Netflix Review 2020

Netflix is the best all-around streaming service out there. But the lack of sports content and live TV mean it’s not a replacement for cable.
Best streaming sites - Netflix
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Price:
$8.99–$15.99/mo.

Netflix led the streaming revolution of the last decade and has earned its reputation as America’s favorite pastime. Even today, as new companies like Disney are getting into the industry, Netflix remains the best all-around streaming service.

While it might not have enough content to make you want to ditch your DISH plan, a Netflix membership is a relatively cheap way to access some of the best television shows and movies ever made.

But as the technology advances and the competition stiffens, cheaper pricing and flagship shows (like Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings series) could drive customers away from Netflix.

This Netflix review will tell you everything you need to know before deciding to sign up for (or cancel) the service.

Pros

  • Great mix of movies and shows

  • Tons of high-quality original content 

  • Easy-to-use interface

Cons

  • No live TV or sports
  • Price increases

Netflix plans and pricing

Netflix has 3,803 movies, 198 shows, and 3 membership plans.

There’s more than one way to get access to Stranger Things and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance—and we aren’t talking about logging into your parents’ account. The company has three simple plans to choose from: Basic, Standard, and Premium.

Netflix streaming membership details
PlansPriceSimultaneous streamsHD viewingMore info
Basic$8.99/mo.*1NoView Plan
Standard$12.99/mo.*2YesView Plan
Premium$15.99/mo.*4YesView Plan

*Plus any applicable taxes.

Netflix’s cheapest plan will cost you about the price of a movie ticket. That’s not a bad deal considering you’ll have access to thousands of hours of content, including newly released movies. It definitely costs less than even the cheapest traditional cable plans.

The downside with the Basic plan is that you’ll be watching Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming horror anthology in standard definition. That’s right, HD is limited to the higher-tiered plans. And Basic lets you stream on only one device at a time.

If you want to kick up the video quality and number of simultaneous streams, you’ll need to pay for a Standard or Premium plan. The Standard will set you back another five bucks a month, and the Premium plan will cost almost double what the Basic plan costs.

But these more expensive plans will be worth it for many, considering that you get up to four simultaneous streams and access to tons of HD content. Just make sure you have the internet speed and TV to handle it.

What’s the deal with Netflix Ultra?

You may have heard whispers about something called Netflix Ultra. In this case, Ultra refers to ultra-HD (also called 4K) resolution. Traditional high definition starts at 1920 x 1080 pixels, but ultra-HD has twice that many pixels!

And depending on where you live, you can access ultra-HD content on Netflix in one of two ways.

If you live in Europe, you can sign up for Netflix Ultra—a trial program that costs more than a Premium membership and seems to offer few, if any, additional benefits.1

Luckily, users in the US can still get ultra-HD content with the Premium Netflix plan.

Netflix DVD and Blu-ray rentals

We know it’s hard for you Gen-Z youngsters to imagine, but some people out there are still ordering real, physical discs that have movies on them. In fact, there are almost three million people who are still using Netflix mail-in plans.2

Mail-in users are not limited to the same titles that are available for streaming. Instead, members can order from a catalogue of almost 100,000 DVD and Blu-ray titles. If you order a disc, just know that it takes one-to-three business days for most discs to arrive in the mail.

There are two mail-in rental plans available from Netflix.

Netflix mail-in plans
PlanStandard planPremier plan
Price$7.99/mo.*$11.99/mo.*
Discs out at a time12
More infoView PlanView Plan

*Plus any applicable taxes.

If you can wait a couple of days to get a copy of the new Marvel movie after it’s released, then the classic Netflix experience might be worth it for you. Just head on down to your local thrift store and buy a DVD player!

Netflix DVD menu

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime Video

Netflix dominates the on-demand streaming market when it comes to name recognition. (People aren’t joking about “Amazon Prime and chill,” after all.) But does the company really offer the most screen for your green?

When it comes to price, Hulu has the cheapest plan of all the major services. But the trade-off is that you have to watch advertisements (blasphemy!). Meanwhile, Amazon Video and Netflix both offer their lowest-tiered memberships for about the same price.

Hulu is the only one of these major streaming services to offer a live TV option. But at $40 a month, it’s more than four times the cost of a basic Netflix plan. Other live TV services like Sling TV and Youtube TV also run at similar prices.

When it comes to content, comparing these services it kind of like comparing apples to oranges. They each have something unique to offer.

Hulu has an awesome collection of serialized network TV shows, like The Simpsons and Grey’s Anatomy. Amazon Video has the most movies available for streaming—14,210 titles vs. Netflix’s 3,803, according to a recent count.3 And those numbers aren’t nothing.

But when it comes to overall quality and variety, Netflix definitely shines. There’s blockbuster movies like Avengers: Endgame, feel-good shows like The Great British Baking Show, and original content like Orange Is the New Black. Speaking of Netflix content . . .

Netflix movies, shows, and other content

Laugh it up or cry it out with Netflix’s diverse catalogue of shows and movies.

Netflix show menu Disenchantment

Sure, the price and policies of a streaming service matter to customers. But when it really comes down to it, people usually pick one service over another one because it has the stuff they want to watch. So what’s Netflix serving up?

