Are You Ready for Even More Expensive Netflix Options? [Update]

Illustration for article titled Are You Ready for Even More Expensive Netflix Options? [Update]
Image: Netflix

Netflix is reportedly testing a new “Ultra” pricing tier that gives potential subscribers access to 4K “Ultra HD” and HDR streaming. Unfortunately, with this new tier Premium subscribers might be getting the short end of the stick, having some of their perks removed in the process, according to Italian smartphone site Tutto Android.

Today, Premium-tier subscribers have access to a selection of 4K and HDR content and can watch on up to four devices, while Standard-tier subscribers have HD streaming and can watch on up to two devices. Base-tier subscribers get standard definition streaming on a single device.

Since Netflix is apparently testing various permutations of its subscriptions, some users say they’ve seen different features depending on their device. When viewed on mobile devices, Premium-tier subscribers reportedly saw 4K UHD streaming but no HDR, and would only be allowed two streaming devices at a time; standard-tier users meanwhile claim they saw HD streams limited to a single device. The Ultra-tier test pricing also seemingly varies among users who’ve seen the option in Europe, with prices as low as €16.99 and as high as €19.99, according to


In short, Netflix seems to be testing the idea of making current plans worse in order to pressure users to upgrade, lining up with every other streaming media service that’s finding ways to slowly bump up subscription fees. Fun.

The additional pricing tier test also highlights the current travesty that is Netflix’s cheapest Base plan, which supports only one device and includes just SD streaming. Sure, if you’re constantly streaming stuff on your smartphone and don’t feel like paying for HD streaming from carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T, that might work for you. But it means even streaming movies over Wi-Fi will leave you wanting more fidelity on your smartphone or tablet.

Update 11:15am: A Netflix spokesperson provided this statement about the Ultra-tier testing:We continuously test new things at Netflix and these tests typically vary in length of time. In this case, we are testing slightly different price points and features to better understand how consumers value Netflix. Not everyone will see this test and we may not ever offer the specific price points or features included in this test.”



Staff Reporter, Gizmodo

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What still aggravates me is the industry nixed 3D TV’s in favor of 4k and now 4kHDR when there still isn’t crap for content. 80% of the households in which I’ve seen 4K/HDR sets are running everything in 1080p still. Sure, there’s the occasional PPV or game you can run in 4k but otherwise day to day watching is generally 1080p. I still love my 3D TV and until it dies a horrible death I won’t upgrade especially until 4k is the majority of the content available. Give it a couple years and they’ll be hocking 8k sets and 4k still won’t be mainstream with the exception of TV sales.

So for me it’s a toss up of 3D at home occasionally + 1080p the rest of the time or 4k at home occasionally + 1080p the rest of the time. 3D impresses me more especially since compression screws the quality of 4k content half the time anyway (Satellite and streaming).  Most of our current Internet providers in my area can’t handle sustained transfer rates high enough to handle uncompressed 4k anyway.