Best Streaming Service : Netflix Amazon Prime Now And More Compared
The best streaming services compared
If you’re looking for the best streaming service in the UK right now, our answer is pretty clear: get Netflix. The problem is, though, that Netflix only covers some of the best entertainment you can find in the UK right now and really, you’ll want a few subscriptions on the go to feel like you’re seeing everything that’s worth watching. That’s where services like Amazon Prime Video, Now and Disney Plus come into the frame. In this guide, we’ll explain which ones you need, and which ones you can skip.
The greatest streaming services balance fantastic content with a decent user experience, as well as additional features like 4K options and offline downloads. Below, you’ll find comparisons between the different streamers on that basis, and we’ll discuss everything from user interface to picture quality and which shows/movies you can watch on each service.
While the UK hasn’t become as overwhelmed with streaming services as the US , we’ve still got a lot to choose from here, and you don’t need to be subscribed to all of them to have a dazzling array of shows and movies to watch.
It’s worth mentioning that Sky Q which we collectively think is the best TV subscription package in the UK still requires a satellite dish, so it’s not in this list, which only includes streaming services that work solely with an internet connection.
These are the best UK streaming services.
Reasons to avoid
Reasons to avoid
Reasons to avoid
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What Is Streaming TV
Streaming TV is also called internet TV. If youre like most people, youve heard this term many times, but you still dont know how to define it exactly. Dont worry here comes a simple explanation.
To begin with, streaming is a way of transmitting or receiving data over a computer network. It is a continuous flow that allows for accessing a piece of the data while the rest is still being received. Kinda like listening to a simultaneous interpreter.
This means you can start watching a video while the rest of it is still loading. You dont need to decompress it or save it first.
Okay. So if you want to stream TV, you need a device that connects to the internet, be it a smart TV or a laptop. More on that later.
Right. Now lets see
States That Spend The Most/least On Streaming
- States that spend the most on streaming appear to have larger urban areas
- The states that spend less tend to have more rural population density
- Streaming is a nation-wide phenomenon.
At the end of the day, no matter the cost, the comfort we get from the solace of our heroes of sport, the big screen, or even the kitchen , is pretty much always worth it, and perhaps even more so now than ever.
However, we did find that difference in the amount of money that Americans are spending on streaming vs. cable is significant, so choose your plans wisely.
The costs may vary, but the joys of a big ol heaping bowl of family time, getting away from it all, and maybe even just enjoying a communal laugh, are priceless.
Keep on with your active-wear-loving selves, and enjoy the little things.
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Disney+ Hulu/disney+/espn+ Streaming Bundle For $1399/month
With must-see original shows like Loki and The Mandalorian, youll be wanting to purchase a Disney+ subscription tout suiteif you dont already have one. In addition to ad-free movies and series from the Walt Disney collection, it also gives parents and fans of all ages access to Pixar, plus the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, National Geographic and even 20th Century Fox content like The Simpsons. So yeah, you do have to watch Frozen and Toy Story. Again. Currently, you can get Disney+ for $7.99 a month or $79.99 a year. If you want to take advantage of the streaming bundle deal, you can also get the Disney+ Welcome Bundle with Hulu, ESPN+ and Disney+ for $13.99 a month.
Disney Plus: Best Video Streaming Service For Families
Disney Plus has content for the entire family. There are loads of animated feature films available for kids, some shows teenagers will enjoy, and a lot of content for adults. So whether youre into Mickey Mouse, Hannah Montana, or Star Wars, Disney Plus has you covered.
The service has many exclusive shows and movies you wont find on any of its competitors. These include High School Musical, Hamilton, Loki, Wandavision, and many others. You can check out the master list of movies and TV shows on Disney Plus at the link to learn more.
See also: Disney Plus vs Netflix
Disney Plus is a relatively new streaming service and is quite affordable. Its worth subscribing as well if you have kids, regardless of their age. Just keep in mind that the service doesnt have a free trial available at the moment.
- Also good for: TV shows
Alternatives to consider
If Disney Plus isnt available in your location or you just dont like it, there are a few alternatives to consider. The two listed below arent quite as family-focused as Disney Plus, but they do offer plenty of animated shows as well as other content.
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Best For Kids: Disney+
- Limited content for adults
- Small lineup of original shows
Disneys long-awaited streaming service arrived like a digital Deathstar in November 2019, dropping a handful of new originals and thousands of legacy shows and movies from the Disney, Star Wars, and Marvel vaults. If you havent heard of Disney+, where ya been?
Considering the sheer volume of content available, most expected Disney+ to cost more than other services like Netflix and Prime Video. Nope: at $7.99 a month , Disney+ is one of the cheaper on-demand streaming serviceschalk one up for the Mouse .
