Is Netflix Worth the Cost?

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  • Netflix recently imposed higher prices for its three plan tiers.
  • Here's how to know if it pays to maintain a subscription in light of these higher costs.

Netflix recently increased its prices. Is it still worth paying for?

Streaming services are known as a cheaper alternative to cable TV. But one popular streaming service has gotten more expensive this year.

Netflix recently increased its prices across all three tiers, as follows:

  • Its basic, non-HD plan went from $8.99 to $9.99 a month
  • Its standard plan went from $13.99 to $15.49 a month
  • Its premium, ultra-HD plan went from $17.99 to $19.99 a month

If you're thinking of signing up for Netflix, you may be wondering if the service is worth the money. Here's how to decide.

What does Netflix give you?

At its core, Netflix is a provider of entertainment. Your subscription buys you access to TV shows and movies that can be accessed on most phones, tablets, computers, or TVs. There are also mobile games you can play.

Meanwhile, the specifics of your service will depend on the tier you choose to purchase. With a basic plan, you don't get HD content and you can only stream on one device at a time.

With the standard plan, you get HD content and the ability to stream on up to two devices simultaneously. And with the premium plan, you get ultra HD content and can stream on up to four devices at once.

The good thing about Netflix is that you're not forced to sign a contract where you're locked into a given tier. In fact, Netflix doesn't make you sign a contract at all. You can pay for Netflix during periods when you're more likely to be stuck at home, and cancel your subscription if, say, there's a month when you're doing a lot of travel and don't plan to use it.

Similarly, you can play around with different tiers and see which is best for you. If you start with Netflix's basic tier and it doesn't work for you, you can upgrade to its standard offering. And if you decide to splurge on the premium tier, you can always downgrade if you find it's not worth the extra few dollars.

Should you subscribe to Netflix?

Netflix does a good job of refreshing its content and offering a wide range of TV shows and movies. Or, to put it another way, if you're not overly picky about what you watch, there's a good chance you'll find plenty of programming to enjoy on Netflix.

But whether it's worth the cost will ultimately depend on how often you use it. If you have access to plenty of content through other streaming services, then you may not need to spend money on Netflix on top of that. Similarly, if you're an Amazon Prime member, you already get access to loads of free content as part of your annual fee. In that case, you may find a Netflix subscription just isn't necessary.

However, if you've recently cut the cord with cable and aren't signed up for another streaming service, then it's fair to argue that even at its higher price points, Netflix is worth the cost. Let's imagine you sign up for the standard tier at $15.49 and wind up watching seven hours of Netflix content per week. That means you're paying somewhere in the ballpark of $0.55 an hour to keep yourself entertained. Compare that to the cost of a movie theater outing, and it's easy to make the case to invest in a Netflix plan.

That said, you may not need to spring for Netflix's premium tier if you don't have too many people in your household. If it's just you and a partner, the ability to stream on two devices at the same time should suffice. If you're not sharing your account with anyone, you may find that you can get by with the basic tier -- if you don't mind non-HD content.

It's also worth noting that Netflix's price point is in line with that of other popular streaming services. HBO Max, for example, costs $14.99 a month, while an ad-free Hulu subscription is $12.99 a month.

All told, if you can afford to pay for Netflix, then it may be worth signing up and seeing how much you enjoy its content -- especially since you get the flexibility to cancel at any time. You can use a credit card or debit card to sign up for Netflix, and the company also accepts PayPal.

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