Latest News

What are the best TV streaming services in the UK?

Gone are the days of having to ensure you’re sat on the sofa during prime time to catch the shows you want to watch on TV. With the inception of streaming services, you can watch what you want, when you want.

Some might argue that the amount of content we have available today makes it impossible to keep across all of it – and they’d have a point. But you can’t say ‘there’s nothing to watch’ anymore.

With so many streaming services available, you’re forced to make a decision on which ones to sign up to as, by and large, they all cost money – and few of us have limitless budgets.

In this article, we’ll look at the different streaming services in the UK to help you decide which ones you should spend your hard-earned cash on.

We’ll cover everything from subscriptions prices to which services are compatible with which devices – so if, for example, you have an iPhone, you’ll know your options.

Before we launch into the article, a quick reminder to ensure you’ve taken out iPhone insurance, in case anything should happen to your treasured device.

Gadget Cover policies can protect your iPhone from things like accidental damage, liquid damage and theft, and you can pay for additional protection against loss.

Right, let’s get into it, starting with undoubtedly the biggest streaming service in the world…

A remote in-front of a TV in a dark room

Netflix

www.netflix.com

Netflix has a staggering 182.8 million global subscribers, making it one of the world’s largest entertainment services, with 16 million more users signing up to cure their boredom during the Coronavirus crisis.

Netflix's initial business model included DVD sales and rental by mail, but quickly morphed into a streaming service, with its first original series – House of Cards – debuting in 2013.

Since then, it has gone from strength to strength, with the service spending billions each year on original content and exclusive pay TV deals with film studios.

In terms of usability, Netflix offers a similar experience no matter what device you’re streaming on, while the ability to set up different profiles means you can store favourite shows and films to view at some time in the future; it’ll also throw up some personalised recommendations.

If you have children, Netflix has introduced a dedicated kids’ section, which restricts the content to that which is suitable for young eyes.

The majority of the content is presented in high definition, which means they are 1080p and have 5.1 surround sound where applicable.

A select number of shows and films can be viewed in 4K, but you will need at least a 15Mbps broadband connection to play it without any problems.

If you want to watch a show or film out and about without using up your mobile data allowance, Netflix offers the option to download content to your mobile device, so you can watch them offline.

But just be sure to remove the content once you’ve viewed it or you’ll quickly find your phone’s storage will become full.

If you’re planning to watch your favourite Netflix shows through your smartphone, make sure it’s covered with iPhone insurance.

Price:

  • £5.99 per month for one stream in standard definition
  • £8.99 per month for up to two screens simultaneously in HD
  • £11.99 per month for up to four screens simultaneously in 4K HDR/Dolby Vision

Devices:

  • PC and Mac through any internet browser
  • PS3 and PS4
  • Xbox 360 and Xbox One
  • Nintendo Wii U
  • iOS and Android devices
  • Smart TVs
  • Selected Blu-ray players
  • Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra
  • Roku
  • Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
  • Apple TV
  • Sky Q
  • Virgin Media TiVo
  • BT TV
  • YouView set-top boxes

A person holding up a remote up to a TV displaying Netflix

Amazon Prime Video

www.amazon.co.uk

Alongside Netflix, Amazon Prime Video is the other elder statesman in the streaming world, with an estimated 75 million global subscribers garnered over the last decade.

Like Netflix, Prime Video also produced a range of TV shows that are exclusive to the platform and has content deals for shows made abroad, bringing them to a UK audience.

Amazon Prime Video comes as part of an Amazon Prime subscription, but it’s also possible to sign up without having a Prime account.

What Amazon Prime Video might lack in original content, it makes up for with a slew of new films, with subscribers also given the option to pay extra to rent titles which have not long been in cinemas – all of which can be downloaded for offline viewing.

The majority content is presented in 1080p, but you might find it limited to 720p depending on what device you’re using to stream. If you have a 4K-compatible device, there’s a fair bit of Ultra HD content to tuck into.

Unlike Netflix, there is currently no option to create different profiles for each user, but you can still mark shows or films for later viewing.

Price:

  • £5.99 a month for access to just Amazon Prime Video
  • Free with Amazon Prime membership – £79 per year
  • Varying prices for rentals and purchases

Devices:

  • Roku
  • Nvidia Shield TV
  • PS3 and PS4
  • Xbox 360 and Xbox One
  • Nintendo Wii U
  • Smart TVs
  • Select Blu-ray players
  • PCs and Macs
  • iOS and Android devices
  • Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick and Fire tablets

A person using an Amazon remote to control Amazon Prime on their TV

Now TV

www.nowtv.com

If you like the look of Sky’s content, but don’t want to commit to a full subscription, Now TV could be for you.

It offers both live and on-demand Sky content, which has made it a hit with fans of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones as Sky has the rights to both programmes.

In addition to exclusive shows, Now TV offers an excellent selection of the latest movies and the opportunity to stream live sport, which only Amazon Prime Video can also claim to offer currently.

However, where it holds its own with Netflix and Prime Video in terms of content, it falls a little short on picture quality as Now TV is not a Full HD service.

Videos are streamed in only standard definition or 720p at best, depending on the platform – so just short of Blu-ray quality.

But if you struggle for broadband speed at home, this might not be such a bad thing – Now TV uses adaptive streaming, meaning the bitrate alters depending on internet speed which makes for a stable picture.