Disney+s low price tag, generous multiple-streams allowance , and overall kid-friendly vibe make it a gotta-have for families in our opinion. Its not just for the little ones, either: Disney+s mega-premieres of Hamilton and Black Widow prove the streamer aims to be more than just a babysitter.
Need Better Internet Speeds For Streaming
If you have multiple devices in your home using the internet simultaneously, or your internet speeds just arent up to snuff, you may not be getting the best streaming TV experience.
Enter your zip code to check out better speeds or prices available from internet providers in your area.
- fuboTV Best for sports
- Sling TV Best for kids
- DIRECTV STREAM Large channel lineups
- Vidgo 95112+ channels
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Large Channel Lineups: Directv Stream
- Expensive plans
- Limited cloud DVR space
Like many legacy media providers, DIRECTV leaped into the streaming boom quickly. After several iterations, DIRECTV STREAM has since evolved into a decent streaming version of its satellite TV service, complete with cloud DVRbut not without a few lingering problems.
If youve used DIRECTV before, DIRECTV STREAM will seem comfortingly familiar. No learning curve here. The DIRECTV STREAM live channel guide is nearly identical to its DIRECTV satellite counterpart and, more importantly, a majority of the channels and on-demand movies youd expect are there.
DIRECTV STREAM doesnt deliver much on its budget package most TV obsessives will want at least the CHOICE package, which gives you 90 channels for $84.99 a month.
In the negative column, DIRECTV STREAM is pricey and suggests you rent its proprietary set-top box to operate . Thats a very satellite move.
But, if youre determined to sidestep contracts and ditch the dish , DIRECTV STREAM is a relatively painless gateway into the world of full-time streaming TV. Its no bargain, thoughprepare your wallet for a hit.
What Are The Best Streaming Services
The best streaming service overall was Netflix, but HBO Max just took the title here at Tom’s Guide, riding a stellar wave of successes in 2021 with big-name movies. If you’re confused by the new name, consider the “Max” in HBO Max to be akin to the Plus in Disney Plus . HBO Max now has a lower starting price, with a $9.99 per month option that has ads.
Not all of us are cancelling our Netflix accounts, though, as the big red streaming machine practically controls the conversation around streaming, with most of the big shows and routine success making big new series such as Tiger King and Dead to Me. Netflix has also had most of the standard features that competitors took years to realize mattered. and it’s enough content that you’ve got plenty of reasons to sign up.
Sling TV is one of the best streaming services for live TV because of its relatively inexpensive price. While it got a price bump to $35 in January, that’s just for new members and it’s also $30 less than the likes of YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV. Fubo TV may be as expensive, but its wide array of sports content helps it stand out.
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What We Dont Like About Hulu
- Youll have the upgrade to get no ads
Youll probably want the top-tier plan
We like how Netflix doesnt include ads in any of its plans. But with Hulu, youll want its most expensive plan for no interruptions.
So you might find yourself upgrading to the $12 per month plan.
Keep in mind that Hulu only lets you stream on two devices at once with both plans. Thats nice for those who want the $6 per month plan, but this can become a problem for large families.
Amazon Prime Video: Best Value Streaming Service
This category isnt for the cheapest streaming service out there but for the one that gives you the most bang for your buck. Without a doubt, that title goes to , but only if you regularly shop on Amazon.
Prime Video is part of that gives you access to a ton of services. In addition to Prime Video with great originals and plenty of great movies and shows, you also get free delivery on most orders, access to the Prime Music streaming service, unlimited photo storage, and more.
All of this will set you back just $12.99 per month or $119 per year if you pay up-front. You can get Prime Video as a standalone service for $8.99, but we think the full Prime membership is a much better value.
- Also good for: Originals and movies
Alternatives to consider
- Disney Plus Bundle: The bundle includes a subscription to Disney Plus, Hulu , and ESPN Plus. This gives you access to a ton of content for the whole family movies, shows, cartoons, sports, and more. The Disney Plus bundle will set you back $13.99 per month, saving you $6 compared to signing up for all three services individually.
- Hulu : If you want to subscribe to a popular streaming service on the cheap, Hulu has you covered. Its basic plan containing ads will set you back just $6.99 per month and gives you access to the same content as the companys more expensive plan that doesnt include advertising. Sure, commercials suck, but thats the price you have to pay to save money.
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Our TV Streaming Bundle Reviews
For deeper dives into each streaming bundle, check out the reviews below.
Because online services are often iterative, gaining new features and performance improvements over time, this roundup is subject to change in order to accurately reflect the current state of the service. Any changes to text or our final review verdict will be noted.
YouTube TV doesn’t have every channel for everyone, but it’s still the best streaming bundle for most people.
