Why it matters: Netflix could be preparing to introduce its most expensive tier to date. Some users in Europe have discovered an “Ultra” service plan that is costlier than the ‘Premium’ option. Should the change become permanent for everyone, subscribers on other tiers may find themselves losing some features.
First reported by TuttoAndroid, a number of Netflix customers in Italy and Germany have discovered the fourth service tier, which ranges from 16.99 Euros per month to 19.99 Euros.
In some cases, the new addition has resulted in the number of simultaneous streams on the Premium plan being halved from 4 to 2. Should Premium users want to increase this back up to four, they’ll have to opt for the more expensive Ultra tier, which has all of Premium’s other benefits including 4K playback. The move also affects the standard plan, where multiple simultaneous streams are eliminated completely—streaming will be possible on only one device at a time.
For other people, the change left the number of simultaneous streams the same for each current tier, but Ultra was the only option for those wishing to take advantage of High Dynamic Range (HDR) content—a move those with HDR TVs will argue is even worse.
While an Ultra tier priced at $16.99 or higher could come to the US, Netflix spokesperson Smita Saran told CNET, “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 better understand how consumers value Netflix.”
There’s no guarantee that the Ultra tier will be rolled out to everyone, but if it is, many users will be unhappy about what appears to be a sneaky price hike. However, with the platform now the most popular way of watching video content on TV in the US, Netflix won’t be concerned.