Netflix's password sharing fee might be worth paying if you watch in 4K

Netlix corporate headquarters building with red logo on outside
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Elliott Cowand Jr)

Netflix’s long-threatened password sharing crackdown has arrived, and the company will start warning account holders who share their password with someone in another location to stop that, immediately.

A blog post from Netflix on May 23 explicitly states that “Your Netflix account is for you and the people you live with – your household.” Starting now, users will have to pay an additional $7.99 / £4.99 / AU$7.99 fee to add a separate household, rather than doing so for free.

What’s interesting is that this is a flat fee, no matter what subscription tier you’re using. So whether you’re signed up to the Standard, Full HD resolution tier or the 4K-ready Premium tier, adding a household costs the same amount.

This is clearly a much better deal for Netflix subscribers already on the Premium tier, because any additional household will get access to Ultra HD streaming, Netflix spatial audio, and the ability to download to six devices overall – for a third of the cost of a regular Premium subscription. 

Whether you split the overall costs equally between each house, get your add-on to pay their own way, or simply gift someone access through the kindness of your own heart, if the person you're sharing with will watch on one of the best 4K TVs, it's a relatively good deal compared to them getting any account of their own. Obviously, it’s not quite as cheap as doing that all for free was…

Of course, if the person you're sharing with is just watching on a laptop or phone mostly, then maybe they don't need the 4K bells and whistles and would prefer their own account. But still, people shouldn't just assume that the fee is worse value than signing up separately.

Freedom for all (almost)

There is one catch, though – you can’t add other households indefinitely. According to Netflix’s updated Plans and Pricing page, Premium subscribers can add “up to 2 extra members who don’t live with you”, whereas Standard subscribers can only add one.

Subscribers to the Basic or ad-supported tiers, however, don’t have this option at all – so you can’t sign up for the cheapest version and get everyone you know on the account, sadly.

Extra members are also unavailable for anyone who pays for Netflix “through a third party or as part of a bundle” – so if you pay for Netflix as an add-on through your phone contract, you won’t currently be eligible.

But for those with the option to watch the best Netflix shows in 4K, it might be worth taking the sharing route, rather than kicking people out on their own.

For more Netflix password sharing crackdown coverage, find out why the scheme is off to the worst possible start for the streaming giant.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.