The Netflix password-sharing crackdown has finally arrived in the United States. Most hoped it was just an empty threat to increase subscriptions, but it’s now a reality. The streaming service saw success after testing it out in other countries, solidifying its choice to roll it out. How will it impact your streaming habits?
Does Password Sharing Change Things?
The Netflix password-sharing crackdown changes things. People used to get higher-tier plans for the extra screens. Now, many essentially have to pay extra to use them. Whether you use someone else’s account or share your own, you’ll have to choose whether to update your subscription or cancel and find another streaming service.
While Netflix has posted about how password sharing represents love, it’s walking back those statements with the new rules. It came as a surprise to most people, but it’s the natural progression of a growing business. Since it’s a subscription-based service, it’s looking to add new subscribers. Banning shared accounts is one of the only ways it can do so.
In late May of 2023, it told subscribers in the United States their accounts are only for people they live with. It estimates around 100 million people are using others’ subscriptions to get its services for free, so it sees a lot of financial potential in the new rules. If you’re included in that number, you’ll have to either pay to join or stream on another platform.
How Much Does It Cost to Add a User?
While Netflix could ban password sharing outright, it wants to keep revenue up. As a result, it introduced the option to add a member to an existing plan. You should know that they don’t get the same freedoms as the account owner. For instance, they can’t create profiles or have administrative access. It’s still a nice option if you want to keep your recommendations and watch history.
Now, Netflix charges $7.99 for each extra user. You’ll have to pay if you don’t live in the same home and use the same internet. Also, it comes with restrictions — you can only add one person to the standard plan or up to two on premium. Basically, you could be paying almost $36 each month — about $430 annually — if you want two extra members on the highest-tier plan.
The regular plan prices range from $9.99 to $19.99 each month — they haven’t changed for about a year. However, the streaming service did introduce a “standard with ads” plan. It doesn’t give you the option to share an account, but it may be worth more than adding a user.
The “standard with ads” option costs $6.99 monthly for two screens and a full HD experience. Nobody wants to sit through commercials, but it’s more affordable than being added to a household’s account. You also get more features, which is a plus. If you don’t want to cancel your subscription, it may be worth it to choose the lowest-tier plan.
Workarounds for the Netflix Password Sharing Crackdown
When the Netflix password-sharing crackdown first started, most people could get around it. They’d only have to enter a confirmation code whenever someone logged on. However, the streaming service quickly addressed the workaround and changed its tactics. Now, most people assume their only option is to cancel. Luckily for them, there are still three ways to get around it.
- Use a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) basically lets you hide your IP address and online activity. Since Netflix tracks IP addresses, device IDs and account activity to identify password sharers, it’s one of your best options. It may become wise to the workaround as more people start using it, but it works as of May 2023.
NordVPN has a “Meshnet” feature you can use. You’ll need to create an account, but it’s completely free. Netflix has blocked many VPN servers in an attempt to prevent people from sharing their passwords. This technique works because it directs your online traffic through a device in the household instead of a server. Basically, it makes it look like you’re streaming from the right IP address.
- Use Mobile Devices
This option is the most tedious. For now, the streaming service is allowing people to keep their access as long as they log in on the household wifi about once every month. You’d have to make 12 trips per year to whoever owns the subscription — it’s mostly only reasonable for those who live close together.
You won’t be able to use this option f you’re someone who’s traveling for extended periods — this includes travel nurses and deployed military members. The Netflix password-sharing crackdown doesn’t have any exceptions to the rules.
- Don’t Set a Household
Technically, you don’t have to set a household for your account. Netflix has a policy loophole that allows users to password share as long as they don’t connect to a smart television — meaning no streaming boxes, either. As long as everyone using the subscription streams on a mobile device or laptop, you can get around the Netflix password-sharing crackdown. Plus, you can even cast your screen or use an HDMI cord if you want a better viewing experience.
Make a Subscription Decision
The Netflix password-sharing crackdown is here to stay — and your options are subscribing, using a workaround or canceling. The additional $8 every month might be worth it to you, but be mindful that you’d have limited account capabilities. You can also only add a member on the higher tier plans, so you should also consider the cost of upgrading. Whatever decision you make, just remember that you can upgrade or cancel any time you feel like it.
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