Streaming Services – which one should you subscribe to?
Many of us now watch TV via streaming, and the rising variety of platforms means we have more options than ever before. While you’re not limited to just one, having many memberships running at the same time each month could rapidly add up.
The best streaming services strike a mix between amazing content and a good user experience, as well as extra features like 4K options and offline downloading. On that basis, we’ll compare and contrast the various streamers, covering everything from user interface to visual quality to which shows/movies you can watch on each platform.
Netflix’s Basic Package costs £5.99 per month, but it has recently boosted its Standard Package to £9.99 per month and its Premium offering to £13.99 per month. Each subscription bundle will have various limits on the number of screens you can watch at once and whether you can stream in HD or Ultra HD.
We’d argue that Netflix UK is in a better position than Netflix US these days, since it hasn’t been battered by the same onslaught of rival providers that have sucked some of its most appealing content away. Netflix has been gradually moving away from its original business model of distributing other studios’ films and series in favour of its own originals, such as the recently popular Squid Game and Maid. However, they continue to add licensed TV shows and films you may have missed the first time round.
Amazon Prime membership costs £7.99 a month and includes all the benefits of Amazon Prime, such as free next-day delivery and subscription to Amazon Prime Video. You may also purchase it for £6.58 if you pay for the entire year in advance, or £3.25 if you’re a student. However, you can obtain access to simply Prime Video for £5.99, but the actual value of Amazon comes from a full Prime subscription, so the 30-day trial is well worth it.
Amazon Prime Video, like Netflix, offers a wonderful menu of movies, television shows, and original shows (the best Amazon shows range from The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel, The Man in the High Castle, Bosch and Jack Ryan). The Boys, Amazon Prime Video’s biggest hit, upped its audience dramatically in season 2 and has already got its own spinoff. If you’re a football fan then this might be the streaming service for you as some Premier League games are now shown through Amazon Prime.
Disney Plus is the category’s dominant player, and why shouldn’t it be? Disney has a staggering number of franchises, including Marvel, Star Wars, Disney’s own animation universe, and The Simpsons (all 30 seasons, and counting).
The cost of a Disney+ subscription is £7.99 per month (£79.90 per year). Subscribers enjoy access to Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and STAR films, as well as the chance to purchase Premier Access to upcoming blockbuster films. It’s one of the most affordable of the top streaming services, and a lot of the content is accessible in 4K resolution with HDR colour palettes.
Apple TV Plus
On its streaming platform, Apple TV+ has by far the fewest amount of content. Apple TV+ was launched in November 2019 with the idea that it would focus on quality over quantity, enlisting some of Hollywood’s top personalities to appear in and create its selection of series. Apple TV Plus will not offer access to current blockbuster films or fan-favourite classics like other major streaming services, but it is the only service that focuses so heavily on big-budget original programming.
The service costs £4.99, but it comes with a free one-year membership when you buy a new Apple product, such as a MacBook, iPad, or iPhone. Apple TV Plus now features a family sharing option that allows up to six family members to share a single account. Even better, they can use their own logins, which saves the need to disclose your password.
NOW offers fewer items available to watch in terms of quantity, with around 3,000 films, TV series, and children’s titles. Your access to brand new international shows is what makes NOW distinct. Because NOW is the streaming service for Sky TV, the UK’s leading pay-TV provider, you can watch brand-new content that isn’t accessible anywhere else online.
Most significantly, NOW is the only place in the UK where you can watch HBO series. The same is true for films released after they have left the theatre, with Sky Movies being the first spot to see new releases after they have left the cinema.
While Amazon Prime has begun to stream some live sports events, NOW is the clear winner for consumers looking for sports channels. NOW memberships are available at three separate pricing points: £8.99 for Entertainment TV, £11.99 for Movies, and £33.99 for Sports.
US Streaming Services
HBO Max has everything that HBO did, plus a lot more. Current-run shows such as Insecure, as well as entire seasons of Westworld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Veep, are all available on HBO and HBO Max. HBO Max, on the other hand, provides a lot more for $14.99 per month (or $9.99 with advertisements and no big Warner movies), making it a viable Netflix competitor.
A basic subscription to Paramount+ costs $4.99 per month, or $9.99 for an ad-free subscription. This puts it on pace with $5.99-per-month Discovery+ and NBC’s Peacock, which has a minimal free tier but charges $9.99 for a premium plan. You could save money by signing up for an annual plan for $49.99 with ads or $99.99 without ads.
Classic TV episodes and movies from ViacomCBS, Paramount, and their various subsidiaries can be found in the Paramount+ streaming collection. CBS, Sports HQ, Entertainment Tonight, Nickelodeon, BET, MTV, Comedy Central, and the Smithsonian Channel are among the networks involved.
From the start, Paramount+ allows you to stream content in 4K, but there are a few things to keep in mind. To watch videos at their optimum resolution, you’ll need a 4K TV and a source (such as a 4K media streamer). To watch in 4K, you’ll need an extremely fast internet connection.
Don’t worry, the videos on Paramount+ will still look fantastic in 1080P (full HD), and certain older TV episodes and movies may not yet be accessible in 4K.
Which has the most content?
There is no apparent winner in this case. NOW is the place to go if you want to catch up on the latest episodes of international shows. Netflix’s library of high-quality original programming, on the other hand, is difficult to overlook for any TV fan. The sheer number of titles accessible on Prime also makes it a viable option.
How to choose the best streaming services for you
The good news is that you are not restricted to just one. It’s all about determining the right variety of services for your budget. It also depends on the type of material you wish to consume. While Netflix provides a wide range of content, it does not cater to a certain audience, so it is likely a service that most people use.
While Netflix is shifting its focus toward original episodes and films with each passing week, it continues to add licensed films and programmes. That means it’s not only where you’ll rewatch The Good Place, but it’s also where you’ll find original shows like Glow and Love Is Blind.
Keep up to date with Ready Steady Cut
Read our reviews of all the latest shows and movies on your favourite streaming services if you still need help choosing between what’s currently on offer. We’re your first stop for brand new movies and TV shows, so make sure you stop by our website before deciding to binge on a brand new series.