190 countries.
While it originally started as a DVD service, Netflix launched online streaming in 2007. This boosted its popularity, giving birth to many similar competitive services like Hulu, Amazon Prime , Youtube TV etc.
A significant name in online entertainment, Netflix is arguably the premium streaming video service provider as of now. It has consistently seen an exponential growth with a whopping 158 million paying subscribers worldwide!
How Does It Work?
With an established name in video streaming, Netflix usually comes preloaded in smart TVs as an app. Moreover, you can download its app in mobile phones as well and all you need is a subscription to get started.
Considering Netflix is ad free, subscriptions are the primary way it earns its big bucks. Netflix offers three different subscriptions plans to the audience who then pay monthly membership fees to continue enjoying the service.
Netflix Subscription Plans
Viewers can avail a 30-day free trial on Netflix before they confirm their subscription. If you like what you see, they have 3 plans to choose from. Let us look at what these are.
With a subscription fee of $8.99, it offers standard definition viewing and only one screen can watch the streaming service at one time.
In $13.99, you can watch High Definition viewing on two screens or devices at one time.
The $17.99 plan offers 4K Ultra HD content and allows four screens to use the subscription at once (from 4 different devices).
Netflix stands as the pioneer of binge watching but competitors like Hulu and Amazon prime have posed a serious threat to its viewership.
With an array of these service providers, how do you decide the best one to choose? Netflix has undoubtedly revolutionized TV but it also comes with its share of pros and cons. Let us look at what these are.
What We Love – Pros of Netflix
It’s Ad free
With Netflix, you can enjoy an uninterrupted flow of streaming, as it is free of ads even in the lowest priced basic plan.
This lends Netflix a significant edge over competitors like Hulu that require an extra $4 per month in order to avoid commercials.
Netflix allows simultaneous viewership in its most popular standard plan as well as the premium plan. This allows family members and friends to avail the same subscription and go up to 4 people viewing different screens at one time. Hence, Netflix is flexible in its service.
There are many people who buy just one subscription (e.g a premium plan) and share the account with other friends or family members.
Offline Playback Feature
Netflix allows users to cache content in standard and high quality. While there are limitations to the content you can download, Netflix is working to better that as well.
With this feature, viewers can store videos and watch them later even without an internet connection. This works best for plane rides and localities with weak internet connections.
High Quality Library
Netflix is the clear winner when it comes to the selection it has to offer. With over 100,000 options, Netflix outshines Hulu.
It sports the most popular TV shows as well as a wide range of internationally acclaimed films. It also has a collection of original Netflix shows and movies. There are various legendary Netflix series such as “Breaking bad”, “Prison Break”, “Narcos” etc.
It is one of the most user friendly streaming services out there. You need to login to the service just once and after that whenever you start the app (e.g on your smart TV or smartphone) you get access to the graphical environment of the service.
The first menu you will find is the “User Profiles” menu whereby you select which user of the family will be watching, therefore giving you the full movie history of the specific user, personalized recommendations etc.
After selecting the user profile, you get access to categories of movies, series, documentaries etc. You can also find easily which series you have started watching etc.
Netflix is touted as the most versatile streaming option as it is compatible with just about any device. Your device just needs to have Internet connection and the Netflix app installed.
Most smartphones, smartTVs, Android TV boxes etc already have the Netflix app installed. If not, you can just download the app from the various app marketplaces (free).
Compared to other popular streaming services, Netflix is probably the most affordable service out there even with the highest premium plan.
Best Watching Experience
Probably the best binge-watching experience in the market today. The service gives you recommendations according to your previous watching history, offers various categories of series and movies to choose from, allows you to conveniently skip the recaps and opening sequence of each episode and much more.
What We Don’t Love – Cons of Netflix
The shows that you can watch on Netflix are contingent to the region where you live. In the US, you have access to a far greater selection of TV shows and movies that might not be available in another region.
Some people with active subscriptions use a fast VPN service to watch their favorite Netflix series when traveling abroad.
Another frequent complaint that Netflix users have is the infrequent updates. While the collection of TV shows on Netflix might be great, it is not the best option when you are following a season that is currently on air.
Unlike Hulu that uploads shows by episodes, Netflix uploads by season, causing a delay in the latest episode to be available for streaming.
Netflix tends to remove shows that were previously available. This can be quite testing especially when you want to do a re-run of your favorite show. Popular ones like Family Guy and Friends are off Netflix with no hope of coming back anytime soon.
No Live Sports
OK we know that Netflix is focused on video streaming entertainment, so if you are someone that likes watching live sports events, then you are out of luck with Netflix. Although there are several sports documentaries and shows, Netflix has traditionally steered away from live sports events.
