While Netflix subscribers can stream on up to four devices at the same time, the exact number of simultaneous streams an individual account has access to will depend on their subscription level.
With so many households subscribed to Netflix, understanding the service’s approach to simultaneous streams can help to make sure that everyone in the same household can watch what they want, when they want, and on the devices they want.
This is can be even more important in the case of Netflix. Like many other streaming services, Netflix offers more than one subscription tier when signing up. Unlike many other services, however, the number of same-time streams is one of the fundamental differences between the various Netflix plans.
The number of Netflix streams depends on the plan
Netflix Premium subscribers can watch on up to 4 devices at the same time. At $19.99 per month, Premium is the most expensive Netflix plan and this likely means that it won’t be the subscription tier that most homes are signed up to.
Here’s a summary of the devices limit for each Netflix plan:
|Netflix||Devices limit||Cost p/m|
|Standard with ads||2||$6.99|
As the table above shows, subscribers to Netflix’s Standard plan can only watch on up to 2 devices at the same time, and the Basic plan is even more limited with the option to watch on only 1 device at a time.
Interestingly, those signed up to Netflix’s cheapest, ad-supported plan can watch on more devices at the same time than the more expensive Basic plan. Netflix’s Standard with ads includes the ability to watch on up to 2 devices at the same time.
Here’s a recap of how many Netflix devices you can watch on at the same time:
- Basic: Watch on 1 supported device at a time
- Standard with ads: Watch on 2 supported devices at a time
- Standard: Watch on 2 supported devices at a time
- Premium: Watch on 4 supported devices at a time
It is important to note that the number of Netflix devices is not the same as the number of Netflix profiles. While the number of devices is dependent on the plan, every Netflix account can have up to 5 different profiles at the same time.
What happens when Netflix’s device limit is reached?
These limits not only apply when watching Netflix at home, but also when watching away from home. With more of us using portable devices to watch Netflix, including smartphones and tablets, there is an increased chance that subscribers will reach their plan’s device limit more often.
Any time the device limit is reached, subscribers will be presented with one of the following warning messages when attempting to play a movie or TV show:
- Too many people are using your account right now
- Your Netflix account is in use on another device
- Your Netflix account is in use on too many devices
When presented with any of these warnings, the user will need to wait until Netflix is no longer in use on one of the other devices. Even then, it can take up to 5-10 minutes before the device limit warning is removed again.
Choosing a Netflix plan based on the number of streams
If you’re considering signing up to Netflix for the first time, and even though price is always going to be the major decision-maker, it also can be important to choose the plan with the right number of streams.
In general, the Basic plan is best-suited to single-member households. Even more specifically, homes where Netflix is only going to be watched on one TV at a time.
If wanting to save on the cost, and have the ability to stream on more than one device at the same time, the Standard with ads plan might be a better option. Even though this means sitting through ad breaks, Standard with ads subscribers can watch on two different TVs at the same time.
If ads are a no-go, Standard is the next best option for homes wanting an ad-free experience and the ability to watch on more than 1 device at the same time.
With up to 4 streams at the same time, Premium is going to be the right option for busier households where Netflix is likely to be watched on more than two devices at the same time.
Netflix device limit: recap
Netflix can be watched on a maximum of four devices at the same time, but the exact number a home gets will depend on the plan they are subscribed to.
With only 1 stream available, Basic subscribers have the toughest device limit overall. Both Standard and Standard with ads subscribers are able to stream on up to 2 devices at the same time, making these plans the best options for most home. Even though Premium is the most expensive subscription Netflix offers, it is also the best in terms of simultaneous streams, thanks to the ability to watch on up to 4 devices at the same time.
For any homes thar require more than 4 streams, the only option is to create a second subscription.