What is Netflix? And how does it work?

It was only two or three decades ago that the idea of online streaming was a concept out of the future, only. Families either used cable, satellite, antenna, or the good old VCR for their entertainment needs. In the early 21st century a DVD rental company Netflix came along and introduced a revolutionary idea that changed the entire viewing culture.

Let’s introduce you to this entertainment giant that now is the largest entertainment company in the world in terms of value, surpassing even Disney last year.

What is Netflix?

While Netflix still offers DVD as rentals (truly!), these days it focuses on its subscription-based streaming service. It charges a monthly subscription fee from its viewers and provides them ad-free access to thousands of TV shows and movies, on-demand, fast, and whenever they want.

Initially, the TV and movie catalog was provided by major partners who had already made the TV shows and movies. Later, Netflix worked on its own partnerships and followed that success by significantly ramping up its own original content in recent years. Some of its most highly-rated TV shows include House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, Narcos, Ozark, Better Call Saul, and cult-documentaries like Making a Murderer and Tiger King, along with comedy specials, and sport documentaries. It currently has hundreds of millions of subscribers worldwide with the US alone a huge proportion of the total, but worldwide subscriptions are growing too.

How Does Netflix Work?

Netflix employs a user-friendly interface. It provides an option similar to a shopping cart known as a queue in which you can add whatever content you like and view it accordingly. Below the queue, you can find TV shows and movies according to their genre.

As you begin to spend more time using Netflix, it will start suggesting movies according to tastes it has identified based on your viewing history. 

It employs an algorithm which picks up your viewing habits and begins to suggest content accordingly. It offers a wide range of TV shows and movies, most available shortly after their release. In addition, Netflix own productions are released directly on the streaming platform.

Netflix is facing stiff competition these days from its competitors in Disney Plus, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV Plus which has caused a hike in bidding for show rights. Therefore it has now reverted to producing its own content which has attracted a great deal of attention. Netflix spends billions each year on this content, but the key is it owns the rights forever, unlike many of the original shows that were once on Netflix, but became hot commodities, like The Office.

Does Netflix Consume  Much Data?

Netflix is pretty flexible when you consider data consumption. Here’s a list of how much data it consumes according to the video quality.

  • Low: In low/basic video quality it normally consumes up to 300 MB per hour.
  • Medium: In medium video quality, it uses up to approximately 700 MB per hour.
  • High: This is the best video quality available on it that uses up to 3000 MB on high definition and 7000 MB on Ultra high definition.

If you’re having problems with connectivity, Netflix also has another option which determines the video quality according to your connection.

Is Netflix Available Offline?

If you’re planning a road trip and might not have any access to the internet, Netflix has taken care of it. It provides an option to download content while you’re connected to Wi-Fi. You can access it while you’re offline and view it without having to worry about your data. You can also learn about Netflix’s latest smart download feature in one previous post.

Netflix Download options

What are the Subscription Charges?

Netflix provides online streaming in three categories:

  • Basic
  • Simple
  • Premium

The content available is irrespective of any category subscribed. All the content you view on Netflix is ad-free regardless of the category. You also get access to all content of either subscription. So what is the difference between the subscription options? The number of screens.

In the Basic plan which costs around 8 dollars, you can watch Netflix on one device at a time. Your video quality will be standard. In the Standard category, you will get access to it on two devices at once in high definition. It costs around 11 dollars.

Then there’s the Premium plan which provides access to four devices at once in Ultra high definition content and costs around 13 dollars only.

Netflix versus Hulu

In the Basic plan, both Netflix and Hulu offer the same video quality. However, Netflix is considered to be better as it provides ad-free content, unlike Hulu. When you upgrade to the simple plan in Hulu, then you get access to all the content without any ads.

Hulu vs Netflix

Hulu gets the upper hand when you consider live TV streaming. It also has a few shows which aren’t available on Netflix, but this goes vice-versa. If you add up Hulu’s simple plan costs annually and compare it to Netflix, Netflix is by far more economical.

In terms of content, again Netflix is the winner with more recent movies and TV shows, along with its own TV shows and movies.

Netflix versus Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime vs Netflix

Netflix charges a monthly subscription fee from its users, whereas Amazon Prime charges a lump sum fee of 99 dollars annually. Amazon has a pretty confusing interface, and it lacks in terms of streaming popular content in comparison to Netflix and Hulu. However, it rivals in production to Netflix as it has produced a highly acclaimed TV shows like Manchester by the sea.

Final Words

To sum it up, Netflix is ahead of its rivals, which is why it has a higher number of subscriptions. It is more optimum and economical than Hulu and Amazon Prime.

Netflix does have some downsides, but it is comparatively more economical plus more enjoyable. Netflix’s primary focus is on the content it’s providing and how to squeeze out the best possible entertainment from it. We hope you enjoy your subscription and make the best out of it.

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