- Watch thousands of TV shows, films and documentaries
- Unlimited & on-demand
- Watch on your laptop, TV, phone and tablet
- Monthly contract, cancel at any time
- 30-day free trial
- Can be difficult to find the latest content
- New films & TV shows aren't added that regularly
- Not enough Ultra HD content if you sign up for the top package
- Some playback issues on the Xbox 360
What content is available in 4K / Ultra HD on Netflix?
You may be interested in Netflix because of their commitment to streaming 4K content but at the time of writing there's not a lot available in this Ultra High Definition resolution.
There are a grand total of 2 TV shows available, the previously mentioned House of Cards and Breaking Bad and that's your lot... for now anyway. Of course this is an on-going commitment so expect more and more 4K content to make its way onto the network in the near future.
Remember you'll need a seriously fast internet connection to get the most out of it. Netflix recommend a speed of at least 25Mbps for Ultra HD quality.
What's the quality like?
The picture quality is generally very good. The HD quality in particular is easily as good as similar HD content on services such as Freeview HD or Freesat and it's not far off the quality of Blu-ray.
The picture is sharp, vibrant and full of detail. Even standard definition pictures are pretty good and are more than a match for regular TV.
But as with all streaming services the quality will largely depend on your internet connection. You will need a fast and reliable connection to get the best out of Netflix. The faster and more stable your connection, the better the picture, it's as simple as that.
If Netflix detects your connection slowing down it will automatically lower the quality of the video stream, so even if you have the HD or even 4K plan, your internet connection will need to be fast enough to achieve the best possible quality.
Of course it also depends on the programme or film you're watching, so a big budget production like Avengers Assemble is always going to look better than the 1977 documentary Pumping Iron no matter how good (or bad) your internet connection is!
How much is Netflix and what do you get for your money?
The Netflix price plans are fairly straight forward and come in 3 flavours:
- The entry level plan costs £5.99 a month which gives you Standard Definition (SD) programmes and only allows you to stream on a single device at a time.
- The mid-price plan (which most people will probably choose) costs £6.99 a month. This extra pound a month upgrades you to High Definition (HD) programmes and the ability to stream on 2 devices at the same time. This is obviously useful in a family or house-share situation where you might have multiple people in the same household who want to watch different things at the same time.
- The top plan costs £8.99 a month and brings with it Ultra HD programmes and the ability to stream on 4 devices at the same time. This is for those early adopters of 4K Ultra HD TV's but it's worth noting that not all 4K TV's are compatible so make sure you check first!
How to cancel Netflix
The best part is you're not locked into a long contract that's impossible to get out of. So if you realise you're not really using the service much or you're struggling to find things to watch, you can simply cancel at any time by logging into your Netflix account and selecting Cancel Membership in the preferences. The process is extremely easy and there is no penalty and no questions asked. A refreshing change these days.
If you cancel your membership mid-way through a month you can still use the service for any remaining days you have left.
You can also restart your membership at any time. Your playlists and viewing preferences are saved for one year.
As you'd expect, you have the ability to pause, rewind and fast forward programmes. You can also re-watch anything as many times as you want (those of you with kids know what I'm talking about).
All of this is delivered completely ad-free, no matter how often or how much you watch!
Netflix My List and Profiles
Netflix allows the creation of multiple user profiles. This is handy if lots of people will be using the service as each profile can be customised with individual Playlists. Netflix will also use your recently watched programmes, top rated programmes and playlist to suggest other content that you might like.
User profiles allow seamless integration across different devices. Imagine you start watching a film late one night at home but you don't finish it. You can you login to the Netflix app on your smartphone or tablet on the way to work or school and anything you were watching is ready and waiting for you.
It doesn't just know what you were watching but exactly where you left off! Really clever stuff and it all happens automatically behind the scenes.
Another nice touch is when you are watching a TV show containing multiple episodes, when you reach the end of an episode and the credits start to role, Netflix will automatically offer up the next episode with a countdown to the start.
You can choose to start the next episode straight away, rate the current episode or go back to the menus. Doing nothing will result in the next episode starting automatically after the countdown.
Subtitles on Netflix
Unlike some rival streaming services such as Amazon Prime Instant Video, Netflix has full support for subtitles & closed captions for the hard of hearing. As long as the original programme provided subtitle data then it will be available during playback. I think it's safe to assume that all modern shows and films come with subtitles.
The Xbox 360 was my main weapon of choice for my time with Netflix, with a Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone thrown in to test out the mobile side of things.
Performance is very good and Netflix have used a consistent design across different devices so the user experience will be familiar if you're likely to use more than one device such as your TV and smartphone.
The whole experience is slick and super quick considering the menus and navigation rely heavily on images. The time taken from finding something to actually watching it can literally be a few seconds.
Most of your time in the menus will be spent browsing, searching and adding content to your Playlist. It can be difficult to find the latest content though. A simple search or sort for the latest films or shows is distinctly absent meaning you either have to know what you're looking for or be lucky enough to stumble across something of interest.
It's clear that Netflix have spent a lot of money ensuring their infrastructure is reliable and robust, in fact I can't recall a single problem or glitch in performance in my time with it.
Picture judder / jitter
Although overall performance and reliability is very good, there was an odd problem with motion on the Xbox 360. There was a slight picture judder, normally when the camera would pan horizontally. In other words instead of seeing a nice smooth camera movement the picture jumps ever so slightly every few seconds.
It doesn't happen on every single programme but did occur more than I would have liked and when you notice it, it's hard to ignore it.
It's something that some people might never notice but others would see all the time. Of course everyone's tolerance for these kind of things varies quite a lot.
For the most part this is an excellent service offering a cost effective way to enjoy on-demand premium TV.
The menus and interface are easy to use if a little restrictive at times but there is a nice consistency if you use different devices.
The picture quality is top-notch if you have a good internet connection and I never experienced any missing content or major issues - everything just worked as expected.
The judder / jitter effect on some content is a shame but I wouldn't say it's a deal breaker and as the service evolves, it could quite easily be fixed by a future update.
Your enjoyment of the service will mostly depend on the type of TV shows and films you like to watch. I personally found that after a couple of months use I started to run out of things I really wanted to watch but of course this will differ from person to person.
For me then it's a service I'll dip in and out of which is something Netflix allows you to do with ease and is one of its big plus points.
Ultimately if you're still not quite sure whether this is for you, there's no better way to decide then to try it for yourself. With the trial period you effectively have free TV and movie streaming for 30 days. This should be ample time to give it a test drive and see if it suits your needs and contains the type of content you want to watch.
So what are you waiting for, 53 million people can't be wrong... right?
7 / 10 (Good)