Netflix is an almost ubiquitous presence in most people’s lives, if they consume entertainment. For nearly a quarter of a century, Netflix has become one of the best-known entertainment brands in history. It even inspired new language: phrases like “Netflix and chill” and “the Netflix effect.”
Since launching its streaming service in 2012, Netflix has grown into a gargantuan media company with more than 167 million subscribers worldwide. It revolutionized the entertainment media landscape and completely changed the television industry. Most of the media corporations have or plan to introduce their own streaming services to compete.
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Netflix also changed the game when it comes to content, pouring millions of dollars into the production of original shows and movies. It has even become an Oscar contender, with the original films Roma, Marriage Story, and The Irishman earning Best Picture nominations.
Here’s everything you need to know about Netflix.
Netflix: What is it and how does it work?
Netflix started in 1997 as a DVD rental business, sending subscribers DVD discs through the mail in bright red envelopes. In 2007, the company expanded by launching an OTT streaming service. Over-the-top services come through the Internet, rather than a dedicated line from a phone or cable company.
In 2012, Netflix further evolved its business model by offering exclusive original content to its subscribers. These originals included international series that Netflix imported to US viewers (such as Lilyhammer), as well as US shows specially produced and commissioned by Netflix (such as House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black).
Netflix stocks a huge library of content that includes movies and TV shows in many genres, from police dramas to animated comedies, nature documentaries, and children’s programming. The company works with Internet Service Providers to ensure fast and seamless delivery of this content to your television or other streaming device.
Netflix plans and prices
Netflix offers a 30-day free trial. After that, you can sign up for any of three monthly subscription plans, which have a variety of simultaneous streams and different levels of video resolution.
The prices below reflect the new Netflix prices revealed on January 14, 2022.
Basic Plan ($9.99): Limited to one screen at a time and standard definition (SD) resolution.
Standard ($15.49): Users can watch on two screens at the same time in high definition (HD).
Before ($ 19.99): Four simultaneous streams with content in HD and 4K Ultra HD, if available.
In the US, Netflix still continues to offer monthly plans with DVDs by mail, accessible at dvd.netflix.com. These are the DVD delivery plans:
Standard ($7.99 for DVD, $9.99 for Blu-ray): Subscribers get one disc at a time for an unlimited time. Once they return the disc, Netflix sends the next title in the queue.
Premier ($11.99 for DVD, $14.99 for Blu-ray): Subscribers get two discs at a time, also for an unlimited time.
Netflix Content: Licensing Deals and Libraries
Netflix has a huge library of content, made up of movies and shows that it has licensed from other media companies, as well as originals that are exclusive to Netflix.
Netflix licenses content from major studios including Warner Bros., Disney, DreamWorks Animation, Sony, Universal Pictures, and more. However, those offers fluctuate; especially now that many of these companies will now or soon have their own streaming services.
Licensing deals have been good for both Netflix and studios/production companies. For example, Netflix acquired the rights to Breaking Bad from Sony Pictures Television in 2010, when the show was a critical favorite but not widely watched. The cable network, AMC, was considering canceling it. Sony pressured Netflix to stream the first three seasons before the Season 4 premiere. That exposed the series to more people, and by the time Breaking Bad’s fifth season aired, the show’s viewership had doubled. Breaking Bad is considered the first receiver of the so-called “Netflix effect”.
Netflix also licenses movies and shows from around the world. In some cases, these titles are presented as Netflix originals. Read on to learn more about it.
Netflix Movies and Shows: Original Programming
In 2012, Netflix started releasing originals. The first was Lilyhammer, a Norwegian drama that the streamer presented to American viewers as an exclusive. Then came House of Cards, which Netflix ordered after winning a bidding war against HBO, Showtime and AMC.
Since then, Netflix has released dozens of original shows and movies. It partnered with Marvel to launch five superhero series (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders). Recent popular dramas include The Wizard, the umbrella academy Y altered carbon.
On the comedy side, Netflix released Orange Is the New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, BoJack Horseman, GLOW, Sex education and more. Netflix has also signed deals for stand-up comedy specials from top comedians, including Dave Chappelle, Amy Schumer, Kevin Hart and Seth Meyers.
And Netflix also releases plenty of original content for kids, like She-Ra and the Princesses of Power; Voltron: Legendary Defender; Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia; and Fast & Furious Spy Racers.
Netflix devices: What is it available on?
Netflix can be accessed through web browsers on your computer or through the app on most major devices, such as TVs and mobile phones. These are the devices you can use to watch Netflix:
- Web browsers on PC and Mac
- iOS mobile devices
- android mobile devices
- Apple TV
- Amazon Fire TV and Fire Tablets
- Smart TV (most manufacturers)
- Game consoles (Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo, etc.)
- Cable boxes (check with your provider)
- Blu-ray players (most manufacturers)
Netflix Streaming Requirements: How Fast Does My Internet Speed Need To Be To Stream?
Netflix helpfully offers these guidelines on the internet speed required to view content on its platform.
- 0.5 Megabits per second – Broadband connection speed required
- 1.5 Megabits per second – recommended broadband connection speed
- 3.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for SD quality
- 5.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for HD quality
- 25 Megabits per second – Recommended for Ultra HD quality
Netflix Ads: Does It Have Commercials?
Netflix is famously commercial-free. The service makes money from your subscriptions.
Netflix Membership: How do I cancel?
Go to your Netflix account page and click the Cancel Membership button. You can continue to watch Netflix until the end of the current billing period.
Netflix keeps your viewing activity for 10 months, so if you cancel and then decide to return to the service, you can pick up right where you left off.
Netflix vs. the rest: How does it compare to Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus?
Netflix’s main competitors in the streaming-on-demand space are Hulu, Amazon Prime, and disney more. All three offer large libraries of content as well as original programming.
Hulu’s basic plan is $5.99 per month, but you’ll have to watch the commercials. Amazon Prime Video comes with a Prime subscription, which costs $119 per year ($9.92 per month). And Disney Plus is $6.99 a month for ad-free access to your family trove of movies and shows, as well as online exclusives like the mandalorian and upcoming Marvel series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Y Wanda Vision.
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