Netflix is the world’s top video streaming service that allows users to watch content on screens ranging from a smartphones to a smart television. It works with a variety of other devices like PlayStation and Apple TV, letting users stream directly onto larger screen. Netflix is also the creator of a lot of original, made for the web content, much of which is now in high-resolution Ultra HD.
How is the service priced in India?
Netflix India has pricing similar to its primary US market and users will be able to pay as low as Rs 500 to watch shows and movies on a single screen at one time. For Rs 650, they will get access to two simultaneous screens and four for Rs 800 — this also has UHD content. The first month is free for all users and they can pay using PayPal and credit card only at the moment. An initial fee of Rs 70 ($1) is charged during signup to authenticate the card.
Netflix standard subscribers now pay $9.99 per month, not much more than the Rs 500 base price in India. Netflix was launched out of California is 1997 as a DVD rental service and now has over 69 million users globally with 42 million in the US alone.
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Is the content censored?
During signup you have to specify if you are above 18 and this means there is not going to be a lot of censored content, while everything will be rated. However, while creating a profile Netflix lets you identify children so that they don’t get access to any adult content.
Is there a lot of local content?
No. For now Netflix has limited Indian content, but they are working on getting more partners on board. An initial recce suggests all the popular Bollywood classics are there from Piku to Hum Aapke Hai Kaun. However, Netflix is going to be a big boost for independent cinema. which does not get much screens to show on in India.
How can I watch the content?
It is best to watch on the television, provided your screen is smart or is yoked to an Android box or Apple TV. Alternatively, you can use Chromecast as the Netflix apps is supported by the streaming dongle. You can watch the shows on a laptop, tablet or smartphone, or use a MHL or HDMI cable to mirror this on your television.
Is bandwidth in India and issue?’
Since this is the first question most people are asking, we decided to test this bit. I used the service on a MacBook Pro using a 1 Mbps wi-fi connection and the streaming was quite smooth after 30 seconds or so of initial buffering. The picture quality does scale down at times, but it restores within seconds. On a iPhone 6S Plus running LTE, the picture quality was great and the streaming seamless. I switched to 3G on the same phone and the experience was more or less the same except for the initial buffering.
Does India have the full catalogue?
I did find the catalogue limiting and a lot of content is not even showing up on search. For instance, I could not search and find House of Cards, which is a Netflix production. However, all the new titles are there and there is no dearth of titles that India has never had access to.
Are there other Netflix like options in India?
Yes, there are services like Hooq and BoxTV that offer similar services at cheaper price points. But they cannot compete with Netflix that creates a lot of exclusive content that is popular globally. Also, not all services are able to offer seamless play on all four screens (smartphones, tablets, laptops and televisions).
Will the service find takers in India?
Yes, because this gives access to content otherwise not available in India — at least not legally. A lot of users with expensive UHD televisions and will finally have access to high-resolution content that put their TVs to full use. Also, globally Netflix has been responsible for a cultural shift is how video content is consumed. And it is to cater to this binge watching phenomenon that the company released full seasons of its popular series House of Cards exclusively online.