- Solid mix of channels for the money
- Includes DVR with no storage limits
- Easy-to-understand app design
- Still not available in some markets, or on Amazon Fire TV devices
- Ad-riddled on-demand videos can override DVR
- Some channels don’t support 60-frames-per-second video yet
What To Watch On Youtube TV
You can catch long-running hit shows like The Walking Dead and Greys Anatomy with YouTube TV. The service also has much-loved series like Friends. There are also plenty of sports and reality TV options to keep you busy, including the likes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians and The Bachelor.
Now $10 cheaper than YouTube TV, Get 65+ channels along with a library of 8,000+ on-demand titles with Hulu Live! Bundle with Disney+ and ESPN+ for even more great content.
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How To Choose The Right Live TV Streaming Service For You
Searching for that special live TV streaming service neednt be difficult. Know what you want, and youre halfway there. Consider which channels you need to have access to and which ones you can do without. Next, turn to DVR storage. Do you need hundreds of hours to store tons of episodes? Or can you make do with less?
Do you need a lot of on-demand content to binge all winter? All TV streaming services have thousands of on-demand titles, but some have tens of thousands of titles. And speaking of on-demand content, can you make do with ads? If not, prioritize services with the option to upgrade to an ad-free experience.
Last but certainly not least, think about streaming limits. Does every member of your household like different things? Are you likely to have arguments if people cant watch what they want when they want? If the answer to both of those is a resounding yes, youll need a service that offers ample simultaneous streams.
Hulu + Live TV Dropping Channels: Which Regional Networks Are Getting Cut
One of the biggest fears for anyone considering getting rid of their cable or satellite box is whether they will still be able to watch live TV. Yes, cutting the cord may mean paying a lower monthly bill, but many wanna-be streamers still like to watch things like news and sports as they are being broadcast. You know, like the good old days.
But canceling your cable service doesnt mean giving up watching live TV because there are a handful of services you can order to take the place of cableover the Internet. Dubbed live TV streaming services, these services are different from the monthly or yearly streaming TV service streaming sites, like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+. Live streaming services, like Sling TV and Hulu with Live TV, offer a more complete opportunity to cut those cords that bind you, while still giving you access to live local and national news and sports channelsfor a price. But there are also free live streaming options to plug some holes, like Pluto TV.
Heres what you need to know about the best alternative to cable, while still retaining the ability to watch TV. Here are the best live streaming TV services you can get right now and how they compare.
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Best Overall: Youtube TV
- Higher price tag
- No A& E, Lifetime, or Hallmark
YouTube TV, YouTubes live TV streaming service, combines the most familiar interface on the planet with an impressive array of entertainment, sports, and add-on channels. All hail our new Google overlords!
Weve named YouTube TV our best overall live TV streaming service because of its ease of use, superior performance, and fat channel lineup. Its a little more expensive than most of the others, but we think its worth the price.
Meanwhile, upsides to YouTube TV include unlimitedyes, unlimitedcloud DVR storage that keeps recorded shows for up to nine months. YouTube TVs search function is also among the best in live TV streaming, thanks to its Google integration.
YouTube TV offers just one package, a $64.99-a-month deal that delivers mostly complete live local channel lineups in over 100 markets and on-demand versions where select networks are absent . YouTube TV is also the only live TV streaming service that carries PBS and PBS Kids, and it offers 15 premium add-on channels ranging from HBO Max to FOX Soccer Plus.
As for sports, ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, FS2, NBC Sports Network, CBS Sports Network, and Big Ten Network are all included with YouTube TV. It also carries regional sports channels, in addition to NFL Network, MLB Network, and NBA TV.
We think YouTube TV is the complete package when it comes to live TV streaming, hence our best overall ranking.
Do You Need A Vpn For Streaming
Video streaming services offer different content in different regions due to licensing rights. For example, Netflix offers a much more extensive library of movies and shows to users in the US than those based in most other countries. The difference in the amount of content available is massive in some cases.
Heres where a VPN comes in. By using it, you can get access to a lot more content on streaming services like Netflix. All you have to do is connect online using a US VPN, which will trick Netflixs website into thinking youre based in the US. The result is that youll get to watch the same movies and shows as users who live in the US.
Another example is a streaming service thats not available in your country. For example, if you live outside the US and want to access a service like IMDBtv thats only available in the states, youll have to use a US VPN. A VPN is helpful in many cases, although its not required for streaming.
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While a VPN for streaming does come in handy, there are a few drawbacks you have to know about. The first one is that it costs money. There are free ones available, but we generally dont recommend them, especially when streaming. Then theres the fact that using a VPN takes its toll on your internet speed, which may or may not be a big deal depending on how significant the drop is.
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