How Does Netflix Streaming Work?

While it initially started as a mail-order DVD rental service, Netflix has surged in popularity thanks to the streaming video service that they provide. Netflix has a huge library of of TV shows, movies and documentaries that you can watch on your TV, mobile device or computer.

If you have been curious about the Netflix streaming service, I highly recommend that you sign up for a free trial so you can see what it is all about. Once you have a valid Netflix account, you can simply sign into it, click on a streaming video, and start watching it. It really is that simple, and it makes a great addition to your home entertainment setup. Additionally, Netflix is almost a required service for anyone that wants to save some money by cutting their cable cord.

But if you want to know more about the Netflix streaming service, such as what you will need to watch it on assorted devices, how much it costs, and how many devices you can watch it on simultaneously, then continue reading below. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

What Will I Need for Netflix Streaming?

the netflix logo

Netflix streaming is an entirely Internet-based service, so the most important thing that you will need for Netflix streaming is Internet service in your home. Streaming video requires a lot of bandwidth, however, so you are going to need a broadband Internet service such as DSL, cable, or fiber. If you have a dial-up Internet connection, or satellite Internet, then you may not be able to take advantage of the streaming services provided by Netflix. If you are concerned about the strength of your Internet connection, then sign up for the Netflix trial and attempt to stream a movie on your computer. This will allow you to see if your current setup is capable of video streaming. Note that you can stream Netflix over a cellular data connection, but it can use a huge amount of your cellular plan’s monthly data allotment, and is generally not recommended.

Once you have determined that you have a strong enough Internet connection for Netflix streaming, then you are going to need a device on which to watch your videos. You can watch it in a Web browser on your computer (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, etc.), on a mobile device via a Netflix app (iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, etc.), or on your TV with the help of a device like the Roku 1 (Amazon link), Google Chromecast (Amazon link) or Apple TV (Amazon link). Some Smart TVs also have built in Netflix apps on which you can watch Netflix as well.

How Much Does Netflix Streaming Cost?

Note that all of the prices listed below are current at the time of this article’s writing, July 23, 2014.

The streaming component of the Netflix service is $8.99 per month. You can watch as many movies as you want each month, with no limitations. This price is for the streaming-only service. If you would also like to get physical movie discs delivered to your house, then there is an additional charge based on the number of discs that you want at a time. For example, you can have 1 DVD at a time for $7.99, 2 DVDs at a time for $11.99, or 3 discs at a time for $15.99 a month. There are additional charges if you would like to have Blu-Ray discs as well.

How Many Devices Can I Stream on Simultaneously?

The default streaming option will allow you to stream Netflix on two devices simultaneously from the same account. You can upgrade your plan so that you can watch simultaneously on 4 devices from the same account. This option costs $11.99 per month. If you are currently streaming on your maximum number of allotted devices, then Netflix will display a warning that you are unable to stream on the additional device because the account is currently streaming to the maximum number of devices.

 Example of How to Stream a Netflix Movie on an iPhone

There is a Netflix app for the iPhone that you can download through the App Store on the device. You can read more about finding and installing apps from the App Store here. You can then open the app and sign into it with the email address and password associated with your Netflix account. The steps below will provide you with an example of how you would stream a Netflix movie on your iPhone.

Step 1: Launch the Netflix app.

launch the netflix app

Step 2: Scroll down and search for a movie, TV show or documentary to watch, or tap the Search icon at the top-right of the screen to enter a search term.

search for a video

Step 3: Tap the Play button on the video that you want to watch.

play the video

Step 4: The video will start streaming and playing on the device. You can tap the screen to bring up the menu that will allow you to control video playback.

netflix video playing on iphone

If you have been thinking about signing up for Netflix, then I highly recommend it. I personally watch Netflix a lot, and get an incredible amount of value out of the cost of my monthly subscription. The Netflix streaming library has an impressive selection of movies and TV shows, and you are almost certain to find a lot of options that you want to watch. newsletter

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