Netflix – Is it really saving you money?

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NetflixI’ve always wondered about this service but never investigated until now.  Netflix is aware of Internet bandwidth issues and so they posted information about managing it on their website via this page https://support.netflix.com/en/node/87 which says you can throttle your bandwidth use by changing the quality of your video.

Let’s do some basic math now.  If you are watching videos in the highest quality, that uses 1GB per hour.  Let’s say you are using Netflix because you are cheap and want to save money getting unlimited movies and TV shows via Netflix rather than paying for TV channels and buying movies.  Here’s the deal… On the lowest plan Rogers has for Internet, you are limited to 20GB per month usage.  At this rate, you can watch 20 hours of Netflix at “highest” quality in a month before you go over the limit and Rogers starts charging you for going over.  This assumes you don’t use the Internet for anything else, including checking email, surfing the website, watching Youtube videos, etc.  That’s not realistic, and so you may end up having to upgrade you Internet package.

Let’s say you go with Netflix “Good” quality at .3GB per hour rather than the “Best” quality at 1GB per hour.  We can get approximately triple the amount of Netfix before going over our limit.  That’s 60 hours per month of Netflix movies and TV shows without using the Internet for anything else like email and surfing and Youtube, etc.

Now, if you have the next package up from Rogers, that would give you 80GB per month of usage.  That’s 4 times the amount of bandwidth, which means 4 times the amount of videos, etc you can watch.  That’s 80 hours of Netflix per month with “highest” quality, or 240 hours per month at “Good” quality.  If you ask me, if you have time to watch 80 hours of Netflix per month or anything for that matter, you need to get yourself a job or a hobby as you have too much time on your hands.

So, here I was thinking I could prove Netflix to be a waste of money and you’re not saving anything, but it looks like I was thinking wrong.  Although, we don’t currently use Netflix at home and with the computers downloading updates, the kids gaming, watching Youtube, etc.  We have a higher plan with Rogers and we still manage to go over our limit occasionally.  There is no room for Netflix without paying more for the Internet service first.

So in reality my research shows that if there are shows you can’t get in your Country, or movies you like to watch occasionally, you can save money with Netflix.  If you just want to watch lots of videos, etc. you will most likely have to upgrade your Internet service so you can handle the bandwidth usage.  I suggest you look at your current usage trends over the last few months, and see from there.  You don’t want any surprise invoice from Rogers or whoever your Internet provider is saying you owe them hundreds of dollars in over usage fees.  You totally wouldn’t be saving money there. 🙁  Kinda spoils the point of saving with Netflix.

Another angle to look at this.  You can download a show from a pirated site that is 1GB large for an hour show that might end up being corrupt, in a different language, etc and you have to download again, or watch it using Netflix and you are using only a maximum of 1GB at the highest quality and you know it’s not a virus.

About Daniel Gauthier

work as a peace officer in various forms. Daniel wrote a book in 2009 called “Tech-Knowledgy” which got him on television and radio a few times. The concept behind the book was “to level the playing field between computer techs and non-techies so they don’t get take advantage of”.
Daniel has a couple certifications including MCP and A+; he is preparing to write the Network+ exam and has studied CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) and CHFI (Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator). Daniel has run his own computer service business “TwinBytes” since 2004. He has done a few talks on cyber security and generally enjoys training, educating and helping others.