How to set up Netflix: A step-by-step guide | finder.com
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How to set up Netflix: A step-by-step guide

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Make any compatible smart device binge-ready for movie and TV streaming.

Netflix offers a nearly unmatched wealth of films and TV available for instant access. Now that more smart devices offer built-in apps, it’s easier than ever to browse its library. Take the guesswork out of signing and setting up Netflix on your device — or devices — of choice, so that you can get to enjoying cult classics, new blockbusters and more.

Step 1. Make sure you own a compatible device.

Check this list to ensure you have a Netflix-compatible device:

Step 2. Visit the Netflix website.

Go to the official Netflix website. Once there, you’ll see a screen similar to the one below.

Click the big red button that says Try 30 days free.

Step 3. Choose the right plan.

At the next screen, click See the plans to scan your three options: Basic, Standard and Premium. The plan you choose dictates the picture quality of your streams and the number of devices you can watch Netflix on at the same time.

Plan Price Devices you can watch on at the same time HD available Ultra HD available Best for…
Basic $8.99 1 No No One or two viewers with similar tastes
Standard $12.99 2 Yes No Two or more viewers with differing tastes
Premium $15.99 4 Yes Yes Owners of Ultra HD devices

Step 4. Create your Netflix account.

After you’ve decided on a plan, you’re asked to create an account. Enter your current, an active email address and your desired password. Keep your password handy to sign in on your devices later.

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Step 5. Enter your payment details.

Click Continue to be taken to the payment options page.

You from three ways to pay:

  • Debit or credit card. Enter your name, billing ZIP code and credit card details into the relevant fields. Click Start membership.
  • PayPal. Sign in to the PayPal portal and confirm your payment details. Once confirmed, you’re returned to the Netflix website to complete the purchase.
  • Gift code. Enter your pin and ZIP code, and select Redeem gift code.

People are often wary about credit card use online. But rest assured: the Netflix payment portal is a secure server. If you need a new credit card or want one specifically for rewards on online purchases, compare a range of credit cards before signing up.

Why does Netflix need my credit card during the trial?

Because Netflix is a monthly subscription service, you’re required to enter your credit card or PayPal details. As a new member, you’ll get your first month free and can cancel at any time.

If you don’t cancel, Netflix begins to charge you after your first month of subscription. Netflix tells you exactly when you’ll be charged on the payment page, and it emails you a reminder three days before your trial expires.

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Step 6. Set up Netflix.

Netflix is available on just about every mainstream game console, smart device and computer. Some of your devices may already have Netflix installed as a result of a recent update. If not, here are ways to download the application on different devices.

Step 7. Start browsing Netflix.

Now that you’ve signed in, you can start watching Netflix. You’re first met with a screen asking “Who’s Watching?” Tap your registered name and it will take you straight to a variety of categories.

You can add another profile with the plus button. Or select Kids, which filters out content that may not be age appropriate.

Browse through the most popular TV shows and movies available on the home screen, filter by category with the menu icon at the top left of the screen or search for a particular show by pressing the search glass at the top right of the screen.

Alternative streaming providers

If you’re struggling to get started with Netflix, consider a range of similar streaming providers vying for your eye.

NameServiceContentPricingContract typeMore info
netflix logoStreamingTV, movies$8.99 for SD, $12.99 for HD and $15.99 for UHD No lock inMore info
amazon logoStreamingTV, movies$99 for Prime, with rentals starting at $0.99 for 24 hoursAnnual subscription feeGo to site
huluStreamingTV, moviesFree for Hulu and $7.99 for Hulu Plus No lock inMore info
VUDU LogoStreamingTV, moviesNo subscription fee, rentals range from $0.99 to $5.99.No lock inGo to site
itunes-subscriptionDownloadingTV, music, moviesFrom $1.99 each TV episode, $14.99 to buy movies and $3.99 to rentNo lock inMore info
fuboTVStreamingSoccer$9.99 a monthNo lock inGo to site
PureflixStreamingChristian movies and TV shows$10.99 a monthNo lock inGo to site
CuriosityStreamStreamingOriginal and exclusive documentaries$2.99 a month in SD, $5.99 a month in HD and $11.99 a month in 4KNo lock inGo to site
Gamefly LogoStreaming, mail-basedVideo games, moviesStarts at $6.99 a monthNo lock inGo to site
HBOgo - Access your HBO subscription from the appStreamingHBO TV episodesFree with your HBO subscription or purchase HBO Now for $15 a monthNo lock inGo to site
USA NowStreamingTV, moviesFree with your regular TV subscription through participating providersNo lock inMore info
STARZ Play Streaming SubscriptionStreamingTV, moviesFree with STARZ subscription or $8.99 a monthNo lock inMore info
DAZN Streaming SubscriptionStreamingFighting$9.99 a month, with your first month freeNo lock inGo to site

