All About the Netflix Streaming Service

Are you a cord cutter or streaming fan? Check out what Netflix has to offer

Netflix is a popular streaming service that offers a vast catalog of movies, TV shows, and original content. It's available on smart TVs, through streaming devices, and even on your smartphone and tablet using the official app for iOS or Android. Here's what you need to know about Netflix, including pricing and information and popular content.

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As of December 2, 2019, Netflix no longer works on 2010-2011 or earlier smart TVs from Samsung, 2012-2014 Vizio smart TVs running Internet Apps/Apps Plus, and several older Roku media streamers. Other older smart TVs and media streaming devices may also be affected. Contact your device's tech support for more details.

A Brief Netflix History

Netflix started in 1997 as a company that pioneered the concept of renting DVDs by mail. It devised the innovative concept of charging a flat monthly fee instead of charging by each DVD ordered. As a result, the corner video rental store phenomenon started to fade away. By 2005, Netflix had a loyal 4.2 million DVD-by-mail rental subscriber base.

In 2007, Netflix made the bold announcement that it would add the ability for subscribers to stream TV shows and movies directly to their PCs in addition to its DVD-by-mail rental program.

After that, it didn't take long for Netflix streaming to become available on the Xbox, Apple devices, a growing number of TVs, smartphones, and tablets. Today, it's readily available in many households.

You can access Netflix content through various internet-connected devices, including smart TVs, Blu-ray Disc players, game consoles, smartphones, and tablets by using Netflix's app on these devices. Any internet-connected device with a Netflix app can bring you its full array of content.

How Much Does Netflix Cost?

All this entertainment isn't free. As of 2021, the Netflix fee structure is as follows:

  • Basic: $8.99 per month for new subscribers who are OK with only SD resolution. Watch on only one device at one time, and download content on one phone or tablet. Access unlimited movies and shows.
  • Standard: $13.99 per month. Watch in HD resolution. View content on a laptop, TV, phone, or tablet. Access unlimited movies and shows. Download content on two mobile devices and watch content on up to two screens at the same time.
  • Premium: $17.99 per month. Enjoy HD and Ultra HD resolution. Allows viewing on up to four screens at the same time, and you can download content on up to four mobile devices.

What to Watch on Netflix

Once you have access to the Netflix service, you see an on-screen menu that allows you to navigate through hundreds of TV shows, movies, and original content. Browse by category or use the search tool. When you find something you want to watch, select the program's icon to start your entertainment.

Netflix offers an array of programming options. New titles are added frequently, and older ones are removed periodically. Here's a sampling of what you can currently expect to see:

ABC TV Shows

Enjoy shows that originally appeared on ABC, including:

Happy Endings, Marvel's Agents of Shield, Once Upon a Time, Grey's Anatomy, How to Get Away With Murder, Quantico, Private Practice, The Bachelorette, Designated Survivor

CBS TV Shows

Enjoy shows that originally appeared on CBS, including:

Schitts' Creek, Madam Secretary, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Man With a Plan, One Day at a Time (reboot), NCIS, Heartland

Because of its focus on its Paramount+ platform (formerly called CBS All Access), CBS has fewer Netflix offerings than it used to.

FOX TV Shows

Enjoy shows that originally appeared on FOX, including:

21 Jump Street, Gotham, Lucifer, The Walking Dead (series is in collaboration with AMC), New Girl, Arrested Development

NBC TV Shows

Enjoy shows that originally appeared on NBC, including:

30 Rock, Good Girls, The Blacklist, The Good Place, Great News, Community, Friday Night Lights, Manifest, Night Shift, Marlon, Saved by the Bell, Seinfeld (seasons 1-9), Strong, Unsolved Mysteries, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

CW TV Shows

Enjoy shows that originally appeared on the CW, including:

The 100, America's Next Top Model, Charmed, Arrow, Dynasty, Riverdale, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supernatural, Supergirl, Gilmore Girls, Sister Sister, All American, In the Dark, Roswell, Black Lightning, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Life Sentence, iZombie

CW is the successor to the WB network. The content also comes from UPN.

AMC TV Shows

Enjoy shows that originally appeared on AMC, including:

Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, The Walking Dead (series is in collaboration with FOX), Halt and Catch Fire, Into the Badlands, Turn: Washington's Spies

Other Shows

Downton Abbey (ITV and PBS), Peaky Blinders (BBC), The Last Kingdom (BBC)

If it's a current, multi-season show, you have access only to past seasons, not the currently running season. TV shows typically run one season behind on Netflix.

Netflix Original Content

Netflix has gained a reputation for compelling original shows and movies, including:

Tiger King 2, Squid Game, Selling Sunset, Coming Out Colton, Colin in Black & White, Maid, The Harder They Fall, Afterlife of the Party, Blood Brothers, Worth, How to Be a Cowboy, Sex Education, The Chair, Love Is Blind, Atypical, Outer Banks, Feel Good, Never Have I Ever, Too Hot to Handle, The Kominsky Method, Halston, Jupiter's Legacy, Money Explained, Eden, Life in Color with David Attenborough, Shadow and Bone, The One, Seaspiracy, Bad Trip, Behind Her Eyes, The Serpent, Thunder Force, Yes Day, Marriage or Mortgage, Lupin, Firefly Lane, Ginny and Georgia, Bridgerton, Master of None, The Crown, The Queen's Gambit, Virgin River, Hillbilly Elegy, Fate: The Winx Saga, Night Stalker, The Dig, Emily in Paris, The Great British Baking Show, Ratched, Dash & Lily, Grace & Frankie, Black Mirror, Ozark, Tiger King, Enola Holmes, Bloodline, You, House of Cards, Warrior Nun, Designated Survivor, Million Dollar Beach House, Rust Valley Restorers, The Umbrella Academy, Virgin River, Cobra Kai, Message From the King, The Holidate, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, Stranger Things, Tiny Pretty Things, and more.

