Have a House Full of Streamers? Netflix Is Rolling Out a $12 Family Plan of Sorts

Netflix currently allows two simultaneous streams; a new plan coming soon will allow up to four.

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Robert Galbraith / Reuters

The headquarters of Netflix is shown in Los Gatos, California September 20, 2011.

You may not realize it, but Netflix apparently has a two-stream limit for each account, meaning that I can watch SpongeBob SquarePants on my iPad at the same time my wife watches whatever could possibly be more interesting to her than SpongeBob SquarePants on her own iPad. Yes, we are a multi-iPad household. I will not apologize for that.

If we someday decided to pursue the option of an open marriage — and I mean really open, like the third and fourth person would actually live here — then neither of these new people would be able to watch something using Netflix if my wife and I were both using the service on our separate iPads. Somehow, I really don’t think this scenario is going to be a problem for our family. I’m not sure about your family, though. That’s none of my business anyway.

For families of more than two people — or families doing something similar to the open marriage scenario I described above — Netflix will soon be rolling out a $12 per month option that will allow for up to four simultaneous streams.

The following quip from Netflix’s letter to its shareholders sums up the plan:

A few members with large families run into our 2-simultaneous-stream limit. To best serve these members, we’re shortly adding a 4-stream plan, at $11.99 in the U.S., and we expect fewer than 1% of members to take it.

So there you have it. Apparently less than 1% of Netflix families with more than two people try to all stream stuff at the same time. If you fit that slice of the user base, however, it looks like this plan might be for you. No word on when exactly this is rolling out, other than the appearance of the word “shortly” in the above quote.

Netflix will offer $11.99 family plan with up to four simultaneous streams [The Verge]