NameHardware Mobile phone Consoles Devices Streams
netflix logoTablet, mobile, desktop, Chromecast, Apple TVYesYes Any device4
amazon logoiPod, iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, Android phone and tablets, Smart TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and moreYesYes 22
klowd-correct-left-alignmentPC, Mac, iPad, Android Tablets, iPhones, Android Smartphones, Sony Smart TV, Hisense TV, Samsung Blu-ray Players, Roku, Amazon Fire, Sony Smart TVYesNo11
huluSmart TV, desktop, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Nexus Player, Nook, TiVo Premiere, Amazon Fire TVYesYes Any device1
VUDU LogoSmart TV, Chromecast, Blu-ray, Roku, TiVo, Tablets and Home TheatreYesYes 122
itunes-subscriptionApple TV, Mac, iPhone, iPod, iPadYes No11
fuboTVMac or Windows computer, iPhone, iPad, Android Phone, Roku, Chromecast or Amazon Fire TVYesNoAny device1
PureflixMac or Windows computer, iPhone, iPad, Android Phone, Roku, Chromecast or Amazon Fire TVYesSupport in 2017Any device1
CuriosityStreamMac or Windows computer, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android Phone, Roku, Chromecast or Amazon Fire TVYesNo11
GameFlyAmazon Fire TV, EMTEC GEM Box, Smart TV, CD Rom, DVD, Amazon Fire TV stickYesYes Any device1
HBOgo - Access your HBO subscription from the appAmazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Playstation 4, Samsung Smart TV, Xbox 360, Android TV, Playstation 3, Roku, Tivo, Xbox OneYesYes 33
USA NowApple iOS, Roku players, Apple TV, Android, Windows 8, and Xbox OneYesYes22
STARZ Play Streaming Subscription
Amazon devices, Android Phone and Tablets, Apple TV, Microsoft Window 7 or newer, Apple OSX 10.5.7 or newer, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Roku, Smart TVs, XboxYesYes22
DAZN Streaming Subscription
Smart TVs, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, LG TV, Android Phone, Tablets, Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Xbox S/X, PlayStationYesYes62
NameClosed CaptionsQualityContentAffiliatesMost Popular
netflix logoYesSD, HD and 4K100,000+ movies and TV showsStarz, Paramount Pictures, Lions Gate Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Marvel Television, Sony Pictures, The Weinstein Company, Open Road FilmsHouse of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Grace and Frankie, Wet Hot American Summer
amazon logoYesSD, HD and 4K40,000 titles Lovefilm, Epix. HBO, Amazon StudiosThe Good Wife, Under the Dome, Downton Abbey, Catastrophe, Extant, Suits, Girls
huluYes SD and 720p HD1,650+ hours of TV and 2,500 hours of moviesNBCUniversal Television Group, Fox, Disney, ABC, The CW, BBCDeadbeat, The Awesomes, Quickdraw, The Mindy Project, Selfie, Party Down, The Hotwives of Orlando
VUDU LogoYesSD and HD20,000 titlesWarner Bros, Sony Pictures, NBC Universal, Disney, Lionsgate, HBO, BBC WorldwideMr. Robot, Zoo, Shark Week, Scream, Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars, Community, True Detective
itunes-subscriptionYes SD and HDData not availableData not availableData not available
fuboTVYesHDData not availableLa Liga, Serie A, MLS, Liga MX, Ligue 1, Primeira Liga and the Brazilian Serie A through our live channels beIN Sports, Univision Deportes, UniMás, GolTV HD and Benfica TVCopa America, Copa America Centenario, CONMEBOL, Football League Championship, English League Cup and Swiss Super League
PureflixYesHD2,000+ family-friendly, faith-based titlesData not availableGod’s Compass, Unlimited, Crossing Streets, October Baby, The War Within, Woodlawn
