Streaming services in the UK

We take a look at the best streaming services in the UK

TV and film have been revolutionised in recent years with the launch of popular streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and more recently, Disney+ and Apple TV.

Add to these paid-for services with the likes of the UK-based, free platforms such as the BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All4, and you can curate a vast library of television and film on your Smart TV, mobile devices and more.

There are more streaming services than ever before, and with each streaming service offering something a little unique – and with differing price points and special features – we’re going to take a look at the options available to UK viewers.

What’s In The Guide

What’s on streaming services?

Streaming services now offer a whole host of options for the film and TV fan, with huge flexibility in terms of how you consume the content available – services are no longer only available via web browsers, but all major streaming services are easily accessible from your Smart TVs, Android devices and Apple TV – whether that’s at home or on the go, via phone, tablet or laptop.

Pretty much all live TV can now be streamed from one of the many platforms on offer, and almost all of them offer some kind of catch up TV service, so you don’t have to worry if you miss anything. This includes film, TV series, live sports and more.

Picture quality has never been better, no matter what device you’re viewing from – with 4K ultra HD now available not only on your home TV but mobile devices too – and internet speed getting quicker and quicker, you can stream from pretty much anywhere.

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While some streaming services are specialised for film and TV, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, other services are primarily for sports fans or dedicated to alternative and arthouse cinema, such as the British Film Institute’s BFI Player.


Streaming movies in UK

While there is much debate as to which is the best streaming service, there’s no doubt that a great number of them offer a large library of films. Great streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ all offer their own unique library of films, with modern classics constantly available. Each of the services plunges their own millions into producing original movies – with some of the biggest films in the industry in recent years coming via Netflix.

Disney Plus have also shown their hand in this category, with original movies launching on the service for free, as well as providing customers with a Premier Access feature that allows them to pay to view brand new releases on the same day as the cinema premiere.

If you have a home TV subscription such as Sky or Virgin Media, you can access your films via their respective apps – as long as you pay for the film packages to watch Sky Cinema, etc.

For the more serious film buff, there are further options that are a little less well known, too. Some video streaming services such as the BFI Player from the British Film Institute and the recently-launched CHILI TV offer films that might not be on other platforms, with unique subscription offers for customers.

TV series

Streaming TV series in UK

Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney also fall into the TV series category, investing millions into original programming for TV series, too. Award winning shows such as the Netflix hit Stranger Things and Disney’s The Mandalorian have become cult classics as well as critically acclaimed shows – exclusively available on each streaming service.

If you subscribe to a TV set top box, you can also benefit from your TV provider’s streaming services, such as Sky Go from Sky and Virgin TV Anywhere with Virgin. This means you can access all your favourite shows on the go as well as through your Smart TVs.

Other platforms that show some classic series from recent history completely for free are the BBC iPlayer (as long as you have a TV licence) to watch shows like Sherlock and The Office, All4 (The IT Crowd, The Inbetweeners) and the ITV Hub (Broadchurch). UK viewers simply need to sign up and create an account to be able to watch their favourite shows.


Streaming sports in UK

Sports streaming services vary from platform to platform, with the best streaming services offering a wide range of sports for sports fans to access.

The easiest way to access sports streaming in the UK is via a Sky or Virgin TV subscription, although this does require a paid TV package including sports access. Each streaming service offers different ways to view sports, usually via an account login, but one-off events can be purchased individually.

NOW TV also provides unique packages to access sports streaming, with the chance to purchase various packages for various sports on offer without the need to sign a contract.

Certain sporting events throughout the year are available to watch via the BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub, with major events such as the World Cup and Six Nations Rugby broadcast for free on TV and you can watch live TV on these platforms.

What streaming services are there in the UK?

The best streaming service depends on a number of things – the kind of budget you have, existing TV subscriptions and what kind of TV and film content you’re looking for.

The good thing is that a number of the options for streaming offer a free trial period, so you can check out each individual platform for free before committing to a paid service – and of course, some are completely free, too!

While there are a number of well-known TV streaming services in the UK, there may be some on the list that you’ve never heard of and may want to check out.


Stranger Things has been a worldwide phenomenon on one of the best streaming services, Netflix

One of the best streaming services around and one of the most popular, Netflix has been a mainstay of film and TV streaming services in the UK for years now.

With huge original shows like Stranger Things, Bridgerton and Sex Education, as well as classic films and TV shows like Friends and The Office, Netflix is constantly producing shows and updating its film offering to subscribers.

A great streaming service with tiered subscription, you can view Netflix on up to four simultaneous streams at once with its premium plan – so you have enough for the whole family.

