Netflix: tips and tricks to save on your TV

Netflix home screen featuring Downton Abbey

Netflix doesn’t often do deals or special offers, but there are ways to save on your Netflix subscription and other streaming services.

BREAKING: On 23 January, it was announced that Netflix will be removing its ad-free Basic tier in the UK. This will happen some time in the second quarter of 2024. This means that those currently with a Basic package will have to pay more for an ad-free service.

With Netflix having hiked its prices recently, the UK’s most popular streaming service now costs £4.99 for its Standard package (with ads) or £17.99 for the all-singing, all-dancing Premium package.

If you’re one of the 17 million UK households with a Netflix subscription – or you’re thinking of getting one – you may be wondering how to keep costs down. Here we’ll look into your options. And if you’re not wedded to Netflix in particular, check out the best streaming services to see what other cheap deals are out there.

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First thing to know: Netflix doesn’t really *do* deals

While it may be possible to pay less for your Netflix depending on your current subscription, they don’t have offers. This means there are no trial periods, no discounts for students or pensioners… Nada. Zip.

It’s also no longer possible to subscribe to its ad-free Basic package if you’re not already on it, whether you’re a current Netflix customer or not. And this package will be retired in the second quarter of 2024.

There are currently four subscription options and this is what you get with each:

Type of plan Standard (with ads) Standard Premium Basic (existing customers only - ends Q2 2024)
Monthly price £4.99 £10.99 £17.99 £7.99
Picture resolution Full HD (1080p) Full HD (1080p) Ultra HD (4K + HDR) HD (720p)
Is it ad-free? No Yes Yes Yes
How many simultaneous streams? Two Two Four One
Is content downloadable to watch offline? No Yes - on two devices Yes - on up to six devices Yes - on one device
Can you add users you don't live with? No Yes - one person for an extra £4.99 per month Yes - up to two people for an extra £4.99 per month each No

So the cheapest option is £4.99 a month, or £59.88 annually. Which isn’t a bad price. But it does come with adverts and the content isn’t available to watch offline. This means you can’t download content to watch on the go. You’d have to stream it instead, which means relying on Wi-Fi or using up a lot of your mobile data.

At the other end of the scale, the Premium package costs £17.99 a month, or a slightly eye-watering £215.88 a year. But if you live in a bigger household, it allows four simultaneous streams and 4K / Ultra HD content is available.

Tips for getting cheaper Netflix

1. Consider downgrading your plan to Netflix with ads

If you don’t mind adverts, going for Netflix’s cheapest ad-supported package isn’t a bad idea. It’s £4.99 a month and you get to watch content in full HD where available. Switching from the Standard package will put an additional £72 a year in your pocket. This goes up to £156 a year if you’re downgrading from the Premium package.

Some shows and films aren’t available with Netflix with ads, however. So if you’re dead set on bingeing The Good Place or House of Cards, be sure to check before downgrading. You can change to a cheaper plan in the Netflix app by selecting your account, choosing ‘plan details’ followed by ‘change plan’.

2. ‘Stream-hop’ between services

As monthly subscription services, Netflix and similar platforms don’t usually lock you into 12-month contracts. So why not take advantage of this by dipping in and out of different services? Becoming a stream-hopper (or VOD-hopper, if you prefer) means you can binge your favourite series on certain platforms, then move on.

Let’s say you want to binge season six of The Crown. Part 1 lands in November 2023, and Part 2 in December. If you’re able to wait, just take out a month’s subscription from 14 December and binge the lot in one go. Or Gilmore Girls. We won’t judge.

3. Include streaming in your TV bundle

If you’re signing up to a new TV package, you’re likely to be able to bundle your preferred streaming services in with the deal. Bundling services with TV providers such as Sky Stream is likely to work out more cost-effective than paying for them individually.

You might not even have to sign up to a new service. If you’re out of contract – or soon to be – you may be able to haggle with your current TV provider for a better deal.

4. Look out for free trials

While neither Netflix nor Disney Plus offer free trials, other streaming services might. For instance, Amazon Prime Video and Sky Stream both offer month-long free trials. Find out how to get the cheapest TV streaming deals to see what’s available.

5. Share an account

While Netflix has cracked down on password sharing, you can still have multiple users within a household. For instance, with the Standard account, you can still stream two movies or shows at the same time and download content to two devices.

Similarly, if there are four of you in the house, splitting one Premium account will cost you about £4.50 each per month. And you’ll be able to watch in Ultra HD.

This means that, if you share with someone else in the house, you can effectively split the bill in half. Good to know if you’re in student or shared accommodation, or in a house with multiple occupants (HMO).

6. You don’t need a TV licence if you’re only watching Netflix

Provided you’re not watching BBC channels or live TV, you don’t need a TV licence to stream Netflix content. This is a potential saving of £159.

It’s also worth knowing is that, if you’re over 75 and receive Pension Credit, you’re exempt from paying the TV licence fee anyway.

7. Get Netflix as an inclusive extra with your mobile

If you’re in the market to get a new mobile contract, you may be able to score Netflix or other streaming services through your provider. These deals pop up from time to time, so it’s worth shopping around when you’re out of contract. For instance, if you’re after a SIM only deal, EE offers Netflix as an inclusive extra with some of its iPhone plans.

You may also be able to get a few months’ worth of other streaming services with some providers. For instance, you may be able to get Disney Plus with O2 Priority or Apple TV+ with EE, Tesco Mobile and Three.

8. Download to your device to save on data

With all plans other than Netflix Standard with ads, you can download content to your device to watch offline. It’s a good idea to download over broadband while at home to save from eating into your mobile data allowance.

9. Ditch Netflix

Another question to ask yourself is: do you really need Netflix? There are plenty of alternative streaming services available, many of which are cheaper and have competitive content.

Use a site such as JustWatch to find out what shows and movies are available on each platform before you take the plunge.