Nearly a decade ago, when online entertainment was still in its nascent stage, Netflix declared war against age-old TV systems including Cable TV. What ensued after is well-known to all of us today. Back in the days, getting things done at the click of a button was a fairly new concept and not watching TV on TV at scheduled times sounded ludicrous. But soon, people started leading highly stressful and extremely busy lives with little to no time for over-the-air broadcasting. Video-on-demand (Vod TV) was the need of the hour and Netflix came to the rescue before anyone else did.
We’re assuming that you’re here to jump on the Netflix bandwagon. But before we give you an insight into important details such as pricing, content, and installation, let’s get a little up and close with Netflix.
A Global Entertainment Star i.e. Netflix
Initially founded as an American DVD rental service, Netflix’s media-streaming part of the business came into existence in 2007. Spearheading the online VOD space, Netflix enjoys the majority of the market share in the U.S. while other entrants in the same arena have been struggling to increase their membership. A word about their services spread like fire and soon, the company expanded to around 190 nations, curating content as per region. Last year, the streaming giant recorded a worldwide membership of around 98 million subscribers.
Although Netflix facilitates online streaming of popular movies, documentaries, and TV series, its staff of life is surely its original shows that largely deal with modern day lifestyle and other issues less talked about. Netflix released a whopping 126 original shows in 2016, more than any of its rivals. That just goes to show how highly-rated these originals are for creating that kind of demand.
Netflix has taken the subscription-based route to VOD, charging a rather runty fee every month for its rather huge content catalog including the originals. This only makes it more conducive to Netflix’s aim of turning casual channel surfers and occasional TV/movie watchers into ‘binging’ addicts.
As we mentioned earlier, Netflix is currently available in roughly 190 countries. Here’s a link if you want to know all the countries where the service is available: Check regions
Note that China, Crimea, North Korea, and Syria still don’t have access to Netflix by cause of the U.S. government regulations.
Even though Netflix’s availability in terms of the regions is quite broad, there’s some notable disparity as far as the quality and freshness of content are concerned. The U.S. still gets the best out of their service but that’s not to say that it will always be like that.
Netflix’s pricing model is a tad bit different from its competitors but somehow, most people love it. You can check full Netflix pricing country wise here. It offers three subscription packages:
1.Basic Membership – The entry-level plan costs $8 a month, enabling subscribers to enjoy unlimited streaming in SD and lacks the multiple stream feature.
2. Standard Membership – The mid-level plan is available at $10 per month, offering HD streaming on 2 devices at a time.
3. Premium Membership – The top-level plan allows subscribers to watch all of its content at $12/month in HD and even Ultra HD, wherever applicable, on 4 different screens at one time.
Similar to its peers, Netflix offers a 30-day free trial period that’ll help you to get a decent amount of user experience after which you can decide whether you want to continue or discontinue their services. Know that canceling and upgrading, are both fairly easy processes on the platform. We’ll tell you how to do that in just a bit.
You might ask why to even pay $8 a month when you can easily download torrents or use other means of watching pirated content online. The answer lies in the statement itself. Because it is pirated! Production houses put in unbelievable amounts of time and effort into creating these shows and movies that you love so dearly. Netflix is legal and asks for a very small sum in return for high-quality entertainment.
Supported Platforms and Gadgets
Netflix can be used across a wide range of devices. Some of them include Windows laptops and PCs, Mac-operated laptops and desktops, iPhones, Android smartphones, tablets, Chromecast, Apple TV, and Roku TV. These days, even Smart TVs come with an inbuilt Netflix app.
Content on Netflix
Netflix has a total of approximately 13,000 titles globally. However, the company got rid of 1800 titles in 2013 due to the growing competition in the media streaming industry. Yet, it’s a library is considered as one of the largest.
Beginning with House of Cards in 2011, Netflix started producing and co-producing coming-of-age TV shows that gained unimaginable levels of popularity worldwide. Since then, we’ve seen hundreds of great series roll out year on year.
In 2016 itself, Netflix released as many as 126 originals. These include huge hits such as Chef’s Table, The Ranch, Fuller House, The Crown, and much more. Some other popular Netflix shows are Orange is the New Black, Narcos, Black Mirror, Sense8, 13 Reasons Why, and Stranger Things.
Netflix also offers close to 6,000 movie titles belonging to various genres like Comedy, Drama, Adventure, Action, and Horror. It also has a wide selection of documentaries like Steve Jobs, The Pyramid Code, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Netflix has received a lot of flak from users for removing titles regularly from its website and not updating its library with the latest releases. The content catalog may also be far less compared to Amazon’s Prime Video but Netflix stands apart due to the quality of their content. Most of the titles they add are critically acclaimed unlike the fluff on its competitor’s sites.
Netflix’s interface is one of the most homogenous we’ve ever seen, across all the platforms. It’s also quite reliable, seamless, and easy to use. On the top, you’ll find the browse button that lists down all the categories as well as genres upon clicking. Once you select a category, for example, TV shows, it’ll show all the TV series, with the most popular ones at the top. You can filter your selection based on the subgenres as well.
When you move your cursor over to the title thumbnail, it’ll pull up an information card with useful details such as its IMDB rating, a brief description, year of release, and the star cast. If you like a particular show or movie but don’t intend to watch it right away, you can even add it to your list for watching it later by clicking on “+my list” at the bottom of the info card.
Netflix also has a ‘Kids Section’ that allows parents to customize content, making it more apt for children and blocking all the adult stuff. You can do this by clicking on the “just for kids” tab at the top of your screen.
- Netflix originals are perhaps better than even some shows that are produced by eminent TV networks.
- You can not only stream media online but also rent DVDs for content that’s not available anywhere else.
- It’s extremely cheap compared to cable TV and a few other streaming services.
- Allows streaming on 4 screens simultaneously, a feature that’s not very common.
- Takes ages to update its library causing users to bear a long, intolerable waiting period till they can watch the next season or the latest movie.
- Does not have an agreement with a few popular TV channels such as HBO. Therefore, shows like Game of Thrones aren’t available on Netflix.
- Netflix’s movie list is not broad enough. Plus, it keeps changing very frequently. What may be available today may not be there tomorrow.
Getting Started with Netflix
Here’s what you need to do to set up Netflix
1. Load up the Netflix website on your browser or download the app on your smartphone, tablet, or gaming console. In case you own a smart TV that came preloaded with Netflix, there’s no need to download separately.
2. Create an account by signing up using your email address and type in the other details asked on the page.
3. Choose your payment mode.
4. Ensure that you are connected to a steady internet.
Voila! You’re done. You can create up to five individual profiles on Netflix so each person gets personalized recommendations based on their taste and preferences.