CuriosityStreamYesSD, HD and 4KThousands of documentaries in science, technology, the arts, civilization and moreData not availableNext World, Big Picture Earth, The Road to Singularity
GameFlyYesSD and HD8,000 titlesData not availableSkyrim, Battlefield 1, Star Trek Beyond, Titanfall 2
HBOgo - Access your HBO subscription from the appYesHD400 hours of feature and HBO original TV films, including 130 movie titles that rotate monthlyData not availableThe Wire, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Enlightened, Game of Thrones, Curb Your Enthusiasm
USA NowYesHDData not availableXfinity, Dish, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable Spectrum, Optimum, Verizon, AT&T U-verse, Cox, Charter Spectrum, Optimum, Bright House Networks, Suddenlink, Mediacom, Cable One and Wow! Wide Open WestSuits, Mr. Robot, Shooter, Queen of the South, WWE, Colony
STARZ Play Streaming SubscriptionYesHDData not availableXfinity, Dish, DirecTV, Amazon Channels, Verizon, Suddenlink, AT&T, Cox, Charter Spectrum, Optimum and MediacomOutlander, Black Sails, Power (TV series), Spartacus, The Missing, The Girlfriend Experience
DAZN Streaming SubscriptionYesHD and 4K80+ fight nights a yearData not availableBellator, Matchroom Boxing, World Boxing Super Series
NameData useProsCons
netflix logo1GB/hr for SD, 3GB/hr for HD, 7GB/hr for UHD
  • 30-day free trial
  • Huge content library
  • Netflix exclusives
  • Not much
amazon logo1GB/hr for SD, 1.5GB/hr for HD, 7GB/hr for UHD
  • 30-day free trial
  • Content from Comedy Central and Nickelodeon
  • Only offers annual subscriptions
hulu650MB/hr for HD
  • 30-day free trial
  • Streams shows that are currently airing
  • Commercials — even for paying customers
VUDU Logo894.25 MB for SD episodes, 1.96 GB for HD episodes
  • Broad range of TV shows and movies
  • No free trial
  • Pay per episode
  • Lmited accessibility
itunes-subscriptionData not available
  • Compatible with all Apple deices
  • Most expensive
fuboTVData not available
  • All new users get 24 hours of free access to a full FuboTV subscription
  • Offers soccer titles only
PureflixData not available
  • 1-month free trial
  • Only offers faith and family titles
CuriosityStreamData not available
  • 1-month free trial
  • Only offers documentaries
GameFlyMinimum 5Mbps for streaming
  • 30-day free trial
  • Mail-based or streaming
  • Some titles have limited availability
HBOgo - Access your HBO subscription from the appData not available
  • Compatible with popular platforms and Internet browsers
  • No cap on the number of devices you can link
  • Access to all HBO movies and TV shows
  • Requires cable and HBO subscription
USA NowData not available
  • Helpful app
  • Live TV and HD
  • Requires cable or satellite subscription
STARZ Play Streaming SubscriptionWith a fast connection, a single video streamed on STARZ PLAY consumes approximately 1GB of data
  • STARZ Play streaming
  • Media options
  • Family options
  • Requires cable, satellite, or TV provider
DAZN Streaming SubscriptionData not available
  • 1-month free trial
  • Access to 80+ big fights a year with no commercial breaks
  • Play, pause and rewind at your own convenience
  • Offers only fighting and boxing

Bottom line

Set up virtual passport to distant lands — fictional and real — in under 10 minutes. If the plan you picked isn’t ultimately what you want, up- or downgrade your Netflix subscription without penalty.

You may find your favorite series is hosted by another service altogether. If so, check out other Internet TV options on the market to find the best fit with your viewing interests.

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