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Best Streaming Service UK 2024: Top Picks for On-Demand Entertainment

With so many streaming services available in the UK, it can be challenging to navigate the 'streaming wars' and choose the right platform for you.


To help make this decision easier, Little Birdie has created a comprehensive guide that breaks down all the available platforms and compares their features, content, and prices.


Whether you're looking for the best streaming service for your favourite TV shows or the latest films, this guide has got you covered.


From Amazon Prime Video to Disney Plus, Apple TV+ to Netflix, and NOW, this guide provides a detailed comparison of all the major streaming services available in the UK.


Key Takeaways

  • Little Birdie has created a comprehensive guide to help users choose the best streaming service in the UK.

  • The guide compares all the major streaming services available in the UK, including Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Apple TV+, and Netflix.

  • Users can confidently decide which streaming service to sign up for based on the guide's breakdown of features, content, and prices.

Which streaming services are available in the UK?


Major UK streaming services include Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney Plus, Netflix, NOW, BritBox, DAZN, and Hayu.


What is the Best Streaming Service in the UK?


Determining the best streaming service in the UK can be a difficult task as it largely depends on individual preferences.


However, there are a few factors that can help narrow down the options.


These include the range of content, value for money, and the features that are most important to users.


Value for Money


When it comes to value for money, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ are among the best options. Amazon Prime Video offers a steady stream of hit original films and shows, as well as the option to buy or rent additional content not included in the service. Additionally, opting for the full Prime package provides access to free next-day delivery, Amazon Music, Prime Reading, Amazon Photos, exclusive deals, and gaming benefits.


Apple TV+ is another budget-friendly option that has steadily grown its catalogue. Although it had some teething problems with a sparse library at first, it has since added a range of original big-budget dramas and children's shows.


Range of Content


Netflix is a popular streaming service that outputs an impressive amount of original film and TV each month, in addition to an extensive back catalogue. While the quality of content can be mixed, huge word-of-mouth hits such as Stranger Things and The Crown have landed on the service. Some of their films, such as Roma, have even been nominated for an Academy Award.


However, with Netflix losing much of their licensed back catalogue, franchise fans may be better off heading to Disney Plus. This streaming service includes the very best of Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel, as well as many of the spin-off shows from each of those universes. The addition of Star also means there's plenty more mature content, like Good Trouble.


NOW is a premium service that offers recent prestige shows from Sky and HBO, plus blockbuster films on demand. It's also the first platform where most films can be found after their cinema release, and the only place to find HBO shows and Sky Originals without a TV contract. The option of Hayu and Sport is an added bonus, and users can sign up for either TV shows or films without having to

pay for the other.


Other Options


For reality TV fans, Hayu is a popular streaming service with mountains of reality TV shows on offer. DAZN is a great option for boxing fans, while BritBox has a range of classic British boxsets.

In conclusion, the best streaming service in the UK depends largely on individual preferences and priorities. However, based on factors such as value for money and range of content, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Netflix, Disney Plus, and NOW are all top contenders.


Best UK Streaming Service Comparison


When it comes to streaming services in the UK, there are several options available. Each service has its own set of features, subscription costs, and device compatibility.


Here's a comparison of the top five streaming services in the UK:

Service

Free Trial

Subscription

4K

Devices

Cost

Netflix

30 days

Monthly

Yes

Multiple

£5.99 - £13.99

Amazon Prime Video

30 days

Monthly/Annual

Yes

Multiple

£5.99 - £7.99/month or £79/year

Disney+

7 days

Monthly/Annual

Yes

Multiple

£7.99/month or £79.90/year

Now TV

7 days

Monthly

Yes

Multiple

£8.99 - £33.99

Apple TV+

7 days

Monthly

Yes

Multiple

£4.99


All the services offer a range of content, including TV shows, movies, and original programming. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have the largest selection of shows and movies, while Disney+ is the go-to for kids' content. Now TV offers a range of Sky channels and sports, while Apple TV+ has a smaller selection of original content.


When it comes to device compatibility, all the services are available on smart TVs, streaming sticks, and web browsers. However, some services are not available on certain devices, such as Apple TV+ not being available on Google Chromecast.


