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In the midst of its crackdown on password sharing, Netflix also launched a more affordable ad-supported tier of its service in November. Sadly at the time, though, it was only available on a specific list of supported devices — a list that did not include the Apple TV.
It seemed like an odd omission since the new ad-supported tier was available to iPhone and iPad users running iOS/iPadOS 15 or later, and the Netflix app is a single universal app that runs on all three platforms. However, a Netflix help page confirmed that the Apple TV was not on the list of supported devices for the new lower-cost plan. Instead, users on the Apple TV would be prompted to upgrade to at least the Basic ad-free plan if they wanted to watch on the big screen.
Thankfully, that appears to have changed with the latest version of the Netflix app. Although Netflix’s help page doesn’t yet reflect this, a Reddit user in Germany (via flatpanelshd) reported that it now appears to be working in the latest update to the Netflix app.
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We’ve also confirmed this independently in Canada and the U.S., which means that if you’re an Apple TV user who has been waiting to pull the trigger on Netflix’s most affordable $6.99 plan, you should be good to go as soon as you update to the latest Netflix app through the tvOS App Store.
How the Netflix ‘Basic with Ads’ Plan Works
While Netflix’s ad-supported plan now works across all of your Apple devices, it’s still limited to a few countries, specifically Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
If you live in one of those regions, you can opt into the “Basic with Ads” plan for $6.99 per month — $3 less than the regular “Basic” plan — but there are a few limitations you’ll want to be aware of.
- Like the Basic plan, the maximum resolution is limited to 720p HD and one viewing session at a time. You’ll need to opt for the $15.49/month Standard plan if you want 1080p HD or the $19.99/month Premium plan for 4K HDR. These higher-tier plans also allow for two and four simultaneous streams, respectively.
- The ad-supported plan doesn’t allow you to download movies or TV shows for offline viewing, presumably since that would prevent Netflix from showing timely ads.
- Much like traditional cable TV, you’ll typically see about 4–5 minutes of interstitial ads per hour — ads that come up in the middle of whatever program you’re watching. Each ad will be 15 or 30 seconds long.
- Certain titles, such as new-release movies, will show only pre-roll ads to “preserve the cinematic experience,” according to what Netflix chief operating officer Greg Peters told reporters last fall.
- You can’t skip ads or fast-forward through them, although you can pause playback during an ad if you like. On the Apple TV, ads appear to play in a custom media player rather than Apple’s standard player.
- You won’t get Netflix’s entire catalog on the ad-supported plan. The company is working on increasing this, but at this point, about 5–10% of what’s on Netflix isn’t available on the “Basic with Ads” plan “due to licensing restrictions.” These titles will show with a red padlock icon on them.
- You’ll need to provide your gender and date of birth to sign up for an ad-supported plan to help Netflix target you with ads specific to your demographic.
- While the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV are all now fully supported, you still need to be running at least iOS 15, iPadOS 15, or tvOS 16.1 to get the latest version of the Netflix app. It’s still not supported on the PlayStation 3, older Chromecast devices, or the native Windows app. However, you can still stream Netflix through a modern browser on Windows, making the app largely unnecessary.
Nevertheless, Netflix’s ad-supported tier seems to have gained a lot of traction. Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that it has already hit one million monthly active users since its launch in November, accounting for about 20 percent of new sign-ups in the U.S. Some of this may be a result of Netflix’s recent crackdown on password sharing. Still, since that’s not quite in full effect yet, it’s likely mostly made up of more price-conscious consumers who had either previously left Netflix or dismissed it outright as too expensive for what it offers.