Netflix streaming TV shows

If you want shows, Netflix has shows. Almost 200 of them.

It’s got adult dramas like The Crown and Peaky Blinders. It’s got cerebral thrillers like Black Mirror and the German show Dark. It’s got provocative documentaries like 13th and When They See Us.

If you’re looking for some lighter fare, you can laugh with Arrested Development or Russian Doll. And you can even keep the kids busy watching Netflix’s huge catalogue of cartoons and anime.

We could go on, but you get the idea. Netflix has tons of shows—and there’s something there for everyone.

Netflix streaming movies

While Netflix doesn’t have as many movies as Amazon Video, it does have plenty of A-grade (and B-grade) movies to choose from.

The list is constantly being updated, but it usually includes recent blockbuster superhero flicks, animated family movies, and drama films. Add to this Netflix’s increasingly big-budget original movies—like Bright and Mudbound—and you’ve got enough films to keep the whole family entertained.

Foreign language content on Netflix

Looking for something you can watch with your abuela? Want to brush up on your French? Or maybe you just want to see what kind of television other countries are producing. In any case, Netflix has you covered.

Unlike standard TV services, you don’t have to pay extra for this foreign-language content on Netflix.

You can watch plenty of shows in Spanish (Always a Witch and Ingobernable), Hindi (Sacred Games), Japanese (Devilman Crybaby), French (Marseille), Portuguese (The Mechanism), and plenty of other languages—with or without English subtitles.

Live TV and sports on Netflix

Netflix has a rather diverse set of programming, but one thing you won’t be able to stream is the Sunday night football game (*cue sad trombone*). In fact, Netflix doesn’t really have any sports content at all.

The best streaming TV service for watching your team sweep (or maybe not sweep) the championship title is fuboTV. But signing up for Fubo will set you back at least as much as your Netflix membership does.

A cheaper way to get some live sports coverage—and coverage of political debates, local news, and prime time television shows—is to throw a digital antenna on your TV. Most cost less than $50 and are the perfect way to round out a Netflix subscription.

User experience

Netflix’s easy-to-use interface is hampered by a lack of user reviews for the content.

One of the things that makes good old-fashioned TV so appealing is that you just plop down on the couch, hit the power button, and watch whatever’s on.

So the challenge for streaming services is to make a user interface that’s simple, seamless, and intuitive. Netflix actually succeeds pretty well (as long as you have an internet service that’s good for streaming).

Searching on Netflix

Netflix’s search feature is helpful and easy to use. It will bring up the titles you’re looking for (if they’re available) and plenty of similar titles you might also be interested in.

One thing to note is that if Netflix doesn’t have the content you’re searching for (if you search for Game of Thrones, for instance), it won’t tell you the title is not available. Instead, it’ll just suggest other shows or movies that it thinks are similar. (Is that helpful? Maybe. But it’s not straightforward.)

Netflix user reviews

Netflix’s algorithm determines which recommendations pop up in your view when you log on. Sometimes these recs will be perfect for you, but other times it seems like the company is pushing its own original shows and movies.

Netflix original series

While you used to be able to see (and write) user reviews on Netflix, the company has done away with that feature. You can’t even leave a 1–5 star review anymore—that’s been replaced by a simple thumbs up/down feature.

Here’s a statement from Netflix about these changes: “Netflix customers were able to leave reviews on Netflix.com until mid-2018, when reviews were removed due to declining use.”4

Since there are no published Netflix viewer ratings, the best way to figure out if a given show or movie is actually good is probably to use third-party review sites, like Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB, and, well, us at Reviews.org.

Netflix apps

The Netflix app is so popular that it’s already preloaded on most smart TVs. On other devices—phones, gaming consoles, and set-top boxes, etc.—you can download the app or ask your service provider to make it available.

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Here’s a list of devices that are compatible with Netflix:

  • All computer internet browsers
  • Roku devices
  • LG smart TVs and Blu-ray players
  • Android phones
  • Samsung Blu-ray players
  • Xbox One and Xbox 360
  • Microsoft phones
  • Asus set-top box
  • PlayStation 3 and 4
  • Nintendo Wii/Wii U/Switch
  • TiVo digital recorders
  • Western Digital set-top box
  • Apple smartphones and TVs
  • D-Link set-top box
  • Google Chromecast
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Youview set-top box
  • WeTek set-top box

Netflix recap

There’s a reason Netflix is the most popular streaming service. But can it retain its dominance in the years to come?

Netflix isn’t the only great streaming service out there, but it’s the most well-known one for a reason. Its library of movies and shows is the most well-rounded of the major streaming companies, it produces incredible original content, and its sleek interface is easy to navigate.

But the lack of Netflix ratings makes it hard to know how the company is really doing in an increasingly competitive market. Prices for Netflix’s plans have been rising steadily over the years, and they could go up again at any time.

You should keep a close eye on the company to see how it responds as new services like Disney+ and NBC’s Peacock enter the fast-moving streaming market. If you’re on a budget, you might have to start making some difficult choices between Disney’s Star Wars content and Netflix’s cooking shows.

We’ve found plenty to love about Netflix, but what do you think? Let us know in the comments section below!

Sources