Streaming is a way of watching films and TV via the internet. Although traditionally done on a PC or laptop, you can watch on your normal TV, games console, smartphone or tablet. As long as your broadband is fast enough, why buy the latest Blu-rays or box-sets when you can have them streamed to you instantly. But with so many streaming services available, which should you choose?
Netflix offers more than 3,000 movies and TV shows, with several series, such as House of Cards, being exclusive to Netflix itself. Film-wise, it is mainly back catalogue stuff. If you have a 4K TV, Netflix has a selection of TV shows and movies to watch in this resolution. The Basic Plan (watch on 1 screen, Standard Definition) costs £5.99 a month; £7.49 for the Standard Plan (watch on 2 screens, full HD) and £8.99 for the Premium plan (watch on 4 screens, Ultra High Definition). The first month is free.
Amazon Prime Instant Video is part of a brilliant package – Amazon Prime. For a £79/year subscription you get the full Amazon Prime Instant Video service (members can watch thousands of movies and TV shows at no additional cost), music-streaming, free delivery on on-line purchases, unlimited cloud-based photo storage and a load of books on the Kindle store too. Subscription to Amazon Prime Instant Video alone (a more limited selection of content) costs £5.99 per month. If you don’t want to subscribe at all, it is still possible to rent and buy content - you just pay per film. Prices vary - from £3.49 (SD) and £4.49 (HD) for rental and £9.99 (SD) and £13.99 (HD) to purchase. Amazon, like Netflix, has exclusives, such as the new Jeremy Clarkson car TV show (coming soon).
Now TV is a service offered by Sky for those without a satellite dish or who want something more flexible than a conventional TV package. If it's movies you're after, you certainly can't get much better for the price as it offers 800+ films and up to 16 new ones each month. The picture quality, however, is not good. There are various pricing structures to choose from depending on which package best suits your needs.
Google Play is an Android app that allows you rent movies to stream or download via a web page, Android phone or Android tablet. The app is free and movie rentals start at £1.49. Renting a film is simple: you log in to your Google account which has either credit or a credit card attached, then you just click on Rent and the movie is yours. You have 30 days after making a purchase to watch rented movies. Once you start watching you have 48 hours to finish watching the film although you can watch the film multiple times throughout that period.