What is Netflix Ultra? How do you subscribe to it and is it any good?

Netflix will look to roll out its Ultra tier of service around the world if tests in select markets provide favorable feedback.

                            What is Netflix Ultra? How do you subscribe to it and is it any good?
(Source: Getty Images)

Currently, Netflix offers customers three different subscription packages — Basic, Standard, and Premium. However, the network is soon likely to roll out another tier of subscription - Ultra.

Available at $7.99, the Basic package allows the user to stream content on just one screen, without the option of doing so on HD or Ultra HD. The $10.99 Standard package, on the other hand, allows streaming on two separate screens, even on HD. The current top tier, Premium, is available at $13.99 and allows the user to view content on four simultaneous screens with the option of streaming on both HD and Ultra HD; screens here refer to either phones, tablets, televisions, or laptops. 

But Engadget reports that their newest Ultra tier offers a significantly higher number of benefits, but customers will have to shell out approximately $19.80 for the services.

Netflix is reportedly testing out two versions of Ultra in select European markets, and both are likely to affect services that are currently available on the Premium package. One will give the ability to playback content on four screens in Ultra HD, meaning the Premium will be downgraded to just two Ultra HD screens. The other will allow subscribers to enjoy the platform's ever-increasing library of HDR (High Dynamic Range) content, with Premium allowed to retain its four Ultra HD screens.

The tier will likely be worth it — especially if it's the second of the options — if the customer owns a TV that can play HDR content. The network rolled out support for the format with the first season of 'Marco Polo,' and has since included it for shows like 'A Series of Unfortunate Events,' 'Bloodline,' 'Chef's Table,' and also for movies such as 'The Do-Over' and 'The Ridiculous Six.'

Speaking to CNET of the change, a spokesperson for the company said: "We continuously test new things at Netflix, and these tests typically vary in length of time. In this case, we are testing slightly different price points and features to have a better understanding of how consumers value Netflix."

The streaming giant has certainly seen its stock rise over the past few years, with recent reports indicating that it was more valuable than Comcast and close to surpassing Disney. These are heady times at the network, and they've put no foot wrong in satisfying their 100-million odd customer base with a library packed with thousands of shows, movies, as well as original content such as '13 Reasons Why,' 'Stranger Things,' 'House of Cards,' 'Narcos,' and 'Bojack Horseman.'

While these recent plans to introduce a new tier of service will likely meet a mixed reaction, most will not mind, especially with the new content strategy that will see them shell out $8 billion to finance close to 500 original shows for 2018 alone.

85% of that budget will be directed towards original TV shows, films, and other productions and is expected to result in the service boasting around 1,000 of said originals by the end of the year. It will probably be another few months before Netflix gauges the reaction to Ultra in the markets it has been introduced in and decides whether it deserves a worldwide rollout, but even then, it is unlikely to ruffle more than a few feathers.