15:00, 31 Aug 2016
I’m a huge fan of Netflix and have been using the service in the UK for years.
The company does a great job of making sure its apps are available on virtually any device out there, from digital media players, to smart TVs, to games consoles and smartphones.
The service has also really improved its UK content offerings greatly over the past year (though it’s still not on par with its US offerings). Netflix also has a ton of great original content, including shows like Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, and Daredevil.
Yet when it comes to streaming services, Netflix isn’t the only game in town. There are actually a lot of services that offer great streaming content to suit your tastes. So let’s look at the best Netflix alternatives available to you.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
When people think “Netflix competitor” this is the service they are usually thinking about. Amazon Prime Instant Video has a massive selection of content, from movies to television. Much of their content mirrors what Netflix has, however they also offer shows and movies Netflix lacks. And of course they have their own original content including The Tick and The Man In The High Castle.
There are two types of Amazon Prime Instant Video plans you can buy. The first plan is buying a full year of Amazon Prime for £79.99 a year. For that single cost not only do you get access to all of Prime’s Instant Videos, they all come in 1080p (if they were originally shot in that high of resolution–many TV shows pre-2005 were still shot in standard def). You also get free One-Day Delivery on millions of items that you buy from Amazon during the year. Just based on that–from a cost perspective–Amazon Prime Instant Video is the better option.
But what if you don’t want free one-day shipping on products and ONLY want Amazon’s video services. The company now offers a monthly plan for ONLY Amazon Prime Instant Video. It will run you £5.99 a month (so £71.88) for the year. All your video will be in HD, if possible. This means that Amazon’s monthly with HD content comes in almost £14 cheaper than Netflix’s.
Hulu is another great alternative to Netflix, although you need to be in the US to use it (or access it via a VPN). Like Netflix, it has a ton of third party content. But the benefits of Hulu come from the amount of content it has. That’s because Hulu is a consortium of Disney, ABC, 21st Century Fox, Comcast, and Time Warner. It also offers it own original content, but those shows haven’t seen the critical or commercial success as Netflix’s original content. Hulu costs $7.99 a month with commercials or $11.99 a month without commercials.
Now TV (UK-only)
Now TV not only offers streamed movies and TV shows, it offers live TV and sports. It’s movie offerings are generally better than Netflix in part thanks to the exclusive deals Sky has long had in place with the movie studios. Now TV offers over 1000 big releases and adds over 16 new, current releases a month. For example, it’s already got Fast & Furious 7 and Avengers Age of Ultron where Netflix won’t have those films for years. And Now TV does also give you access to HBO shows like Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, The Walking Dead, and Mad Men.
They offer four plans, but each plan offers different content. You can buy one plan or all four: Kids, Sport, Movies and Entertainment. The Sky Movies Month Pass costs £9.99 a month and and gives you access to all of the Sky Movies channels and their content both live as they’re shown on TV and on demand at any time. The Now TV Entertainment Pass costs £6.99 Now TV Entertainment Month Pass and gives you access to Sky 1 and Sky Atlantic, which offers shows such as Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men. The Sky Sports Day Pass costs £6.99 for every 24 hours you use it and gives you access to all 7 Sky Sports channels. You can also pay £10.99 for a week’s pass. They also offer a Sky Sports Month Pass for £31.99.
MUBI is Netflix for film lovers–arthouse film lovers. As it says on its website: “MUBI is a curated online cinema bringing you cult, classic, independent, and award-winning movies. Available in over 200 countries around the globe and on multiple devices, a subscription to MUBI is a passport to the world of cinema. Every day our film experts introduce you to a great film, and you have a whole month to watch it. That’s 365 extraordinary films a year curated by MUBI.”
The thing with MUBI is it only offers 30 films at a time, and after 30 days those films are replaced. It may not be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s a terrific service for film lovers. Best of all it only costs £5.99 a month.
The Netflix for horror lovers, Shudder offers plenty of scary movies organized into genre based on tropes, such as “Identity Crises” –a category highlights films about split personalities. Shudder has been available in the US for a while not and will be available in the UK in autumn 2016.
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