ARE you prepared to pay for Netflix with adverts?
It’s the question on many people’s lips since the streaming giant unleashed its brand new ad-supported subscription plan.
And with the cost of living crisis, it’s an option many will surely be considering to save some cash.
But how many ads are there?
Are we talking about some skippable ads like YouTube or are we looking at around three minutes like on TV?
Plus, there are other things missing from Netflix Basic with Ads.
So we’ve decided to take the new tier for a spin – and you might be pleasantly surprised.
All about the ads
First of all, ads only appear before and during anything you watch.
There aren’t any ads on the Netflix interface and no pesky popup ads either, which is a relief.
I had feared that breaks would be quite lengthy (I can’t be the only one who has given up on waiting through others like All4 which seem to drag on).
But to my shock, there weren’t that many ads at all.
In fact, some things I put on had no ads whatsoever.
My first test run was with an episode of The Crown.
There was a 30 second advert before it started.
Then, there weren’t any adverts until 19 mins in (bear in mind the entire episode lasts 55 mins).
There were a third and fourth set of adverts, which were less than 10 minutes a part, which I found a bit excessive, even if they only went on for 45 seconds and 60 seconds respectively.
I guess Netflix needs to place the breaks at points where it’s suitable, not midway through someone talking randomly.
Another good thing is that you can rewind backwards and you won’t have to watch the ads again.
If you leave the episode and go back, you might have to watch an advertisement again – in some tests there was one and in others, nothing.
But they tended to be very short, one was only 15 seconds.
So, what about a movie?
Well, I selected Red Notice and had one 30 second advert before and no others during the film.
Better still, Erin Brockovich had zero ads.
It’s hard not to think that the commercials are very random.
Maybe Netflix eases off on them the longer you spend on it in one session? Who knows.
What I do know is, during my trial run with the new subscription plan I didn’t feel bombarded with adverts at all, which is a positive sign.
Of course, they could well increase the amount of ads further down the line (see YouTube).
That said, you can’t skip the ads.
Ads is not the only big change when it comes to the new tier.
Some content is missing from the catalog due to licensing issues.
Netflix tells me titles that are available represent on average from 85 to 95 percent of viewing, depending on the country.
The streaming giant does a good job of keeping the stuff you can’t get out of your face.
I only ever spotted the dreaded padlock icon – which means you can’t access it – within the top ten list.
That meant I couldn’t watch Minions and More 2 and Sing, which were listed there.
The only other time you’ll get this disappointment is if it’s something you know to be on Netflix, or you just search out of chance, and the title appears with the padlock on it once again.
At a glance, Netflix certainly doesn’t feel scarce for content regardless of this slight setback.
There still seems to be loads to watch – not least of all its own productions which will be pretty safe on the platform.
Another big difference is video quality – the highest you can get with Netflix Basic with Ads is 720p.
As someone big on video quality and viewing on a UHD TV, I could definitely see a lack of shine but it didn’t destroy the experience.
And most people probably wouldn’t notice at all.
The last difference worth noting is that you can only use your account on one screen at a time – goodbye account sharing.
That’s OK for me in a house of two, but bigger families might struggle.
Is Netflix Basic with Ads worth it?
I was quite skeptical about the idea of still paying with ads, but seeing how few there are has reassured me.
If you’re looking to be careful with money, don’t care about having the very best video quality, and only need one screen at a time, this is a good little cash saver worth going for.
Let’s hope it continues and they don’t overrun it with ads later down the line like other sites.
Netflix Basic with Ads is available now for £4.99 / $6.99 per month.
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