What you need to know about Netflix's Singapore launch
Internet TV service Netflix was launched yesterday in 190 countries, including Singapore.
So what's in store for us?
WHAT IS NETFLIX?
Netflix first launched its streaming service in the United States in 2007.
Members pay a monthly subscription and it is available on any device that has an Internet connection, which includes smartphones, smart TVs such as Apple TV and game consoles such as the PlayStation.
Before its launch in Singapore, some local users managed to access Netflix by using virtual private network services that unlocks geo-restricted content and entertainment to Singapore users.
These include online providers such as Unotelly and Unlocator and local Internet Service Providers such as Viewqwest and My Republic.
WHAT KIND OF SHOWS CAN WE WATCH?
Netflix creates its own content with their own original series, including Marvel's Daredevil and comedy Orange Is The New Black. A catalogue of licensed TV shows and movies is also available.
WHAT ABOUT NON-ENGLISH CONTENT?
A search for Indian actor Salman Khan revealed three of his old films, the latest of which is Hum Saath - Saath Hain (1999).
The only Chinese content available appeared to be 2011 TV series Empresses in the Palace.
A Netflix spokesman said: "We will add more to the Netflix catalogue in Singapore as the service grows in popularity and we better understand what our members want to watch in each region."
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Subscribers here will pay between $10.98 and $16.98 a month, which is comparable to prices in the US.
It is possible to share an account with up to four people watching Netflix at the same time.
A Netflix account also allows you to create up to five user profiles so that family members sharing an account can each enjoy a customised experience.
One screen (standard definition): $10.98
Two screens simultaneously (high definition): $13.98
Four screens simultaneously (high definition + ULTRA HD 4K: $16.98)
A Netflix spokesman said that members can pay with an international credit card, through the iTunes app store and via Paypal.
"Over time, we aim to add local payment options around the world," he said.
HOW DOES CONTENT HERE COMPARE TO THE US?
Former veteran tech journalist Oo Gin Lee noted that wildly popular series House of Cards and Breaking Bad are not available to Netflix subscribers in Singapore.
"There is a general consensus that the US market has the best content. It could get better over time, but for now, I feel that content is limited," said the Netflix subscriber of three years.
A Netflix spokesman said that they aim to offer "a fully global service with a global catalogue".
He said: "However the world of content licensing has traditionally been very fragmented and regionalised. It will take some time to get to an offering that's the same everywhere."
HOW WILL IT AFFECT PAY TV SUBSCRIBERS OF LOCAL TELCOS?
Mr Goh Seow Eng, managing director of Home, Consumer Singapore at Singtel, said: "We will be working closely with Netflix to deliver great promotions to our customers."
A StarHub spokesman said they are exploring a partnership with Netflix, so that their viewers will have the "widest selection of content with the convenience of their StarHub set-top box".
HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE?
Interested subscribers can sign up for an account at the official Netflix website: www.netflix.com/sg/
There will be a free one-month trial for new members. A reminder e-mail will be sent before the free trial is up and cancellations can be made at any time.