In terms of cost, Apple TV+ is the cheapest option, while Now TV and Amazon Prime Video offer a range of subscription options to suit different budgets. All services offer HD and some offer 4K and offline downloads.


Overall, choosing the best streaming service will depend on individual preferences and needs, such as content selection, device compatibility, and budget.


Amazon Prime Video


What is Amazon Prime Video good for?

Amazon Prime Video is a great option for those who are looking for a streaming service that offers a good range of original and third-party content across film and TV. It is also a fantastic option for those who are frequent Amazon shoppers, as the subscription comes with added Amazon benefits, such as unlimited one-day delivery on products ordered from the Amazon store.


Moreover, Amazon Prime Video offers live sport coverage, including most tournaments on the ATP tennis circuit and Premier League football over the Christmas period. Additionally, users have the option to rent or buy films and TV shows that are not included with a subscription, and to subscribe to Amazon Prime Channels such as StarzPlay and Hayu for an additional monthly fee, and access those platforms' shows through the Prime Video interface.


What original content does Amazon Prime Video include?

Amazon Prime Video has a good range of original content, including award-winning series such as Homecoming and The Marvellous Mrs Maisel. It is also home to motoring show The Grand Tour, which features Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, as well as their individual spin-offs, such as Clarkson's Farm. Other Amazon originals include Good Omens (co-produced with the BBC) and Nine Perfect Strangers.


What non-original content does Amazon Prime Video include?

Amazon Prime Video's catalogue of classic TV shows is impressive, with highly regarded shows such as The Walking Dead and Vikings, as well as classics like The X-Files. Its films library is equally commendable – with both recent hits and classics available with a subscription, including every James Bond film right through to No Time To Die. The streaming service has also brought shows such as Mr Robot and American Gods to a UK audience.


Is Amazon Prime Video good for families?

Amazon Prime Video offers a reasonable selection of kids' movies, such as Encanto, Luca and Sing 2. It also produces a range of original children’s programming, including Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny and Lost in Oz, and is the home of Hotel Transylvania: Transformania.


Top shows to watch on Amazon Prime:

  • American Gods

  • The Man in the High Castle

  • The Marvellous Mrs Maisel

  • Good Omens

  • The Romanoffs

  • Mr Robot

  • Outlander

  • The Grand Tour

  • Nine Perfect Strangers

  • Clarkson's Farm

  • Modern Love

  • Star Trek: Picard

  • Reacher

Top films to watch on Amazon Prime:

  • Fight Club

  • Manchester by the Sea

  • The Tomorrow War

  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

  • Palm Springs

  • The Sound of Metal

  • Spencer

  • No Time To Die

  • The Courier

  • The Green Knight

Price and subscription details:

An Amazon Prime membership costs £8.99 a month, which includes not just video but also music, free delivery, and a range of other benefits. Alternatively, users can save if they pay for an entire year’s membership at once at £95 all in.


Is a free trial available for Amazon Prime Video?

Yes, Amazon still offers new users a 30-day free trial.

Overall, Amazon Prime Video is a great value subscription with benefits, offering a good range of original and classic titles, live sport, and the option to add Amazon Channels and purchase content not included in Prime.


While it can sometimes be unclear which content requires an additional fee, Amazon has since added a 'Free to Me' section, making it clearer which shows and films are available for no added cost.


Apple TV+


What is Apple TV+ good for?

Apple TV+ is a streaming service that focuses on high-quality original content rather than acquiring a large back catalogue of older shows. It is best known for its star-studded big-budget dramas, children's shows, and documentaries.


What original content does Apple TV+ include?

Apple TV+ boasts a range of original content, including the football comedy Ted Lasso, the workplace thriller Severance, and the anthology series Roar. Other notable shows include See, The Morning Show, Dickinson, Mythic Quest, Schmigadoon!, and Servant. The platform also features films such as Greyhound and On The Rocks.


What non-original content does Apple TV+ include?

