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Netflix Trials $6.99 Standard Definition Streaming Plan with New Subscribers

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Are you someone who isn’t a Netflix subscriber and someone who watches a lot of content solely on a standard definition device? If you fall into the middle of that Venn diagram (I don’t really have one here, so just imagine it), then you’re in luck — Netflix just started offering a $6.99 plan for standard definition-only streaming, a savings of $1 per month.

netflixWhen I first caught wind of this story, via Adweek, my mind immediately jumped to mobile devices like smartphones, where SD vs. HD is less important and data caps make streaming high-def movies an expensive proposition. I was not the only one — apparently Matthew Panzarino has faster fingers than I do. For those who watch Netflix programming exclusively on a smartphone or a low-res tablet, paying $1 less per month may make a little bit of sense.

Are there that many smartphone or tablet-only viewers, though? And is saving that dollar every month worth being stuck in standard def should you decide to watch a TV show or movie on an HD screen? That’s something I’m not sold on, and perhaps Netflix isn’t either — hence the limited rollout. The company is saying that the plan could expand, telling Adweek that Netflix will “definitely offer it on a wide basis” in the future. It’s unclear whether that means the plan will be offered to all Netflix subscribers or a subset of the user base.

It seems Netflix wants to continue experimenting with different plans and price points, so keep an eye out for more news on this front. Netflix wants to keep growing its subscriber base, and while it hopes content deals and original shows will do a lot of the work, there are some holdouts the company could potentially rope in with some different pricing/feature options.

Some Amazon Prime-style video downloading, perhaps? Fingers crossed.

— Shawn Farner

Shawn Farner is a Harrisburg-based tech blogger who has been involved in online media for over seven years. He covers consumer electronics, Web-based services, and tech startups. Read disclosures here.