My wife and I have been using Netflix for many years now, and for the most part we love it.
When we started subscribing to Netflix we weren't paying for any premium TV packages, but we still wanted to have plenty of entertainment options available to us. Netflix was a part of our reduced cost TV watching plan.
We're both movie lovers, and if we have some down time, we love to just pop in a movie and watch. On average we will usually watch 1-2 movies a week. Or at least I think we do.
Within the past couple of weeks I've discovered a site (that apparently has been around for a while) that allows you to see if you've been getting the most out of your Netflix account. It tells you how much Netflix costs per movie – and will tell you just how many movies you've been watching. But before we get to that, let's look at how Netflix is priced.
How Much Does Netflix Cost?
Depending upon which one you sign up for, you can get anything from limited 1-4 streams at a time on streaming only packages, or you can sign up separately for DVD packages that allow 1-2 DVD or Blu-ray out at a time. DVD and streaming plan prices current as of January 2019.
Netflix Streaming Plans
- Basic – Streaming video only – 1 screen at a time: $8.99
- Standard – Streaming video only – 2 screens at a time + HD: $12.99
- Premium – Streaming video only – 4 screens at a time + Ultra HD: $15.99
Netflix DVD Plans
When it comes to DVD, it's now split out from streaming, and they have two levels of service:
- Standard – 1 DVD at a time: $7.99
- Premier – 2 DVD at a time: $11.99
- Standard – 1 HD Blu-ray at a time: $9.99
- Premier – 2 HD Blu-ray at a time: $14.99
For us we found the best value to be the streaming video package that cost $8.99 While we wouldn't mind doing the streaming only package for only $11.99 so that we could add an extra screen, we found that we really hardly ever watched Netflix on more than one screen at a time.
Something else to keep in mind – you can now get a 1 month free trial and try the service out for free!
Figuring Out Per Movie Cost For Netflix?
If you want to figure out if you're getting the most out of your Netflix account, how can you figure out what kind of cost you're paying for the rentals? As mentioned above I discovered a cool site called FeedFliks that will give you all kinds of statistics about your account – and help you to figure out if you've maximized your return on your monthly fee (or maybe if you're watching too many movies and TV shows!).
UPDATE: Feedfliks is no longer available, the service shut down after Netflix closed down their API to third party developers.
To figure out what kind of a return you're getting you just go to FeedFliks and link your Netflix account with their site. Once you've logged in they'll pull all of your DVD and streaming video watching habits, and give you some numbers that you can use to calculate your return. Above are some of the graphs that we were shown once we signed in. Among the things we found based on our last 6 months of viewing behavior:
- We watch on average 7.6 movies per month.
- Our cost based on the DVDs we've watched is $3.17 per DVD.
- When instant watch streaming is taken into account, we're paying $1.17 per movie.
- We're still paying more per movie than 81% of people who use FeedFliks – so there's room for improvement.
- We're keeping each Netflix movie for quite a long time – 9 days. We may want to try and watch those DVDs faster.
Based upon your viewing behavior, FeedFliks will also give you recommendations on how to improve your return on your entertainment dollars – and tell you where you're doing well already.
- It will tell you if you're holding onto your movies longer than other users.
- Tell you if movies in your DVD queue are available for instant watching.
- Tell you if movies in your instant watch queue are expiring.
- You can sign up for alerts to remind you to watch or return DVD movies.
FeedFliks also has a premium service for $8.99/year that will allow you to do more with your account including sync with your Netflix account more often, manage your queues, get email and twitter alerts and more. For me I'm not going to sign up right now as I think I get enough information just by using the service every once in a while for free.
Put Your Netflix Membership On Hold
If you've found that maybe you're not currently getting the most out of your Netflix account (perhaps you're busy – or going on vacation), you can suspend your Netflix account for 7 to 90 days at a time. Just go to [Main Page->Your Account -> Put membership on hold].
There are no charges for the time your membership is on hold. You have to return the movies you have and you can’t watch online/streaming, but everything else is the same – and you can save some money if you know you wont' be watching much. Something to consider.
Other Video Streaming Sites To Think About
There are a ton of other streaming video services to consider besides Netflix. With many you might even get a better value for your hard earned cash.
Some of the others may be more of a replacement for your cable TV package, but at a lower price than cable (they'll cost more than Netflix).