Movies

Netflix's vast movie offerings include:

Soul Surfer, Stepmom, A River Runs Through It, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Moneyball, Total Recall, Snakes on a Plane, Stripes, Addams Family Values, Stepbrothers, The Karate Kid, Titanic, Tommy Boy, A Cinderella Story, Blade Runner: The Final Cut, The Blue Lagoon, Do the Right Thing, House Party, The Machinist, My Girl, My Girl 2, Starsky and Hutch, The Woman in the Window, Army of the Dead, Dances With Wolves, Unknown, Rain Man, Mystic Pizza, The Princess Switch, ParaNorman, Lady Bird, Hugo, The Highwaymen, 13th, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Da 5 Bloods, Stardust, Uncut Gems, Beethoven, Beethoven's 2nd, and more.

Netflix adds programs and movies each month, and the service also deletes content frequently. Netflix doesn't post that information on its service menu, but you can find it from third-party sources. Netflix posts a list of upcoming additions to its original content.

Netflix Hidden Genre Categories

Another interesting aspect is the extensive hidden genre category list system on Netflix. As you use it, its TV and movie selection menus begin to conform to what it thinks are your genre preferences. That content offering system tends to box in viewers with limited choices. As a result, many users resort to using the search tool to find what they want.

However, you can access dozens of additional categories by typing special URL codes into the browser address bar. These codes take you to additional niche categories, ranging from "Movies for ages 8 to 10" to "New Zealand Movies" and more.

The Netflix Download Option

Netflix has a download option alongside its streaming service at no extra cost. After updating the app on a compatible device (such as a media streamer, iOS, or Android phone with added storage), download selected Netflix content for later viewing at home or on the go.

You can begin watching content that's only partially downloaded, which is handy if you're in an area with poor Wi-Fi. Once you find a stronger internet connection, you can choose to finish your download and resume watching.

Also, if you take advantage of the Smart Downloads feature, you can download selected content for offline viewing on iOS or Android devices that automatically delete after viewing. This saves space and time. When you follow a series, after the episode you watched is deleted, the next episode downloads automatically.

You need adequate storage space for downloads, either standard or high quality (4K isn't included).

Netflix in 4K

In addition to streaming traditional TV and movie content, Netflix offers an increasing number of programs for streaming in 4K (mostly in-house produced programming). The 4K listings are visible only if Netflix detects that you're viewing on a 4K-compatible video display.

For those who don't have 4K access, many Netflix TV shows and movies are offered in 720p and 1080p resolution, as well as Dolby Digital Surround Sound.

Netflix automatically scans your internet connection. If your broadband speed can handle the 1080p signal, the resolution is automatically downscaled.

Netflix-Recommended TVs

While Netflix is available on many devices, and they all have access to the platform's streaming library, not all of them have access to 3D or 4K content. Many don't always incorporate the most currently available on-screen interface and other operational or navigation features. As a result, Netflix maintains a list of recommended TVs. Some of the criteria to make the list include:

  • Latest Netflix Version: Your TV automatically (or by prompt) updates to the most recent version of the interface.
  • TV Instant On: When you turn on the TV, the Netflix app is ready to use.
  • TV Resume: Your TV remembers where you were when you last had it on, whether it was watching Netflix or another TV channel or service, and takes you back when you turn on the TV again.
  • Fast App Launch: When you click the Netflix app, it takes you there quickly.
  • Fast App Resume: If you're watching Netflix but need to leave and use another TV function or watch a non-Netflix program or service when you return, it remembers where you left off.
  • Netflix Button: The TV has a dedicated Netflix direct-access button on the remote control.
  • Easy Netflix Icon Access: If you use the TV's on-screen menu to access Netflix, the icon must be prominently displayed as one of the content access choices.

For a periodically updated list of devices that provide Netflix access (but may not necessarily include all of the above criteria that TVs are evaluated under), check out the Official Netflix Device List.

FAQ
  • How do you cancel a Netflix subscription?

    If you're on a web browser, you can cancel Netflix by logging in to your account and going to Profile > Account > Cancel Membership. If you're on the mobile app, tap More > Account > Cancel Membership.

  • How do you use the Netflix Party feature?

    Start by installing the Netflix Party Chrome extension (now called Teleparty). Then, sign in to your Netflix account, choose a video to watch, and select Netflix Party > Only I have control > Start the Party. Netflix generates a URL you can share with friends and family to watch together.

  • Who is the CEO of Netflix?

    Reed Hastings is chairman and CEO of Netflix. He founded the company with Marc Randolph in 1997.

  • How do you change the language on Netflix?

    Sign in to Netflix on a browser and go to Account > Profile > Language. Choose a new display language and select Save.

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