Now TV vs Amazon Prime Video vs Netflix: Which is the best streaming service?
Us Brits are hooked on streaming television. More than 15 million households subscribing to one of the three UK majors, according to Ofcom – Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV – but which of the services is best?
With so many to choose from, and with so many different deals, it can be hard to decide which is right for you. If you have the cash, you can, of course, purchase ALL the streaming services and stay in bed for the rest of your life, binging watching EVERY SINGLE SHOW until there is nothing left to watch.
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But, if like us you don’t have the money, or the time, don’t panic – we have tested all three services and found out what each is best for, helping you decide what you should spend your money on.
Now TV: Best for films/sports/reality/kids and Sky shows
Want to top up your TV package on an ad-hoc basis or just can’t bear the thought of taking out a contract for a subscription-based TV service? Then Now TV is your answer.
Now TV offers a few different different ‘passes’ across entertainment, movies, kids, reality and sports for you to choose from. You pay monthly for the access to these passes, and there’s a different pay structure for each:
The Entertainment Pass, which has just box sets and TV shows, will cost you £7.99 a month. TV series include American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and The Flash.
The Sky Cinema Pass, with more than 1,000 movies, will cost you £9.99 a month. Movies streaming right now include Coco, Black Panther, Downsize and Fifty Shades Freed.
The Sky Sports Pass, which can be split into just a 24-hour long day pass for £7.99, or a month pass (which is on a special deal right now) for £20 (down from £33.99). It will let you catch the latest Premier League and Champions League action, as well as Rugby Union and the Formula 1.
The Kids Pass, which has dozens of great entertainment for all the young ones in your life, meanwhile, will cost you just £3.99.
The Hayu Pass is the option to go for if you are obsessed with reality TV, though, and will cost you £3.99. You can watch Keeping up with the Kardashians, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and Vanderpump Rules.
You can chop and change your subscriptions to take only the content you want and the added bonus is that you can get 14 days for free as a free trial, to see if this is right for you.
Now TV has also followed Amazon in creating some Smart Sticks and a Smart Box. The Now TV Smart Stick can be bought on its own for £14.99, or can be combo’d with the passes. Or you can just buy the Now TV Smart Box for £45.99.
You can cancel a pass at any point and simply dip in and out when you want the extra TV. While there’s a good choice of new and older TV, with many box sets available from channels usually only available through Sky.
Alas, there’s no way to watch offline and it lacks brand new releases in movies. The release schedule is also a bit slow and, if you are a sports fan, it’s not always easy find the matches you want to watch to justify the day pass.
All in all, though, Now TV is increasingly becoming one of the best streaming services, and offers a fairly complete package for anyone looking for a huge array of entertainment.
Netflix: Best for binging boxsets
Ideal for box-set addicts and fans of older movies, Netflix is the most popular streaming service by a long way. You will find Netflix on pretty much every single Smart TV you buy right now, as well as on most Freeview boxes as a pre-installed app. You can also download the app, on both iOS and Android – essentially, you can’t escape!
Netflix has a few payment schemes. To watch Netflix on one device in standard HD, you will pay £5.99. The upgrade to two-screen simultaneous viewing will cost you £7.99. The ultimate experience, meanwhile, which includes 4K Ultra HD streaming and four-screen simultaneous viewing, will cost £9.99.
If you have not subscribed to the service before, you may have been enticed with hit Netflix shows including Stranger Things, Making a Murderer, Ozarks, Daredevil and Castlevania, or their huge library of Netflix Original movies, like Annihilation, and Extinction. The quality of their output is increasingly impressive.
Unlike the other two options in this article, Netflix doesn’t offer any smart sticks or hardware, you can only access it through the app, but that is fine, given how ubiquitous the service actually is. You can even download some shows to watch when you don’t have internet access.
While we like features such as the ability to create different profiles for each family member and the fact that you can pause streaming on one device and continue where you left off on another, we think film buffs will be disappointed with the lack of new releases. It’s slow and not very glamorous, with only a few really good movies hitting the library every month, and very rarely are they spectacular.
You will be drawn to Netflix because people have told you there are a bunch of great TV shows and movies. You will stay because it is fantastic for binge-watching box sets. But you may soon find you are bored by a stagnant library.
Amazon Prime: Best for shoppers and additional content
Amazon Prime Video is a complete package, and has the best of all other services, as well as a strong roster of original content. You get access to Amazon Prime with a lump-sum payment of £79 for the year, which unlocks Amazon Prime Video, as well as the shopper’s dream, Amazon Prime.
You can also pay just £7.99 a month if you choose to, and you get a 30-day free trial to test the entertainment for yourself.
Prime will give you next-day delivery for free when you shop through Amazon, which complements the streaming site quite nicely. Prime also offers music and has original series’, like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Grand Tour, Homecoming starring Julia Roberts, The Man in the High Castle and Vikings.
You can even choose to rent or buy films and TV shows that aren’t a part of Amazon’s library for a small fee, although the way these are separated can be a bit confusing. You can also download programmes, watch on multiple devices and enjoy a massive array of films and TV shows from the app.
Amazon also has a smart stick, the Fire Stick, which uses Alexa voice recognition to help you search for new content. You can buy a Fire TV Stick for £39.99, or upgrade to the 4K version for £49.99.
Amazon is full of tech and functionality options, although still lags behind in its own content. Despite it being good for telly and films, the free delivery is still the big seller for us.
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