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 Cordcutting.com.
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.”