Would you pay $16.99 every month for Netflix? This is a decision streaming subscribers may soon need to make.
A Netflix spokesperson confirmed to Refinery29 that Ultra is indeed an ongoing test:
"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. Not everyone will see this test and we may not ever offer the specific price points or features included in this test."
What could Netflix possibly offer to justify someone spending $3 more every month for an Ultra plan? Early tests show that the main differences between Premium and Ultra are the picture quality and number of simultaneous streams. In one test, it looks like Ultra could have ultra HDR (brighter colors appear more vividly bright and detailed), while Premium would just have Ultra HD, and both would be available on four screens at once. Another test shows both Ultra and Premium with ultra HD, but limits Premium to two screens, while Ultra has four.
If the latter became a full-time streaming tier, it could mean existing Premium subscribers are worse off, with their number of simultaneous streams cut in half. However, there's always the chance Netflix would take the same approach it did when it began raising prices, and grandfather in current customers, allowing them to keep their four simultaneous streams. (If the past is any indication though, it would likely be just a matter of time before those special privileges are revoked.)
According to Cordcutting.com, a third test, shown below, suggests Ultra could cost as much as $19.99.
If Ultra is rolled out to the masses, it would be the priciest Netflix subscription yet at $16.99 or $19.99 a month. The existing plans — Basic, Standard, and Premium — run from $7.99 to $$13.99. However, it's worth noting that Netflix has increased its prices every year for the last four years. In 2014, all new members were charged $8.99, up from $7.99, for a Standard subscription. In 2015, new members faced a steeper price hike to $9.99 per month. In 2016, all OG, pre-2014 customers who were grandfathered in to the new Standard plan at $7.99 per month were finally forced to pay the same $9.99 as everyone else. Then, in 2017, prices for all both the Standard and Premium plans were increased, to $10.99 and $13.99 respectively. The Basic plan remains at $7.99 per month.
Of course, this is all just speculation: Plenty of apps and services conduct tests that are ultimately scrapped, including Netflix. Still, it can't hurt to think about which option you might go with if Ultra does eventually roll out to the masses.