When it comes to streaming media, Netflix is the undisputable king. The company that started its run more than 20 years ago as a mail-order DVD rental service has since transformed its business model completely to match the ever-changing tech landscape.
As a result, the company now boasts more than 180 million subscribers worldwide, and secures a spot as one of the biggest media publishers in the world with its Netflix Originals program
What is Netflix?
Netflix is the world’s leading media streaming platform, operating in nearly every country in the world. It was one of the very first players in the streaming industry when it made the transition in 2007, and the bet has paid off with hundreds of millions of subscribers around the world.
The streaming service was initially built on the back of licensed content from other distributors, but Netflix began funding its own original programming in 2013. The first of these all-new “Netflix Originals” was House of Cards, which broke new grounds for streaming-only media.
Since then, Netflix has significantly ramped up the production of original content, putting a strain on its relationship with other publishers. Other new streaming services, like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney Plus, have grown to become serious competitors, as well. You can easily stream Netflix using Free Netflix accounts.
Even so, Netflix remains the biggest fish in the pond. In fact, for many people the brand has become synonymous with streaming, with phrases like “Netflix and chill” entering the public lexicon.
How does Netflix work?
Netflix not only has one of the biggest libraries of any streaming service, it’s also one of the easiest to use. Once you sign up and log in, you’re greeted with a friendly interface that lists popular shows to watch, as well as breakdowns by category.
Read also: The best streaming shows on Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and more
As for how exactly Netflix works, all of the video files are stored on a remote server, and selecting a movie or show will start the stream. It may take a few moments for the stream to start, but as long as your connection is stable Netflix should buffer, or pre-load, the new few seconds or minutes to avoid any studders.
As you watch more movies and shows, Netflix will begin recommending new shows based on your watching history. These can be hit or miss, so it’s generally better to get recommendations from friends or trusted websites.
Netflix connections requirements and data usage
Many consumers still have data caps and low bandwidth plans, so data usage on Netflix can be a major concern. No matter whether you’re connected on a mobile phone, laptop, or smart TV, without a good connection your experience will be hindered.
Netflix lists the lowest possible connection at .5 Mbps, but the recommended speed for a decent streaming experience is 1.5 Mbps. You can see a full list of recommended internet speeds for Netflix below.
- 5 Mbps — Minimum required speed.
- 1.5 Mbps — Recommended speed.
- 3.0 Mbps — Recommended speed for SD streaming.
- 5.0 Mbps — Recommended speed for HD streaming.
- 25 Mbps — Recommended speed for UHD (4K) streaming.
Data consumption is also a concern for many, so we’ve run some tests to see just how much data Netflix uses. You can see the results in the table below, or read more analysis in this article, where you’ll also find tips on how to reduce Netflix data consumption.