Netflix v Amazon Prime Instant Video v NOW TV


Netflix v Amazon Prime Instant Video v NOW TV

Research from Deloitte reveals that the growth of pay TV subscriptions, such as those offered by Sky and Virgin Media, slowed considerably in 2012. Could the rise of streaming services be responsible for the trend?subscrintion tv comp1

The record functionality introduced with the likes of Sky+ gave viewers more freedom over when they could watch their favourite programmes, but this lost its lustre as providers like Netflix presented us with huge catalogues of TV shows and movies that could be streamed at the touch of a button.

Online content also gained traction as the number of tablet users rocketed. Recent results from YouGov’s Tablet Track survey suggest that there are now over 20 million of these devices in the UK, with around three in ten adults having access to one in their household.

Google Play, blinkbox and iTunes are great if you want to download or rent, but a subscription streaming service can be more cost-effective if your content consumption is high, as it allows you to watch as much as you like for a set monthly fee.

In fact, some people have chosen to shun their pay TV package in favour of a subscription, using it in combination with on-demand services like BBC iPlayer to feed their viewing habits. Others simply supplement their existing package so they have access to as much content as possible.

If you’re interested in subscribing to a streaming service, there are three main UK providers to consider: Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video (previously LOVEFiLM Instant) and NOW TV. Use our guide below to determine which will work best for you.


Netflix, from £5.99 per month (free one-month trial)netflix-logo

What do I get for my money?
Netflix packages:

£5.99 per month Standard definition only – Watch on one screen at a time

£6.99 per monthEnjoy high definition on selected content – Watch on up to two screens at a time

£8.99 per monthEnjoy high definition on selected content – Watch on up to four screens at a time

What can I watch?

Netflix is the best choice if you’re most interested in TV. There are a huge number of digital box sets ready to binge on, with hugely popular American shows such as Breaking Bad, Modern Family and 24 available. However, the US brand has catered its service to a UK audience with British series such as Sherlock, QI and The Office.

There are a good selection of movies, but you won’t find much in the way of recent releases or huge blockbusters. Top picks include The Hobbit, Forrest Gump, Pretty Woman, Avengers Assemble and The Hunger Games. Netflix is pretty good when it comes to documentaries, with everything from Planet Earth and Super Size Me to Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends ready to stream.

Netflix Originals are a major draw for many subscribers. These include the critically acclaimed Orange Is the New Black, the award-winning House of Cards, and the fourth season of Arrested Development.

Is it good for kids?

There’s a dedicated kids’ content section with something for all ages. It features plenty of Disney movies, Nickelodeon cartoons and everything in-between. You’ll find Dora the Explorer, Toy Story 3, SpongeBob SquarePants, Cars, Adventure Time and much more.

Parental controls allow you to tailor restricted content according to your children’s ages, with Little Kids, Older Kids, Teens and Adults maturity levels available. You can change this for each viewer profile and rest assured your little one won’t switch any 18-certificate horror movies on.

What devices can I watch on?

Netflix is the best of the bunch when it comes to support for different devices; there’s a user-friendly app for most major gadgets. This Wikipedia page lists the compatible devices, but remember that the information is not 100 per cent reliable!


Amazon Prime Instant Video, from £5.99 per month (free 30-day trial)amazon-instant-video-logo
What do I get for my money?
Amazon Prime Instant Video packages
£5.99 per month – Unlimited streaming
£6.99 per month – Unlimited streaming- LOVEFiLM By Post subscription: Rent an unlimited amount of DVDs or Blu-rays from the catalogue, up to two at a time.
£79 per year (equivalent to £6.58 per month)-  Prime membership, which includes:
 Unlimited streaming – Free next-day delivery on selected Amazon orders
– Access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
What can I watch?

Amazon Prime Instant Video lies somewhere in-between the other two services, with a good selection of both movies and TV.

Titles like Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Tangled, and Looper are currently dominating the Popular Movies section, while Suits, The Walking Dead and The OC reign supreme in the TV department. Current exclusives include Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Four Lions.

Is it good for kids?

The Amazon Instant Video Prime film library overlaps quite heavily with the Netflix offering, but there are a few exclusives, such as Happy Feet 2 and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Shipwrecked. It also has shows like Peppa Pig, Shaun the Sheep and Fireman Sam under its belt.

You can ensure kids only view age-appropriate content by applying restrictions on ratings categories. There’s also the option to set up a PIN, so kids don’t accidentally make purchases by renting or downloading content outside the subscription package.

What devices can I watch on?

As you might expect, Amazon Instant Video Prime is supported by Kindle Fire devices, as well as a good range of televisions, game consoles, DVRs, media players, Blu-ray players and Apple devices. However, there is no support for Android.


NOW TV, £8.99 per month (free 30-day trial)now tv logo
What do I get for my money?
 £8.99 a month gives you access to over 800 on-demand movies, as well as the live stream of Sky Movies channels.
What can I watch?

Because it’s powered by Sky, NOW TV has a great selection of recent movie releases. It adds up to 16 new premieres each month, so you’ll find plenty of films that only recently left the cinema. Monsters University, Man of Steel and Zero Dark Thirty are currently proving popular.

Is it good for kids?

There’s a great selection of classic family films and other kids’ favourites available, including Matilda, Stuart Little, and Despicable Me 2. The range of Disney films is impressive, with the dedicated collection featuring Brave, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog, and many more.

You can set up a parental PIN to prevent unauthorised viewing, so you can confidently give little ones control over the remote!

What devices can I watch on?

You can connect to NOW TV through your PS3, Xbox 360, iPad, PC, LG smart TV and more. You can see the full list of compatible devices here.

NOW TV is the perfect option if you don’t own smart devices, as you can watch through the NOW TV Box. Currently available in a bundle with a five-month Movies Pass for just £34.99, it’s an inexpensive way for you to start enjoying streamed content. It even includes apps such as BBC iPlayer and Facebook, essentially turning your standard TV into a smart TV.

These are our recommendations, in a nutshell:

 tv table

Do you use any subscription streaming services? We’d love to hear what you think of them. Leave a comment below or on Facebook!

Most Popular

To Top