Nowadays, more people stream TV shows on their mobiles, laptops and tablets than ever before. But what streaming services are available? How can you get them? And where can you watch the most popular shows? Our expert has the answers…
Catch up TV
Seven-day catch up is available on most TV packages. The main services you’ll find are BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD, Demand 5, STV Player (Scotland only), UKTV On Demand, and S4C Clic. These let you scroll back and watch the episodes of your favourite programmes that you missed on live TV.
How can I watch Catch up TV?
You’ll find them on nearly every TV package from Virgin Media, Sky, BT, and TalkTalk. They’re also available through set-top boxes from YouView, Freeview+, and Freesat - though you’ll need to upgrade to Freetime to get any more than iPlayer and ITV Player.
You can also find catch up services online, through smartphone and tablet apps, Smart TVs, and various streaming sticks.
Netflix has won a string of awards for self-produced, original content, such as Glow, Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things and allows you to watch as much as you want when you want.
How can I watch Netflix?
You’ll find the Netflix app on Freeview and Virgin Media TiVo, or through your YouView box - so it’s available with BT TV and TalkTalk TV packages as well. The latter two will even let you add the cost of a Netflix subscription to your monthly TV bill.
Amazon Instant Video
The TV and movie streaming service from Amazon has thousands of titles available to watch and download.
How can I watch Amazon Instant Video?
There’s a dedicated app through Freeview, though not through any other provider.
Still, it’s available on Smart TVs, streaming sticks, and certain set-top boxes and Blu-ray players - all of which are compatible with TV packages from the likes of Virgin Media, Sky, BT, and TalkTalk.
How can I watch Sky Go?
All Sky TV subscribers can access it for free, but if you’re not a customer you can still watch shows for a monthly fee.
You’ll even find it on some Smart TVs and streaming sticks, and on NOW TV, so you can watch Sky programmes on your telly while still subscribing to a Virgin Media, BT, or TalkTalk TV package.
There’s also the option of upgrading to Sky Go Extra if you want to download videos as well as stream them.
YouView lets you watch dozens of live TV channels, as well as streaming services in the form of seven-day catch up and box sets.
There are also apps for Sky Cinema, NOW TV, and Netflix for even more shows.
How can I watch YouView?
YouView is available as a standalone box, or as part of a BT TV or TalkTalk TV package - and with TalkTalk, you’ve also got the option to add Boosts to stream even more TV. Read our full guide to the YouView box for more.
Owned by Sky, Now TV lets you stream recent blockbusters, Scandinavian dramas, and some of the more popular shows Sky has to offer. As well as that, you can buy passes to watch Sky Cinema and Sky Sports on demand.
How can I watch Now TV?
Now TV has its own dedicated set top box - which you can combine with broadband - but if you don’t fancy splashing out on that, you can also access the app through most devices, including smart TVs and streaming sticks. It’s also available through YouView - meaning you can watch it with a BT TV or TalkTalk TV package too.
PictureBox and TVBox
PictureBox offers movie streams on demand, on a monthly subscription basis - again, that’s through its website or apps for various devices. But TalkTalk TV offers it right there through your YouView box via a TV Boost.
How can I watch PictureBox and TVBox?
There are two on offer: PictureBox, for a hand-picked selection of films on demand that rotates every month; and TVBox, for some of the best on demand box sets from the US, like Suits and The Mindy Project. Or, if they both sound good, you can double them up into a single Boost that costs a little less overall.
Curzon Home Cinema
Curzon Cinemas are best known for their dedication to independent, arthouse, and classic films - and that extends to their Home Cinema service too, which has a good rotation of those movies to stream or rent.
How can I watch Curzon Home Cinema?
It’s available online or through an app on most devices, but if you have BT TV you’re in luck - you can stream Curzon Home Cinema through your YouView box. You’ll also find it on Freesat if you upgrade to Freetime.
Starting out as a website to share videos, YouTube now hosts and shares billions of videos, including vlogs, music videos and even films.
How can I watch YouTube?
YouTube isn’t just available on browsers and apps these days - you can watch as many cat videos as you want through your telly, if you have a Virgin Media TiVo box or Freetime from Freesat.