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The first great streaming service — and still essential
10 / 10  Review Rating

Netflix is the first name a lot of people think of when they think of a streaming service. In the early days of streaming, Netflix went all in and took risks, building a strong reputation among viewers. But does that make up for the ever-increasing cost of Netflix? A Netflix subscription gets you a lot, but does it get you enough?

To find out, keep reading. We’ll tell you what you need to know in our Netflix review.

Is Netflix Worth It?

Netflix has more competition than ever, but it’s still worth your money. There are hassles, of course, and not all of its originals are hits, but it’s got enough content to please a wide variety of tastes and moods.

Netflix: The Original On-Demand Streaming Service


  • 4K streaming available
  • Still no ads after all these years
  • Huge budget for original programming


  • Prices keep going up
  • Has lost some licensed content to competitors

Our Take: Despite ever-increasing prices, Netflix still offers pure binge-watching pleasure — without ads

What Is Netflix and What Does It Do?

None of us would be here without Netflix. By here, I mean on this website, writing about Netflix and other TV services that don’t require a cable connection. Netflix has been around since the late ‘90s. Old folks like me remember getting DVDs in the mail at the turn of the millennium, but it feels like Netflix really became inescapable once it started offering streaming TV in 2007.

The Netflix library is designed to provide on-demand content. That’s always been one of Netflix’s calling cards; it’s never been interested in live TV channels that you’ll find on services like Sling and Philo. So if you’re wondering why we don’t talk about live channels in our Netflix review, that’s why. Netflix also doesn’t have commercials. There are always rumors that Netflix will eventually succumb to the siren song of ads, but the service has staked a big part of its brand on being ad-free. Among other things, Netflix is using brand partnerships to make money without resorting to ads.

Netflix - in-browser app
Netflix’s in-browser app

What to Watch on Netflix: What Shows and Movies Are on Netflix?

You’ll find a lot of Netflix originals on the service. There’s also plenty of licensed material from other content sources, but not as much as there was a few years ago. In other words, Netflix is hoping its original content will keep people around even as other streaming services pop up and reclaim the content they used to license. You’ll find a ton of TV shows and movies, but they won’t all be the old favorites that you know and love.

Here are some TV shows you can find on Netflix:

  • “Squid Game”
  • “Stranger Things”
  • “The Crown”
  • “Outer Banks”
  • “Seinfeld”
  • “Cobra Kai”
  • “30 Rock”
  • “The Great British Baking Show”
  • “Bridgerton”
  • “The Walking Dead”

You’re safer liking shows like “Squid Game” and “Stranger Things,” mostly because those are Netflix originals that will stay on Netflix until the heat death of the sun. That said, that doesn’t guarantee that Netflix will give you endless seasons of those shows, though. Shows like “GLOW” and “The OA” were never given proper endings thanks to what some fans regard as an itchy trigger finger on Netflix’s cancellation gun.

Netflix on iOS
Netflix running on iOS

Movies are a different matter, of course. They’re usually one and done, although some may get a sequel. Here are some notable movie titles that are available on Netflix.

  • “Roma”
  • “The Big Lebowski”
  • “Legally Blonde”
  • “My Octopus Teacher”
  • “Twilight”

Netflix Features and Specs: Streaming Quality, Netflix Devices, and More

Netflix has robust device support and a wide range of streaming quality, depending on how much you’re willing to pay for the service. You can get up to 4K, or you can stick with standard definition. The streaming quality was mostly consistent, except for one issue that I’ll talk about later.

Netflix App: What Devices Can You Use With Netflix?

Netflix has some of the best device support in the business. You can watch it on streaming media players, smart TVs, game consoles, Blu-ray players, smartphones and tablets, PCs and laptops, and even on old-fashioned set-top cable boxes.

I tested it on my iPhone, Windows PC, and Roku Smart TV. The first two worked smoothly, but I noticed one problem that cropped up on my Roku occasionally that I’ll talk about in the next section.

Netflix movie page Roku
Using Netflix on my TCL Roku TV

Netflix Streaming Quality

The streaming quality goes up to 4K on Netflix, but only if you have the premium plan. To get the still-good 1080p, you need the standard plan. I’ve had the basic plan for years, so that leaves me with 480p, or standard definition.

