The appeal of TV streaming services is obvious - rather than shelling out for a cinema ticket, they offer an 'all-you-can-eat' buffet of content to watch online.
Whether you access these services in your web browser, via an app, directly from a smart TV, or are looking to add an internet TV box to your home cinema setup, we can help.
We asked hundreds of customers how they rate the streaming services they use on a range of factors – read on to discover the best and worst.
To help you weigh up which streaming services might be best for you we've surveyed their customers, asking them to rate key service elements such as content quality, ease of use and value for money. Content quality was where we saw the greatest difference - three streaming services earned our top rating for this, while others were considered more middle of the road.
|Streaming service||Customer score||Overall quality of content|
Quality of recommendations
|Finding new/relevant content||Ease of use|
Value for money
|Amazon Prime Video|
|Now Cinema Pass|
|Now Entertainment Pass|
Use the links below to read our full reviews of a range of the most popular streaming services, along with important need-to-know advice.
Entertaining yourself and your family while at home has become more important than ever, and sometimes that means sitting down to watch a favourite show or escaping in to a good film.
But with more streaming services to choose between than ever, it can be tricky to pick the option that’s right for you.
Whether you lean more towards The Crown, The Sopranos or The Mandalorian, there's a TV streaming service that can offer the content you want to watch, wherever and whenever you want it.
Content is king with subscription streaming services - and every provider has its own strengths, such as the latest original dramas, and weaknesses such as dated film selections or confusing interfaces.
While you will have heard of popular services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, there's an increasing number of alternatives on offer with Apple and Disney, plus ITV and the BBC all joining the market.
Streaming involves playing a video over an internet connection, either using a web browser or an app, on a wide range of devices.
Our table provides a quick snapshot of what each service offers and how much it costs. If you have a busy household, it's worth weighing up the number of screens you can stream on simultaneously, while those who are regularly on the move will want to opt for a service that permits downloads.
|Amazon Prime Video||Apple TV+||Britbox||Disney+||Neflix (standard)||Now TV Entertainment Pass|
|Free trial||30 days||7 days||7 days||Not offered||Not offered||7 days|
|Max # of screens at once||3||6||5||4||2||1|
|Max # of devices per account||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||6|
|Max # of devices for downloads||25||unlimited via app||4||10||2||6|
Ultimately, the best service for you is likely to come down to content - each streaming service has a slightly different offering, but all offer exclusive content to hook you in.
Netflix may be the first option that springs to mind, but now Amazon Prime and Now TV also offer widely used services – and they’re all similarly priced. Still not sure which might suit you best? Read our full reviews for , and to find out more.
Fortunately, several services offer a free trial of at least seven days, allowing you to get a taste for what's on offer. Plus most services use monthly rolling contracts that you can easily cancel if you're not happy - you're not locked in long-term.
As you'll see in our TV streaming service reviews, you can get away with having a weak broadband speed and still stream the content. However, the video quality might not be the best if you have a poor connection.
We would advise you to have at least 1Mbps (megabits per second) broadband or higher if you're streaming content in standard definition (SD). If you want to watch in high definition (HD), you’ll need a faster connection of at least 5Mbps to enjoy the higher video quality. To find out what speed internet you're getting, use our handy .
Some services, such as Disney+ and Netflix, now offer content to stream in 4K Ultra HD quality, giving you four times the detail of regular HD. For this, however, you may need fast broadband of at least 15Mbps.
Most video on-demand services use 'adaptive streaming' technology – this detects your broadband speed and automatically adjusts the video quality so that you're not hit by buffering (where the video freezes and a little loading wheel spins). The video may start at Full HD 1080p, but if your bandwidth is struggling it may drop down to a lower quality (720p HD or even SD) to keep playing.
They can do. For example, streaming a two-hour Full HD film could gobble up more than 6GB of data (and a huge 14GB if it’s in 4K Ultra HD).
Fortunately, the majority of people are now on 'unlimited' broadband packages, but if you're using your service on your mobile device you'll want to be careful. The risk is you’ll use a huge amount of data and patchy signal coverage could affect the video quality, so it's best to use wi-fi where possible to avoid exceeding your data allowance and having to pay extra. Use our guide on to ensure you're not hit by an unexpected - and unwanted - bill.
Yes - most services will let you download content to watch when you don't have an internet connection, though they generally limit the number of devices you can use for this. Amazon Prime Video will let you download content onto an impressive 25 devices, while a standard plan from Netflix is limited to two. Being able to download content is a handy feature for enjoying content when you're offline, such as on holiday or while commuting.