Price:

  • Sky Cinema Month Pass - £11.99 per month for all Sky Cinema channels
  • Sky Sports Day Pass - £9.99 for all Sky Sports channels for 24 hours
  • Sky Sports 7 Day Pass - £14.99
  • Sky Sports Month Pass - £33.99
  • Entertainment Month Pass - £8.99 per month for access to a host of channels and TV box sets
  • Kids Month Pass - £3.99

Devices:

  • Now TV Smart Stick and Smart Box
  • iOS and Android devices
  • PC and Mac
  • Roku
  • Smart TVs from LG
  • Select Blu-ray players
  • Google Chromecast
  • PS3 and PS4
  • Xbox 360 and Xbox One
  • Apple TV
  • YouView boxes
  • EE TV

A women smiling s she eats popcorn while watching TV

Sky Go

go.sky.com

If you are a Sky TV customer, you’ll hopefully already know about Sky Go, which allows you to stream both live and catch-up TV to your chosen device.

The content available depends on your TV subscription – so don’t expect to find the sports channels unless you are a Sky Sports subscriber.

If you want to download a movie or TV show to watch on the move, you’ll need to pay a little extra for the privilege – but it’s not a bad exchange for what is a vast library of on-demand content.

And if you’re watching films on the go, make sure your phone is covered against theft or accident with iphone insurance.

If you're not a Sky subscriber, Sky Go will not be available to you – that’s what Now TV is there for.

If you are a Sky TV subscriber, check out the supported devices below – while the Sky Go app is expanding to be available on most platforms, not all handsets and streaming boxes are covered.

Price:

  • Free for existing Sky TV customers
  • Sky Go Extra allows you to stream on up to four devices and includes offline viewing - £5 per month
  • Sky Go Extra is free for Sky Q experience customers

Devices:

  • PC and Mac
  • Xbox 360 and Xbox One
  • PS3 and PS4 - Sky Go Extra required for games consoles
  • iOS and Android devices

A man watching something on his phone with headphones on sitting on a bus

BritBox

britbox.co.uk

BritBox is relatively new to the steaming scene. A collaboration between the BBC and ITV, it provides a home for decades' worth of classic British programmes – many of which aren’t available on the iPlayer or ITV Hub.

So, if you’ve been searching for a long-lost series, you might just find it on BritBox, which plays home to every single episode of Doctor Who that’s ever been aired.

Modern classics like Downton Abbey and Broadchurch can also be found on the platform.

There isn’t much in the way of original and exclusive programmes on BritBox right now, but subscribers have been promised plenty of fresh content in the coming months, including the return of classic satire Spitting Image.

It’s still early days for BritBox, but with classic shows being added to the platform all the time, it’s only going to get bigger and better.

If you love classic TV from the 70s and 80s, this is the streaming service for you.

Price:

  • £5.99/month

Devices:

  • Mac or PC (via a web browser)
  • Apple TV
  • Google Chromecast
  • Select Samsung smart TVs
  • Select Panasonic smart TVs
  • iPhone
  • iPod touch
  • iPad
  • Android phones and tablets

A family watching a programme on a tablet device

Disney+

disneyplus.com

Disney+ entered the competitive streaming market at the end of 2019, replacing its previous service, DisneyLife.

As you might expect from a Disney product, the design of the service and depth of content is very impressive.

All the Disney classic animated films are ready and present, as well as all of Pixar's output, the whole Star Wars saga and plenty more, including the hit new show The Mandalorian and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The family-centric service also offers a whole host of TV shows for kids, young and old, which will keep any little ones entertained for hours.

However, if you haven’t got a particular penchant for Disney, you might be disappointed.

The majority of content is available in high definition (1080p), which is fast becoming the standard. If you’re looking for a service that will keep the kids entertained on long car journeys, this is it.

Price:

  • £5.99/month
  • £59.99/year

Devices:

  • iOS and Android devices
  • Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
  • Amazon Fire tablets
  • Nvidia Shield TV
  • Apple TV
  • Smart TVs
  • PC and Mac
  • AirPlay and Chromecast streaming

A mobile phone with Disney Plus loading on it

Apple TV+ and iTunes

Apple.com

Around the same time that Disney launched its service, Apple's own premium streaming service, Apple TV+ opened to subscribers promising a host of original content – in fact, it’s only got original content at the moment.

While that makes the selection somewhat limited for the time being, it has managed to attract some big names including Jennifer Anniston and Reece Witherspoon for The Morning Show.

As you might expect, Apple TV+ is still finding its feet, so while some TV shows have gone down well with audiences and critics, others have been less well received.

But it has huge potential, with HD content offered in Full HD 1080p and 5.1 surround sound where applicable, while 4K HDR content is plentiful and can come with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

Price:

  • £4.99/month
  • Free year's subscription with new Apple products

Devices:

  • PC and Mac
  • iOS devices
  • Apple TV
  • Games consoles and streaming boxes

An Apple TV remote held up to a TV

Best of the rest

If all of those services don’t provide enough streaming action for you, there’s also MUBI and Rakuten which focus on the latest cinematic releases.

Or if you are an owner of an Android device, there’s a ton of content on the Google Play store.

 

iPhone insurance from Gadget Cover

Once you’ve decided which is the best streaming service for you, protect your device against unexpected mishaps with iPhone insurance from Gadget Cover.

You can take out a policy through us if your phone is less than 18 months old, is in good condition and full working order, and you can provide proof of ownership.

Our iPhone insurance policies include all you need to protect your iPhone from the most common issues like loss, theft and accidental damage.

Plus, you’ll also enjoy benefits like instant cover and protection for your iPhone accessories.

Protect your tech today – get a quote!

Share this story, choose your platform

Get a quote:

Please select a Make and Model

Latest Social News

Tags