Like most people, I’ve been subscribed to Netflix for years now. So long, in fact, that it’s hard to even imagine not being a subscriber.
The problem, however, is the time have changed since that Netflix subscription was created. Now, there are plenty of subscriptions vying for your attention (and dollars), raising the question of whether Netflix is still worth a subscription?
Netflix is still a great streaming service to have, but at its current prices, we would recommend first trying the Standard with ads plan to see if that works for you.
Ad and ad-free plans
Can be expensive
Limited live content
4K costs $20/mo.
No free trial
Overall, we still think Netflix is worth a subscription, but it is no longer an absolute necessity. The service has lost a lot of popular network shows and now tends to rely more heavily on its originals. For us, that makes it more of a service you should check in regularly with but not necessarily remained subscribed to all year.
Unfortunately, Netflix no longer offers a free trial so trying out the service for yourself will come at the cost of one month. Depending on the plan chosen, that could be as much as $19.99 a month.
Netflix full review
If you’re still unsure of whether Netflix is the right service for you, here’s our full review.
How we reviewed this service: Netflix is one of the services we are subscribed to throughout the year. This review is based on that long-term usage and our experience of using the service across a variety of devices, including Apple TV, Fire TV, Google TV, Android mobile, and netflix.com. We are currently signed up to the $15.49 a month Standard plan.
Netflix specs – what you need to know
Below is a summary of some of the main specifications for Netflix.
|Monthly Price||$6.99 (Standard with ads)|
|Simultaneous Streams||2 (Standard with ads)|
|Ad Free||✔ (Standard)|
|Live TV||Select live events|
|$6.99-$22.99 a month|
Up to 4 streams
Netflix experience – what it’s like to use
One of the good things about Netflix is just how reliable the apps are. The service has been around long enough now that it is widely available on many platforms and devices, and offers a consistently reliable experience across platforms and devices.
Once logged in, users are presented with a Home section that neatly brings together a wealth of recommended content. This typically includes a highlighted title, followed by a row-based setup, led by My List, New Releases, and Continue Watching rows.
Netflix also includes Top 10 lists that make it easier for users to see what other users are watching and what’s trending.
Besides the Home section, the Netflix app also includes dedicated sections for TV Shows, Movies, New & Popular, and My List on most smart TV devices.
Further highlighting the consistency of Netflix, these additional sections typically adopt an identical design, consisting of one highlighted title followed by the same row-based design.
In the side menu, users will also find a Categories section that makes it easier to filter all of the library by genre or theme. For example, Thrillers or The World of The Witcher.
Besides the usual filters, there’s also a Notifications section that advises of any new releases and offers a few Continue Watching suggestions.
While the smart TV app doesn’t come with a traditional settings section, it does include a Get Help section. Here subscribers can view information about their account or their Netflix Household, as well as check their network connection or reload the app.
Title pages include a variety of options for users to choose from, including Play, Episodes & More, More Like This, Audio & Subtitles, Add to My List, and Credits & More Info.
More Like This can be particularly useful when you’re not sure what you want to watch, but are sure of the type of program you want to watch, as it refines the library down to a very small number of similar titles.
Netflix also houses a Kids section that can be accessed at any time and from any of the main user profiles. The Kids section is entirely populated with kid-friendly shows and movies, and offers many of the same features and filter options as general profiles.
No matter which section a user is accessing, hovering over any of the titles will play a brief clip for the user to check out. If not a fan of these previews, they can also be disabled in the settings menu.
Subscribers can also expect a largely identical experience when using the mobile apps. Although, the My List section is replaced with a My Netflix section, and mobile users have the added benefit of downloading videos for offline playback.
How long downloaded titles can be stored on a device depends on the title, and some will expire 48 hours after the mobile user presses play. It should be noted that access to downloads in general, as well as how many devices downloads can be stored on at the same time, depends on the subscription tier.
Here’s a closer look at the mobile app.
Netflix mobile users also have access to a selection of games that they can play for free. If a frequent gamer, you also might want to consider creating your own gamer handle.
Besides downloads, the plan a subscriber is signed up to can impact other areas of the experience as well. For example, those signed up to the Standard with ads plan can expect to see ads when watching content. While ad frequency and duration varies between titles, users can expect to sit through around 4 minutes of ads per hour on average.
At the other end of the spectrum, those signed up the Premium plan get access to additional premium features, including the ability to watch in 4K and listen in spatial audio on supported devices.
Overall, the Netflix app and user experience is one of the main strengths of the streaming service, and especially when compared to the experience offered by many other streaming services.
Netflix content – what you get
Instead, the Netflix library of today is far more focused on Originals. In some ways, that makes a subscription all the more valuable as Netflix is the only place to access this content. In reality, however, if you’re not a fan of Netflix’s original programming, a subscription will be even less valuable.
