Is Netflix Worth The Money?

Netflix has built a user base of millions of people, most of whom make use of its on-demand streaming video service. It’s already available across North America, South America, and parts of Europe, with future expansion into new territories absolutely guaranteed.

There are currently more people who don’t subscribe to Netflix as those who do, and that swathe of the population surely wants to know what, if anything, they’re missing out on. Is Netflix worth the money? Let’s delve deeper into the facts and figures behind the glossy ads to help non-subscribers decide whether or not to sign up.

The Basics


Netflix is primarily a streaming media service that originated in the U.S. in 1997. It started out as a DVD-by-mail company, and that aspect of the business still exists in North America. Everywhere else in the world Netflix sensibly concentrates on streaming movies and TV shows over the Internet.

At the time of writing, more than 40 million people worldwide subscribe to Netflix’ streaming service, with over 30 million of them located in the United States. It’s entirely possible Netflix has peaked in the U.S., but it’s busily moving into other territories in order to carry on growing.

Netflix is currently available in North America, South America, Canada, the U.K. and Ireland, and parts of the European mainland. The service shares the same UI across territories, but the content differs considerably. Which is where using a VPN can come in very handy.

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You can watch Netflix on a huge range of devices, from desktops to laptops, from smartphones to tablets, from games consoles to smart TVs. The video quality will vary depending on your broadband service, but most content is available in HD to those with solid connections.

The Costs


The price of Netflix varies from country to country, and, in the U.S. at least, also varies between packages. The basic price is roughly the same worldwide taking currency exchange rates into account.

Netflix has recently announced new pricing for all territories, with new subscribers asked to pay the inflated price. Existing subscribers will continue paying the old price for at least two years starting from May 2014.

The price of Netflix in the U.S. is $7.99-per-month for existing subscribers and $8.99-per-month for new subscribers. In Europe the prices are €7.99 and €8.99 respectively, and in the U.K. and Ireland the prices are £5.99 and £6.99 respectively.

The Positives


Netflix has many positive aspects, certainly more positives than negatives. The following are all valid reasons to at least consider subscribing to the streaming service. Feel free to add more positives in the comments section below.

  • A Great UI – Netflix features a great user interface that is both simple and visually-appealing. It’s easy to scroll through the range of content adding things to your list ready for watching later.
  • Regular Updates – The content available to watch is updated regularly, with new films and television shows being added all the time. This means it’s unlikely you’ll ever run out of things to watch.
  • Binge-watching – Netflix makes it very easy to go on a binge-watching marathon, devouring whole series in one gargantuan sitting. Before you turn into a couch potato be sure to read our guide to binge-watching.
  • Original Content – Netflix has recently started producing its own TV shows, with House Of Cards, Arrested Development, and Orange Is The New Black all Netflix productions. This vastly adds to the appeal of the service.
  • Cancel At Any Time – You can cancel Netflix at any time without any penalties. Cancel in the middle of a month and your subscription will continue until the beginning of the next. This lack of commitment is refreshing.
  • Cut The Cord – Netflix is a good starting point for anyone seeking to cut the cord. It’s affordable, and completely free of advertising, which are obvious ways it differs from cable television. It’s also legal, unlike online piracy.

The Negatives


Netflix also has some negatives, though less than the positives. Still, it’s important to bear the following things, any or all of which could dissuade you from using the service, in mind. Feel free to add more negatives in the comments section below.

  • The Need For Speed – If you want to get the most out of Netflix you’ll need a good Internet service. Usage limits will be reached quickly, and the quality of the video will drop with low bandwidth. Here are the speeds Netflix recommends.
  • Content Confusion – While the UI is great, finding content that isn’t placed in front of you is more confusing. There’s a satisfactory search function, but options for finding new content are disappointing.
  • Sudden Disappearances – Netflix is constantly doing deals with copyright owners over content. This means some shows will disappear from the service with little warning, which is annoying if you had planned to watch them.
  • An Onus On Old – While you will find some new content on Netflix there’s more chance of finding old films and television shows. If you want to see the latest blockbusters then Netflix is the wrong place to go looking.
  • Temporary Access – As with all media streaming services, Netflix only offers temporary access to content. If you stop subscribing then you lose access to the library of films and television shows you may have come to rely upon.
  • Paying Up Regardless – Your Netflix subscription fee will disappear from your account whether you watch any content or not. The flat fee for everybody means you’ll get better value for money some months more than others.

The Verdict

Taking absolutely everything into account I’m of the firm belief that Netflix is worth the money currently being asked for it. As always, look at the pros and cons for yourself and make your own mind up based on your personal preferences.

Sure, some territories are getting a better deal than others, but even in countries where the selection of content is slightly lacking there should be enough there to justify the low monthly subscription fee.

The fact that you can cancel at any time means Netflix is a no-brainer for those who love watching TV and movies. The offer of a one-month free trial also means you can check your usage of the service before making a definitive decision.

Image Credit: Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures via Flickr, Brian Cantoni via Flickr, Psyberartist via Flickr, FutUndBeidl via Flickr, Marc Falardeau via Flickr

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