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Choosing a Streaming Service

Choosing a Streaming Service

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Last updated: 21 May 2021

Streaming TV programmes online has become increasingly popular and accessible in recent years and some of the biggest shows in TV are now only available on streaming platforms. With plenty of streaming services to choose from, working out which one is right for you has become an increasingly difficult task. 

Fear not, as this guide will give an overview of each of the main streaming services including Netflix, Amazon Prime and more.

Netflix

The undisputed king of online streaming, the name ‘Netflix’ is almost synonymous with the industry itself. With more than 200 million subscribers in over 190 countries, Netflix is the world’s leading streaming service by far.

Netflix offers a seemingly endless range of TV shows and movies on its platform, as well as an ever-growing roster of its own original content. While modern instalments like The Crown and Stranger Things might grab all the headlines, loads of old classics can go under the radar, such as Fawlty Towers and Friends. And as loads of shows both new and old are added each week, you’ll never run out of things to watch.

While some viewers may find the sheer choice on offer a bit overwhelming, and there is admittedly quite a lot of poor-quality content available, there are some absolute gems to be found. In fact, a number of Netflix Original movies have been nominated for an Oscar in recent years, including the gritty drama The Irishman, foreign-language stunner Roma, and the though-provoking documentary 13th.

The app itself is very easy to use across all platforms. You can select up to five users for each account, meaning each member of your family can have their favourite shows and suggestions in one place, without everything getting mixed up. There’s also an entirely separate Kids sections, so your children can also enjoy all it has to offer, without you worrying about them stumbling across any inappropriate content. Netflix also supports 4K streaming on its premium plan, although you will also need a 4K-ready TV to enjoy this content.

How much does Netflix cost?

  • Basic prices start at £5.99 per month. This limits you streaming to one device at a time and does not allow HD streaming. 
  • The standard package costs £7.49 a month and allows you to stream on two devices at a time and allows for HD streaming. 
  • The premium package costs £8.49 a month which gives you access to Ultra HD streaming and allows you to stream on up to 4 devices at a time. 

How can I watch Netflix?

  • You can access Netflix at www.netflix.com  
  • Using a smartphone or tablet. 
  • On an Xbox, Nintendo or Playstation
  • Using an Apple TV, chromecast. 
  • Smart TVs

What original programs do Netflix they offer? 

  • House of Cards
  • Black Mirror 
  • Stranger Things 
  • Orange Is the New Black 

Disney+

Launched in March 2020, Disney+ is the newest entry to the online streaming market in the UK, but is already gaining a huge following. As well as access to all your favourite Disney and Pixar films, Disney+ has exclusive rights to both the Star Was and Marvel franchises, among others.

And it’s not just movies that you’ll enjoy with Disney+ - it also has all 31 seasons of The Simpsons, an extensive list of National Geographic documentaries, and the hit Star Wars spin-off series The Mandalorian. Content is also available to watch on 4K-ready devices.

How much does Disney+ cost?

£7.99 per month, or £79.90 upfront for a years' subscription.

How can I watch Disney+?

  • On any Android or iOS device
  • With an Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
  • On your smart TV
  • Apple TV
  • On your computer or laptop.

What original programs do Disney+ offer?

  • The Mandalorian
  • WandaVision

NOW

NOW TV is a subscription-based service designed to be suited to your needs. NOW TV offers access to services such as Sky Sports and Sky Movies, as well as hundreds of TV shows. For those looking for the best in film and sport on a flexible, budget-friendly plan, Now TV is a great option.

In partnership with Sky, NOW TV gives you access to a great number of top-quality American shows from the likes of HBO and Showtime, including the phenomenal fan-favourite Game of Thrones and the critically-acclaimed Chernobyl.

The NOW TV app isn’t the most user-friendly on the market, but its subscription options are some of the most flexible. If it’s just football you want to watch, then you just pay for the Sky Sports package. Similarly, if you just want to watch movies, simply choose the Sky Cinema package. There is also an Entertainment Pass, Kids Pass and Hayu Pass (for reality TV), and the option to mix and match.

How much does NOW TV cost?

  • Sky Sports Pass - £33.99 per month
  • Sky Movies Pass £9.99 per month 

How can I watch NOW TV?

  • Using a NOW TV box 
  • On your PlayStation or Xbox  
  • Using a PC or Mac 
  • On your Smartphone and Tablet

What original and popular programs do NOW TV offer? 

NowTV doesn’t produce its own original content.

BBC iPlayer

Available to anyone with a British TV licence, BBC iPlayer is one of the longest-running, best-known streaming services in the UK. It was the original catch-up TV service, allowing you to watch all the programmes you might have missed on BBC ONE, BBC TWO, BBC THREE and BBC FOUR, in your own time. It also has a partnership with FX, giving you long-term access to a host of American shows on top of the original BBC content.

The BBC iPlayer app is one of the easiest to use, and it is currently trialling 4K streaming. And the best thing about BBC iPlayer is that there’s no subscription fee. But while this feels like it’s free, remember you must pay a hefty £157.50 a year for the TV licence, or you could be prosecuted.

How much does BBC iPlayer cost?

  • Free (no subscription fees) with a TV licence (£157.50 per year)

How can I watch BBC iPlayer?

  • On any Android or iOS device
  • On your smart TV
  • Apple TV
  • On your computer or laptop.

What original and popular programs do BBC iPlayer offer? 

  • Planet Earth
  • Match of the Day
  • EastEnders

Amazon Prime Video

The main rival to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video is similar in that it offers a wide selection of TV programmes and films while also producing its own original shows. However, Prime Video also allows you to purchase some films permanently for an extra cost on top of your subscription fee.

In terms of content, Amazon Prime Video offers thousands of shows and movies, including classic US series like Mad Men, House, and The X-Files. It also has a growing list of original films, such as the recent Borat sequel and the upcoming Coming to America.

While the Amazon Prime Video app isn’t yet as user-friendly as Netflix’s, it’s bound to improve over time. Like Netflix, it also offers 4K video streaming, as long as you have a 4K-compatible TV. You can sign up to Amazon Prime Video by paying a monthly fee, although if you’re already an Amazon Prime member, then access to the video streaming site is free of charge.

How much does Amazon Prime Video cost?

Amazon Prime Video costs £5.99 per month or £79 per year.

How can I watch Amazon Prime Video?

  • At www.amazon.co.uk 
  • On your smartphone or tablet
  • Using your playstation, Nintendo or Xbox. 
  • Using your Apple TV or smart TV. 
  • Using an Amazon Fire Stick with a fire TV. 

What original and popular programs do Amazon Prime Video offer? 

  • Mr. Robot 
  • Outlander 

To use any of these streaming services you need to ensure you have a strong broadband connection as there is nothing worse as being interrupted by a poor connection when watching your favourite show. Use usave to compare broadband deals and find a package which offers a service good enough for all your streaming needs. 

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Michael Quinn

Author: Michael Quinn

Michael is a dedicated author helping usave to write guides, blogs and news for the last four years. When not writing articles, you can usually find him at wine tasting events or having a political debate on the night tube.

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