As far as streaming quality, there’s one thing that happens occasionally on my Roku TV. The streaming service will slow down to buffer, and then my video will resume like I’m watching some poorly dubbed foreign film. On screen, the people’s mouths are moving but not lining up at all with the audio. That’s aggravating. My slower internet connection was likely at least partly to blame, but Netflix claims that its service works well with bare-bones internet connections even slower than 5 Mbps. I find that claim a little dubious.

Using Netflix: What We Learned From Our Netflix Review Testing

It’s easier than ever to scroll through Netflix’s offerings thanks to a small but significant improvement: Netflix now lets you turn off the previews that used to autoplay automatically. If you just want to read a description of a TV show or movie without automatically having a preview of it play, it’s now possible. We know some people like autoplay, but we like the increased flexibility to customize the Netflix experience.

The “Top 10” feature is also something we didn’t mention in our last review. It debuted in 2020. If you keep scrolling on the home page, you’ll see the top 10 programs in whatever region you’re in. In my case, that’s the United States. It doesn’t separate by TV show or movie, though; it’s all mixed together. The TV shows and movies sections have their own Top 10, respectively, if you want to break things down even further. Small features like this have helped Netflix keep its edge on competitors like Hulu.

Then there’s another new feature that’s gotten a lot of talk: The shuffle option. Yes, watching Netflix can be just like hitting “shuffle” on your music library. Netflix says it picks something “based on your taste,” so I’m sure it’s an extension of Netflix’s existing algorithm for this feature. I tried it a few times and thought it generally had a pretty good idea of shows I either already watch or would watch from the Netflix library. So if you have trouble making a decision, you might like the ability to simply hit shuffle and see what appears on the screen.

Netflix shuffle screen
If you ever watched something on TV “just because it was on,” Netflix’s shuffle feature might be a good fit for you.

Downloading Shows for Off-line Viewing

For this Netflix review, I tried downloading a couple of shows for viewing later. This is a good option if you’re planning to be in a place with either unreliable internet or no internet at all (like a train or plane, for instance). On average, it took about a minute for me to download a typical 22-minute TV show episode.

Netflix offline viewing feature
Netflix allows you to download some (but not all) of its shows and movies to watch later offline.

I also couldn’t download shows for off-line viewing on my Roku. I could only download on my laptop if I went through the Netflix app rather than the web browser. That’s important to remember if you watch a lot of TV on your laptop. But the Netflix app was a quick download, at least.

Netflix Plans, Pricing and Value: Is Netflix Worth It?

How much is Netflix? Netflix’s standard plan costs $15.49 a month. For that price, you get the ability to stream on two screens at a time in 1080p. That’s the mid-range plan. If you don’t mind paying more for higher-quality streaming, you can get the premium plan for $19.99 a month. For that price, you can stream four screens at once, and watch shows in up to 4K quality. Note: This doesn’t mean that every single show will be in 4K.

The third Netflix package is the budget plan. It’s $9.99 a month for one screen and, as mentioned, 420p resolution streaming. The basic plan's price is the same as the subscription cost of Max with ads, and Netflix doesn’t have ads. But it’s more than you’ll pay for Hulu’s on-demand streaming service with ads, as that one is only $6.99. It’s also a bit more than the monthly price of Disney Plus. Of course, it’s important to remember that Netflix’s streaming library is bigger than HBO’s or Disney Plus’s. With that in mind, the budget plan looks like a solid value — as long as you don’t mind the standard-def video.

Netflix last raised its prices in early 2022. The cost of Netflix isn’t likely to go down anytime soon, unfortunately. In the last price hike, every plan went up in price by a dollar or more. Netflix has also long since abandoned their free trial offer, and it's rare to find other Netflix deals — we track them carefully, but customers are typically stuck paying full price for Netflix.

Should You Subscribe to Netflix?

Netflix will probably keep losing classic shows as long as other media companies decide they can make a few bucks by starting their own streaming service. This is regardless of whether anyone’s asked for it. That said, Netflix has recently reacquired big-name shows like “Seinfeld,” so it’s not afraid to pay a lot of money for comfort TV that it knows viewers will watch. A Netflix subscription still offers enough to make it worth your while, though that verdict could change if the price keeps creeping up every year or two.

That could also change if Netflix ever switched to a model with ads. Hulu has some great content, but it’s harder to binge because of all the ads. Netflix offers bingeing in its purest, ad-free form.