With Netflix more focused on Originals than even before, it has been producing and releasing a lot of new shows and movies each month. Again, while good on the surface, it is unlikely that most subscribers will want to watch a majority of the Originals.
In our opinion, Netflix’s original programming varies too much in terms of type and quality. Even though there are a number of trademark Netflix shows and movies, the majority of new originals often feel like filler content.
Examples of popular Netflix Originals:
- Alice in Borderland
- BoJack Horseman
- Black Mirror
- The Crown
- Orange is the New Black
- Russian Doll
- Squid Game
- Stranger Things
- The Witcher
Another change is Netflix’s increased interest in international content. Netflix continues to grow all over the world and tends to typically see more growth in international markets than in the US, where the service has reached somewhat of a saturation point.
As to be expected with a continuously growing international subscriber base, Netflix is continually looking to offer more content to suit that subscriber base, resulting in a considerable amount of international content.
Typically, these are high quality movies and shows, and if you’re someone who primarily likes to watch English-language content, Netflix is pretty good at offering dubbed versions of its international programming.
One of the things we really like about Netflix is its approach to new seasons. While most other services will make you wait until next week to see a new episode, Netflix tends to drop full seasons of new shows all at once, making it great for binge-watchers. For some shows, a season might be split into two parts, but even then, subscribers get access to half a season at once.
Overall, Netflix does offer a good and varied library. However, it is not quite as varied as it used to be, and definitely relies more heavily on Originals and international programming than ever before.
Netflix live TV – just events for now
Netflix doesn’t currently offer any live TV channels, but it has started dipping its toes in the live market with its Live events.
Unlike the typical linear channel experience now offered by streaming services like Paramount Plus and Peacock, Netflix’s live content consists of only a few events. Namely, comedy specials and reunions.
As an example, Love Is Blind: Brazil Season 3 ‘The Live Reunion’ and Chris Rock: Selective Outrage were both available to watch live on Netflix earlier this year.
Once an event is being shown live, subscribers are able to rewind, pause, play from the beginning, or jump back to live. Once a live event ends, it is then added to the main Netflix library and becomes available to stream on-demand at any time.
As Netflix’s Live events is still a new addition, device support isn’t as wide as it is for on-demand content. As a result, some subscribers may find that they cannot watch live content on their preferred device. If that is the case, the on-demand version of the event should be available to stream once it’s added to the catalog.
Netflix value – how much you pay
Where we really struggle to justify a Netflix subscription these days is the price. With so much competition now, and following a number of price increases over recent years, Netflix is not a cheap service in general.
Technically, this depends on the plan. Netflix introduced a Standard with ads plan late last year. As the name suggests, this is an ad-supported plan, and it is reasonably priced when compared to the competition.
Where the value proposition quickly deteriorates for us is the ad-free plans. While Netflix used to offer a $9.99 tier, that plan is no longer available. Instead, Netflix’s cheapest ad-free plan now costs $15.99, putting it at the higher end of the price spectrum.
If you also want the option to watch in 4K, or stream on more than 2 devices at the same time, then you’ll be looking at Netflix’s $19.99 a month Premium plan. At this price, Netflix is extremely expensive when compared to the competition, and much harder to recommend.
Is Netflix worth it? – what we really think
As mentioned at the start of this review, we do think Netflix is still worth a subscription. However, there are a number of caveats here, and any one of them could change our recommendation.
We primarily recommend trying the Standard with ads plan and seeing if that works for you. No one likes sitting through ads, but the price is so much cheaper that it’s hard to recommend paying $8.50 more each month for the Standard plan.
If you absolutely want an ad-free viewing experience then the Standard plan will be the one to go for. At $15.49 a month, however, we are inclined to recommend getting into the habit of subscribing, unsubscribing, and resubscribing, as and when content you’re interested in becomes available.
While 4K is a great feature to have, we would only really recommend the Premium plan for homes where more than two devices will be streaming Netflix at the same time on a regular basis.
|$6.99-$22.99 a month|
Up to 4 streams
Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Netflix.
Netflix offers multiple subscription options for new subscribers to choose from. The Standard with ads plan costs $6.99 a month, the Standard plan costs $15.49 a month, and the Premium plan costs $19.99 a month.
No, Netflix currently doesn’t offer an annual plan and it remains to be seen if that’s likely to change in the future.
Yes, Netflix does have ads. The $6.99 a month Standard with ads plan includes roughly 4 minutes of ads per hour on average. If signed up to the Standard or Premium plans, subscribers don’t see ads when watching movies and shows.
Netflix Standard with ads and Standard subscribers can stream on up to 2 devices at the same time. Netflix Premium subscribers can stream on up to four devices at the same time.
Netflix comes with very wide platform and device support, so it is highly likely that you can download an app on your preferred smart TV, streaming player, or mobile device.
Yes, you can download Netflix videos to watch offline. However, download support is only available on mobile devices and only to those signed up to one of the ad-free (Standard or Premium) plans.