Skip to content

Netflix Basic With Ads Plan Review: Is it any good?

Netflix with ads review

Recently, when Netflix announced that they were going to ‘limit password sharing’ for paying users, it made headline news all over the world in the papers and social media. Subscribers that paid for 1 single account shared their passwords among family and friends for many reasons and mostly are to split the subscription costs -which makes sense to lower monthly commitments.

Are we that dependent to watch our favorite TV shows on this platform? That depends on individual lifestyle. Only you can answer that.

We were one of them users that shared logins with family as we lived in one single property and it just makes sense to share everything from electricity, water, council taxes, internet-services to subscriptions. Every little helps to keep the wheel spinning.

Netflix has been our good friend not only at home, but also when we are on long travels away from home. Nothing worse than being stuck in a hotel room without any decent shows to watch to kill time.

The Argument

If you think from a logical perspective of a business, Netflix actually did what was right for their business to limiting the users in order to gain more subscribers. Also we as the users have no absolute right to say “hey Netflix, you cannot limit us from sharing passwords! it should be made illegal!”.

Put yourself in Netflix’s shoes, what would you do to people who are using your services for almost free? I’m no saint, if I could get something for free, I would.

But saying Neflix ‘limiting users to share password to be made illegal’ is a step too far. It is a lot more convenient than watching pirated versions from torrents or illegal streaming websites -don’t you agree?

Netflix Subscription Tiers

Since we moved into our new home in Spain, we didn’t go with a cable TV subscription as we spent more time outdoors in the day and probably have a few hours after dinner to bedtime.

After many weeks of thinking and considering the pros and cons, we finally made a decision that Netflix was a suitable option. I went onto their website, punched in an email address to start and went through their screens :

Pointer 3 wasn’t very accurate -unfortunately

It won’t cast to Chromecast-Ultra!

The pointer said that we could enjoy Netflix on all your devices only applies to certain subscription types. We had Netflix Standard with Ads + Google Chromecast Ultra plugged into one of our non-smart TVs and it won’t cast Netflix! Luckily, we had a Sony Playstation that could play Netflix.

Chromecast Ultra

If you have no idea what a Chromecast is : It works as a mini-computer that plugs into your not-smart TV’s HDMI port to make it ‘somewhat’ a smart TV. There’s another newer version of Chromecast 4K with Google TV that comes with a remote control that might work with Netflix Standard with Ads, but we haven’t tested that yet.

Pricing vs Features

Netflix Subscription Plans

As you can see, there were 4 options available, from the most expensive (more features) to the cheapest (not-too-bad features).

I know that you’re scanning on the Prices as your sub-conscious mind tells you to.
Now, focus on the Resolution row, even if you’re paying for the cheapest tier, you still get 1080p (Full HD) …win!

Why? Look closer, comparing Basic (no ads) & Standard with ads. You could avoid seeing ads, but you’re getting 720p (HD) streaming, not Full HD. Why pay that extra to get less quality?

Even if I have money to burn, the Basic tier would not be part of my options. If you’re going for Standard or Premium, you would most unlikely be someone who’s reading this post, haha.

Please note that you’ll need a debit or credit card to auto-pay the subscription monthly.

No Downloads for Netflix Standard with Ads

‘Netflix Standard with Ads’ does not allow downloads to watch offline. That might be a turnoff to some users who travels frequently like we do.

However, with mobile network providers giving out big data allowances these days, it’s no longer an issue to watch your favorite shows either on your mobile phone or even tether (share) your mobile data as a hotspot with your laptop when you’re on the go or travelling.

An average 2 hour movie on netflix costs you between 1.5Gb to 4.5Gb on average (based on our own measurement), that depends on the resolution.

How to control how much data Netflix uses?

Watching TV shows or movies on the Netflix app uses varying amounts of data per hour, depending on the video quality. You can adjust your data usage settings by following the steps below.

Laptop or Web Browser

Netflix offers 4 data usage settings.

