Netflix Basic with Ads is cheap. But is it nasty? Here's what I think

Netflix's cheapest plan has some serious shortcomings, especially if you have a big TV

Netflix logo on a TV
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Netflix's new 'Basic With Adverts' plan is its cheapest yet: undercutting the Basic plan by a whole £2 per month, it's coming in at just £4.99 / $6.99 / AU$6.99 per month and includes Netflix's games as well as its shows and movies.

And on first glance that looks like a great deal compared to £6.99 / $9.99 for Basic, £10.99 / $15.49 for Standard and £15.99 / $19.99 for Premium. But the question Netflix subscribers need to ask themselves is, well, is it a great deal?

In my opinion, the short answer to that question is no. It's eminently affordable, but I think it's aimed at a very different kind of person than the bold readers of T3 and has some limitations that for most people will be deal-breakers.

Here I explain those limitations from my perspective.

What's wrong with Netflix Basic with Ads?

The biggest issue isn't the ads; they're not too numerous and they won't appear around kids' programs.

The biggest and most obvious shortcoming is that even though we're nearly in 2023, Netflix Basic with Ads streams at just 720p resolution. If you have one of the best TVs it's going to look awful no matter how powerful your upsampling processor. If you're watching on a small tablet or a phone you'll be fine, but this isn't one for a big TV.

The second shortcoming is that there's no offline viewing, and the third is that some devices aren't supported – so at the moment you can't use the service on Apple TV, or with Chromecasts predating the Chromecast with Google TV

Last but not least, a lot of shows are unavailable to Basic with Ads subscribers. It's not a huge list but it does include some big hitters: House of Cards, The Good Place, Friday Night Lights, Arrested Development, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Suits, The Office (US) and films such as Paddington, Scary Movie and Skyfall. Reports suggest as much as 10% of Netflix's usual content will be unavailable to Basic with Ads subscribers depending on where you are.

If you're already subscribing to other streaming services and only plan to watch the odd Netflix thing on your phone or tablet, this is an okay way of doing it. But Netflix Basic does live up to its name due to the lack of full HD and its current limited device support. It's better suited to mobile viewing – provided, of course, that you aren't far from Wi-Fi or mobile data signals.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).