While the Apple TV app provides access to UK streaming services such as BBC iPlayer, All4, and ITVX, there is little non-original content available on Apple TV+. However, Apple has started licensing older content, including the rights to children's series Fraggle Rock and the Peanuts franchise.


Is Apple TV+ good for families?

Apple TV+ offers a growing library of charming children's fare, including a Sesame Street spin-off called Helpsters, cartoon Snoopy in Space, and a remake of the 90s kids show Ghostwriter.


Top shows to watch on Apple TV+:

Apple TV+ features a range of high-quality shows, including See, The Morning Show, Dickinson, The Mosquito Coast, The Elephant Queen, Helpsters, Ghostwriter, Oprah’s Book Club, For All Mankind, Ted Lasso, Mythic Quest, Severance, and Roar.


Price and subscription details:

A subscription to Apple TV+ costs £6.99 a month, which is on the cheaper end of the streaming spectrum. If you do not have a compatible device, you can purchase the Apple TV HD box for £149 or a streaming stick such as Roku or Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, which plug into your TV.


Is a free trial available for Apple TV+?

Yes, new users can sign up for a seven-day free trial.


Little Birdie says:

Apple TV+ has made a name for itself by offering the work of A-List talent at a competitive price. While the library is still growing, the platform has produced quality content that is permeating pop culture.


Disney Plus


What is Disney Plus good for?

Disney Plus is an ideal streaming service for families, as well as fans of Disney, Marvel and Star Wars franchises. It has a vast archive of animated classics, alongside everything Marvel and Star Wars, making it perfect for those who love these franchises.


What new content does Disney Plus include?

Disney Plus has an extensive library of TV shows and movies, including spin-off shows and mega franchises like Star Wars and Marvel. The Mandalorian, Moon Knight, and Loki are some of the best series on Disney Plus that have dominated pop culture during their release.


Disney's other franchises have also made an appearance on the platform. The best movies on Disney Plus include Pixar offerings such as Luca and Turning Red, which debuted exclusively on the service. Classic franchises such as The Mighty Ducks and Turner & Hooch have received reboots.

During the pandemic, Disney Plus introduced Premier Access, allowing users to purchase new cinema releases such as Black Widow for £19.99.


In February 2021, Disney Plus added a new section called Star, which features more mature content from other Disney-owned properties, including the Oscar-winning Nomadland and new episodes of The Walking Dead.


What existing original content does Disney Plus include?

Disney Plus has an extensive collection of original content, including everything from classic Disney movies to new releases. The A-Z of shows and films on Disney Plus guide provides a comprehensive list of all the content available on the platform.


Is Disney Plus good for families?

Disney Plus is synonymous with family entertainment, making it an excellent streaming service for families. The platform has introduced Star, a section that houses more adult-oriented content. Parental controls have also been implemented to keep all inappropriate content neatly locked away behind that one segment if needed.


Top Disney Plus original shows to watch:

  • The Falcon and The Winter Soldier

  • The World According to Jeff Goldblum

  • WandaVision

  • Marvel’s What If…?

  • Toy Story: Forky Asks a Question

  • Muppets Now

  • The Mandalorian

  • Love, Simon

  • Loki

  • Moon Knight

  • Pam & Tommy

Meet the cast of Marvel's Moon Knight on Disney Plus.


Top films to watch on Disney Plus:

  • Avengers: Endgame

  • Beauty and the Beast

  • Toy Story 3

  • Mary Poppins

  • The Muppets

  • The Parent Trap

  • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

  • The Jungle Book

  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

  • Fantasia

  • Aladdin

  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

  • Hamilton

  • Luca

  • Nomadland

  • Death on the Nile

  • The King's Man

  • Eternals

Browse the best movies on Disney Plus.


Price and subscription details:

Disney Plus offers three subscription plans. The Standard with Ads plan costs £4.99 a month, the Standard plan costs £7.99 a month or £79.90 for a year, and the Premium plan costs £10.99 a month or £109.90 for a year. The Premium plan offers 4K resolution and four simultaneous streams at no extra cost. The Standard and Standard with Ads plans offer two simultaneous streams.

