Netflix Basic vs Standard: Is it worth upgrading?

With over 200m subscribers worldwide, Netflix currently sits top of the pile when it comes to streaming services. The app has been around since 2007 and has continued to grow and evolve ever since, ensuring that it has always stayed ahead of competitors such as Amazon and Disney.

Part of that evolution has involved adding a variety of different account options to customers. At this moment in time, customers are able to subscribe to either a basic, standard or premium package. The good news is that all three options offer the same streaming content, meaning that you can enjoy everything Netflix has to offer for as little as £5.99 a month.

Netflix basic vs standard – in summary

Now, there are various different pros and cons to Netflix in general, but what about between the different Netflix packages themselves? Well, this is the breakdown between the basic and standard plan;

Basic

  • Access to every piece of content in Netflix’s catalogue of film, tv shows and games.
  • Can only watch Netflix on one screen at a time.
  • Can only have downloaded shows and movies on one device.
  • Can only watch shows and movies in standard definition.
  • £5.99 a month.

Standard

  • Access to every piece of content in Netflix’s catalogue of film, tv shows and games.
  • Can watch Netflix on two separate screens at the same time.
  • Can have downloaded shows and movies on two separate devices.
  • Can watch shows and movies in standard definition and high definition.
  • £9.99 a month.

Let’s take a look at the similarities and key differences in more detail to help you decide which package is right for you:

Similarities

The content available to you

Without doubt the biggest selling point of Netflix is the quality of volume of content made available to users. Netflix is in the enviable position of being able to offer a mix of high quality content created in house (Netflix originals) and high quality content that they’ve bought the rights to from elsewhere. At the minute the split between the types of content is roughly 60:40 in favour of external content, however that is expected to get closer to 50:50 in the years ahead.

The fact that both basic and standard packages offer you the exact same content is impressive and and you have to tip your hat to Netflix for this. You’d almost expect them to lock certain content such as newly released films or Netflix original series for users who are only subscribed to the basic package but they haven’t which is the most compelling argument to just subscribe to basic.

netflix

The devices you can use to watch

Another feature that is available to both basic and standard subscribers is the ability to watch Netflix across a variety of different devices. These devices include phones, TVs, laptops, games consoles and tablets. This means that regardless of which package you decide to go for, you will have the peace of mind that you aren’t restricted to just one device – at least when it comes to simply streaming your favourite shows (more on this shortly).

Again, credit goes to Netflix because some companies would have been tempted to restrict which devices you can sign in to your Netflix account to try and force you to pay more money. There is no guarantee that in the years to come Netflix won’t lock certain content for certain packages or restrict the devices you can use, but for now the basic package isn’t at a disadvantage in these fields.

Key differences

The ability to share

Arguably the biggest difference between the basic and standard packages is the fact that the standard package open itself up more to sharing your account with others. I can almost guarantee that anyone reading this knows someone who has access to Netflix but doesn’t pay for it or splits the cost with someone else. Absolutely none of those people will be using a Netflix account with a basic subscription.

This is because the basic package only allows you to watch Netflix one screen at any given time. This means that if you share you account with other people then only one of you can ever watch Netflix, making the whole idea of sharing an account rather pointless. However, with a standard package you can watch Netflix on two screens at the same time, making the idea of sharing the subscription costs with one friend or family member rather appealing.

It isn’t just when it comes to streaming that the idea of sharing becomes more plausible with the standard package. Basic users are limited to just one device when it comes to downloading shows, meaning that only person can house downloads. This basically means that if you are sharing your account while on a basic subscription then offline viewing is only going to be possible for one person. However, with the standard package you are able to download films and shows on to two separate device, again making the idea of sharing an account a real possibility.

share netflix

Picture quality

Another big difference between basic and standard users is the picture quality available to them on the Netflix app. Now, the importance of this will depend a lot on what you’re used to and what device you’re planning on using the app on.

For example, if you have a Sky HD television subscription and are planning on watching Netflix on your television then you will notice a considerable difference if you elect to go with the basic package. However, if you don’t have any sort of HD television package and are planning on just using Netflix on the go (on a phone or tablet) then you probably won’t even notice the difference between standard and high definition.

To clarify, those on a basic subscription are only able to stream in standard definition, whereas those on a standard subscription are able to stream in high definition.

The price

The final difference that we simply have to make you aware of is the price. Now, given the differences that we’ve explained above I’m sure it comes as no surprise there are is a difference in price points between the two services. The basic package comes at a cost of £5.99 a month and the standard package is £9.99 a month.

Each package works on a rolling contract meaning that you aren’t tied into anything so it’s essentially up to you to weigh up which package offers you the best value for money.

prices

A third option

Just as you were about to make your decision on which package to subscribe to, we are going to throw a spanner in the works and a third option into the mix. As we mentioned right at the top of the piece, Netflix also offers customers a premium package, which is the highest tier they go to. This package gives you the following privelages:

  • You can watch Netflix on four separate screens at the same time.
  • You can have downloads on up to four different devices.
  • Access to every single piece of content on the Netflix catalogue (the same as the other subscription packages)
  • The ability to stream all content in either high definition or ultra high definition.
  • Comes at a cost of £13.99 a month.

As you can see, this option is clearly geared towards groups of people who want to share a subscription hence why they offer four different screens and four different download devices. This is definitely worth considering if you have a group of friends who would be willing to split the costs with you.

Common questions about Netflix

How do I sign up to Netflix?

The easiest way to sign up to Netflix is to head to their website and follow their on screen instructions to sign up. You can also sign up via the mobile app by downloading it from your phone’s app store and following the instructions once you’ve opened it up.

How do I get Netflix on my television?

The answer to this question depends on what type of television you have. If you have a smart TV then you will be able to download it from the your television’s content store. If you have a Virgin or Sky TV subscription then you will be able to access Netflix directly through their service via their apps section.

Is it possible to switch packages?

Due to the fact every Netflix subscription is a rolling month by month contract, you are able to cancel or upgrade you package whenever you want. You will have to stay on your existing deal until the end of the month, though.

Conclusion

After thoroughly analysing the basic and standard packages that Netflix offers its customers, and looking briefly at the premium package, it’s fair to conclude that each package has its merits. Which one you decide to subscribe too is totally dependent on what your requirements and needs are and whether you have people close to you who would be prepare to share with you.

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