Netflix's upcoming, cheaper, ad-supported tier has some serious drawbacks

Netflix logo and remote control

If you have been put off getting a Netflix subscription because you think it's too expensive, the upcoming introduction of a reduced-cost, ad-supported tier may sound appealing. But there are numerous downsides, some of which are only just coming to light.

First of all, there is -- of course -- the fact that there are ads. But if you're happy to put up with this, you may be disappointed to learn that you won't be able to access all content either. But it gets worse. Sign up for the ad-supported tier and you could be missing out on some of the most useful functionality Netflix offers.

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Delving into the source code of the Netflix iPhone app, developer Steve Moser has unearthed some rather worrying hints that the ad-supported tier will be limited in various ways. One of the findings is not exactly surprising: it will not be possible to skip ads in the way YouTube and other streaming services allow.

But the developer's findings are rather more disturbing that this. Moser posted his findings on his blog and says he found text that reveals it will not be possible to enjoy offline viewing if you opt for a cheaper, ad-supported subscription option.

The text within the code reads:

Downloads available on all plans except Netflix with ads.

In a statement given to TechCrunch, a Netflix spokesperson said:

We are still in the early days of deciding how to launch a lower priced, ad-supported option and no decisions have been made. So this is all just speculation at this point.

In short, Netflix is neither confirming nor denying anything, so we'll just have to wait and see.

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