R99 vs R169 Netflix — Streaming quality, devices, and other features compared

South Africans who want to subscribe to Netflix currently have three packages to choose from, ranging from R99 per month to R169 per month.

When it comes to online streaming services, there is little doubt that Netflix is one of the best options around.

With its vast library of original and licenced movies and TV shows, it offers thousands of hours of entertainment across various genres.

Unlike its biggest international rivals Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, however, Netflix does not take a “one-size-fits-all” approach to its product line-up.

Instead, Netflix has a segmented its offerings to offer certain benefits the more you pay.

In South Africa, Netflix offers three different types of plans:

  • Basic – R99
  • Standard – R139
  • Premium – R169

The company is also testing mobile plans in the country, however, these packages have not officially been launched yet.

The primary difference between the three tiers is that each offers different maximum streaming qualities.

Basic is capped at a SD video resolution of 480p, while the Standard package offers full HD (1080p) streaming.

The former is best suited to mobile users or those who stream on smaller screen, where the lower quality is less noticeable.

Standard’s peak resolution makes it the better option for watching on full HD TVs .

The top-end Premium package boasts the highest potential streaming resolution — Ultra High Definition (UHD), also known as 4K.

With more TV shows and movies being shot, produced, and streamed in 4K, and the prices of 4K TVs with upscaling abilities dropping, many more households may find it worthwhile to pay the extra R30 per month for that boost of visual fidelity.

Netflix

It is important to understand that the streaming quality will also affect your data usage.

The higher the resolution, the more data is consumed for every second of streaming.

This means that you will require a certain minimum download speed on your Internet connection to stream at the maximum potential resolution without buffering.

Netflix recommends the following download speeds for the different packages:

  • Basic – 3Mbps
  • Standard – 5Mbps
  • Premium – 25Mbps

The other big difference between the three packages is the number of users that can stream at the same time.

Netflix allows for a set number of simultaneous streams on each package.

Basic only permits a single stream at any given time, Standard allows for two streams, and Premium lets you stream from four devices at the same time.

Devices and libraries

Netflix does not limit the number of devices you can connect to your account on a single subscription.

However, the number of devices to which you can stream at the same time, and on which you can download movies or TV shows for offline watching does differ.

These correlate with the particular plan’s simultaneous streams, meaning Basic allows for downloads on one device, Standard for two, and Premium for four.

The last important attribute which remains the same across the packages is the library.

All three come with the same catalogue of TV shows and movies, which will only vary based on the country you are streaming in.

Recommendations

Based on all of the attributes discussed above, Netflix’s different packages are best-suited to the following kinds of users:

  • Basic — Single user with laptop or tablet.
  • Standard — Medium-sized household with full HD TV.
  • Premium — Large-sized household with 4K TV.

The table below shows a comparison between the different Netflix plans available in South Africa.

Netflix plans in South Africa
Basic Standard Premium
Maximum streaming quality 480p 1080p 2160p
Supported devices TV, laptop, smartphone TV, laptop, smartphone TV, laptop, smartphone
Number of devices for streaming Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Number of devices for downloads 1 2 4
Simultaneous streams 1 2 4
Library size* 5,499 titles 5,499 titles 5,499 titles
Recommended download speed 3Mbps 5Mbps 25Mbps
Price R99 R139 R169

*Based on figures from JustWatch as of 27 June 2021.

Now read: DStv’s one-stop-shop plan with Netflix

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R99 vs R169 Netflix — Streaming quality, devices, and other features compared