Streaming is watching video or listening to audio – particularly for entertainment purposes – through a device connected to the internet. This can be a laptop, tablet, phone or smart TV.
This content is watched or listened to on demand, so whenever the user wishes. Examples of common media streamed include; TV shows, movies, podcasts and music.
In layman’s terms, that means watching TV and listening to music on the internet!
Paid subscriptions to streaming services aren’t a new phenomenon, but they have rocketed in popularity over the last number of years. So much so, that someone looking to try out a streaming service may not know where to start.
This article will examine four of the main streaming services for TV series and movies; Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Now TV. Of course, there are many others, but these options are a good starting point.
It’s important to note from the off, that different steaming services will suit different people, depending on what movies and TV they like. So try and find something with programming that generally suits your taste. Also, don’t be afraid to change it up and try something else, as long as you’re on a rolling contract.
When it comes to series and movies, Netflix is definitely the most well-known streaming service. It has over 200 million subscribers worldwide.
Netflix was founded in 1997, initially renting DVDs by post in the US. In 2007, it started streaming.
Content wise, it has a good selection of series, films and documentaries. However, considering the acquisition of some extremely popular series by its competitors, it really is the Netflix Originals content that’s setting Netflix apart of late.
Netflix Originals, which are produced solely for Netflix, are some of the most popular shows around at the minute. Even if you haven’t seen them, you’ll most likely have heard of The Crown, Bridgerton and The Queen’s Gambit – all of which are Netflix Originals.
Price: The basic Netflix package starts at €7.99 on a rolling monthly contract. Netflix no longer has a free trial.
Conclusion: Netflix has invested heavily in recent years in acquiring additional content and producing Netflix Originals. It’s the exclusive Netflix Originals that allows it to keep its top spot over competitors.
Prime Video by Amazon is fast becoming one of the biggest contenders to Netflix. Some would even say it surpasses it, but that’s a matter of personal opinion.
Prime Video shines particularly when it comes to movies, with the likes of Bohemian Rhapsody, A Star is Born, 1917 and Wonder Woman all available.
In terms of series, it also shows a very good hand, particularly with older but still very popular shows. It has all the seasons of Grey’s Anatomy and Lost. In terms of more recent offerings it exclusively has Vikings.
Although, Prime Video has its own selection of originals, including The Grand Tour – a Top Gear spin-off – these programmes haven’t reached the same heights as the Netflix equivalents. However, the recent Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, was an excellent addition for fans of Borat.
Price: Prime Video costs €5.99 per month. It has a seven-day free trial.
Conclusion: As a streaming service, Prime Video has a very good offering and is certainly putting it up to Netflix. It’s also cheaper than Netflix. However, it’s lagging behind Netflix in terms of creating a high-profile exclusive offering.
It’s worth noting that new Eir broadband customers get Prime Video free for a year, which is increasing its presence in Ireland.
Look, you don’t need me to tell you that if you like Disney, you’ll like Disney+. However, its offering is a small bit more comprehensive than just Disney movies. It includes Disney TV shows, as well as Star Wars and the Marvel and Pixar movies.
So it’s a good choice if there’s something specific you like on offer. Also, it goes without saying that if you’ve kids (or big kids) in the house it’s a great family option. Recently, Disney+ added to its offering with Star, a new content hub within its streaming service. Star has more shows and movies for adults, an effort to make Disney+ more rounded. Prior to this it was seen as quite niche compared to its competitors. Disney+ Star has all the seasons of Grey’s Anatomy (seeing a trend here) and Desperate Housewives. A good start to its new mature feature.
Price: Disney+ costs €8.99 on a monthly rolling contract. Yearly subscriptions are also available. Disney+ no longer has a free trail.
Conclusion: Disney+ is quite specific in what it offers, but you do know exactly what you are getting, which is a plus. The new Star offering goes some way in making it ‘a one stop shop’, but ultimately its main attraction is for Disney, Star Wars, Pixar and Marvel fans.
Now TV is Sky’s streaming service and is slightly different in its makeup to the other streaming services listed. It’s a bit more tailored, in that you choose your interest and buy a ‘Pass’ based on that. Now TV Passes include; Entertainment, Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, Kids and Hayu (American reality TV).
Now TV’s Entertainment Pass allows you to access series and the Cinema Pass movies. In terms of what’s on those two, the choice is excellent, particularly the Entertainment Pass, where there’s Game of Thrones, Sopranos and Chernobyl.
Price: Now TV Entertainment and Cinema Passes are €15.99 a month each. Offers are available combining different packages. Everything bar the Sports Passes have a seven day free trial.
Conclusion: Now TV is a more tailored but also more expensive service. The offering on the Entertainment Pass is excellent and if you’re very into watching TV shows and think you’ll make use of it, it could be a great option.
This article just looks at streaming services with paid for subscriptions. Most TV channels, including RTÉ, Virgin Media and TG4, have player websites and apps where you can view programmes for free once they’ve been aired on the channel.