Despite price hike, Netflix is still a steal at $9.99 per month

October 9, 2015, 7:07 PM UTC
Photograph by Getty Images

Want more Netflix (NFLX) in your life? It’ll cost you an extra buck.

The streaming service announced yesterday that it was raising the price of its most popular subscription plan, from $8.99 to $9.99 per month for customers in the U.S., Canada and parts of Latin America. The price hike comes shortly after a similar increase in Europe earlier this year.

Despite the hike, the online video service is totally worth it. Although competitors like Amazon Prime and Hulu have stepped up their streaming game in recent months—with features like offline-video downloads and commercial-free viewing—Netflix continues to offer the best bang for your buck.

Consider this: Your extra $10 per month nets you unlimited access to Netflix’s massive library of movies and TV shows. This isn’t pay-per-view; it’s pay-view-all. Sure, you could rent the creepy Jake Gyllenhaal flick “Nightcrawler” for $3.99 from Google Play or iTunes, but why would you? It’s available as part of your Netflix subscription. The same goes for full seasons of “Breaking Bad,” “Sherlock,” and “Friday Night Lights,” all of which would cost considerably more à la carte.

Let’s not also forget about original Netflix shows like “Daredevil,” “House of Cards,” and “Orange is the New Black.” Although you can pay to watch some of these series elsewhere (Amazon charges $24.99 for the first season of “‘Black,” for example), all of them are included with your Netflix subscription. Many have one or more Emmys under their belt.

All of Netflix’s shows and movies arrive commercial-free, in HD, on just about every connected device you own: phones, tablets, streaming-media boxes and sticks, smart TVs, and so on. The $9.99-per-month tier does limit you to two simultaneous streams, but for just two dollars more you can watch videos on four screens at once. (For the moment, Netflix’s premium $11.99-per-month option remains the same price.)

However, not everything about Netflix is ideal. The service’s user interface can look dramatically different depending on the app or device you’re using, and its movie library continues to consist mostly of older titles. In fact, movies can disappear without warning, like when Netflix lost its distribution deal with Epix last month.

Netflix also continues to require a live Internet connection. Recently, Amazon (AMZN) made it possible for Prime subscribers to download movies and TV shows for offline viewing, an excellent perk for phone and tablet users. Netflix has declined to match that offer; anyone hoping to stock a season’s worth of, say, “BoJack Horseman” for their next flight is out of luck.

No matter. Netflix was a steal back in 2014, when subscribers were still paying $7.99 monthly, and it remained a steal when the price jumped to $8.99 in May of that year. It’s still a remarkably good deal at $9.99—a price that, incidentally, is for new customers only. Existing subscribers are grandfathered in at $8.99 for the next year.

So, for the price of a single movie-theater ticket, two venti mocha lattes, or lunch at just about any sandwich shop, you can get an entire month’s worth of viewing pleasure. The only real surprise is that Netflix didn’t raise the rate to $19.99. Even then, I must admit: still worth it.

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