Netflix is reportedly testing out a new, more expensive subscription plan with HD features, but some are speculating it could take benefits away from users on lower payment tiers.
Netflix has already introduced a new option in countries like Italy and Germany, according to a report by CordCutting.com. Known as the "Ultra" plan, it offers 4K Ultra High Definition resolution and supports High Dynamic Range settings as well. Users have reported the plan costing €16.99 and €19.99 in differing markets.
The news first came from Italian tech blog Tutto Android.
Unfortunately, it looks like the existing basic, standard and premium plans would be effected by the introduction of the ultra plan, losing value for those who share accounts while not decreasing in price. Currently, the basic plan allows users to stream one movie or show from their account at a time. The standard plan lets them stream two, and the premium plan lets them stream four.
However, European users report that the ultra plan only promises four screens at a time. Meanwhile, the premium plan has dropped to two screens, and both standard and basic have dropped to one. This would be a serious loss for friends and families that share subscriptions, but do not live together.
The tests will likely make their way over to the United States sooner rather than later. According to a report by Variety, they are expected to cost $16.99 when they launch. Representives from Netflix confirmed that they are testing out the new structure, but said that only a small group of customers will be offered the ultra plan for now. The company is also reportedly researching Ultra HD and HDR, trying to discern how much customers value those services compared to the access to more screens.
The news has many in an uproar, as the addition of the ultra plan would effectively constitute a price-hike for those that rely on four-screen access. Netflix raised its prices just recently, in October of 2017. At the time, the standard plan went from $9.99 per month to $10.99 per month, while the premium plan jumped from $11.99 to $13.99.
All the while, Netflix has grown in both total subscribers and estimated value. The company was able to allocate $8 billion total for original content in 2018 -- some of it new and some of it returning original series. The company is also continuing to forge ahead into the realm of feature films, after last year's release of Bright.