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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

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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 How To Access Netflix On Almost Every Platform Known To Man How To Access Netflix On Almost Every Platform Known To Man I don’t like horror movies. Classic horror I can cope with; I enjoy Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological horror, for instance, but I’m not a fan of scares and gore, as a rule. My wife, on the... Read More , 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

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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 XE - Converter: Universal Currency Converter Online XE - Converter: Universal Currency Converter Online Read More 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

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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 A Short Guide To Binge-Watching [Weird & Wonderful Web] A Short Guide To Binge-Watching [Weird & Wonderful Web] Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video have turned binge-watching into a mainstay of the mainstream. Before you begin binge-watching TV you should arm yourself with some important information. This short guide helps. Read More .
  • 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

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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 How To Use Microemulator To Use The Internet From Low-Bandwidth Rural Areas [Windows] How To Use Microemulator To Use The Internet From Low-Bandwidth Rural Areas [Windows] While many people set up their mobile phone - such as rooting an Android or iPhone, for example - to allow for tethering and accessing the cellular data network with a PC, it is a... Read More . 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

  1. RogerBradley
    October 9, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Tried hard to get on with Netflix and gave up. It is 99.9% US made rubbish only attractive to people with a single digit IQ.
    Waste of time and money for anyone outside the US of A.

  2. Kabone
    June 7, 2016 at 4:03 am

    The good: lots of stuff to watch
    The bad: 99% I couldn't care less about. 1% of the stuff I do want to watch isn't there, like theatrical releases. For those you need to pay the separate subscription for DVDs with blu-ray being additional charge. Recommendations are no where close.
    The ugly: terrible parental controls. non-existant is the appropriate term. I can set up a user that's limited to TV-Y, but there's nothing to prevent my kids from going to a user (aka, mine) with no such restrictions. Then when I log in all I see are recommendations based on my viewing of powerpuff girls.

    The question isn't is Netflix worth it. The question is what's better than Netflix?

  3. Piszi
    January 10, 2016 at 3:31 am

    Since 2016.jan.05. Netflix came to my country so I immedietly subscribed because I wanted to know whats the hype about.
    Sadly I have to say I was very dissapointed. I was going trought the availabe tv shows and movies and it had a very dissapointing collection. For example we are in 2016 and the newest movie (excluding The Ridiculous 6) was from 2014 and its the same with tv shows (excluding Netflix Originals) they are behind at least one season which would be understandable but most of them are behind at least two and they doesn't have laocalized Interface, and Audio or subtitle options for my language, ok thats not a biggie for me I watch everyting in english because most of the time translations are really bad, but for those who doesn't understand english its very big.

    And why is this dissapointing?
    Because here where I live my Cable subscription fee is about $17 not including HBO Max pack (which contains these channels: HBO, HBO2, HBO Comedy, Cinemax, Cinemac 2, HBO GO, HBO On Demand)
    But if I would buy this package that would cost me only $8.89 per month plus, so in total $25.89/month which you could say is more than the Premium Netflix subscription but my basic package has a few big channels like FOX, AMC, etc... so you doesn't really need the HBO Max pack.
    And of course the local TV channels are very competitve so they buy new movies as soon as they can so no complaint there.

    And also If you want you can have a Movie package which gives you unlimited access to the latest Movie/TV show releases (DVD) (in my native language) for $5.12/month and for this you don't need have to have any other subscripton with the company you just need a tv/smart tv or smart phone/tablet or a PC, so I'm pretty sure that Netflix won't be a big success in this part of Europe. They waited too long to expand and the big Cable companies filled in the gap.

    So thats why I was dissapointed in Netflix, but I will keep my eye on it maybe it gets better until than I won't be renewing my subscription.

  4. Stephen Cornelius
    January 5, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    Only 8 original series, so basically it's not worth it unless money means nothing to you.

