Sometimes math is hard. Sometimes math is simple. Sometimes convincing folks that the math is simple is hard.

Such is the case with Netflix's latest price increase in the U.S., which saw its plans go up a buck or two each month. Here's where things stand now going forward for new plans:

  • Basic ($8.99 a month): Standard-definition content, one stream at a time.
  • Standard ($12.99 a month): High-definition content (1080p) and up to two streams at once.
  • Premium ($15.99 a month): Ultra-high-definition content (4K) and up to four streams at once.

That's an increase of no more than $2 a month, but that didn't stop the inevitable breathless headlines:

My current premium plan is still at $13.99 a month, though I certainly don't expect that price to be grandfathered forever. But even if I do end up paying another $24 a year for Netflix, it doesn't change the following sentence:

Netflix has more things to watch than it did two years ago, and I'm watching more Netflix than I did two years ago.

Do the math. If you're not watching an extra $2 worth of content every month, then cancel Netflix.

If that sentence wasn't true, then Netflix's increase might be a tougher pill to swallow. And that gets us back to the crux of cord-cutting — it's entirely about getting the most out of your money.

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If you're only watching a movie or two on Netflix every month, it might not be worth what you're spending. You might be better off renting things a la carte from Google or Apple or Amazon or whomever.

If you're spending a good number of hours watching old shows and new shows and movies you'd never heard of, then $16 a month really isn't that different than $14 a month. It's exactly $2 more. The math is simple.

I canceled HBO for the back half of 2018. It's not that I have anything against HBO. It's a great premium network, and it's something I can remember watching for something like 35 years. But I hadn't been watching it like I used to. Instead of flipping through traditional channels, and watching whatever's on, I've found myself taking things for a test run on Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. For me, the luxury of not watching HBO but paying for it anyway didn't make any sense. Watching more things (and different things!) on Netflix and Hulu and others did.

Sometimes the experiments are great. ("The First" on Hulu is excellent.) Sometimes they're just OK. ("Travelers" on Netflix was a little hit and miss, but ended really strong. "Tidelands" is soapy and sexy, and when in doubt throw on someone's standup set.) Sometimes things just aren't good at all. (Love ya, Katee Sackhoff, but "2036 Origin Unknown" is 90 minutes of my life I'm never getting back.)

But all of those things already were paid for, and the math is simple. The more you watch on a service — on any service for which you pay a single monthly fee — the more you get for your money.

If you're not getting your money's worth, then it's time to cut bait and use something else. And with streaming video online, it's easier than ever to do exactly that.



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