Compare film and TV streaming sites

Wednesday 2nd April, 2014 By
Film streaming sites

Forget the hassle of DVDs and renting films on a disc - these day’s it’s all about streaming. But which streaming sites are best for recent blockbusters, or smash hit TV shows from across the pond? Compare your main options here...

Who the heck needs a bookcase piled with DVDs or Blu-ray when you can watch films online at the push of a button? As long as your broadband's up to snuff, you can stream all the movies you want and never worry about lost discs or late fees again.

Here are the TV and film streaming sites we think it's worth checking out:

Service

Library size

Platforms

Cost

Netflix

Undisclosed. More than 1,000 films and 400 TV series

PC, Mac, iOS, Android, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, streaming players, smart TVs, Blu-ray players

£5.99 a month. First month free.

Go to Netflix

Amazon Instant Video

50,000+ films and TV shows

PC, Mac, iPad, Kindle Fire HD, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, smart TVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes

£5.99 a month. First month free.

Go to Amazon

NOW TV

600+ films including 5 new ones each week + Sky Sports access. No TV

PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Xbox 360, YouView, streaming players

£8.99 a month for three months, then £15 a month.

First month free.

Sky Sports Daily Pass: £9.99

Go to NOW TV

blinkbox

15,000+ movies and TV shows

PC, Mac, iOS, Android, smart TVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes

Rent: 99p - £3.49

Buy: £1.89 - £10.99

Go to blinkbox

PictureBox

28 films a month, regularly replaced with new content

PC, iPad, smart TVs

£4.99 a month

Go to PictureBox

KNOWHOW Movies

1,000+ films and TV series

PC, laptop, Android, smart TVs, Blu-ray players

Rent: £1.99 - £4.99

Buy: £1.99p - £12.99

Go to KNOWHOW

iTunes

45,000+ films and 190,000 TV episodes

PC, Mac, iOS

Rent: 99p - £3.49

Buy: £7.99 - £13.99

Go to iTunes

Google Play

2,000+ films

No TV

PC, Mac, Android

Rent: £1.49 - £3.49

Buy: £7.99 - £9.99

Go to Google Play

Film4oD

1,000+ films

No TV

PC, Mac

Rent: 99p - £3.49

Go to Film4oD

Curzon Home Cinema

400+ films

No TV

PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Smart TVs

Rent: £2 - £4 (non-members), £1.70 -£3.40 (members)

Go to Curzon

MUBI

30 films at a time. 1 new film every day

PC, Mac

£2.99 a month.

First month free

Go to MUBI

Click for more information:

Netflix

Amazon Instant Video (LOVEFiLM)

NOW TV

blinkbox

PictureBox

KNOWHOW Movies

iTunes

Google Play

Film4oD

Curzon Home Cinema

MUBI

Netflix

Netflix

American streaming giant Netflix offers a wide selection of movies, from recent children's favourites like Wall-E to blood-curdling horror flicks like The Cabin in the Woods. It also boasts a broad range of US TV series like Dexter and Modern Family, as well as British telly such as The Inbetweeners.

Netflix has earned itself a strong reputation for the quality and ease-of-use that its streaming service offers subscribers. It's also one of the most accessible, as it works on smart TVs, Virgin Media TiVo, iPhone and iPad, Android smartphones and tablets as well as video games consoles.

On the downside, a lot of Netflix films are quite old. You're unlikely to find much that's been released in the past two or three years. While its TV offering is stronger, there are some missing episodes and incomplete series - you might find this slightly frustrating.

Learn more about Netflix

Amazon Instant Video (LOVEFiLM)

Amazon Instant Video

Known as LOVEFiLM Instant in a previous life, Amazon Prime Instant Video has a vast and immensely varied collection of films and TV shows ready to stream online. With a monthly subscriptions you get unlimited access, in the exact same way as with Netflix and other such platforms.

With Amazon Instant Video there are two ways to watch your films and TV instantly. You can either rent or buy digital copies TV programmes and movies - from a library of more than 50,000 titles - or with Amazon Prime Instant Video you get unlimited access paying a set monthly amount.

It's worth noting that the Prime selection is narrower, although there are still 15,000 films and shows, and most of what's available is at least a few years old. If you subscribe and decide you want to watch something more recent, you can always pay-and-go using standard Amazon Instant Video.

Learn more about Amazon Instant Video

NOW TV

Now TV

Owned by satellite TV and broadband giant Sky, NOW TV doesn't exactly have the biggest selection of movies, but it does have by far the most recent releases. Sky's exclusivity deals with film studios mean subscribers get access to the biggest movies months, sometimes years, before anyone else.

