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Netflix with ads: what are the downsides?

Ad breaks: interruptions aren't the only downside

Netflix has launched its long anticipated service with ads, making subscriptions cheaper for those who are prepared to put up with adverts before and during programmes. But are there any other catches to Netflix with ads? Let’s check the fine print.

Netflix with ads: UK prices

With inflation continuing to rocket faster than one of Elon Musk’s toys, it’s certainly tempting to save money on the ever-increasing Netflix subscription.

Netflix with ads is now the cheapest subscription tier there is in the UK, where prices are as follows:

Netflix tierPrice per month
Basic with adverts£4.99

What happens to picture quality?

As you may have gathered from the ‘Basic with ads’ label, Netflix picture quality also suffers if you opt for ads. The Basic with adverts tier is restricted to 720p quality. Netflix describes this as “good video quality in HD”, but that’s certainly not Full HD, which is 1080p. If you want Full HD, which is perfectly respectable, then you’ll have to pay for the Standard tier.

To get 4K picture quality, or Ultra HD, you have to jump to the Premium tier.

Are there any other restrictions on Netflix with ads?

Yes. Firstly, downloads aren’t included, so there’s no offline viewing when you’re on a plane or the Tube to work.

There’s also a strict limit of one device streaming at the same time on both of the Basic tiers. That means you can’t watch Netflix at the same time as someone else on the same account, which could be problematic in a family home.

Standard accounts let you stream from two devices at the same time and Premium ups that to four. Both of those tiers also include downloads.

In other words, it’s not just ads you have to live with if you jump to Netflix’s cheapest tier, but a range of other restrictions too. That said, it might still appeal to people who can’t justify the cost of one of the more expensive Netflix accounts.

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About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at

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