Well, we can’t say we weren’t warned. Months ago, Netflix told us it had introduced a system so that sharing your password with someone outside your household would end. Now, subscribers in Britain and the States are starting to receive emails explaining that time’s up for free sharing.
Of course, you can see Netflix’s point of view. If you’re watching Netflix without paying for it, that’s not a great business model.
With the new system coming into place, you need to either cut people from outside your household off so they can’t watch any more, or sign them up for paid sharing.
Where things get more complicated is that not every price plan can access the paid sharing, referred to as the “Option to add 1 extra member who doesn’t live with you”. If your plan doesn’t include it, then that out-of-household member will have to buy their own subscription to continue to watch Netflix. Unless they move in with you, I suppose.
How much will it cost and who can get it?
The plans go like this.
The first layer is called “Netflix Standard with Adverts”, this is the level which comes with adverts, obviously. It costs $6.99 a month, £4.99 in the U.K. Next up is “Netflix Basic”: $9.99 a month, £6.99 in the U.K. Neither of these tariffs can add an extra person.
The other two have more flexibility. First, there’s “Netflix Standard” which, you’ll notice, doesn’t say with Adverts in the title. This costs $15.49 a month, £10.99 in the U.K. Here, you can only add one person for $7.99 a month who is outside your household, £4.99 in the U.K.
And finally, Netflix Premium: this top tier is priced at $19.99 a month, £15.99 in the U.K. Premium subscribers can add up to two extra people for $7.99 a month per person, £4.99 per person in the U.K.
Won’t everyone just get their own account?
It’s a fair question. Some people might say that they will simply get their own Netflix Standard with Adverts account and pay the smallest amount (and it’s actually cheaper in the U.S. than adding a person, while the price is the same as the cheapest tariff in the U.K.).
But there’s one big benefit
If you’re on the higher tariffs, you get different video quality. Standard with Adverts and Standard both access Full HD quality, while Basic has the lower-quality HD available. The top tier, Premium offers Ultra HD. The key benefit is that if you’re an extra member added to an existing Premium account, you get Ultra HD as well. There are differences, though. The extra person can only watch on one device at a time, and can only download on one phone or tablet, and only one of those at a time.
There are other differences, for instance, the extra person “must activate their account in the same country associated with the account owner’s.”
How quickly the new pricing will be introduced is not yet known, though those emails have been arriving with users already. If you’ve had the email, expect that your monthly bills could be going up soon.
How do I know if I’ve shared my password and how do I stop that?
If you’re unsure if you have shared your account with others there is an easy way to check. Netflix says users can check which devices are signed in to their account and also sign out of devices that shouldn’t have access.
Changing your password will block people that may have had access in the past using your account.