Many will remember a simple time, when streaming a tv show or a movie required one question: is it on Netflix?
The streaming monopoly is long gone now though, with more and more competitors throwing their hat into the ring. The problem for consumers is that this means that the shows are stretched more thinly across more platforms as original content creators look to launch their own platforms and reclaim their tv shows and movies.
Disney+ made a massive splash when it launched in the US recently, with headline shows like the Mandalorian drawing huge viewership, and spawning a range of memes in the process. The entertainment titan’s arrival in the UK has been hotly anticipated. They have set a release date of the 24th of March which means that fans of classic animated films and hi octane sci fi epics won’t have long to wait for another streaming option.
More options means more difficult decisions though - will you be willing to plump for yet another subscription when it comes out? Or are you loyal to your existing streaming service? We’ve put together a run down of some of the key players to help you decide which might be best for you:
Not only does it contain Disney’s entire back catalogue of classic films, making it great for children, it is also pumping huge amounts of money into new original content. One of the best examples of this is The Mandalorian, a $100m sci-fi epic set in the world of Star Wars. It won't be long before Britain can access Disney+, and at £6.99 per month, it won’t cost too much to do so either. They also have the option of watching certain content in 4K for no additional cost - a privilege some competitors charge extra for.
Top picks include: The Simpsons, The Mandalorian, classic Disney kids movies, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe back catalogue.
Netflix needs little introduction, and has probably the largest selection available on any streaming service. Their catalogue includes an increasing amount of original content and while this used to be something to be a little wary of, the quality of Netflix’ original programming has soared recently. The Safdie brothers’ latest thriller Uncut Gems is just one example. One of the downsides of such an extensive catalogue is that Netflix is generally more expensive than its competitors at £9.99 per month. They do offer a family package for £14.99 which means that multiple users can watch the same account at the same time making it a great option for families or house shares.
Top picks include: The Crown, Stranger Things, Mad Men, Sex Education and Better Call Saul.
Amazon is of course well known for engaging in pretty much every industry on the planet and they weren’t going to let streaming pass it by. Amazon’s streaming service - Amazon Prime Video - comes as part of the standard Amazon Prime membership. This means that not only do you get access to Amazon’s extensive list of streaming options but you’ll also benefit from next day and free delivery on certain items on Amazon, all for £79 per year. While it may not have as many shows as netflix, the added bonus of Amazon Prime access and cheaper cost may make it an attractive option to many would be streamers. They also have a selection of films and tv available on a pay per view basis.
Top picks include: The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Futurama, The Walking Dead, The Americans, The Good Wife, and Parks and Recreation
Now TV offers a slightly different solution to some of their competitors in the form of a more tailored experience. Whereas with other streaming services you pay for all the content they have in one package, Now TV offers a range of different streaming packages for you to choose from so you only need to pay for what you want to watch. This does mean however that if you want to take advantage of all of the different packages you will end up paying more. For example, their entertainment package comes in at £8.99 and their cinema package is £11.99, but these do give you access to all relevant Sky content.
Top picks include: The Wire, The Night Of, Chernobyl, The Handmaid's Tale, and The Sopranos.
For those who are excited by the prospect of a streaming service which champions British content then look no further. Britbox is a joint effort from ITV and BBC who have joined forces to try and combat the growing threat of streaming services to traditional TV. Britbox comes with a one month free trial and at a very reasonable £5.99 per month after that. Those who enjoy a lot of high quality American content might be left disappointed but for those fans homegrown British TV and film this will be the very thing.
Top picks include: The Office (Uk Obviously), Absolutely Fabulous, Not the Nine O’clock News, Midsommar Murders, Life on Mars, and Inspector Morse.
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