Netflix is a worldwide streaming service providing TV shows, movies and documentaries through an online subscription-based service. It has become almost a staple in modern society with phrases like ‘Netflix and chill’ appearing in everyday life and the service basically taking over traditional television.
Streaming services are extremely popular due to their ease of access, the fact that they offer everything on demand and on a range of devices. They are especially popular with students because you don’t need to pay for a TV licence if you aren’t watching live shows. Result!
While Netflix is probably the most popular way to get your telly and film fix, there are many alternatives ranging from free services to subscription based to rental services. Free services like BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub have been around for years but continue to be popular due to the their cost-free service and the option to download content so that its available offline.
Netflix has its downfalls too. The service has been criticised continually for its outdated content and lack of new movies along with the US having vastly more content than the UK, and movies and TV series being removed without warning when content deals expires.
Netflix costs a minimum of £7.49 per month to have two devices playing shows at the same time from the same account. It is available on most, if not all, devices with the capability to play videos and features original series and movies like House of Cards and Marco Polo.
If you’ve managed to watch everything on Netflix, we’ve picked out the best alternatives…
Amazon Prime Instant Video
Amazon Prime Instant Video is available in two ways. You can subscribe to the service for £5.99 a month, or it’s included when you have an Amazon Prime account. This costs £79 a year making it just over £7 more a month than the subscription alone but it comes with shopping benefits like free delivery from Amazon.co.uk and access to Amazon Music and the Kindle Owners’ Library. Like Netflix, this service has its own original series including the popular Mr Robot and is home to exclusive series like Top Gear.
Owned by Sky, Now TV comes with a range of packages and price tiers. For £6.99 a month you can access entertainment channels not available on Freeview like Sky1 and Sky Atlantic, the home of Game of Thrones. You can also get a Sky Movies month pass for £9.99 a month, a Sky Sports day pass for £6.99 or simply buy a Now TV box for £14.99, which turns your standard telly into a smart TV, giving you access to streaming services and catch up channels. Although this service can turn out a bit pricier than Netflix, it boasts a ‘Leaving Soon’ section so you can finish a series before it’s removed and has movies when they are released on DVD or sometimes before.
MUBI is for the true film lover. For the bargain price of £4.99 a month this service is great value and offers a lot more speciality services than Netflix or the other alternatives. These include an in-depth description of the movies it holds, more like a critics review than a plain old plot summary, the option to download movies so that they are available offline for seven days and a service which gives you a new personalised movie suggestion every day. MUBI was created to cater to more niche markets like indie, classic, independent and foreign language films but still carries mainstream movies too.
When YouTube comes to mind you probably think of a cat playing a piano or teenage vloggers, but what most people don’t know is that you can now rent TV shows and movies on YouTube. From as little as £2.49 you can rent a movie and from £1.89 you can rent a TV show. Along with the rental option comes a selection of free TV shows and movies in HD quality and the option to subscribe to your favourite shows.
Although Netflix will probably remain the most popular movie-streaming service and continue to monopolise the market it has some good contenders.