Netflix has always been fairly lenient when it comes to sharing a subscription, an approach that’s opened up its library of originals and content to more viewers. However, with greater competition, and homes looking to limit spending, ensuring everyone pays for their own subscription is now a priority for Netflix.
This change in approach has resulted in the service cracking down on how a subscription can be accessed. Specifically, the introduction of Netflix Households, a home policy that looks to make sure that only people in the same home as a subscriber can access the service.
This type of streaming service limitation will sound very familiar to existing live TV subscribers considering providers like Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV also insist on the use of a home area. Just like Netflix, live TV providers limit access to their service when a subscriber is away from home.
How a Netflix Household works
Overall, a Netflix Household works in a very similar way to the home area policies set out by live TV services. Netflix uses device information, including IP addresses and device IDs, to ensure a user is accessing the device in the primary household.
A Netflix Household is typically set up using a TV device and then all other devices connecting to the same account via the same internet network will be determined to be part of the same Netflix Household.
In cases where Netflix thinks a device is not connected to the same internet network, the user will be required to verify the device. This cannot be done by the user alone, as it requires help from the account holder.
Verifying a device
In situations where Netflix requires a device to be verified, a link will be sent to the primary account holder’s email address or phone number. The account holder can then click on this link to view a 4-digit code which will need to be inputted on the device that’s waiting to be verified.
In what appears to be an extra attempt to ensure people in different homes aren’t just contacting each other to get the code, the whole verification process will need to be completed within 15 minutes.
Verifying a Netflix device:
- Check for an email or text message
- Click the link
- Enter 4-digit code (on device to be verified)
It is also worth noting that device verification is not always a one-time thing. Accounts that are deemed to be persistently accessing the service from outside the Netflix Household may also be required to verify. In other words, even after verifying the first time, users may be asked to re-verify the device again, and at any point in the future.
Generally speaking, it appears this limitation is mostly aimed at devices that are connecting to a Netflix account for the first time. Due to this, it should be assumed that pretty much every device that’s attempting to use Netflix before connecting to the account holder’s home network will likely need to pass a verification check.
Using Netflix away from home
Naturally, there will be times when a Netflix account needs to be accessed outside of the home area. For example, when on vacation, visiting family or friends, or in a second home. For this reason, Netflix doesn’t automatically forbid the use of the service outside the home area.
If a device has already been verified by connecting to the home network, the user should be able to use the service outside of the home area without needing to verify. However, this is as as long as the device returns and connects to the Netflix Household again. In situations where a device is noted as being away from the home network for an extended period of time, the user may find they are asked to verify the device.
If living with an account holder, using Netflix while away from home, and asked to verify a device, the user will need to make sure the device is verified within 15 minutes or repeat the verification process.
Sharing Netflix with someone you don’t live with
Clearly, Netflix’s new home policy is designed to highlight one home as the primary household. Any connections to the service made from this home shouldn’t encounter any issues while using Netflix. Likewise, so long as a device can be verified in time, it is possible to use Netflix in another location as well.
For those that are wanting to share their subscription with someone in another location on more of a permanent basis, Netflix is attempting to make the process of adding another household easier than starting a separate subscription, through the use of Extra Members.
For reference, Netflix won’t automatically charge account holders that are sharing their account with someone who doesn’t live with them, but they may find the other person’s access may get removed if they are not added as an Extra Member.
Adding Extra Members
Netflix offers the ability for account holders to add an ‘Extra member’ to their account. Once added, those designated users will be able to use Netflix as if they lived with the account holder. As to be expected, there are some restrictions.
The main one to be aware of is that the ability to add an extra member to a Netflix account is currently only available to those signed up to Netflix’s Standard or Premium plan. If only paying for the Standard with ads or Basic plan, there isn’t an option to add another home or user.
Even for those that are signed up to the Standard or Premium plan, account holders are limited in terms of how many extra members they can add.
|Netflix Plan||Extra Members|
|Standard with ads||0|
The exact cost of a per-member price also depends on the country. In the United States, for example, the cost of adding Extra Netflix Member is $7.99 per month. It should also be noted that this is a per-member price, so if adding two Extra Members to a Premium plan, the additional cost would be $15.98 per month.
There are also some limitations for the Extra Member as well. For example, Extra members can only watch Netflix on one device at a time, and can only download titles on one phone or tablet at a time.
Netflix Households and Extra Members: recap
Netflix recently made a change to its subscription policy that requires account holders to pay extra each month if they want to share their subscription with additional people that live outside of their home. The cost of these ‘Extra Members’ is $7.99 per month, per member in the US.
For account owners and those they do live with, they should find they have no major issues using Netflix away from home, so long as they are not away from the home network for an extended period of time.