Netflix boosts Basic to HD in cost of living move

14 October 2022 12:23   By Lyndsey Burton

Netflix Basic subscribers will be boosted from SD to HD viewing in November, while Basic with ads will allow people to save even more.

Netflix are boosting their Basic plan to 720p HD from 3rd November, while simultaneously launching an even cheaper 'Basic with ads' plan costing just £4.99 per month.

Anyone who watches Netflix on a large TV set will be able to save money by downgrading from Standard to Basic while still enjoying HD quality viewing.

For those who want to save even more, Basic with ads will also be shown in 720p, but will run adverts at the beginning and during series and films. Ads will last from 15 to 30 seconds, and there will be around 4 minutes of ads per hour of viewing time.

netflix on tv

HD viewing on Basic plans

Netflix Basic has so far been restricted to 480p standard definition video quality, which for many people watching on larger TV screens will prompt them to upgrade to Netflix Standard at a higher cost of £10.99 per month.

480p SD is pretty reasonable for anyone watching via a mobile, tablet or laptop screen. But for people using smart TVs or smart TV sticks, the lower video quality becomes a lot more noticeable on larger screens.

The upgrade of the Basic plan to 720p HD will allow people to save money on their Netflix subscription, whilst still being able to enjoy HD viewing on their main TV set.

For Netflix Standard subscribers thinking of saving money by downgrading they should be aware they will only be able to watch on one screen at a time with the Basic plan, rather than two, and the Standard plan does offer 1080p HD, so it's still a little better.

However, this upgrade from Netflix will mean more people who watch on a main TV set can save money by opting for the Basic plan at £6.99 per month instead.

Basic with ads

With the upgrade of the Basic plan to 720p HD, Netflix has also introduced a Basic with ads option allowing customers to save even more, as long as they don't mind watching adverts.

While Netflix has been refreshingly advert-free since it's invention, the introduction of an ads-based plan is allowing them to launch an ultra-low-cost £4.99 per month plan at a time when so many households are being squeezed in the cost of living crisis.

On-demand app adverts aren't entirely new. NOW TV introduced ads for all customers in July 2021, whilst also increasing the price of their HD Boost add-on from £3 to £5 per month. NOW TV customers now have to pay an extra £5 per month for HD viewing and to remove some of new advertising.

Netflix's approach is much more budget friendly than NOW, so we're pleased to see that adverts are being used to create an even lower cost plan, rather than being pushed onto existing customers who will remain unaffected.

Pay TV uplift

Due to Netflix's increasing popularity it's become both a standard, and prominently advertised, add-on for many pay TV providers.

Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and BT all boast either the inclusion, or option to add, Netflix to their pay TV bundles, and most offer seamless integration of the Netflix app into both the TV box set and the customer's bill.

While Sky Ultimate TV for example includes Netflix Basic, so far customers have also had to add the HD-pack, at a cost of £8 per month, to watch Netflix in HD.

Netflix's announcement to upgrade the viewing experience of Basic plan customers will also benefit those subscribing and watching via pay TV providers like Sky.

Virgin Media on the other hand already include Netflix Standard in their Biggest and Ultimate Volt bundles, so these customers already get Netflix in HD.

One of the major differences between Sky and Virgin Media is that Virgin include a lot of HD content as standard, yet Sky requires customers to pay extra for their HD pack. However, Sky's approach is something that's becoming increasingly dated as so many TV sets now support 1080p or above.

It'll be interesting to see if this move by Netflix to upgrade their entry-level plans to HD as standard will add pressure on Sky to do the same.

Read more about where to watch Netflix.


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