Amazon Prime Video

The Grand Tour includes former Top Gear Hosts on Amazon Prime Video

One of Netflix’s biggest rivals, Amazon Prime Video provides something slightly different for TV viewers. Its online streaming services include films and TV shows included within an Amazon Prime subscription, but if things aren’t included you can also purchase or rent movies and entire series through the platform, giving a little more variety in case there’s something you really want to watch.

Amazon Prime Video offers a host of original programming, for example the former Top Gear stars’ new show, The Grand Tour and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens, not available on other streaming services.

Amazon also launched the Amazon Fire TV stick back in 2014, which can transform any TV into a Smart TV by being able to access streaming services via the dongle. While there is no monthly subscription fee for Amazon Fire TV, subscribing to Amazon Prime Video greatly increases the value you would get out of your Amazon Fire TV stick.


Disney have created brand new Star Wars programmes on their streaming platform

Disney+ launched in the UK in March 2020 to much fanfare. The service offers unprecedented access to Disney’s huge back catalogue of family favourites from Disney and Pixar, as well as all the Star Wars films and TV series and the entire catalogue from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

There have also been award-winning shows produced exclusively for the platform such as the Star Wars series The Mandalorian and Marvel’s Wandavision, among others.

Disney+ is available on Apple TV, Android devices and Smart TVs, and one account gives you the option to stream on up to four screens, as well as offering a GroupWatch feature, giving viewers the chance to watch films together from different locations and different screens on separate streaming devices.

Apple TV

Apple TV operates in a similar way to an Amazon Fire TV stick, in that you can purchase an Apple TV box that plugs into your TV and allows you to access apps and stream TV, films and music through the device, making it much like most Smart TVs on the market.

Apple TV+ is a paid subscription streaming service from Apple TV, which is available as a seven day free trial before moving to £4.99 per month, to access original content available from Apple TV.

Sky Go

Sky Go is the streaming service app provided by Sky TV, allowing you to watch Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and exclusive content from HBO Max (which isn’t available in the UK). You must have a Sky TV subscription to be able to use this streaming service, then simply log in to your account and you can enjoy the same Sky channels you pay for on your regular TV.

Catch live TV, catch up and entire series such as Game of Thrones on any device, as long as you have an internet connection.

BBC iPlayer

BBC IPlayer is available on most smart TVs, on web browsers and more

The free streaming service from the BBC offers excellent options to watch live TV streaming from all BBC channels, catch up on recent shows and stream entire box sets such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer through the BBC iPlayer.

The iPlayer is available on most Smart TVs and is one of a number of free streaming platforms available for UK viewers – with the only caveat being that you must hold a TV licence to view content on the video streaming service.


Love Island was one of the most viewed shows on online streaming services in 2021

Another free content service in the UK is ITV Hub, on which you can stream your favourite TV shows from ITV. With popular, long-running soaps such as Emmerdale and Coronation Street and ITV’s well known crime dramas Broadchurch available to stream and catch up, the best of British TV has never been easier to view, wherever you are.

The ITV Hub is also home to Love Island, one of the top-streamed shows of 2021 with over 5 million people tuning in (with over 3 million via ITV Hub).


Watch The Inbetweeners of web browsers, TV box or mobile devices with All4

All4 is Channel 4’s streaming service, again showing live channels from 4, E4 and More4, with TV shows such as The IT Crowd and Friday Night Dinner, as well as documentaries and reality shows all available on your mobile device or Smart TVs.

BFI Player

BFI Player

The British Film Institute has its own streaming service, the BFI Player, which is on the more niche end of the streaming spectrum. Showing the very best of British TV and film, as well as international arthouse cinema, the registered charity has both subscription streaming services and the provision of renting individual movies.


CHILI TV is a relatively new streaming service that was created in Italy in 2012, and offers something different for customers who don’t want to pay for a monthly subscription. You simply pay for renting or purchasing individual films, with flash sales reducing some movies to just 99p.

With support from some of the biggest production companies in film, CHILI TV also offer the chance to buy DVD and Blu Ray, sell merchandise and even point you to your nearest cinema and show times if your chosen film isn’t available.


NOW TV is one of the best streaming services for paying for what you want without a contract – offering packages for certain Sky channels including movies, series and sports, and is available on Smart TVs, Android Devices and Apple TV.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is another streaming service that has launched in recent years, although the platform in the UK is different to that in other countries, such as the USA, where you can pay a subscription fee to access a range of TV channels much like Sky or Virgin Media.

You can, however, access the YouTube app through your Smart TV or Apple TV, as well as online – and while YouTube is free to watch, it does offer a YouTube premium service in the UK that costs £11.99 per month, which allows you to watch videos without the ads.

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