Netflix Data Usage

Streaming movies and shows on any device is going to use data – and most people have a specific amount of data they’re allowed to use each month. If you go over your monthly limit, your Internet provider may charge you extra money, so it’s helpful to know exactly how much data Netflix uses so that you may use it accordingly.

On Average, Netflix uses about:

  • 1 gigabyte of data for every hour of Standard Definition content
  • 3 gigabytes for every hour of High Definition content

This is a useful guideline if you don’t have unlimited data.

How to Change the Amount of Data Netflix Uses

Luckily, there are ways to use even less data than normal when streaming Netflix. To change your data usage settings, go to Your Account and select Playback Settings.

From there you will have a few options to choose from, each using a different amount of data.

Auto selects the video quality automatically based on the speed of your Internet connection. It will typically use the highest video quality that your Internet connection will allow.

It’s important to note that the Auto setting doesn’t take into consideration the monthly data limit of your Internet provider plan. If you are already over your data limit, you will continue to stream at the highest possibly video quality setting that your connection speed will allow.

Call Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) if Unsure

If you’re wondering just how much Netflix you’re able to watch each month, call your Internet Service Provider to find out. After another couple weeks, call again to figure out just how much data you’ve used.  If you compare that against how long the programs are that you’ve watched, you’ll have a general idea of how much time you have remaining.

How Much Does Netflix Cost?

Cost of Netflix Basic Plan

A basic monthly subscription to Netflix costs $7.99 per month. This will allow you to watch Netflix on one screen at a time in Standard Definition video quality. If you’re looking for higher video quality, or to watch Netflix on multiple screens at once, premium subscriptions are available for $9.99 and $11.99 per month.

Premium Monthly Subscriptions

There are two options that offer higher quality video feeds and allow Netflix to be used by multiple people simultaneously on the same account:

  • $9.99/month – Watch Netflix on two screens at a time. High Definition is available for this option, but Ultra High Definition is not.
  • $11.99/month – Watch Netflix on four screens at a time. Both High Definition and Ultra High Definition video quality are available.

Being able to watch on multiple screens at once is great if you have a family that will also be using Netflix – or you can split the bill with a friend and share your subscription with them.

The amount is billed directly to your credit card and you are able to cancel your subscription at any time.

1-Month Free Trial

Not sure if Netflix is right for you? No problem. With Netflix’s one-month free trial you can use it as much as you like for one month and see if it’s a service you’d like to continue with.

For a free trial, you’ll still need to enter your credit card information, but you will not be billed for the free month. Afterwards, you can do nothing to continue on with a paid monthly subscription, or cancel it so that your credit card does not get billed.

NOTE: If you do not cancel your free trial before going into a new month, Netflix will charge you $7.99 for the new month that is no longer a part of your free trial.

Watch Your Internet Data Bill

While Netflix is cheap, your Internet provider may not be. Check with your provider to see how much allotted data you have per month.

Video streaming can use up a lot of data, so make sure you regularly review your usage online to confirm that you haven’t gone over your monthly data limit. If you do end up going over, your Internet provider will charge you extra on your next monthly bill.

For more information about Netflix and data usage, check out our Netflix Data Usage tutorial.

Is Netflix Worth It?

When used appropriately (read: not using more than your monthly data allotment from your Internet service provider), Netflix is a great solution for getting rid of cable bills and enjoying on-the-go streaming.

Netflix Review

Key Features

Netflix allows you to pause, rewind and fast-forward your favourite shows and movies on-demand.  This means that you get to watch what you want, when you want. Since Netflix is available on so many platforms, you also get to control how you watch Netflix and where.

Pros and Cons

There are pros and cons to everything, so we’ve listed some of Netflix’s pros and cons here to help you decide if Netflix is right for you.


  • Great value with no extra costs – the subscription is $7.99 a month and you’re billed exactly that each month
  • Multiplatform availability – allows you to watch your shows and movies where ever you are on any device (computer, mobile phones, tablets)
  • Offers the largest instant streaming library – you have tons of movies and TV shows to choose from
  • Offers original award-winning programming – such as Orange is the New Black and Hemlock Grove
  • Updated weekly – new shows and movies are added each week to Netflix’s already huge selection
  • Save money – by using Netflix and cancelling your cable subscription, you’ll save a ton of money
  • No Commercials – watch what you want from beginning to end with no interruptions
  • Personalization – when you watch something from beginning to end, Netflix gets an idea of what you like to watch and recommends shows and movies according to your watch history


  • Not all shows or movies are recent – Netflix won’t have the most current season of TV shows available (except through DVD rental), so you’ll have to wait for season 3 to start before you can begin watching season 2.
  • Interface doesn’t show many titles at once – Because of the large size of the title icons, you may only see a few titles at once and end up scrolling a lot to find a show/movie you want to watch.
  • Interface differs platform to platform – The way Netflix is laid out on your TV differs from how you would see it on your tablet or laptop.

The Bottom Line: 9.5/10

For ease of use, personalization and the massive amount of content available at a very affordable price, Netflix gets a 9.5/10 when compared to other, lesser-known streaming services.

What is Netflix and How Does It Work?

