With smart televisions high on everybody’s wish list this Christmas and video streaming demand at an all time high, there is no better time than now to sign up to a streaming subscription service. There are plenty to choose from, all offering their own selection of content to suit a variety of budgets and tastes. Instead of relying on what is being broadcast, you can now make the most of on-demand television and enjoy streaming direct to your console.
Even if you don’t have a smart television, the latest gaming machines such as the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One allow you to download streaming service applications and enjoy the content through your console. You can also access streaming providers’ websites directly from your laptop or PC browser and watch your favourite movies and shows there. All in all, streaming services are the most flexible way to watch television and films at home and on the go, and it is no wonder that demand for such services is surging. According to a recent Sandvine survey, up to 70% of internet traffic at any given time is accounted for by video streaming. Whether we catch up on missed shows or binge-watch entire box sets, it seems we are all now turning to video streaming instead of flicking through the TV channels or putting on DVDs.
So which is the right subscription service for you to sign up to – and what makes it different from the rest? We take a look at some of the current providers and their content, and help you decide which package will best suit that new widescreen TV of yours!
The current champion of all streaming services, Netflix is behind 35% of daily internet traffic and has 69.17 million subscribers. It is available from £5.99 per month and offers thousands of movies and TV shows to viewers on an unlimited streaming package. As well as leading shows and top films, there are also original shows such as House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, which have picked up millions of fans worldwide. Although only subscribers in the US can access the DVD rental side of the Netflix service and therefore the best range of films and shows, the streaming site is available across over 30 international territories with a range of regional titles available alongside premium content.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
The service formerly known as LoveFilm, Amazon has diversified its DVD rental service and offers subscribers a huge selection of titles to stream through laptops, games consoles or handheld devices. The Prime Instant Video service is the nearest rival to Netflix and popular with users in the UK – in part due to the success of the Amazon Fire Stick, which gives televisions smart TV functionality and allows for streaming of Amazon content. To make use of the streaming service, you will typically pay £4.99 a month, making it slightly cheaper than Netflix. If you want the DVD rental service as well, you will need to pay more. Amazon also offers some original programming including Hand of God and Man In The High Tower.
Everyone knows YouTube as the home of short clips, uploaded by users. From cat videos to song mash-ups and from pranks to proposals, YouTube made the viral clip famous and is used by millions of people every day. What you might not know is that YouTube is also the place to go for a ton of free and paid-for content. You can rent premium movies for a couple of pounds each, or pay a subscription to channels for exclusive access to all of their videos. There are also live streams of leading channels, from news to kids’ TV shows. Whether you are looking for old episodes of a favourite series or a movie to watch that won’t cost you a penny, you should consider stopping by at YouTube.
The Apple-exclusive media store and library also has a huge range of video content for you to download. There are movies from any decade you like, TV shows from all around the world and a variety of documentaries, music shows and more to browse through. You pay per download, so you can pick as much or as little as you like and not get stuck with any added extras. The service is only available to users of the iTunes service, but if you download the program you can use it on any Windows or iOS device. As well as providing a streaming service for certain titles and channels, iTunes is ideal for watching content on the go. You can store your purchases in your library offline and access them later when you are away from the internet.
Sky Go is the streaming service offered by Sky to its existing customers. As well as the traditional Sky package for your television, Sky Go allows you to connect up to two devices (or four if you pay extra) for live streaming of most Sky channels. There is also a catch-up service with recent programs from many of those channels, and a wide collection of box sets which includes classic and recent content. Although not as extensive as some of the subscription services’ offerings, there are a large amount of great titles in the Sky app – and it is available for tablet, mobile, PC or console as well as through any smart TV.