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What is Netflix? Simple answers to the simple questions you were too afraid to ask

Do you find Netflix confusing? It happens to the best of us. Here’s a comprehensive Netflix 101 crash course to help you start streaming in style.

Updated

Netflix is an online streaming service which offers popular movies, TV shows, and documentaries users can watch over the internet. It started in 1997 as a DVD rental service in 1997, and now has 100 million members across 190 countries. Netflix launched in New Zealand in late March of 2015 and has grown rapidly ever since, with approximately 1.2 million New Zealanders now having access to a subscription.

Do I get a free trial?

Yes, Netflix lets you test-drive the platform for an entire month before charging you. However, you still need to enter your credit card details or PayPal information when you sign up. You can cancel your subscription anytime during your first free month. If you fail to do so before the trial expires, Netflix automatically charges you for the next month.

Netflix is pretty transparent when it comes to sending reminders as your trial nears its end, but it’s also a good idea to set a reminder for yourself, so you don’t end up paying extra if you’re not enjoying the service.

How do Netflix subscriptions work? How much do they cost?

Netflix offers three levels of service to New Zealand customers. Here they are, as well as what they bring to the table. Essentially, the more you pay, the more features you get.

How does the Netflix profile system work?

The Netflix profile system comes in handy when more than one person uses one Netflix account. It enables you to set up a separate profile for each user, allowing them to save their ratings and watch lists to receive personalised recommendations. Then, you click on the icon with your name from the Netflix homepage and enjoy a customised experience, without having to worry that other users will mess up your watch list or lose the place you’re at in a binge.

How does the Netflix “My List” feature work?

Netflix allows you to add titles that interest you to “My List”. In other words, the feature helps you keep track of content you want to watch at a later date. While browsing Netflix’s extensive catalogue, add titles that catch your eye to “My List”, and you have easy access to them anytime.

How does the Netflix streaming system work?

Streaming content on Netflix is similar to watching a YouTube video – only the videos are much longer. Put simply; the content is played at the same time as it is temporarily downloaded on your device, allowing you to watch it in real time. With slower internet connections, it can mean that videos occasionally stop midway through streaming, which is known as buffering.

Thankfully, Netflix has made significant advancements in streaming, so it now ensures a smooth experience even on slower broadband plans. Moreover, the platform allows you to download titles from the library to your mobile devices, so you can watch on the go instead of streaming on mobile data. This way, you don’t need to stress about burning too many GB on your mobile or become frustrated with a slow cellular connection.

What are Netflix ready devices?

Netflix can be streamed across almost any device with an Internet connection, through either a traditional browser or an app. Some devices even come with the Netflix app already installed, so the setup process shouldn’t give you too much hassle. The list of devices compatible with Netflix includes game consoles, smart TVs, streaming media players, and more.

How does the Netflix app work?

Once you download the Netflix app on a compatible device, you log in with your username and password. Just like in the web browser, you can browse, stream, and add content to “My List” to watch later.

As we’ve mentioned, Netflix also allows you to download videos through the app when on a mobile device. You can easily find content available for download through the “available for download” category within the app. You can easily find content available for download through the “available for download” category within the app.

What is Netflix’s suggested Internet speed for better picture quality?

Streaming data can be quite taxing on many broadband plans. If you have a limit on your Internet usage, Netflix can quickly eat through your data in no time (depending on the size of the data plan). A reliable Internet connection is essential to stream good quality video, and Netflix has published this helpful connection table to help choose a plan:

  • 0.5 Megabits per second – Required broadband connection speed
  • 1.5 Megabits per second – Recommended broadband connection speed
  • 3 Megabits per second – Recommended for SD quality
  • 5 Megabits per second – Recommended for HD quality
  • 25 Megabits per second – Recommended for Ultra HD quality

If you’re unsure of your internet speed, you can run a speed test to see what streaming quality your broadband can deliver. A lot of providers offer unlimited data plans, so if that’s the case, you can breathe easy.