For more information, check out the ultimate guide to the updated Disney Plus plans and pricing.


Is a free trial available for Disney Plus?

No, a free trial was available at launch but was removed in summer 2020.


Little Birdie says:

Disney Plus is an excellent streaming service that offers big-budget blockbuster TV and films based on some of the most beloved franchises in the world. It is ideal for families and big kids alike, and its Star section is quickly becoming a game-changer offering quality adult drama on par with its rivals.

Sign up to Disney Plus for £7.99 per month.


If you're shopping for a present for a loved one, a Disney Plus gift card could be just the ticket.

Plus, here's how to get cheap Disneyland Paris tickets.


Netflix


What Netflix offers

Netflix is a leading streaming service that provides a vast amount of original content, non-original TV shows, and films. The platform offers three different subscription plans, with prices ranging from £4.99 to £15.99 per month. Users can access Netflix on various devices, including gaming consoles, Smart TVs, streaming sticks, mobile phones, and tablets.


What’s Netflix good for?

Netflix is an excellent choice for binge-watchers, film fans, and lovers of original content. The platform produces a wealth of original content, including popular series like "Squid Game," "Stranger Things," and "The Witcher." Netflix also boasts an impressive original film library, with Oscar-nominated films like "The Power of the Dog" and "Don't Look Up."


What original content does Netflix include?

Netflix produces an astronomical amount of original content, ranging from drama series to reality shows and documentaries. In 2021, the platform released a new original film every week. The service has also picked up series such as "Black Mirror" and "Cobra Kai," which were previously produced by third parties.


What non-original content does Netflix include?

Netflix has a substantial library of non-original films and TV shows. However, as more streaming services emerge, it's losing some of this content, with Disney content relocating to Disney Plus, and several BBC programs moving to ITVX. Still, a decent amount of TV shows and films remain. Netflix continues to be the UK home of 21st century classics such as "Breaking Bad," "How To Get Away With Murder," and "Homeland."


Is Netflix good for families?

Yes! Netflix is an ideal streaming service for families. Users can easily switch their account to the children’s setting, which includes a long list of kid-friendly programs and films.


Top shows to watch on Netflix:

Netflix has an extensive library of TV shows. Some of the top shows to watch on Netflix include "Bojack Horseman," "Orange is the New Black," "GLOW," "The Crown," "Stranger Things," "Mindhunter," "Bridgerton," "Breaking Bad," "Better Call Saul," "Queer Eye," "Our Planet," "Dark," "Friends," "The Office US," "Anatomy of a Scandal," and "Squid Game."


Top films to watch on Netflix:

Netflix has a vast collection of films. Some of the top films to watch on Netflix include "Roma," "Private Life," "To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before," "Jaws," "Shrek," "Extraction," "Hot Fuzz," "His House," "Easy Rider," "The Power of the Dog," and "Joker."


Price and subscription details:

Netflix offers three different subscription plans:

  • Basic Plan: £4.99 per month, access to all of the platform’s content but is limited to one screen at a time per account, and includes adverts. HD is not available with this plan.

  • Standard Plan: £10.99 per month, allows you to watch on two screens at once, with HD available.

  • Premium Plan: £15.99 per month, allows an account to watch on up to four screens simultaneously and also offers ultra HD.

Is a free trial available for Netflix?

No. Netflix previously offered a 30-day free trial but removed it in December 2019.


Little Birdie says:

Despite the ever-increasing competition, Netflix remains the giant of the streaming industry. With over 15 million subscribers in the UK, Netflix is something of a trailblazer in the world of streaming. The platform has a reputation for producing high-quality original content and boasts a vast library of non-original films and TV shows. While there are some criticisms, such as extra costs for 4K and simultaneous streams and a reputation for cancelling shows, Netflix is still one of the best streaming services available.


NOW


What is NOW good for?

NOW is a streaming service that offers a range of passes to its users, including Entertainment, Cinema, Sports, and Hayu. It is an excellent place to catch the latest dramas from Sky and HBO, such as Game of Thrones and Succession.


