Netflix is the first thing most people think of when it comes to a TV streaming service. It started life in 1997 as a DVD rental company, where you ordered a movie, which was posted to you with a prepaid return envelope.
Inspired by YouTube, Netflix began its streaming service around 2007 and as the internet became faster, its business has grown and grown. Netflix now has 221.6 million subscribers worldwide (as of the first quarter of 2022), a revenue stream which allows it to produce high-quality, original content.
Is Netflix any good?
- A genuine flood of regular new content
- High-quality 4K video in many cases
- Huge range of programmes and movies
- Top package is quite expensive
- Not all devices can take advantage of 4K
- A great deal of content is quite average
For the sheer amount of content on Netflix it is very good value for money, and you can stop whenever you like if you find you have run out of shows for a while. For the most part, the shows are of high quality with very few genuinely bad shows.
The downsides are those common to all streaming services. While the value for money may be there, all too often you find there are one or two shows you want to watch on every streaming service. If you are paying for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sky, Disney+ and pay a TV license it all starts to add up. It is also the case that a lot of the documentaries on Netflix seem to be polemical, meaning they are riding along on a single idea, from a particular point of view, rather than attempting to be impartial.
Netflix provides its content via your internet connection. As a TV on-demand service, viewers simply log in and choose what to watch, when they want to watch it. Series are either available to binge as box sets or are released one episode per week until the series is over, at which point you can binge on them in one go. This is especially the case with the original Netflix series.
As well as buying shows from other networks, the Netflix stable of original shows is one of the main reasons people subscribe to the channel. Netflix has produced some stunningly successful series, movies and documentaries.
Subscribing to Netflix
If you want to subscribe to Netflix, just head over to the Netflix website to set up an account. Subscribers can choose between three subscription levels, all of which offer the same content, but vary in how many devices can view at the same time.
Different subscription levels also allow access to full HD and UHD versions of Netflix content. Just bear in mind that you will need a minimum broadband download speed of 15Mbps to watch in UHD, whereas standard definition only requires 3Mbps and high definition 5Mbps.
- Basic – For £6.99 per month you can watch Netflix in 480p on one device at a time and download programmes to one mobile device for viewing out and about
- Standard – £10.99 per month upgrade picture quality to full HD at 1080p. You can download programmes to two mobile devices and two devices can stream Netflix at the same time
- Premium – For £15.99 per month up to 4 devices can view in 4K and HDR, as well as downloading programmes to mobile devices
Once you have set up your subscription you simply log in to Netflix on the device of your choice and start watching. You can stop subscribing whenever you like and if you miss a payment your service just stops working until you pay again. You can also change your payment plan up or down each month if you wish.
How to cancel Netflix
Netflix operates on a rolling monthly basis – there is no long contract to tie you in – so you can choose to cancel the service at any time. To do this, head to the Netflix website and visit the account details section. If you subscribed to Netflix via iTunes you can cancel by visiting the subscriptions area within settings on your Apple device.
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What can I watch on Netflix?
It is no overstatement to say that Netflix has produced some of the best original dramas of the past few years. The obvious one is Stranger Things, which proved hugely popular. But there are so many others including House of Cards, BoJack Horseman, Lupin, and Black Mirror to name just a few.
Netflix has also produced lots of original films and even finished off and released a forty-year-old Orson Welles film. Some notable films released on Netflix are Mudbound, Red Notice, Bird Box, The Hand of God, Pinocchio, and The Old Guard.
In addition there is plenty of other Netflix original content in the form of documentaries like The Social Dilemma, Icarus, Fyre, and Tiger King, plus numerous comedy shows and stand-up specials.
Netflix is a worldwide service and as such has produced a large number of foreign language shows. There is some great stuff on there from countries as varied as Korea, Japan, France, India, Thailand, and Nigeria.
What else is on Netflix
Netflix doesn’t only make its own TV and movies. You will also find lots of well-known and more obscure films, as well as classic and recent TV series in all categories. Shows such as HBO’s Breaking Bad were a big hit for Netflix.
Where can I watch Netflix?
On a computer or laptop
You can log into Netflix on your PC, Apple Mac or laptop right from your web browser. Just visit the Netflix site and log-in. If you want to watch in HD or 4K you will need a reasonable broadband connection, but the 720p of basic Netflix should not be a problem for most internet connections in the UK.
Smartphone or tablet
You will find the Netflix app on Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Simply install the app on your tablet or smartphone. You can download shows to watch on the train without using your phone’s data allowance.
Modern Smart TVs have a selection of apps which can be installed, among them is Netflix, which is almost always pre-installed on your smart TV.
The vast majority of set-top boxes allow you to watch Netflix. You can use the Netflix app on BT TV, Sky Q, Virgin Media, and many others. In addition to set-top boxes, many modern blu-ray and dvd players fall into the ‘smart’ category and include the Netflix app.
The Netflix app is present on most streaming smart sticks including the Amazon Prime smart stick, NOW TV Smart Stick, Roku and Google Chromecast.
Both Playstation and Xbox offer the Netflix app, allowing you to watch the service on your games console. You can also watch Netflix on the Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.
Getting Netflix with a TV package
Netflix with Virgin Media
If you want to get Netflix along with a TV package from Virgin Media, you can. Virgin’s V6 boxes enable you to download and use the Netflix app so you won’t need a second device. You can also watch it via channel 204 on the Virgin TV channel guide.
Netflix with Sky TV
With Sky TV bundles, things get one step better as Sky now includes Netflix with its Signature bundle as standard at no extra cost. Plus, you can watch Netflix either directly through the Sky Q box or via the app.
Netflix with BT TV
BT also offers a channel dedicated to Netflix. To sign up to Netflix with BT, customers can either visit channel 333 or use the Netflix player app on their BT YouView box. Once signed up, your Netflix subscription fee will be automatically added to your BT bill.
Netflix with TalkTalk TV
TalkTalk offers Netflix as a pre-installed app on its YouView box. You can choose to subscribe and be charged either via your TalkTalk bill or directly by Netflix. To make any changes to or cancel your Netflix account, you will need to visit the Netflix website.
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