With many of us following the advice to stay home where possible and, in some cases, having to self-isolate, finding ways to keep everyone entertained is more important than ever.
TV streaming services are likely to get more use than ever in the coming weeks and months, and the arrival of Disney Plus has shaken things up a bit. We compare the big hitters for value and content across all age groups, to help you decide which ones are worth your money.
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Disney Plus arrives in the UK
Disney Plus, the latest entrant into the crowded streaming market, is the media giant’s attempt to break into the lucrative world of home streaming entertainment. It will house content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and National Geographic and launched on 24 March in the UK.
We’ve prepared a guide dedicated to this streaming service, so you can find out everything you need to know about Disney Plus.
Best streaming services compared
With yet another streaming provider entering the mix, many people will be wondering whether it’s worth buying it on top of existing subscriptions. Or, if you’re signing up for a streaming service for the first time, which one offers the best value and content?
The table below provides a quick snapshot of what each service offers for your money.
Purely in terms of the nuts and bolts of streaming services, you can see that there’s plenty of variety between each one.
If you’re looking to have lots of devices streaming at the same time, Britbox and Disney Plus are your best bets as they allow five and four devices to be streaming at one time, respectively. This allows multiple people to be watching different content at the same time, so could certainly be useful for keeping the kids entertained while you get your daily fix of your favourite shows.
If you’re interested in the latest high-definition 4K content, you’ll see that Disney Plus is pretty good value in this regard. Bear in mind though, that many streaming services are cutting back on high-resolution video streaming for now to help ensure broadband doesn’t suffer, so this may not be an immediate benefit in the short term.
The ability to download content to different devices is also helpful here – allowing people to save shows to watch offline. Disney arrives with what looks like a very generous 10-device limit.
In terms of price, there is one clear loser with Now TV’s standard bundle costing a whopping £24.97 a month. However, Now TV often run deals and currently, you can get Sky Entertainment and Cinema for 6 months at a cost of £49.99 (an effective cost of £8.33 a month for six months).
Our survey of three of the most popular streaming services reveals how you rated each on quality of programming, value for money, ease of use and more. To find out how each one scored, read our guides to Now TV, Amazon Prime, and Netflix.
What’s the best streaming service for me?
That question really depends on what the makeup of your household is like and so below, we have broken it down by age groups.
Best streaming service for toddlers and kids (3-12-years old)
At this age bracket, it’s hard to look past Disney Plus with its rich history of providing family friendly entertainment. Whether it be classics like Bambi or The Jungle Book or modern movies like Frozen and Moana, Disney Plus will certainly have you covered.
Best streaming service for teenagers (13-17-years old)
For teenagers, Netflix has long been the service of choice with originals such as Stranger Things and 13 Reasons Why being very popular with teenagers all over the world so it is well worth checking out to keep your teens entertained.
Best streaming service for young adults
Disney Plus has no content above a 12 as it tries to keep the family-friendly content in one house. So for those seeking content with more adult themes like Breaking Bad, for example, it will not have what you are looking for.
Therefore, Amazon Prime Now with its low price and a good selection of content, including originals like Jack Ryan and Vikings might be a good shout. Alternatively, Netflix will have lots of acclaimed content which will keep you entertained for many hours.
Best streaming services for adults
Although any service may be useful, adults may appreciate the nostalgic content Britbox has to offer such as Father Ted and Fawlty Towers.
That said, most of the streaming services will have content of interest to adults and it may be worth taking out a subscription to more than one, if affordable.
Can I use streaming to replace my live TV subscription?
You might well be reluctant to add extra costs to your monthly bills, so if you’re considering a streaming service or two, also check to see whether you’re getting good value from your existing subscriptions.
For example, cancelling an Entertainment or Cinema package on Sky, or similar packages on Virgin, could mean you save enough money to add multiple streaming services and still be in pocket.
Take advantage of free trials to decide which services suit your interests, and remember that as monthly subscriptions, there’s no need to tie yourself down for a long time to something you don’t often use – just don’t forget to cancel, rather than let your subscription tick away in the background,
Read our picks for the best and worst TV and broadband providers for 2020.