If you’re a film fan keen to watch the latest blockbusters soon after they leave the cinema, this might be the service for you. The films included with a Sky Cinema pass frequently include some of the biggest recent hits, and there’s a decent selection of classics as well. Hayu is also available through NOW, offering over 8000 episodes of US reality shows such as Keeping Up With The Kardashians.


What original content does NOW include?

All Sky originals go straight onto NOW TV, with hits including Chernobyl and Yellowjackets amongst the best shows on NOW.


What non-original content does NOW include?

NOW TV is the first port of call for content produced by the US, including Watchmen, Euphoria, and Westworld. The platform is also home to an impressive back catalogue of classic shows, such as The Sopranos, Sex and the City, and Dexter.


Is NOW good for families?

NOW includes children's shows as part of the Entertainment Pass for no extra charge. The Cinema pass also includes a broad range of movies that are suitable for the whole family, with parental PIN controls available on both passes.


Top shows to watch on NOW:

  • Succession

  • Chernobyl

  • Britannia

  • Patrick Melrose

  • Big Little Lies

  • Watchmen

  • Twin Peaks

  • The Sopranos

  • Sex and the City

  • The Undoing

  • The White Lotus

  • Euphoria

  • Peacemaker

  • Yellowjackets

Top films to watch on NOW:

  • Sunset Boulevard

  • Mission Impossible

  • Groundhog Day

  • Extinct

  • Knives Out

  • Midway

  • Bill & Ted Face the Music

  • Dune

Price and subscription details:

The Entertainment Pass and Cinema Pass each cost £9.99. To access both film and TV shows, users can subscribe to both passes for £19.98 a month. NOW regularly offers deals and bundles, and Hayu is an optional additional Pass, allowing access to several US reality shows for £4.99 a month. Users can also add NOW Boost for full HD playback on up to 3 devices at once for £5 extra a month, while a Sports pass is available for £33.99 a month, or a one-off day pass is £11.98.


Is a free trial available for NOW TV?

NOW allows new users a seven-day free trial for each of their passes, except Sport, so that includes Entertainment, Cinema, Hayu, and NOW Boost.


Little Birdie says:

NOW is a premium streaming service that offers a range of passes to its users. It is an excellent place to catch the latest dramas from Sky and HBO, as well as blockbuster films on demand. With a strong library of older content and regular deals and offers, NOW has firmly established itself as the UK home of prestige TV and recent blockbuster movies.


What's the history of streaming services in the UK?


The UK has seen a surge in the popularity of streaming services over the past decade, with major players such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and NOW TV leading the way.


Here's a brief overview of the history of streaming services in the UK:

  • Netflix: The first major streaming service to make its way to the UK was Netflix, which launched its streaming service in 2012. Originally a DVD rental company in the US, Netflix's streaming service quickly gained popularity in the UK due to its competitive pricing, starting at just £4.99 per month.

  • NOW TV: NOW TV, previously known as Sky's streaming service, launched in 2012 and offered a range of films, TV shows, and sports coverage to those without a pay-TV subscription.

  • Amazon Prime Video: Amazon Prime Video launched in the UK in 2014, following the retail giant's purchase of LoveFilm. The streaming service is part of the Amazon Prime subscription and offers a free 30-day trial.

  • Apple TV+: Apple launched its own streaming service, Apple TV+, in November 2019. The service features original shows with big-name stars such as Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Jason Momoa. Apple TV+ offers a free trial of seven days.

  • Disney Plus: One of the newest streaming services to launch in the UK is Disney Plus, which made its debut in March 2020. The service offers the studio's iconic back catalogue as well as new content, including the popular live-action Star Wars show The Mandalorian. Disney Plus is available for £7.99 per month.

In addition to these major players, there are also a number of niche streaming services available in the UK. DAZN, for example, offers a range of boxing matches and costs £7.99 per month, while Hayu is the home of most reality TV shows and costs £4.99 per month with a one-month free trial.


Overall, the history of streaming services in the UK has been shaped by the entry of major players such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, as well as newer services like Apple TV+ and Disney Plus.


With a range of options available at competitive prices, there's never been a better time to be a streaming fan in the UK.

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