Streaming video services

Watch what you want, when you want.

Selecting a streaming service on TV

It seems every month a new video streaming service is being launched, offering more and more niche and exclusive content. We’ve pored through the main ones available here and compared what they do and don’t offer.

Types of services

There are three main types of video-on-demand services: subscription (SVOD), transactional (TVOD) also known as pay-per-view (PPV), and free TV-on-demand.

SVOD is the service most people know about. You pay a monthly fee to access a library of content that’s regularly updated. These services usually offer both movies and television shows.

PPV is more like an online video store. There’s no monthly fee and you rent, and in some cases buy, movies to watch on-demand. There are a few PPV services around – we’ve assessed the main local services.

Free TV-on-demand services are available from the main TV broadcasters, but also combined into Freeview. The content is usually only available for a limited time (a few weeks in most cases) and depends on the deal the broadcaster has with the content distributer. These services play advertisements (though fewer than terrestrial broadcasts).

Choosing a service

Nearly all SVOD services offer free trials – we recommend trying them before choosing one (or more) and signing up. Also, remember you’re not locked into a long-term deal. If you don’t want the service after a couple of months, you can just cancel and sign up to another one.

How we grade

We graded services on a six-point scale (A-F). Grades are relative not absolute, so an “F” doesn’t mean “fail”, just that it isn’t as good as a “C” in the same category. Grades were calculated using a points system, where points were awarded for:

  • range of devices the services were available on, including smart TVs, mobile devices and game consoles
  • range of content (not amount) and accessible content (closed captions, descriptive audio)
  • whether content was available in HD or UHD/4K
  • number of devices allowed (on your account and watching concurrently)
  • whether the service offered downloadable content for offline viewing. (SVOD-only).

We compared the price of a service to the average. This value fed into the overall grade.

Subscription services (SVOD)

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