Can I unsubscribe from Netflix?

You can cancel your Netflix subscription anytime, as the contract is on a month-to-month basis. Once you cancel, you still have access to the platform until the end of your billing period. For example, if your billing day is the 15th of the month and you cancel on the 5th, you still have ten days left of streaming.

What content does Netflix New Zealand offer?

Netflix New Zealand has an impressive list of TV shows, movies and original productions that are sure to encourage lengthy binge-watching sessions. Some of the most popular shows on the service include 13 Reasons Why, Stranger Things, Black Mirror, The Crown, Daredevil, Narcos, Orange Is the New Black, and more. Besides, the service also offers tons of comedy specials, kids’ series, and documentaries.

Can I access the US Netflix library?

The Netflix library varies across the world due to licensing rights. That means that the New Zealand library, for example, doesn’t look the same as the US or UK library. However, this doesn’t apply to Netflix original productions, which are available globally, but for shows owned by other companies for which Netflix has the streaming rights.

As a result, the New Zealand content library, though generous, isn’t as extensive as the US one. It’s also important to note that some shows available internationally aren’t available in the US, for example, Kiwis can stream the newest episodes from series like Riverdale and Dynasty as soon as they air in the US. Meanwhile, Americans can’t stream them until the entire season drops on Netflix a few months after it wraps up.

If you’re keen to compare libraries or check out American Netflix, you can do so with by using a VPN service, a program that helps you to circumvent the geo-restrictions. However, note that streaming Netflix, while using a VPN that disguises your location, is forbidden by the platform’s terms and conditions, so proceed at your own risk.

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How does Netflix compare?

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Service Simultaneous streams Max. video quality Monthly fee Free Trial Period
Disney+
Disney+
On-demand streaming
4
4K/UHD
$9.99/month
N/A
Get Disney+. Watch new and classic TV and Movies from Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, National Geographic and 21st Century Fox from one streaming service.
Acorn TV
Acorn TV
On-demand streaming
1
HD
$7.99/month
7 days
Acorn TV offers British TV shows on-demand.
CuriosityStream
CuriosityStream
On-demand streaming
Multiple
4K/UHD
US $2.99/month
N/A
Access to thousand of documentaries, from nature, to lifestyle and technology. Note: Price given in US dollars.
iwonder
iwonder
On-demand streaming
1
HD
$6.99/month
30 days
Prime Video
Prime Video
On-demand streaming
3
SD
$5.99/month
7 days
Prime Video is currently available to New Zealanders at $2.99 per month for the first six months. Price reverts to $5.99 per month after the first 6 months.
Neon TV and Movies
Neon TV and Movies
On-demand streaming
2
SD
$13.95/month
14 days
Lightbox Standard
Lightbox Standard
On-demand streaming,Digital Movie Store
2
HD
$12.99/month
30 days
Lightbox Premium
Lightbox Premium
On-demand streaming,Digital Movie Store
4
HD
$15.99/month
30 days
Netflix Basic
Netflix Basic
On-demand streaming
1
SD
$11.99/month
N/A
Netflix Standard
Netflix Standard
On-demand streaming
2
HD
$16.99/month
N/A
Netflix Premium
Netflix Premium
On-demand streaming
4
4K/UHD
$21.99/month
N/A
TVNZ On Demand
TVNZ On Demand
On-demand streaming
1
HD
No subscription
N/A
Sky Sport Now Week Pass
Sky Sport Now Week Pass
Sports
1
HD
$19.99/week
N/A
ThreeNow
ThreeNow
On-demand streaming
1
SD
No subscription
Sky Sport Now Month Pass
Sky Sport Now Month Pass
Sports
1
HD
$49.99/month
N/A
Sky Sport Now 12 Month Pass
Sky Sport Now 12 Month Pass
Sports
1
HD
$39.99/month
N/A
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