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Is Netflix Premium Worth the Cost? A Detailed Breakdown

Streaming TV and movies has never been more popular or competitive. As the pioneer of streaming entertainment, Netflix remains a dominant force, with over 230 million subscribers worldwide. However, with recent price hikes and the introduction of a new ad-supported plan, you may be wondering: is Netflix Premium still worth it in 2023?

This comprehensive guide will analyze the features, pricing, pros and cons of Netflix Premium to help you decide if it‘s a smart streaming investment for you. Let‘s dive in for an in-depth look.

A Brief History of Netflix‘s Streaming Plans

To start, it helps to understand the evolution of Netflix‘s streaming subscription tiers.

Netflix began as DVD-by-mail rental service in 1997 before pioneering online video streaming in 2007. For years, there was only one unlimited streaming plan.

But as streaming technology advanced, Netflix expanded its plans to offer more features at higher prices. Here is a look at how Netflix‘s streaming plan pricing has shifted since launch:

Plan Launch Year Launch Price
Unlimited Streaming 2007 $7.99
Standard Streaming 2010 $7.99
Premium Streaming 2013 $11.99
Basic Streaming 2014 $7.99
Standard Streaming 2014 $9.99
Premium Streaming 2014 $11.99
Basic with Ads 2022 $6.99

This brings us to the present lineup: Basic with Ads, Basic, Standard, and Premium. Next, let‘s directly compare what you get at each tier.

Netflix Streaming Plan Comparison

Here is an at-a-glance view of Netflix‘s four streaming plans as of November 2022:

Plan Monthly Price Video Quality Simultaneous Streams Offline Downloads Other Perks
Basic with Ads $6.99 720p 1 None Limited content selection
Basic $9.99 1080p 1 1 device
Standard $15.49 1080p 2 1 device HD available
Premium $19.99 4K + HDR 4 6 devices Spatial audio, profile add-ons

What Makes Premium the Priciest Tier?

With a $19.99 per month cost, Netflix Premium is nearly double the price of Basic and $4 more than Standard. What do you get for the premium price tag?

  • 4K video quality – Ultra HD 4K resolution with support for HDR10, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos immersive audio (on select titles). Only about 10-15% of the Netflix catalog is offered in 4K currently.
  • 4 simultaneous streams compared to just 1 on Basic and 2 on Standard. Those extra streams make Premium ideal for families and housemates.
  • Spatial audio for a cinematic surround sound experience on certain films and series. Requires compatible equipment.
  • 6 downloads allowed on mobile devices, vs. only 1 download for Basic and Standard. Download before flights or road trips.
  • Profile add-ons – You can share your Premium account with up to 2 other non-household members.

From video quality to account sharing allowances, Premium offers serious upgrades for power streamers. Next, let‘s weigh the pros and cons.

The Pros and Cons of Netflix Premium

Before deciding if Premium is worth the price hike over other plans, here are the key factors to consider:

Pros of Upgrading to Premium

  • No ads: All video content is commercial-free. Basic with Ads plan has 4-5 minutes of ads per hour.
  • Better streaming: 4K and HDR provide the best video quality possible. Ideal for cinephiles.
  • More concurrent viewers: Up to 4 people can stream together, making it perfect for families.
  • Account sharing perks: Let friends or family outside your home cheaply share the plan.

Potential Cons of Premium

  • Much pricier: At $19.99/month, Premium costs nearly 200% more than Basic with Ads. It‘s one of the most expensive streaming plans available.
  • 4K limits: Despite ads, only about 15% of the catalog is offered in full 4K as of 2022. Netflix originals are most likely to support it.
  • Possible sharing crackdown: Netflix will start enforcing rules against account sharing outside households in 2023.
  • Overkill for 1-2 people: Single accounts don‘t need 4+ simultaneous streams. Solo streamers can save money with cheaper tiers.

When weighing these pros and cons, you can see how Premium offers incredible value for multi-viewer households who care about video quality and sharing access. Yet solos streamers or those less concerned with 4K may find cheaper plans provide nearly as good of an experience.

Evaluating the Value of Netflix Premium for You

When deciding if Premium is worth the price, consider factors like:

  • Your household size – Families and multi-viewer homes with 3+ people get the most value from the 4 concurrent streams and downloads.
  • Your video quality standards – Cinephiles and home theater owners with fast internet may find Premium‘s 4K and spatial audio essential.
  • Your openness to sharing – Those comfortable adding extended family or friends outside your household will maximize the 2 extra member allowance.
  • Your tolerance for ads – If you want zero interruptions, Premium remains the only 100% ad-free plan following the Basic with Ads rollout.

For example, Premium makes the most sense for a family of 4 who wants to download shows before a road trip and doesn‘t mind grandpa sharing their login. But it may be overkill for a single college student streaming casually in a dorm room.

Take stock of your personal preferences and streaming behaviors to decide if Premium‘s upgrades warrant the costs. And keep in mind that cancelling and switching plans is easy if your needs change over time. Evaluate every few months whether you‘re still getting $20 of value from Premium.

Summing Up Netflix Premium‘s Value

Netflix Premium grants access to the streaming giant‘s most advanced features, like 4K video and spatial audio. With perks tailored for multi-viewer households, this top-tier plan removes hurdles like stream limits and makes sharing effortless.

Yet the $19.99 monthly cost is difficult to swallow for many basic streamers. Netflix‘s looming password sharing crackdown could further diminish Premium‘s appeal as a shared family plan if strictly enforced. Still, for home theaters and quality-focused streamers, the boosted sound and picture quality may justify the premium price.

Carefully consider your personal usage, sharing needs, and budget flexibility to decide if Netflix Premium‘s upgrades warrant the costs for you. While not a smart choice for every subscriber, the benefits for multi-viewer homes with 4K setups are clear.