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The Dreaded Netflix Price Hike is Coming — Here’s What You Should Know

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The honeymoon will soon be over for Netflix’s most loyal subscribers. When the online video streaming service began raising the cost of its standard streaming plan in 2014 — first, with a jump from $7.99 to $8.99 monthly and, later, a jump to $9.99 monthly — existing subscribers got a break. They were able to keep their $7.99 or $8.99/month deal while new members paid the higher price point.

Since May, however, Netflix has been slowly rising membership costs for those early adopters to the current price point of $9.99/month for a standard membership. This summer, some 22 million subscribers — nearly half its total subscriber base of 45 million — will see their subscription costs rise. Netflix is undoubtedly hoping most subscribers won’t notice the few extra bucks on their monthly bill. Even so, an estimated 480,000 users will decide to cancel their plans, the company said.

How to know when your Netflix bill goes up:

The company will alert subscribers by email, so keep an eye on your inbox.

Do you have to pay the higher price point?

No.

If $7.99 is all you have budgeted for streaming per month, don’t worry. Netflix is still offering a plan at $7.99 per month. However, at that rate you will only able to stream on one screen at a time. Paying $9.99 per month will allow streaming on up to two screens. Netflix’s premium subscription, $11.99 per month, will allow streaming on up to four screens.

If you’re a loyal Netflix user, it can still be a great value. Sharing online streaming subscriptions can be a smart, simple way to save on the cost of at-home entertainment. If you’ve got a couple of roommates who can split the bill, you could actually only be out of pocket a few bucks a month for unlimited access to Netflix’s catalog.

Good news: You’ve got plenty of other options

Amazon Prime. If you’re already an Amazon Prime member, you automatically have access to its video streaming service, along with other perks like free 2-day shipping. The cost of a Prime membership is $99 if you pay annually, which might sound steep on its face but really works out to $8.25 per month — less than what you’d pay for a standard $9.99/month Netflix plan. Just be sure you actually pay for Amazon Prime annually because opting into the monthly payment will run you $10.99 and therefore cost an additional $32.88 per year. Unless you’re a loyal fan of Netflix’s original series like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, it probably doesn’t make much sense to pay for both Amazon and Netflix.

Hulu. For $7.99 a month you can stream all you want but you’ll have to deal with commercials. Hulu Plus offers commercial-free viewing for $11.99, on par with Netflix’s premium subscription plan. However, whereas you can stream on up to four screens under a single Netflix subscription, Hulu only allows you to stream on one screen per subscription.

HBO Now.  HBO now offers its streaming-only service, HBO Now. It costs $14.99/month and includes total access to the HBO shows and movies cable subscribers enjoy. Just be prepared for a glitch every once in awhile — fans of highly popular shows like Game of Thrones have been known to crash the service when too many users log in to stream at once.

 

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