The life of a movie and TV aficionado is kind of hard, if you think about it.  Say that there’s a blockbuster movie that you want to see.  Do you go see it in theatres as soon as it comes out?  That will cost you a pretty penny.  Do you wait until the movie has a physical release, and then buy it?  It’s still kind of expensive, there’s no telling if you’ll even watch the movie more than once, and the player (or disc) may stop working or become obsolete.

And then there’s the case of TV.  There are a number of different things that can get between you and your favourite show.  The channels in your provider package aren’t airing a new episode for another week, or maybe more.  Or maybe the show is on a premium channel that you have to pay extra money to subscribe to.  Or maybe you don’t have enough tapes or space on your digital recorder to save your show and all of the other stuff that you want to watch.

That’s why many people who aren’t satisfied with these options turn to  With Netflix, you can watch as many movies and TV show episodes as you want.  And there’s no need to wait for a theatre to post a show time, a renter to have a physical copy in stock, or a channel to air the next episode.  As long as a movie or show is available on Netflix, you can watch it whenever you want.  And all of it costs as little as $8 a month.

So what is Netflix, in a nutshell?

Netflix is a website that allows you to watch movies and television shows whenever you want and as often as you want.  A monthly subscription gives you access to all titles available on Netflix for your country, which you can watch on your computer, mobile device, smart TV, or other digital media player.

Netflix is a media streaming service.  What this means is that you can watch a movie or TV show episode as the file is loading, as opposed to having to wait for the entire file to load before you can begin watching.  Our article on Internet TV explains more.

What can I watch on Netflix?

On average across its various national libraries, Netflix has over 2200 movies and television shows available to watch at any one time (the United States has the most, with over 5500 titles).  Most of them are produced by regional or international media companies, but some are produced by Netflix itself.  These include:

  • Orange is the New Black — Based on Piper Kerman’s memoir, this crime drama recounts Kerman’s experience of living out a 15-month sentence in an American women-only federal prison after she is caught transporting a suitcase full of drug money.
  • Hemlock Grove — Set in the fictional town of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, this show examines the unlikely friendship that develops between a newcomer to the town and the heir to the town’s wealthy family as they jointly investigate a series of murders and other strange occurrences.
  • House of Cards — A political drama series adapted from the British Broadcasting Corporation series of the same name.  Set in present-day Washington, D.C., the show tells the story of Frank Underwood, a politician who, after being snubbed in the appointment of U.S. Secretary of State, concocts an elaborate plan to get himself into a position of even greater power.

How Netflix works: 5 steps to using Netflix like a pro

1. Sign up for a Netflix account, and choose your pricing plan.

When you sign up, you’ll be given a choice of different subscription options.  Depending on which one you choose, you may be able to watch Netflix on multiple devices at once with the same account, or be able to watch movies and shows with higher-quality video resolution.  But all of them will give you access to the full library of titles available for your country, so you won’t need to worry about missing out if you go for just the basic plan!

Oh, and one more thing: the first time you sign up for Netflix, you can use any plan that you want for free for a month, so you can determine whether or not you’ll get your money’s worth out of Netflix!

Choose from one of three pricing plans on Netflix

2. Set up Netflix to work on the device of your choice.

As we mentioned before, you can use the video streaming service right from the website, but there are a bunch of other ways to watch it, too!  For example, you can hook your computer up to your TV and watch Netflix that way.  Or, you can run Netflix on your TV through a digital media player (e.g. Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, or Google Chromecast), modern video game console (e.g. Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox, or Nintendo Wii), or some Blu-Ray players or cable/satellite boxes.  Some advanced TVs can even run Netflix directly… no peripherals needed!  A complete list can be found here.

3. Find and follow your favourite titles, or get suggestions on what to watch next.

There are lots of ways to browse and search for the perfect movie or TV show to watch.  You can go by what’s currently popular, narrow your search to just movies or TV shows, filter by genres, or even look for a title by its name or who stars in it.  You can also tell Netflix your taste preferences, and it will recommend new titles based on what you like and what you’ve watched previously.

Netflix has a large library of different movies and TV shows

4. The Netflix video player puts you in control of your favourite titles.

Once you find a movie or TV show to watch, you can use the Netflix video player to watch it however you like it.  Start and stop the video, skip to a particular part, or skip between episodes of the same TV show.  Adjust the volume or video quality, enable subtitles if you’re hard-of-hearing (or the title isn’t in your native language), or make the player take up your entire screen so that you can see every detail.  You can even tell your friends on social media what you’re watching right from Netflix!

Watching videos on Netflix with the Netflix video player

5. Watch titles the old-fashioned way with

If you’re happy watching movies and TV shows on physical media discs (or don’t have the Internet or device specs to watch Netflix the way that you want to), you can try out, Netflix’s service for renting DVD and Blu-Ray discs.  For low monthly rates, you can rent up to 3 titles at once from, keep them and watch them for however long you want, and then send them back in the mail once you’re done.  You can even set up to send you new titles as soon as they get back the ones that you’re currently using!

Renting DVDs from Netflix through


If watching entertainment on either the silver screen or the small screen is getting to be too much of a financial and/or logistical hassle, give Netflix a try.  Our Netflix course will show you everything that you need to know to get it up and running, from creating an account to finding what you want to watch to adjusting your settings and preferences.  Plus, you get a month free, so there’s very little to lose.  Start watching movies and TV shows when you want and as often as you want for an affordable monthly price with Netflix!