Netflix is currently testing the introduction of a new pricing plan for users who want to stream in Ultra HD.
The streaming service currently offers three different pricing tiers: Basic (£5.99/month), which allows you to watch on 1 screen at a time in Standard Definition; Standard (£7.99/month), which allows you to watch on 2 screens at a time in HD; and Premium (£9.99/month), which allows you to watch on up to 4 screens at a time with HD and Ultra HD available.
Netflix has gradually increased its pricing over the years, to fund its growing content library – both original productions and acquisitions – but the growing prominence of 4K and HDR marks a new era for video quality, particularly when streaming online. BBC iPlayer, for example, has been running tests for both the World Cup and Wimbledon this summer to ensure that its platform can handle the resources necessary to stream video live in Ultra HD and HDR in the future.
Netflix has so far put the two features together – Ultra HD, which is video in 4K resolution, and HDR (High Dynamic Range), which improves the contrast, brightness and colours of an image. Now, Italian blog Tutto Android has spotted that in Italy, Netflix is testing out a new subscription tier called Ultra, which would see Ultra HD and HDR separated: in Italy, where the current Premium tier costs €13.99 a month and includes Ultra HD content, the Ultra package would cost €16.99 a month and include HDR as well. The number of screens used by a Premium account would also be dropped to 2, with Ultra offering up to 4 screens.
Netflix confirmed to CNET that it is currently testing to the waters to work out what pricing will suit customers, which means prices in the UK could increase in the future, for those who have already upgraded to a 4K TV and want to stream in the best possible quality.
“We continuously test new things at Netflix and these tests typically vary in length of time,” Smita Saran, a Netflix spokeswoman, told the site. “In this case, we are testing slightly different price points and features to better understand how consumers value Netflix.”