Netflix family plan coming to the UK for multi-streaming fun

Netflix is introducing a new option that lets you pay more and enjoy four streams at once, as opposed to the current limit of two.

Nick Hide Managing copy editor
Nick manages CNET's advice copy desk from Springfield, Virginia. He's worked at CNET since 2005.
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Nick Hide
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Netflix is bringing its new family-focused multi-stream deal to the UK, a company spokesman confirmed to me, but the company is yet to announce prices or a launch date.

Whereas now you can only stream two things at once on the same account -- to your TV and a tablet, say -- under the new plan you'll be able to watch four things. The TV and movie-streaming service unveiled the new plan in the US yesterday.

The service adds 50 per cent to your monthly bill, at $12 per month instead of the usual $8. If that premium applies in the UK, the families package will cost £9, compared to the standard £6 per month.

The company is also working on a profiles feature that would let different family members customise their own recommendations, to make more sense of the service's odd categories. I find it confusing enough (what's a 'cerebral TV drama', Netflix?) and it's just me using it in my house.

Industry analyst Michael Pachter, of Wedbush Securities, warned our sister site CNET News that the premium families option may be a precursor to locking accounts to specific devices. Currently you can login from anywhere, but apparently this has led to people sharing their account -- if you only watch it through your Xbox, what does it matter if someone else uses your second stream?

"I think it's fair if Netflix is being taken advantage of," Pachter said, "they should ask for compensation." That would mean you'd only have a certain number of authorised devices, like Spotify, for example, which lets you save music for offline use on five different devices.

Netflix's investment in House of Cards proved a huge success, with over 3 million new subscribers signed up in the last quarter, more than a million of them outside of the US, the company announced. Fewer than 8,000 of those signed up for a free month, watched the Kevin Spacey-starring political thriller, and then left without paying a sub. The company earned $1bn in the last three months.

New stuff coming soon to Netflix includes all-new Arrested Development next month, and sci-fi Sense8 from Matrix creators the Wachowskis in 2014.

Rival service Lovefilm just put pilots of 14 potential new series live, giving you the opportunity to vote for your favourite ones and influence which are made into full series.

Would you pay extra for more Netflix streams? Or are you wedded to Lovefilm? Stream your thoughts into the comments below, or on to our family-friendly Facebook page.