  5. Spoch
    November 27, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Here's my quick take on Netflix. I'm ok that they don't have the latest blockbusters but they should have them all available when they come out on DVD. Two, with today's technology, EVERY old movie should be available. I'm on my trial and ad an example, they didn't have movies like the classic Animal House and Christmas ones like Elf. How can they not have ones like these? Plenty of movies I've never heard of with no name actors which I have no interest in viewing. As this is the case, I can't for the life of me understand the mass appeal, reminds me of that music service rhapsody, the "free" service that offers crap for content and not the stuff listeners want to hear. I also am aware that the reason for these issues is all about copyright laws and such but they need to get past that like the music services have.

  6. Tom
    December 21, 2014 at 1:48 am

    I live in Canada and pay $8 per month. I just dumped the pile of garbage called Bell Expressvu which was costing me $100 a month. Now I cannot commercials, reality TV shows etc..........I feel like I am not only saving $92 a month, but Netflix rescued me from watching that brain dead crap

  7. Caroline W
    June 2, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Loving Netflix tons. Cable and satellite in the UK is also really expensive (I use just Freeview now), So Netflix is a great addition and a beyond total bargain. The amount of shows, series and films is brilliant. All the stuff I never had time to watch (as something else was on) I can now watch.

    I use it with Chromecast, I watch it on my Laptop using the Windows 8 app, which works really, really well; and I find the UI pleasant, show info good and I go by other's comments too on what's good.

    Overall, for £5.99 a month....... Who in their right mind can complain about that?! I don't think I will ever go back to cable or satellite - 1 film to rent, on top of your monthly price, is £3.49 - it's not rocket science. So, yeah, big fan!

    One question, if someone doesn't mind answering; What is the best way for me to access the US site? And can I login using my UK details? Okay, that's 2 questions... Plus do so as inexpensively as possible? (Okay,3!) :-)

  8. santi
    June 1, 2014 at 8:59 am

    The media conglomerates should thank Netflix and kiss the land they walk on.
    I pay $8 a month and consume content which otherwise I would simply torrent.
    I am not situated in the USA or any other Netflixed bound country, so I use a DNS change service.
    I also pay for Qello concerts the $5 per month.

    So overall, I have significantly reduced the torrent usage and switched to a "fair" alternative.

    Its worth the money and the upcoming $2 raise in a couple of years too .

  9. Matthew H
    May 29, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Five words. Orange Is The New Black.

    Enough said.

    • antproof
      May 30, 2014 at 5:46 am

      Three words: House of Cards

    • Caroline W
      June 2, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      I love Orange is the new Black! And it was on Netflix where I found it! Brilliant show, roll on June 6th in the UK for series 2!

    • Caroline W
      June 2, 2014 at 10:31 pm

      Okay, House of Cards is going on my list as it's ranked alongside Orange... Tah for that! :-)

  10. Mike
    May 29, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    The cost of Netflix is nothing compared to the rip-off cable is.

  11. Joel L
    May 29, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Netflix is worth more than what they charge. A single movie ticket in my area costs $13... I mean, come on. Anyone who says Netflix isn't worth $8 per month is clinically insane.

    • Dave P
      May 30, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      I know people who don't have Netflix and who aren't clinically insane, but I happen to agree with you lol. I think the problem is some people compare it to piracy, which is both free and full of the latest titles. So no wonder they're disappointed.

  12. Garry W
    May 29, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    I've wondered whether this might be worth the price... thanks for helping clear this up in my mind. UMMM... isn't Canada still part of N. America?

    • Mike
      May 29, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      No, they succeeded.

    • Dave P
      May 30, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      Oh, you're right. I know what I meant but I'll get that changed ASAP. :)

  13. Matt S
    May 29, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    It's a freaking bargain. Watch as much content as you want, when you want, for $7.99 / $8.99. That's amazing. Cable is several times that for even the most basic selection of channels.

    • Dave P
      May 30, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      I think we can all agree cable is a blatant rip-off, especially in the States. It's really no wonder such a high percentage of Americans have got Netflix.