Internet Speed Needed for Netflix
Although you can stream high definition movies from the service, the Internet connection speed needed is not that much. For example, Netflix recommends the following minimum Internet speeds:
- Recommended for Basic (SD Quality) Plan: 3 Mbps
- Recommended for Standard (HD Quality) Plan: 5 Mbps
- Recommended for Premium (4K Quality): 25 Mbps
Netflix Original TV Shows, Movies and Documentaries
One of the biggest pros of Netflix is its original content. In some cases, content labeled as a “Netflix Original” was specifically produced and created for Netflix.
Examples of this include television programs like BoJack Horseman and Orange is the New Black, films like The Kissing Booth and Unicorn Store, and documentaries, such as Miss Americana and After the Raid.
In other cases, “Netflix Original” content is content that Netflix has purchased the exclusive distribution in a particular region.
Examples of this include crime drama The Fall, British television series Chewing Gum, and feature films like Korean horror movie #Alive.
Netflix has invested heavily in its original content. In 2018 alone, Netflix spent $12 Billion producing and acquiring exclusive films and television shows. Netflix offers original content in many genres and in numerous languages.
Netflix’s Audio and Video Quality per Plan
Currently, Netflix offers three plans to users as discussed previously.
The most affordable plan, the Basic Plan, provides unlimited access to the shows and movies in the Netflix catalog, but these programs can only be streamed on one screen at a time. This plan does not provide access to HD or Ultra HD.
With the Standard Plan, content can be streamed on two screens at once. HD streaming is available. The most costly Netflix plan, the premium plan, offers HD and Ultra HD streaming. If audio and video quality is a priority for you, this is a plan you will want to invest in.
Here is a summary of the 3 plans regarding audio and video quality:
|5.1 surround sound.
|HD Quality (1080p)
|5.1 surround sound.
|4K UHD Quality
|Dolby Atmos audio or Dolby Digital 5.1
Netflix vs Cable TV
In most cases, Netflix will be far less expensive than cable television. Netflix provides subscribers with access to a diverse selection of television shows and movies and allows users to watch content on demand.
However, certain types of content are not available on Netflix, such as:
- Live news
- Live sporting events
- Themed channels
Most cable channels air commercials, but Netflix is always commercial-free. If you’re trying to decide between Netflix and cable, you’ll want to think carefully about the content you consume. In some households, Netflix can serve as a replacement to cable television, while in other homes, it complements cable TV.
Popular Netflix Series
Currently, some of the most popular series on Netflix include Cobra Kai, which originally appeared on YouTube Premium, The Umbrella Academy, a superhero series based on comic books from Gerard Way, and the animated series The Seven Deadly Sins.
Many Netflix programs have achieved critical acclaim and commercial success. These programs include (not exhaustive list):
- The Dark, the first German-language original show on Netflix
- Ozark, an Emmy-nominated drama
- The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, an award-winning comedy from Tina Fey
- The Witcher, a fantasy series with global popularity
- Maniac, a limited series staring Jonah Hill and Emma Stone
- The Haunting of Hill House, a ghost story inspired by the Shirley Jackson novel of the same name
- GLOW, a female-driven show based on a real-life wrestling promotion
Netflix regularly adds new content to its library, which means viewers can always find something new to watch. Netflix also makes it possible to watch popular programs that have already aired on other channels, such as Avatar: The Last Airbender, Hannibal, and cult favorite community.
Benefits of Netflix Premium
As discussed above, Netflix premium currently costs $17.99/month which is still a pretty low price compared to the value you get from this service.
The main advantages of subscribing to the Premium plan are the following:
- Allows streaming of 4K (Ultra High Definition) content. Although you will need a 4K TV device to enjoy the full benefits, these types of Televisions are nowadays mainstream and provide an excellent viewing experience. If you watch a movie in 4K quality you will understand what we mean.
- Allows watching on 4 simultaneous screens. For families with 4-5 members, having this capability is a big benefit. For example, my teenage daughter likes to watch her own movies on her smartphone, while me and my wife watch a different show on our smart TV screen.
- Audio Quality is Better. The premium plan offers better audio quality from Dolby Atmos or Dolby Digital 5.1
To Netflix or Not?
The pros of Netflix clearly outweigh the cons! In light of this, it is no surprise that Netflix stands as the leading video service provider, lending a whole new experience to online streaming.
With such a vast variety of original TV shows and movies right on your screen, Netflix stands its ground as a the go-to option. Tonight, just Netflix and chill!