Since the introduction of streaming services, the world of television entertainment has changed. No longer are we beholden to the word of the Radio Times! We are free to watch what we want to watch when we want! But with this comes a new challenge, deciding which streaming service we should get. A choice that has caused somewhat of a streaming war in recent years! Yes, no longer is Netflix the undisputed champion, standing atop the broken body of Blockbuster Video. Now streaming services compete for your attention just like the TV channels they hoped to replace. And with so much entertainment new and old on each service, it’s even more of a headache than ever to choose where to get your entertainment from. As such, I thought I’d try to help you out with a guide to seasonal streaming, so you can watch what you want when you are snuggled up at home this winter!
First things first, let’s take a quick look at what is perhaps the most iconic streaming service! At a standard cost of £9.99, with the option to pay a cheaper price of £5.99 to get Netflix without multi-screen streaming. So if you only have one TV in the house and aren’t planning to use the account on multiple devices at the same time, the cheaper option might suit you better. Netflix is home to a wide variety of international, licensed, and original programming, with a wide variety of shows movies and documentaries. If you haven’t used Netflix before, there is sure to be something that will pique your interest! And if you’re using Netflix via browser, with a VPN you can widen your selection by changing your region, allowing you access to the Netflix catalogues of other countries. Take a look at the site here, and for more info, there’s an FAQ at the bottom of the linked page.
Our second streaming service is a bit more complicated. This is because the packages you will buy depending on what kinds of media you want access to, with options for cinema, sport and children’s packages available. As such the prices vary, but average around £9.99. The service is operated by Sky, relying mostly on critically acclaimed American drama and cinema for its content. Check out the Now TV options on their site by clicking here.
Interestingly, Sky also offers Sky Q, which includes Sky TV bundles along with Netflix, but is around £29.00 a month. As Sky is mainly a television provider, a satellite connection is needed to make full use of the Sky packages.
Next up on our streaming search is the mouse-eared juggernaut itself! For £7.99 a month, including multiscreen streaming at a lower price than Netflix, you can access Disney’s extensive catalogue of classic family movies and animation! This includes everything from live-action Disney Channel sitcoms, to the majority of the Marvel cinematic universe! To those of us who grew up with Disney, Disney+ is a safe bet, as you probably already have a good idea of what’s on there! And with seasonal classics like Elf, Home Alone, and The Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Disney+ is, in my opinion, the strongest streaming site for a Christmas movie night! And now that Disney+ has incorporated Star, a section for non-Disney programming, it also contains many comedies, dramas and sitcoms et cetera that make it more of a competitor to Netflix in terms of television box sets! To find out more, follow the link here, and check out the selection for yourself!
From one large corporation’s contribution to streaming to another, for the low price of £4.99 a month, Apple TV offers a staggering array of original programming! And since the service is quite young, and in competition for your attention, I feel the quality of its programming will only increase over the coming years! Take a look at some of Apple TV’s original programming here, and remember the low price may be worth it for a month or two if anything takes your fancy. And if you’ve recently bought an Apple device, don’t forget to check your eligibility for a free trial!
Amazon Prime Video
Our fourth streaming service is Amazon Prime Video. For £7.99 a month with Amazon Prime, you gain access to Prime Video and its included selection of free shows and movies! And with the added bonuses to your online shopping, where can you go wrong with the combined next day delivery and streaming? But be aware that Prime Video is more of a storefront for downloadable content, so a lot of what is on there you will need to buy or rent. Though these shows may become free now and then, as what is included in the free programming changes often! So if you want quick delivery on your Christmas shopping and something to watch, check out Amazon Prime and all its offerings here!
Catch Up Tv!
Finally, when looking through the App Store or even just searching online, don’t overlook the services that are available for free in the UK! These are services mainly for catch up TV, but they will have box sets and some recently shown movies, and most importantly they are entirely free!
To begin, we have BBC iPlayer! A free service, save for the price of a TV licence, which you likely have anyway. Just click “Yes, I have a TV licence”, and you’re on your way! If you live in the UK and have a Smart TV or a device with access to the Internet, use BBC iPlayer free and ad-free here!
You can also check out All 4, for a variety of British and American shows! All 4 is free too, paying for themselves with ads. And if you want, you can pay them away for £3.99 a month! Click here to start!
Last but not least, there is ITV Hub. And while you will find adverts in their usual place on ITV Hub, it’s worth it for the plethora of free content available right here! And if you want to get access to catch up TV but are not in the UK, why not look into using a VPN to change your computer’s Internet location?
If not, then for readers in countries like the US and Canada, or even Brits determined to avoid ads, why not try Britbox? Britbox compiles nearly all of the above and a little bit more for £5.99! (Unfortunately, it won’t have some of the additional American programming you can find on All 4) It’s a great way to access an archive of British television from classic Doctor Who to modern drama and much more! Click here to check it out!
It’s clear there are plenty of options for what to watch this winter, so check them out! And whatever you decide to go with, make sure to watch together with those you care for most this winter! (Although the ability to stream multiple screens can make the alternative tempting!)
Let us know what you’ve been watching on our social media! Why not check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
Thanks for reading!
Oliver is a writer and journalist who loves fantasy fiction and table top gaming, with a bit of acting on the side!