  14. fordskydog
    May 29, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    I like it. Sometimes get annoyed that programs or entire series that I've already watched show up in my recommendations. Still use it several times a week.

    Compared to cable, I'd say it's a screaming good deal.

    • Dave P
      May 30, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      Really? That's never happened to me. Try rating everything you watch; that might remove it from the recommendations.

  15. Dann A
    May 29, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    When I was living in the States, I used the disc and streaming versions of Netflix as well as the streaming-only. Now that I'm in the UK, I just use streaming. Unfortunately, the selection in the UK is significantly lacking compared to the US. I'd say that it's just barely worth it here, but definitely worth it in the States.

    If I thought there were better options, I'd probably go with them, but from what I've heard, Netflix is still better than the alternatives here.

    • Guy M
      May 29, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      @Dann of course, if you happened to use a VPN or DNS service in the US, you could access all that content too. ;) Big fan of unblock-us.com.

    • Guy M
      May 29, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      I absolutely love Netflix. When it went up to $12 in Canada I didn't even blink. Satellite TV is our only other option at about $100/mo and there is very little I would watch. We have our 2 or 3 shows we like, a few movies, and the rest we watch online.

      Saves us at least $1200/year.

    • Dann A
      May 30, 2014 at 5:46 am

      Yes, I've been meaning to look into the VPN option. I'll check out unblock-us for sure!

    • Dave P
      May 30, 2014 at 5:37 pm

      Having looked at both selections I have to agree the US has it much better. However, there are some shows that the UK gets that the US doesn't due to licensing issues, so a free VPN makes Netflix even better value for money :)

    • Dann A
      May 30, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      I think you're right, Dave. Time to do some research!

  16. likefunbutnot
    May 29, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I've had a Netflix account since 1999. I really don't care at all about the streaming service. I don't like the inconsistent browsing interface across devices or the pain of locating new content. I do enjoy my discs by mail. Netflix has most movies that have ever been released on DVD or BD, and being able to select any movie I like is extremely valuable to me since my tastes run to the esoteric rather than mainstream selections that tend to show up on streaming services.

    • Dave P
      May 30, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      All of us outside the UK have no experience of the DVD-by-mail side of Netflix' business, but you're clearly a fan. Netflix has already tried to split the two, and I suspect they see streaming as the ultimate future of their business.

    • likefunbutnot
      May 30, 2014 at 6:33 pm

      @Dave P,

      Streaming blows. I can think of at least five different Netflix interfaces among the devices that I have. Some of them commit the cardinal sin of obscuring my personal streaming queue in favor of presenting nebulous categories with the same 10 movies as two or three other categories. Too many devices rely on inconsistent, wireless-only reception and even though I have a pretty godly internet connection (~70Mbit down), I still sometimes see playback errors or less than ideal playback.

      Not only that, streaming is also a bad deal because content gets pulled from streaming availability on a regular basis. You really lose out on the idea of "watch on demand" when the thing you were trying to watch is suddenly nowhere to be found on the service.

      Discs by mail mean I can gorge myself on performing arts, obscure documentaries and foreign films to my heart's content. That stuff is never going to show up intermingled with the blockbuster Hollywood movies, comedy specials and kids shows that seem to be the majority of available streaming content. I'm going to use that option for as long as it's available to me and I'll probably cancel my service when it stops.

  17. Tom W
    May 29, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    As soon as I have some form of reliable income, a Netflix subscription is one of the first things I'm going to get. There's a lot of films and TV shows that I've missed and I need to catch up on, such as any Breaking Bad episode past series two.

    • gary pollard
      May 29, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      ive had netflix about 5 yrs now used to get discs now instant watching i love it watch 5 or 6 times a week

    • Dave P
      May 30, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      Breaking Bad is on there in its entirety, which some would argue is worth the price of admission by itself!

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