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Netflix planning a new Ultra plan for 4K HDR?

By Lulu Chang

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Netflix is one of the most affordable methods of getting the latest and greatest video content on the market, thanksmainly to its ever-growing catalog and generally steady subscription prices. But now, the popular streaming service may be looking into raising costs for folks in Europe, though that news may not be as alarming as it sounds. According to a report from Italian blog Tutto Android, Netflix is considering the addition of a new tier of service that gives subscribers access to HDR content. This would be in addition to content that is already available on the Premium plan.

The new plan, currently billed as the Ultra plan, will set Italian users back about 17 euros ($20 U.S.). For comparison, the most basic plan only costs $8 a month. However, this option is the most limited — you can only stream content to one screen at a time (be it a smartphone, tablet, or computer), and the highest resolution you’ll get is SD. In the U.S., the middle tier is the Standard plan, which costs $11, and gives folks two screens to stream on, as well as HD video content. Finally, there’s the Premium plan, which allows for up to four screens and both HD and Ultra HD content.

Netflix’s Ultra plan doesn’t seem to offer much else beyond the HDR support, which would likely require users to have (or buy) compatible hardware to take advantage of the feature. There are no additional screens supported or any other fancy bonuses, which may make Ultra a rather tough sell. Some Italian users who are apparently part of Netflix’s Ultra test claim that the Premium subscription is actually being downgraded in terms of the number of available screens. Rather than the previously available four, they may now be privy to only two screens. Ultra, then, would be the only plan that supports four screens.

Likewise, the Standard plan may also be reduced to just one display, and even though none of the other plans would have their prices changed, this downgrade may rub some users the wrong way.

Netflix hasn’t made any official announcements about the new plan, so there’s no need to panic just yet. “We continuously test new things at Netflix, and these tests typically vary in length of time,” Smita Saran, a Netflix spokeswoman, said in an email. “In this case, we are testing slightly different price points and features to better understand how consumers value Netflix.”

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