We look at Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV

Can you have too many TV shows and good movies at your finger tips?  Why are we such big fans of subscription streaming services and which one is the best?

The top three in the UK are Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Now TV. They all offer a fab selection of telly and plenty of movies to watch on demand, as much as you want and whenever you want. You can even get them alongside a regular TV package.

Netflix

Price: £5.99-£8.99 per month; 30-day free trial

Netflix is an American multinational entertainment company founded on August 29, 1997, in California . It specialises in and provides streaming media and video on demand online. In 2013, Netflix added film and television production, as well as online distribution.

Netflix entered the film and television industry in 2013, debuting its first series, House of Cards. It greatly expanded the production of both film and television series since then, offering “Netflix Original” content through its online library of films and television.

In October 2016, Netflix reported over 86 million subscribers worldwide.

What’s Good

  • It’s available on tons of devices. Web browsers, iPhonesAndroidsWindows Phones, smart TVs, streaming sticks, games consoles– whatever tech you’re rocking, it’s almost guaranteed to support Netflix either online or as an app.
  • There are some excellent original programmes – Stranger Things, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Daredevil, Sense8, and BoJack Horseman to name a few.
  • It’s also got tons of British TV and films from the BBC, Channel 4, and more.
  • You can watch it on up to four screens at once, and can even put multiple profiles on a single account – perfect for families.
  • HD is available, as is Ultra HDon a few videos.
  • Prices are tiered, so you’ll only need to pay as much as you want to, depending on how many screens you’ll be watching on at once and what screen resolution you want. It’s also on a rolling monthly basis so you can cancel your subscription at any point.
  • There’s a 30-day free trial.

What’s bad

  • Besides Netflix originals, there aren’t many new releases. Most films will arrive on DVD and other services a good few months before they land on Netflix, if they do at all.
  • UK Netflix doesn’t have nearly as wide a range of programming as the US version.
  • Since shows and films are added on a contract basis, they have a tendency to disappear without warning every now and then.

How to get it

Thanks to its wide availability, you can set up an account on pretty much any device ever. But good news if you’ve got a YouView or a Virgin Media TiVo box – they’ve both got the app already included. The Netflix app can also be downloaded on streaming sticks.

 

Amazon Prime Video

Price: £5.99 per month for Prime Video only, or £79 per year for an Amazon Prime subscription; 30-day free trial

LoveFilm was a UK-based DVD-by-mail company, which turned into an online streaming service, was then taken over by retail giant Amazon.  Amazon Prime Video offers digital movies and TV shows you can watch instantly on a compatible connected device. With Amazon Prime Video, you can buy, rent, and instantly watch digital movies and TV shows. All you need is an Amazon account and a compatible, Internet-connected device.  It has recently started its venture into original programming too.

What’s Good

  • £5.99 a month subscription available for video only, with a one-month free trial – one of the cheapest around.
  • Pick the yearly Prime subscription option, and you won’t just get Prime Video – it’ll also get you next-day delivery on thousands of Amazon products, free books in the Kindle library, Amazon Prime Music, and early access to certain deals. For the equivalent of £6.58 per month, you’re getting a lot.
  • HD resolution is available as standard, and Ultra HD is available with smart TVs and Amazon Fire.
  • There’s some decent original programming – The Man in the High Castle, Alpha House, Transparent, and The Grand Tour.
  • Other than the originals, there’s a very wide range of TV and film, including new releases and big blockbusters.
  • You can download videos to your device to watch later.
  • There’s a 30-day free trial.

What’s Bad

  • Yearly Prime subscription costs £79.
  • Though it’s got some good original shows, they’re not as popular or critically acclaimed as those from, say, Netflix.
  • There are a few gaps in its range of devices – you won’t find it on Chromecast, Apple TV, Windows Phones, or pre-iOS 7.0 iPhones and iPads.

How to get it

Like Netflix, you can set up an Amazon account from a huge range of devices that have the Prime Video app. That app’s available on most smart TVs – so it can go alongside whatever TV package you choose and of course via the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Amazon Fire TV Box.

 

Now TV

Price: £6.99 a month for an Entertainment Pass, with a 14-day free trial; £9.99 a month for a Sky Cinema pass, with a 14-day free trial; £33.99 a month for a Sky Sports pass

Launched in 2012 and owned by Sky, Now TV was created as an easy way of getting pay-per-view movies and sports to anyone who doesn’t have Sky TV. It comes in the form of monthly passes for Sky Cinema and Sky Sports, and an Entertainment Pass for 11 pay-TV channels – including Sky 1Sky AtlanticComedy Central, Nickelodeon, and Discovery.

And, as of July 2016, it also offers broadband and home phone packages, which you can of course combine with your pick of telly as well.

What’s Good

  • It’s a fantastic way to get pay TV channels without all the drawbacks – it’s cheaper than subscribing to a package, and there’s very little setup, no long contracts, and no need for a satellite dish. It also means you can watch Sky Cinema and Sky Sports regardless of what other TV you subscribe to.
  • You can mix it in with your broadband package.
  • Sky Cinema has an amazing range of films, including a bunch of brand new blockbusters before they’re even out on DVD.
  • The Now TV app is available on YouView boxes, so you can get it alongside a cheap TV package from BTor TalkTalk.
  • It’s the only one of the three to offer live sports– or any live TV at all, for that matter.
  • There are 14-day free trials for the Entertainment and Sky Cinema passes.

What’s Bad

  • TV wise, there’s not quite as much choice as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video – you’re kind of limited to those 13 channels, along with 7-day catch-up apps if you’ve got a Now TV box.
  • There aren’t any exclusive original shows.
  • Subscribing to TV andfilms is expensive compared with other services.
  • It’s not supported by quite as many devices – Windows Phones, Kindle Fire HDs, and Google Chrome don’t get a look in.
  • There’s no Full HD (1080p) streaming as of yet, and Ultra HD is out of the question.

How to get it

Now TV has its own set top box that you can plug into your TV alongside whatever other box you may have. That is, unless you have a YouView box – available with a BT TV or TalkTalk TV package – which already has the Now TV app installed. You’ll also find the app on various smart TVs, games consoles, smartphones, tablets, and of course web browsers.

 

In summary

The best of the three for you and your household depends a lot on what devices and TV package you already have. And on what you want to watch, of course, since they all offer such different things.

Take advantage of the free trials… so we’d say your best bet is give them all a try and see which one you like best.

(Prices correct as of January 2017)

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