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.
Weighing up whether to sign up to Netflix? Get help with your decision using our review in the table below.
|Netflix star ratings and score|
|Overall quality of content|
|Quality of recommendations|
|Finding new/relevant content|
|Ease of use|
Signing up to Netflix is simple – just head to Netflix.com and follow the sign-up process. You’ll be 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 Netflix used to offer 30-day free trials, these are no longer on offer in the UK so your first payment will be taken straight away.
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.
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.
Netflix currently offers three pricing plans, each of which have a monthly payment:
You can check which payment plan you’re on – and change it – in your account settings.
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.
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'.
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, Sex Education, Money Heist, Grace and Frankie, and Queer Eye. Exclusive films are on offer too, with titles such as Roma, Beckett, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, Don't Look Up 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.
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.
No – you don’t need a TV licence if you only ever watch Netflix (or other paid streaming services, such as Amazon Prime).
Netflix recommends the following speeds to get good-quality streams across its video content:
If your connection is particularly slow you might find it's worth upgrading - particularly if you have a standard (ADSL) broadband connection. Check our - you may find you can pay less for a faster connection.
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:
You can also opt to only be able to stream on your device while connected to wi-fi.