How does Netflix work?

Netflix Free Trial and Billing

How does the Free Trial work?

Try us free for 1 month! You'll be able to instantly watch unlimited movies and TV episodes over the Internet on your TV via a PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, or any other Netflix-enabled device. You can also watch instantly on your computer!

If you enjoy your Netflix trial, do nothing at the end of your trial and your membership will automatically continue for as long as you choose to remain a member. Netflix membership is a month-to-month subscription which begins at sign-up. You can easily cancel anytime, online, 24 hours a day. There are no long-term contracts or cancellation fees. Just sign up to get started!

How does Netflix billing work?

If you choose to remain a member of Netflix, you'll be billed once per month on the date that you originally signed up. More information about billing can be found in our article about how Netflix charges your account.

Watching Netflix

What can I use to stream Netflix to my TV?

You can watch instantly from any Internet-connected device that offers a Netflix application, such as gaming consoles, DVD and Blu-ray Players, HDTVs, streaming players, home theater systems, phones and tablets. These devices are manufactured and sold by device manufacturers. For a more detailed list, see our Netflix-ready Devices page.

How do I watch Netflix on my computer?

To begin watching movies and TV shows from your PC or Mac:

  1. Open an Internet browser and go to
  2. Sign into your Netflix account
  3. Select a title to Play

If you do not already have Microsoft Silverlight plug-in installed, you will be prompted to download and install the free plug-in for your web browser. Just follow the instructions to get started.

For detailed installation instructions and system requirements, see the Complete System Requirements for Silverlight page.

What’s the selection like?

We have thousands of other movies & TV episodes available to watch instantly right on your TV via any other device that streams from Netflix, including PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, or your computer. There are never any commercials no matter how much you watch, and you can pause, rewind, fast forward or re-watch as often as you like. It's really that easy!

Can I stream Netflix in HD?

Yes! Many Netflix titles are available in HD. The picture quality while streaming movies & TV shows may vary from computer to computer, and device to device. Picture quality may be affected by a variety of other factors, such as your location, the bandwidth available through and/or speed of your Internet connection.

Streaming in HD uses more bandwidth than streaming in standard definition. Please check with your Internet provider for information on possible Internet data overage charges, as you are responsible for all Internet access charges. You can Manage Bandwidth Usage--the amount of data you use while streaming--by adjusting the video quality of your instant watching experience. Simply visit the Your Account link on the website to change your video quality settings.

Where is Netflix available?

Members with a streaming-only plan will be able to watch instantly through the Netflix service from the following regions listed below. The available content may vary by location, and will change from time to time.

Åland Islands
American Samoa
BES Islands (NE)
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Curaçao (NE)
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Faroe Islands
Federated States of Micronesia
French Guiana
Greenland (Denmark)
Guadeloupe (FR)
Guernsey (Baliwick of)
Isle of Man
Jersey (Baliwick of)
Marshall Islands
Martinique (FR)
Montserrat (UK)
Northern Mariana Islands
Puerto Rico
Sint Maarten (NE)
St. Barthélemy (FR)
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Martin (Collectivity of)(FR)
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
The Turks and Caicos Islands (UK)
Trinidad and Tobago
United Kingdom
United States
U.S. Virgin Islands

Under the Hood

How fast does my Internet need to be?

The minimum required connection speed is 0.5Mbps, but you may want a faster connection for improved video quality (as described in our Internet Connection Speed Recommendations).

While Watch Instantly works with many different levels of broadband, the speed and bandwidth of your broadband Internet connection may impact your viewing experience. Netflix streams a little bit of data as a buffer each time you start a movie or TV show. Frequently starting and stopping movies & TV shows will result in a minor increase to the amount of data Netflix streams to you per hour. In most cases, this will be less than a few minutes worth.

Netflix is a streaming service--movies and TV episodes are streaming over the Internet, not being downloaded, so you must be connected to the Internet throughout the Watch Instantly experience.

How many devices can I use Netflix on at the same time?

The number of devices that may be allowed to instantly watch simultaneously will depend on your membership plan. To see the details of your membership plan, go to "change plan information" in the Your Account page. You may have up to six (6) unique authorized Netflix ready devices associated with your Netflix account.

How does the Netflix App work?

Netflix streaming software enables you to watch instantly content from Netflix through any Internet-connected device that offers a Netflix application. The software may vary by device and medium, and functionality may also differ between devices. For example, this software may be embedded in a Netflix ready device or we may offer this software as an application to be downloaded onto a device such as the Apple iPad. The use, warranties and limitations of this software is governed by our Terms of Use.

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