How Does Netflix Work?

If you’re a big fan of movies or television shows, then Netflix is right up your alley.  Through a monthly membership you can stream movies or TV shows to your devices, or have DVDs delivered by mail.  Not every show or movie is available via streaming, but they do have a very vast collection.  So how does it work?

Subscription Options

Because families and friends often share accounts, you can select which streaming plan you’d prefer.  The cheaper option allows shows to be streamed to 2 devices at the same time ($7.99), or you can upgrade to 4 screens ($11.99).  If your family will be watching from their TV, computer, tablet, and phone at the same time – this option is for you.

You can also have DVDs sent to you to watch at your leisure and return via the envelope they are sent with.  There are no late fees.  You can select to have 1, 2, 0r 3 DVDs or Blu-Rays to be out to you at a given time (starting at $7.99 for unlimited in a month).  Or for $4.99 you can get one DVD a month.  The title at the top of your List will always be the next title mailed out to you.  If you want a specific title to come before another one, just bump it to the top of your list.  The Streaming and DVD Plans are separate, there is no bundle plan.

Netflix Profiles

If you plan on sharing your account with friends or family, you can set up individual profiles.  This is a recent addition to Netflix streaming that has really improved viewing quality.  Once you are logged in, just select which person you are and it’ll go into your personal account with your own List and personalized recommendations.  Each account can have up to 5 profiles.  For younger kids, you can specify if it is an “under 12″ profile and only appropriate content will be available.

Your List

Once you are logged in, you can start browsing available options.  When you find something you like, add it to your List by hovering over the title and clicking +My List.  If you find shows you’ve already seen, rate them on a 5 star scale by hovering over the title and clicking on the given star.  The more titles you rate, the more Netflix can be personalized to you.

Your List will be synced to all of your devices.  When you log in, you can see your List, recently viewed titles, suggested for you, and several other groups (Popular, New Releases, Dramas etc).


You can stream your content through any computer, but there are also a variety of other options.  Check HERE to see if your devices are compatible with Netflix.  If they are, then once you are subscribed, just go to the Netflix app or channel and enter in your login information.  Check HERE for Netflix’s suggestions on what internet speeds you should have for a given quality of picture.

You can watch from your phone or tablet (make sure you are connected to WiFi or you’ll be eating through your data) by downloading the app from Google Play, iTunes, Windows, Amazon (for Kindle), or Barnes and Noble (for Nook).


Once you are subscribed and have your list, all you have to do is wait.  When your DVD comes in the mail, you don’t have to worry about watching it right away.  There are no late fees with Netflix, so it’s all up to you.  Your DVD will come with a Red Mailer that is an envelope with the postage and return address.  Once you’re done watching, just drop your disc in the mail.  Your next disc will be on it’s way soon, or next month.  Depending on if you have an unlimited or a singular monthly subscriber.


Once you join Netflix, it will be very difficult to go back.  You will find that nearly all entertainment is available at your fingertips.  There is also a strong likelihood that you will experience the joy and sorrow of binge watching an entire 22 episode season in one weekend.  It happens to the best of us.  It’s almost a rite of passage.

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  • Susan Tench Denny

    If I go with the DVD option, do tv shows come on dvds? For instance, HBO’s Shameless?