Everything You Need To Know About Netflix
By Yvette Fletcher
Responsible for popularising TV streaming services, Netflix offers an impressive library of content to watch, including an ever-growing collection of original programmes and series.
Netflix is likely to be the first provider you think of when it comes to TV streaming services – it's been in the UK since 2012 and is thought to have double the number of subscribers of Amazon Prime Video.
The premise is simple: you pay a monthly subscription and get access to an unlimited amount of content, some of which is exclusive to Netflix. But, given that it's been around so long and boasts a huge market share, is it still doing enough to make it the best choice? Read on for our review of Netflix plus answers to all the key questions you’ll have about the popular streaming service.
Prefer the sound of a combined TV and broadband deal with Sky or Virgin Media? Find out how they stack up using our round up of the best and worst TV and broadband providers.
How to get Netflix
Signing up to Netflix is simple – just head to Netflix.com and follow the sign-up process. You’ll be offered a 30-day free trial and asked to choose the plan you’d like to sign up to. You'll have to provide an email and password, and payment details. While the first 30 days are free, you will then automatically roll on to a paid plan – unless you cancel before your free trial is up.
If you want to use Netflix on your phone or tablet, you can also download the Netflix app on your device and sign up that way. The app is available on Apple, Android and Windows phones and tablets, and also allows you to watch and download Netflix shows on your device.
How to get Netflix on your TV
Netflix is also available as a dedicated app on smart TVs, including those from Sony, Samsung, LG and Panasonic. You can usually access it from the main menu on your TV, though some have a Netflix button on the remote.
Not having a smart TV doesn’t mean you can’t watch on your TV, though – there is an array of devices you can use to turn your standard TV into a smart one. Find out more using our guide to how to buy the best internet TV box.
How much is Netflix in the UK?
Netflix currently offers new customers a one-month free trial. After this ends, it offers three pricing plans, each of which have a monthly payment:
- Basic: £5.99 (up to standard-definition quality and stream to just one device at any one time)
- Standard: £8.99 (up to high-definition quality and steam to two devices at once)
- Premium: £11.99 (up to 4K Ultra HD quality and stream to four devices at once)
You can check which payment plan you’re on – and change it – in your account settings.
How to cancel Netflix
Netflix is available on a rolling basis – you pay month to month, meaning you can easily cancel at any time. Once you've cancelled you will be able to continue to watch until your account closes at the end of your current billing period (or free trial period).
If you subscribed to Netflix directly, you can cancel your service using the Netflix website or its app. Navigate to the 'Account details' section and you’ll be able to cancel your membership from there.
If your subscription to Netflix is via iTunes, you’ll need to cancel it using the Settings app on your Apple device. Head to 'iTunes & App Store', select your Apple ID and tap into the 'Subscriptions' section. Netflix will be in your list of subscriptions – tap it then tap 'Cancel subscription'.
Weighing up whether to sign up to Netflix? Get help with your decision using our review in the table below. Which? members can log in to see the scores and star ratings it earned in our latest survey of more than 2,000 people. Not yet a member? Join Which? now to get instant access to all of our reviews.
|Netflix star ratings and score|
|Quality & range of TV shows|
|Quality & range of films|
|Quality & range of original content|
|Availability of downloadable content|
|How easy it is to find something to watch|
|Ease of use|
|Value for money|
What to watch on Netflix
With thousands of titles across film, television and documentary, one of Netflix’s selling points is its exclusive content. It offers an array of original television shows including The Crown, Stranger Things, Grace and Frankie, Sex Education, Big Mouth and Queer Eye. Exclusive films are on offer too, with titles such as Roma, Always Be My Maybe, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, The King and Marriage Story all included in the Netflix catalogue.
If you struggle to find something to watch, Netflix is happy to help. One key feature it offers is its recommendations – the service takes note of what you’ve watched and the rating you award it. It uses this – and the tastes of other users with similar tastes - to estimate how likely you are to watch titles in its catalogue. When you select a title, Netflix will give you a ‘% Match’ rating – the higher the percentage, the more likely you are to enjoy the show... in theory. Check our review of Netflix above to see how well this works in practice.
Can you download from Netflix?
It is possible for Netflix users to download most of the service's content to watch offline without an internet connection. Unfortunately you can’t download shows using your internet browser – you’ll need an app.
In the app on your phone or tablet, shows that can be downloaded will have Netflix's download symbol next to them – it's a downward arrow with a line underneath. Tap this, and the app will download the show or film to your device. To watch it, head to the Downloads tab which will show a list of everything you’ve downloaded.
If you’d like to watch Netflix offline using your laptop, you’ll need to download the Netflix app from the Windows store. Unfortunately there isn’t a Netflix app for Mac – Mac users will need Windows.
Do I need a TV licence to watch Netflix?
No – you don’t need a TV licence if you only ever watch Netflix (or other paid streaming services, such as Amazon Prime).
You will need a TV licence if you use BBC iPlayer and/or watch (or record) TV at the time it is broadcast – whether on a television or online. Learn more using our guide to the TV licensing rules.
What broadband speed do I need for Netflix?
Netflix recommends the following speeds to get good-quality streams across its video content:
- Standard definition (480p): 3Mbps
- Full HD (1080p): 5 Mbps
- 4K Ultra HD: 25 Mbps
Netflix recommends you have a broadband speed of at least 1.5Mbps, but the bare minimum required is 0.5Mbps. Not sure how fast your connection is? Test it using our free broadband speed checker.
If your connection is particularly slow you might find it's worth upgrading - particularly if you have a standard (ADSL) broadband connection. Check our broadband deal reviews - you may find you can pay less for a faster connection.
How much data does Netflix use?
Data use may be a concern if you’re using the Netflix app on your mobile phone
Watching standard-definition film or TV shows uses around abut 1GB an hour. If you opt to watch programmes in high definition, use rises to around 3GB an hour.
It is possible to adjust your data use settings – this is under ‘Playback Settings’ in the ‘Account details’ section of your profile. There are three options:
- Low uses 0.3GB an hour
- Medium uses 0.7GB an hour
- High uses up to 3GB an hour for HD
- Auto adjusts automatically to offer the best quality possible based on your internet connection speed
You can also opt to only be able to stream on your device while connected to wi-fi.