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The Netflix price is, for the most part, a pretty stable thing. You dont generally have to ask How much does Netflix cost? and worry that the price has gone up again. Thats not to say Netflix never grows more expensive — they do increase prices from time to time. But for the most part, its a pretty fixed deal.
That said, you do have some choices to make. There are three Netflix plans from which youll want to choose. OK, five if you want to throw physical DVDs into the mix. OK — seven plans if you want to talk Blu-Ray.
But were going to stick to streaming for our purposes here.
And like anything of this nature, the more you watch, the more you get for your money each month. The Netflix price is a lot easier to swallow if youre watching, say, 10 movies a month and not just one or two. Or maybe look at the cost of Netflix by how many hours you stream each month. But either way, the math is still the same.
So whats Netflix going to cost you these days in the U.S.? Lets take a look.
Netflix Basic: The $8.99-a-month option
Netflix Basic is the least expensive Netflix plan. You can watch as much as you want, of course. There are no limits here, at least not as far as the amount of content is concerned.
But the basic plan does put a limit on resolution, and its a pretty low one. The best you can get with the Netflix Basic plan is standard definition, which should top out at 640x480, otherwise known as 480p.
Thats ... not great. But if all youre ever going to watch on is an older smartphone — or maybe a really old television — maybe you can get away with it.
The Basic plan also puts a limit on the number of screens you can watch on at any given time. And that limit is one. So if you have more than one person whos going to want to watch something at the same time on the same account, youll need to look at one of the other plans.
The Basic plan also limits the number phones or tablets on which you can download content to ... you guessed it ... one.
Netflix Standard: $13.99 a month for HD
The Netflix Standard plan is the next step up. It has the same basic limits as the Basic plan, its just that theyve been doubled.
So you can watch on as many as two devices at the same time. And you can download movies or shows for offline viewing on as many as two separate devices. No more, though.
The other big improvement with the Standard plan is that the maximum streaming resolution has been increased to 1080p. Thats whats known as full HD, and its pretty much the acceptable minimum in 2020. Some folks swear they cant see the difference between 1080p and 4K. (We think theyre wrong.) But there absolutely is a noticeable difference between 480p and 1080p. Its night and day.
So unless you just absolutely know that you want the Basic plan and the limits it imposes, Standard is the plan to go with.
Netflix Premium: $17.99 a month for 4K Ultra-high definition
If youre serious about your Netflix, and youre serious about it looking as good as it possibly can, youre going to want the Netflix Premium plan.
This plan opens up as many as four devices at a time. So you can be watching on the TV in the living room while your spouse is watching in the bedroom and your kids are vegged out in their own rooms on tablets. Or whatever. The point is youve got four different devices going at once.
You also can download content for offline viewing on as many as four devices at once, so theres that.
But the big jump for the Premium plan is that you now have access to Ultra HD content — otherwise known as 4K. That means youre watching at a resolution of 3840x2160, way up from those lesser resolutions of which we shall not speak. This is currently as good as it gets on Netflix.
The Premium plan also opens up things like HDR, which stands for high dynamic range and gets you a broader spectrum of color — basically making everything look better.
The caveat to all this is that youre going to need hardware that supports 4K resolution. If your TV doesnt do it, youre out of luck. If whatever device youre using to stream Netflix doesnt do it, youre out of luck.
But if your hardware is good to go, youre good for 4K Ultra HD. Huzzah.
Netflix DVD and Blu-Ray plans
OK, fine. Lets talk optical discs. These are still a thing, and there are still plenty of folks who prefer them to streaming for any number of reasons. We wont judge, even if it is a little silly to wait for content to come by mail.
Netflix has two DVD plans from which you can choose. They both get you as many discs as you want per month (youll just have to hustle to watch and return and then get a new one). Neither plan has any late fees attached to it, and you get free shipping and returns. You just drop the disc in the mail when youre done, and call it a day.
The only difference between the two plans is the price, and the number of discs you can have at one time.
The single-disc plan runs just $7.99 a month. Thats $1 cheaper than the cheapest Netflix streaming plan, but you can get better-quality video with it, so long as you dont mind waiting.
The two-disc Netflix plan — meaning you can have two movies on hand at a time — jumps up to $11.99 a month.
Theres also a Blu-Ray option. That gets you high resolution and oftentimes more features. It also costs more, at $9.99 for a single disc at a time, and $14.99 for two discs at a time.
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