Some film franchises, such as Harry Potter and James Bond, are actually locked down to Sky and NOW TV. So if you're a big fan and want to watch all the movies back-to-back and on-demand, you're better off here than on Netflix or any other NOW TV competitor.

As well as great films from the Sky Movies portfolio, you can also watch TV shows - including huge ratings winners such as Game of Thrones and 24. In addition, if you're a sports fan, you can get Sky Sports passes that let you watch 24 hours of Sky Sports channels for a fixed daily amount.

Learn more about NOW TV

blinkbox

blinkbox

Supermarket grand daddy Tesco's service lets you rent or buy individual items on pay-as-you-go terms without a subscription. If you rent something through blinkbox, you have 30 days to start watching it. You've then got 48 hours to enjoy it as many times as you like, or can physically manage.

blinkbox's library is fairly extensive, with brand new releases sitting next to much older classics. The price you pay for a film or TV show varies - naturally, you'll have to pay a lot more for the latest films than the golden oldies.

Since you pay for each film or programme separately, blinkbox is not the best choice for people who want to watch a lot of stuff every month. However, if you just want to dip in and out - renting the occasional movie now and then - it's one of the best options available to you.

Learn more about blinkbox

PictureBox

PictureBox logo

In addition to a subscription-based service, PictureBox provides a selection of on-demand movies for Virgin Media TV customers as well as YouView from both BT and TalkTalk.

PictureBox works differently from most other online streaming services. Each month, a curated pick of recent films is brought in to replace by what's currently on offer. This mean the selection is limited to 28 films per month, but also that it's regularly refreshed.

Learn more about PictureBox

KNOWHOW Movies

KNOWHOW Movies

Electronics retail group Dixons, the company behind PC World and Currys, now puts KNOWHOW Movies on every Windows computer it sells. The service lets you rent or buy films, either to stream on the internet or download to watch offline later.

It's not a free service and there's no subscriber option. A rented movie is available to watch 30 days after purchase, but as with blinkbox, once you start watching it'll only stick around for another 48 hours. There's a decent mix of movies and as well as renting you can buy for keeps.

Learn more about KNOWHOW Movies

iTunes

iTunes

Apple's online media outlet probably needs no introduction. While it made its name in music for the iPod, iTunes has been offering TV and movie downloads for years now, and has one of the biggest libraries around.

Films and TV shows can be bought, and downloaded to be watched indefinitely, or rented as a digital download that expires after 30 days of purchase. Once you've started watching a rental, however, there are only 24 hours to finish it.

iTunes isn't compatible with Android devices - Google's mobile operating system is the iPhone's main rival, you see - but you don't have to have an Apple device either. It'll work on a Windows PC, as well as iPhones, iPads, iMacs etc.

Learn more about iTunes

Google Play

Google Play

If you have an Android tablet or phone the Google Play download store is your iTunes equivalent. However, it's also available on Mac and PC as well as portable Google-powered gadgets.

Google Play's collection of films and TV shows is smaller than Apples, but still pretty enormous. It isn't as easy to navigate as iTunes either, but if you've the time to dig around you'll find plenty to watch across most of the popular genres.

It's a similar deal as you get with iTunes, whereby you have 30 days to start watching rented items - then once you've kicked it off you have 48 hours. Alternatively, you can purchase your film or TV show and watch it offline whenever you like.

Learn more about Google Play

Film4oD

Film4OD

Another pay-to-view online movie service, Film4oD works a lot like blinkbox - there's no subscription, you just pay for what you want to watch. Although the Film4oD library does contain over 1,000 films, you can only rent. There's no option to buy and keep.

Film4oD is only available online for PCs and Macs at the moment, but is planning to expand onto Android devices, iPads and iPhones in the very near future.

Learn more about Film4oD

Curzon Home Cinema

Curzon Home Cinema

A small cinema chain based in London, Curzon tends to focus on less high-profile independent films, rather than box office blockbusters. The selection's quite small, but if it's indie flicks you're looking for Curzon Home Cinema's one of your best bets.

There's a 15% discount if you're part of the Curzon membership scheme, and once you rent a movie you have seven days to watch it. However, there's no download option - you can only stream - so you'll need to make sure you have a Wi-Fi connection.

Learn more about Curzon Home Cinema

MUBI

MUBI

Not unlike Curzon Home Cinema, MUBI specialises in independent cinema rather than Hollywood's mega-successes. For a small monthly fee, it gives you access to 30 new films a month. One film is added and one taken away every day.

It's a good one if you have alternative tastes, but certainly isn't for everyone. One of the best things about the MUBI experience is that, just like PictureBox, the film selection is always changing.

Learn more about MUBI

Topics: Digital TV


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