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.

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Netflix is an online streaming service which offers popular movies, TV shows, and documentaries users can watch over the internet. It has over 100 million members across 190 countries and began as a mail-order DVD rental service in 1997. The platform launched in Singapore in January of 2016 and has grown exponentially ever since. To get a better idea of what Netflix offers, compare it with other streaming services available Down Under.

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 your trial expires, you will be automatically charged 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 four levels of service to Singapore customers. Here they are, as well as what they bring to the table. This decision will dictate the picture quality of your Netflix stream and the number of devices you will be able to watch Netflix on at the same time.

  • The Basic pack is priced at S$10.98 a month. This pack will only allow for one device to stream Netflix at any given time. So, if you can foresee multiple people in the house wanting to watch different programs simultaneously, this one might not be for you. This pack is also restricted from streaming high-definition quality videos.
  • The Standard pack is priced at S$13.98 and allows for two devices under the one account to stream Netflix at the same time. It also supports high-definition video. This pack would suit households with differing viewing preferences.
  • The Premium pack is aimed more towards larger households with a variety of gadgets. At S$16.98 per month, the Premium pack allows four different devices to stream Netflix at once, and supports Ultra HD streaming. Ultra HD (sometimes known as 4K) televisions are relatively new to the market, so be sure to check the compatibility of your device before signing up to this one.
  • The Ultra pack is priced at S$20.98 a month. This pack is targeted at those interested in getting exclusive behind-the-scenes and bonus content.

Netflix Singapore price plansPicture: Netflix Singapore

How does the Netflix profile system work?

The Netflix profile system comes in handy when one Netflix account is used by more than one person. It enables you to set up a separate profile for each user, allowing them to save their own ratings and watch lists in order to receive personalised recommendations.

Then, you simply click on the icon with your name from the Netflix homepage and can 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 you’re interested in to ‘My List.’ In other words, the feature helps you keep track of content you want to watch later. While browsing Netflix’s extensive catalogue, simply add titles that catch your eye to ‘My List’ and you’ll 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. To put it 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, this can mean that videos will occasionally stop midway through streaming. That’s called buffering.

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

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 the Netflix app is downloaded on a compatible device, you simply log in with your username and password. Just like in the web browser, you will be able to browse, stream, and add content to ‘My List’ to watch later.

As we’ve mentioned before, Netflix also allows you to download videos through the app when on a mobile device. Content available for download can easily be found 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 or lower bandwidth, Netflix can quickly eat through your data in no time (depending on the size of the data plan). To stream good quality video, a reliable Internet connection is essential. 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 in Singapore offer unlimited data plans – if that’s your case, you can breathe easy. Otherwise, you can always compare providers using our broadband comparison tool to make sure you get a plan with enough GB to watch all the content your heart desires. Also, read our guide on how you can speed up your streaming.

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 will 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 will still have 10 days left of streaming.

What content does Netflix Singapore offer?

Netflix Singapore 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 Singapore library, for instance, won’t look the same as the US library or the UK library. This doesn’t apply to Netflix original productions, which are available globally, but to shows owned by other companies that Netflix gets the streaming rights to.

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

If you’re keen to compare libraries or simply 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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