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TV streaming services

How we test TV streaming services

Article 6 of 7

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

How we test TV streaming services

Surveying customers, throttling broadband speeds and checking content libraries; we do it all to put TV streaming services such as Netflix to the test.

The best TV streaming services offer a broad range of content to watch, can deliver fantastic video quality even if your broadband isn't the fastest, and are valued by their customers.

To discover the streaming superheroes from the on-demand duds, we use a three-pronged method of research.

  • We survey real customers to see what they think
  • We check if the services have popular and up-to-date content
  • We test each service's video quality in our lab

All of this research and testing is analysed to create the scores and star ratings you'll see. The overall score for each provider is based on:

  • 50% Customer Score*
  • 20% Content check
  • 20% Video quality
  • 10% Device and browser compatibility

*Customer score is based customer satisfaction and willingness to recommend the service to others

Customer satisfaction survey

We surveyed over 750 customers of Netflix, Now TV and Amazon Prime Video to show you what people really think about these TV streaming services.

At least 150 customers of each service gave us their views on a range of issues, such as the quality of TV and film selections available, how easy it is to find something new to watch, and how often the service is updated with new content to enjoy.

Alongside telling us whether they felt Netflix, Amazon and Now TV offer value for money, our survey contributes to a customer score for each provider based on how satisfied its customers are, and how likely they are to recommend the service to others.

Video player testing

Although the UK average broadband speed is now officially 46Mbps, many people are still stuck in the slow lane when it comes to their internet connection. Even if you have a strong connection, many factors can affect your broadband performance, such as how many people in your home are using the connection at one time, or if you're streaming during peak hours of internet usage.

To see how Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV cope when someone has poor broadband, we use specialist equipment to throttle the internet connection to the speeds the services themselves recommend, and then check how good the picture quality is and if the sound is up to scratch.

We do this for standard definition, HD and 4K Ultra HD (where available). We also test the video quality on a market-leading smart TV, an Apple iPad and a Windows laptop. This contributes to the video quality proportion of the test score.

Content check

Most TV streaming services claim to have thousands of titles to watch, but that's not much use if none of them are any good.

We manually check the libraries of the TV streaming services on test against the top 250 films and TV shows as rated by users of the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). To assess coverage of newer titles, we also check against the Official Charts company top DVD and Blu-ray chart (covering TV and films).

Content libraries on streaming services change every day, but this gives a snapshot view of the breadth and depth of popular content you can expect from Netflix, Amazon and Now TV.