A new study by YouGov shows that almost 30% of people avoid going to the cinema because they can now watch films in the comfort of their own homes- without the high price tag- thanks to the rise of on-demand subscription services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Blinkbox.
But with a huge range of TV and film subscription services available to us (not to mention pay as you go options like Blinkbox), which one gives you the most value for money?
- Basic, one screen no HD: £5.99 a month
- Standard, two screens: £6.99 a month
- Premium, four screens: £8.99 a month
With several home grown shows under its belt (including Orange is the New Black and Arrested Development), it’s likely that Netflix is already on your radar. For as little as £5.99 a month you have access to one of the widest ranges of TV shows on the web- perfect for those who spend hours binging watching an entire series. However, when it comes to films Netflix does lag behind; most movies are two or more years old (although it will offer the occasional recent film which is released before its competitors).
Verdict: 4.5/5. Great for TV show binge watchers, not so great for avid film fans.
Amazon Prime Instant Video: www.amazon.co.uk
- Just Amazon Prime Instant Video: £5.99 a month
- Full Amazon Prime (£79 a year)
Previously known as LOVEFiLM, Amazon Prime Instant Video comes as part of Amazon Prime for £79 a year, or can be subscribed to as a standalone service for £5.99 a month. Amazon claims to have 50,000 titles in its store, but only 15,000 films and TV episodes are actually available for the monthly subscription- you’ll have to pay a one off fee for newer content (such as Game of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire).
Verdict: 4/5. Recommended for Amazon shoppers who will take advantage of the other Prime services like free postage and next day delivery.
Now TV: www.nowtv.com
- Sky Movies Month Pass: £9.99 a month
- Entertainment Month Pass: £6.99 a month
- Sky Sports Day Pass: £6.99
The Sky owned Now TV is designed for people who want something a bit more flexible than a traditional Sky TV package, and comes in three different price plans so you can choose what suits you on a monthly basis. Because Sky is further up the movie release window list, the films on offer in the Movies Pass is unrivalled: the latest films are usually available on Now TV as soon as they come out on DVD. The Entertainment Pass provides access to several channels not available on Freeview including Sky1- giving you access to shows like Game of Thrones and Mad Men.
Verdict: 5/5. If you want the latest films on tap then NOW TV is unrivalled and well worth the higher price tag. However, you could get a cheaper deal elsewhere for a film and TV show combo.
PictureBox Films: www.pictureboxfilms.com
Price: £4.99 a month
The cheapest subscription service on our list, PictureBox Films costs just £4.99 a month. However, it has a slightly different concept than Netflix, Amazon Prime or Now TV: PictureBox offers around 60 films in total, and each month a curated pick of 7 fresh films is brought in as a replacement. Each film is available for about 8 weeks, so you have plenty of time to catch it before it gets the chop. PictureBox does not offer TV shows or the chance to pay as you go.
Verdict: 2/5. We like the concept of having a choice of movies hand-picked by film lover, but the small library just can’t compare with its bigger rivals.
Pay as you go
There are also a number of non-subscription services which offer you instant access to film and TV shows on a pay as you go basis. This option is perfect for users who want to dip in and out watching the occasional movie, but you will run up a large bill if you want to binge on TV shows.
Previously owned by Tesco and recently sold to TalkTalk, Blinkbox allows you to rent or buy the latest films as they are released on DVD and store them on a digital locker. Price varies depending on format and freshness, and you can also buy boxsets outright.
iTunes has one of the biggest libraries of film and TV around thanks to its reputation and impressive partnerships, but titles are generally more expensive than Blinkbox. You will need a PC with iTunes installed or an Apple device to watch your content, since it is not compatible with Android devices.
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store
Compatible with far more devices than iTunes, Google Play offers film and TV shows at a competitive price to its rivals. However, its library is significantly smaller than iTunes or Blinkbox- and is mainly designed for Android device users.