- Amazon Video On Demand – $119.00/yr: Amazon has a video streaming service and it's free for all Amazon Prime members. So if you're already a member of Amazon Prime's unlimited free or reduced price shipping on the site, you'll get the video streaming service for free. The cost? $119/year for Amazon Prime, and the video streaming service is free. Consider pairing their streaming service with the Playon setup I've written about before. (Note: Free student and Amazon Mom Prime accounts do not get free streaming)
- Redbox Kiosks & On Demand – $1.75-$2/rental: Redbox offers kiosks in various retail locations where you can rent movies for only $1.75-$2 a night. We love Redbox, and when we want to get a movie right away, we usually head to the Redbox at the corner gas station. Redbox also now has an on demand option where you can rent and purchase movies online for $3.99-4.99 for a rental. It's still relatively new, but worth a try.
- Philo – $16.00/month: Philo is quickly becoming the go to option for people who don't want to pay a lot and don't care about sports (they don't carry sports networks, making it cheaper). They are only $16/month for their basic package, with 40 channels from Discovery, TLC and History to HGTV. Add 9 more channels for only $20! Read the full Philo review here.
- Sling TV – $25/month: Sling TV is an online streaming TV offering from Dish Network that costs only $25/month and gives you premium live TV channels from the likes of ESPN, AMC (The Walking Dead anyone?), HGTV, CNN, Cartoon Network, Disney and more. For a limited time you can also get $50 off of a Roku Ultra or AirTV Player, or receive a free Roku Stick with 2 months prepaid! This is one of the few ways you're going to get ESPN or some of these other channels without paying for cable! They also now have a cloud DVR! Ready my full Sling TV Review here.
- PlayStation Vue: – $44.99/month: This service launched in 2015 and has quickly become one of my favorite cable TV replacement streaming service. It offers a lot of the same channels that Sling TV does (above) with the addition of an unlimited cloud DVR, ability to get local and national sports channels and more. I was using this until I switched to Philo recently. Read my full PlayStation Vue review here.
- Direct TV Now – $40.00/month: Just launched at the end of 2016, this service is similar to Sling and Vue, and gives you 100+ channels for $40/mo for a limited time. You can also add on HBO or Cinemax for $5/month!
- Fubo TV – $34.99/month: Fubo TV is a relatively new streaming service that has a ton of live TV stations, and specializes in sports content – including a lot of soccer. They currently advertise 73 channels of content, starting at $19.99/month for 2 months, then back to the regular $34.99 price. Read a full FuboTV review here.
- YouTube TV – $40.00/month: YouTube launched their own live TV service that starts at $40/month and includes sports channels, and live local channels in many markets. 7 day free trial is available.
- HBO Now – $14.99/month: HBO programming has only been available via a cable TV package for the longest time. Since 2015 HBO Now has provided HBO programming outside of a cable package. If you're a fan of certain HBO shows this makes cutting the cord much more possible.
- Hulu.com – $7.99/month: If you want to get TV shows and movies that you may not have been taped over-the-air, you can usually find them here the day after they air on TV. They also have a free version, although that version only allows viewing on a computer web browser, usually for a limited number of episodes per series.
- Google Play Store: My wife and I tend to rent first run movies here and there from the Google Play store because it's easy and convenient to stream the movies from our tablets to the Google Chromecast. If we're getting a first run movie, however, we usually go to the Redbox for their $1 rentals.
- CBS All Access – $5.99/month: CBS doesn't allow streaming of their shows through some of the other streaming services because they have their own over-the-top streaming service. They do have some good shows, however and are worth checking out.
- Pluto TV – FREE: Pluto TV has an app for most streaming devices that allow you to watch a 100+ channels of free video entertainment from movies and music to TV shows. Pluto is the free TV streaming service.
Are You Getting Your Best Value?
So the question now is, are you getting your money's worth when using Netflix? At what point and at what cost do you consider it a good value? For us I think having anywhere from a $1-2 per movie cost for Netflix means we're getting a good value.
While our cost per movie is pretty high if you only figure in DVDs at $3.17 per movie, when you also take into account instant watch movies we are paying a paltry $1.17 per movie cost. That's not half bad, and about what we would pay even for a movie at the local Redbox.
What is your cost for your Netflix account, and are you getting your money's worth? Are you considering subscribing to Netflix or another video streaming service? At what cost would you consider the service worthwhile? Tell us about it in the comments.