Data used per hour, per device:

  1. Low: Basic video quality, up to 0.3 GB
  2. Medium: Standard video quality, up to 0.7 GB
  3. High: Best video quality:
    • Standard definition: up to1 GB
    • High definition: up to 3 GB
    • Ultra high definition (4K): up to 7 GB
  4. Auto: Adjusts automatically to deliver the highest possible quality, based on your current internet connection speed.

Adjust your data usage settings

You can have different data usage settings for each profile on your account. To change your settings:

  1. From a web browser, go to your Account page.
  2. From Profile & Parental Controls, select a profile.
  3. Go to Playback settings and select Change.
  4. Select your desired data usage setting. NOTE: Restricting data usage may affect video quality.
  5. Select Save.

Mobile Devices

Netflix offers 4 mobile data usage settings:

  1. Automatic: The Netflix app selects a setting that balances data usage and video quality. You can watch about 4 hours per GB of data.
  2. Wi-Fi Only: Stream only while connected to Wi-Fi.
  3. Save Data: Watch about 6 hours per GB of data.
  4. Maximum Data:
    • Highest possible quality for your device and the TV show or movie you’re watching.
    • Can use 1 GB per 20 minutes or more, depending on your device and network speed.
    • Recommended only if you have an unlimited data plan.


If you have also set your Netflix data usage, streaming on mobile devices won’t exceed this setting.

Adjust your mobile data usage settings

To select the setting that works best for your mobile data plan:

  1. Open the Netflix app and tap More  or Profile  .
  2. Select App Settings.
  3. Under Video Playback, select Cellular Data Usage.
    • To adjust your downloads data settings, switch Wi-Fi Only on or off under Downloads
  4. Choose your preferred setting.


You won’t be able to change this setting if you have pending downloads. If your preferred data setting is grayed out, cancel all pending downloads or wait for them to finish, then try again.

How long are the ads on Netflix Standard with Ads?

I was pretty skeptical when I first subscribed to this option thinking there would be as much ads as watching YouTube videos. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as bad!

Netflix published that their Netflix Standard with Ads would have 4 minutes of ads per hour of watching, depending on the length of the movie or series-episode.

In our case, Consu & myself would watch a series episode which usually spans 30-45mins, and we’d get about 20-seconds of ads x 3 times in the episode. It’s not that bad, it’s no worse than watching naitonal free-TV.

Besides, I actually prefer to have some ads in the middle where I could make a quick run to the toilet, get a drink off the fridge, or just checking new messages on my mobile phone -without having to pause the show!

Netflix Standard with Ads

Plus, to me, the ads give my head a little rest when watching the show. Constantly focusing on the actors, scenes and processing what’s going on, gives me a sore-brain occassionally. I’m not sure if there’s an official word for that, but you know what I mean…

What about alternatives to Netflix?

Since the beginning of world-wide pandemic lockdowns in early 2020, the demand of subscription-based providers has grown like mushrooms after the rain. Most people can’t even leave their homes due to lockdown laws by authorities, so watching TV would be the next best thing to do to get through their days.

Fortunately, yes we do have alternatives to watch movies, series or TV shows in general. Check out this list below :

Amazon Prime Video – Usually bundled with Amazon Prime delivery. Good value if you shop on Amazon.
YouTube TV
Crunchyroll (Japanese Anime, movies & drama)
Plex – You could connect your server’s files to the service to sync libraries on this platform.
AtresPlayer Premium (Spain)
Pluto TV – Free to watch in Spain when I last checked.
…and there’s more depending on your location or country. Some might even be for FREE to watch.
……some providers may not be available outside the USA.

Their subscription fees varies from one to another. Click on the provider names to know more.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, Netflix Standard with Ads isn’t too bad to begin with. You get to watch your favorite movies and series, have some ads in between 20 seconds long each …which is good for breaks, and it’s not much worse than watching free local TV.

Worse case scenario, just go into the Options tab and change your subscription to the higher tier.
Job done.