People do not bother to buy DVDs or Blue-rays any more. Why should they when they can stream films instantly? Often you can stream them before they are out on DVD, which is another reason why viewers have stopped buying them. Some streaming platforms are free and others you have to pay for, but which ones are the best available in the UK at the moment?
Free Or Paid Streaming Platforms?
Some of the UK’s major broadcasters, such as the BBC with BBC iPlayer and ITV with the ITV Hub, provide streaming for no charge. Then there are the others such as Virgin Media, Sky and Netflix that you have to pay for. Some people seem to think it is worthwhile paying a bit for their services, as they seem to think they get more choice with these.
Netflix, a paid platform, provides a wide range of films and TV programs, some of which it has had made especially for it. They have funded several very successful projects, including Stranger Things, which has a huge following.
It is available on most types of devices including PC’s, TV’s, games consoles and smartphones. Although there are a couple of exceptions, in most cases the interface of Netflix is standard so you see the same no matter what size screen you are watching on. You can store favourite programs and films to watch again, and most of them are shown in HD. There is a children’s section that restricts what they can watch unless it is something they are viewing with you.
They have recently introduced the ability to download and store films and programs to your mobile device, the only limitation being the amount of storage you have.
The main thing against it is that the service in the UK is not as good as in the US where it has been for much longer. In the US there is a larger choice of films and programs, some of which are not available in the UK. However, if you travel to the US you can access all their content through your UK account on a digital mobile device while you are there.
Amazon Prime works pretty much the same way as Netflix, you have to pay a monthly subscription which covers some things but not others. It does not work on quite so many devices but is said to have the latest film before any other streaming company.
Over time, the user experience with Amazon Prime has improved dramatically, and that is what you would expect from a company with a tie-in with Amazon.
The main thing against this one is that on some devices the interface does not show clearly which things you have to pay for, so you can suddenly find yourself charged for a film you have recently watched. That tends to relate to mobile devices.
Virgin TV Anywhere
Virgin TV Anywhere is a service offered to a wide range of services through mobile devices. It is a great free service for subscribers to its TiVo box, and now lets you see other channels such as some of the Sky ones. Some people are of the opinion that Virgin Media has got the right idea, they just need to expand it to devices other than mobiles.
Now TV is a service owned by Sky and is offered to those who cannot have access to a satellite dish or just want something simpler than a full TV package. It shows all the Sky channels plus a few others, and at just £9.99 a month, you can see the entire line up of films on Sky TV.
It is easy and speedy to use, with films starting as soon as they have been selected. The quality is good and if you do not mind paying a bit extra you can add other things such as the sports pay per view.
All The Others
There are so many streaming services in the UK that it really is down to personal choice. Do you want to pay or are you searching for a free platform? Are you bothered by quality or how old the films are? All these things are down to you, but apart from the ones already mentioned, there is Google Play, Microsoft Movies, PlayStation Video, iTunes, TalkTalk, Mubi and hundreds of others.
You just have to look at a few, ask some questions and then decide which is the best for you and your family.