tv apps

Best TV streaming apps

More than 28 million households in the UK use a streaming service to watch television, with the average person watching 22 hours of TV in one week. But with so many streaming apps out there, it can be difficult to decide which ones to subscribe to. Thankfully, we’re here to help! Here’s everything you need to know about the best TV streaming apps in 2021. 

Netflix | Amazon Prime Video | Disney+ | BBC iPlayer | Apple TV | BritBox | Now TV | All4 

Netflix 

Netflix is the most popular streaming service in the world, with 208 million subscribers (as of April 2021). 

Subscriptions

Price (monthly)

Basic - one screen at a time

£5.99

Standard - two screens at a time

£9.99

Premium - four screens at a time

£13.99

What can you watch?

The Netflix library contains a huge array of content (over 2,000 movies alone). You can filter your search by “Series” or “Films” depending on what you’re in the mood for, and then categorise by genre, such as: Action, Anime, Children & Family, Comedies, Crime, Documentaries, Dramas, Fantasy, Horror, International, Musicals, Reality, Romance, Sci-Fi, Thrillers, and more. 

You can also explore shows by simply browsing the homepage, which showcases a range of films and series based on your likes, or by specific genres like “Feel-good Films”, “Christmas Films” and “Relentless Crime Dramas”. You can also pick from a list of the “Top 10 in the UK Today” to see what’s trending. 

Further, you can add films and shows you want to see to a personal list, titled “My List”, to remember ones you want to see at a later date. 

 

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime is another well-known streaming service, with over 10 million users in the UK and over 100 million in the US. Prime Video can be a default of having Amazon Prime, the service that offers you free delivery on items ordered through Amazon.

Subscriptions

Price (monthly)

Prime Video - just access to the library of films and shows

£5.99

Prime membership - videos, music streaming, photos, and free delivery

£7.99

Prime student

£3.99

Prime annual

£79 (yearly) 

*You can get a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime before opting for a subscription

What can you watch?

Some shows and episodes are free to watch on Amazon Prime, but you’re mostly paying for access to their library of 18,000 films and over 1,000 TV episodes, where you may have to pay to watch a film or series of your choosing (usually a couple of pounds). 

Similar to Netflix, you can explore by genre: Action & Adventure, Anime, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Fantasy, Foreign, Christmas, and other categories like “New Releases”, “Award winners”, “Black voices” and “Amazon Originals”. 

There’s also a “My Stuff” section where you can save films and programmes to watch later. 

 

Disney+ 

Disney+ is a streaming service that, unsurprisingly, focuses on offering Disney films and TV shows. It’s an immensely popular option for both kids and adults, and currently boasts 95 millions users so far in 2021. 

Subscriptions

Prices

Monthly

£5.99

Annual

£59.99

What can you watch?

Disney+ stores more than 7,000 television episodes, 500 movies, 350 series, and 26 originals to choose from! As well as Disney itself, you can watch content from popular franchises like Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. 

You can watch anything from huge blockbuster hits, to older classics, to the newest releases. 

 

BBC iPlayer 

Unlike some of the other services on this list, BBC iPlayer works a little differently in that you don’t need to pay a subscription to watch the films and shows available in their library. Instead, you register for free and simply pay the cost of a TV license. 

Subscriptions

Prices

TV License Fee

£147 per year

What can you watch?

You can access a number of channels, like BBC one through four, as well as BBC Radio 1 and CBeebies. 

The majority of the content on BBC iPlayer is ‘catch-up’ shows that were broadcasted live on BBC television. You can use BBC iPlayer to watch a film or series of episodes that you missed, or that were played on TV long before you knew about them. There are, however, still new and exclusive shows on BBC iPlayer that weren’t put on TV first. 

You can filter your searches alphabetically, by browsing the TV Guide list, or categorically: Drama & Soaps, Comedy, Documentaries, Sport, News, Entertainment, Music, Food, Lifestyle, History, Science & Nature, Arts, and more. Save any films or shows in “My Programmes”. 

 

Apple TV 

Apple TV is an extension from popular electronics manufacturer, Apple. It’s given free (for one year) to customers who buy an Apple device, like an iPhone or iPad, and is included free of charge in an Apple Music Student Plan. 

Subscriptions

Prices

Monthly

£4.99

*You can also have a free seven day trial.

What can you watch?

Apple TV has a range of original films and TV shows to choose from, though its library isn’t as large as some other services, with around 70 titles. As with many of the other services, you can explore new releases by genres labelled “Drama Series”, “Comedy Series”, “Feature Films”, “Non-Fiction Series”, “Family Fun”, and similar. Apple TV will also show you what’s upcoming, as new shows are premiered each week.

As with all Apple products, they can be linked to work harmoniously - you can share the service with your family, or up to five people added to your Apple Family, so you don’t have to pay for several accounts. 

 

BritBox 

Launched as a joint ITV and BBC collaboration, BritBox has over half a million subscribers.

Subscriptions

Prices

Monthly

£5.99

Annually

£59.99

*Free trial of 30 days

What can you watch?

BritBox focuses on providing viewers with British television, so you can access UK-based films and series from the likes of BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5, as well as some original content. 

With around 300 box sets and 65 famous films, lovers of British classics, comedies, dramas, documentaries, thrillers (and more!) will be in their element.

 

Now TV 

Approximately 1.62 million currently subscribe to Now TV. The service has a range of different memberships you can purchase depending on the type of content you want to watch.

Subscriptions

Prices (monthly)

Entertainment Membership

£9.99 

Cinema Membership

£11.99 

Sports Membership

£9.99 

Kids Membership

£3.99

Hayu Membership 

£4.99

*Seven day free trial

There are also a number of ‘Boost’ memberships available to buy, which allow you to stream across three devices instead of the usual two. 

What can you watch?

As Now TV has several subscriptions, you can pick based on what you’re interested in watching regularly, so you only pay for the most relevant and personal content. And with around 300 boxsets, there’s a fair amount to choose from.

  • Entertainment Membership - genre-based films and TV series, like medical dramas, thrillers, supernatural, comedies, science fiction, mysteries, and more
  • Cinema Membership - mostly blockbuster films of all genres (kid-friendly options too)
  • Sports Membership - live games and sports events on Sky Sports
  • Kids Membership - child-friendly films and TV shows
  • Hayu Membership - films and shows from the United States, mostly reality television

 

All4 

An extension of Channel 4, All4 has around 18 million users. Like BBC iPlayer, it’s free to register for All4 and you don’t have to pay for subscriptions. It is, however, required that you pay for a TV license in order to watch the content. 

Subscription

Price

TV License Fee

£147 per year

What can you watch?

All4 offers a selection of live and pre-recorded programmes from Channel 4, E4, and More4 to watch on demand. These include popular box sets, classics, and shows that were recently broadcast live on TV. 

Explore more titles using the “TV Guide”, “Box Sets”, or “Categories” tag. You can also view the most popular shows to see what’s trending, like Gogglebox, Hollyoaks, Taskmaster, Come Dine with Me, A Place in the Sun, The Tudors, 90210, and more. 

 

Discover more

Should you read a book before you watch the film adaptation? If you think yes, why not check out our guide on the top reading apps to download onto your smartphone or tablet? But with so much on offer, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on how much time you spend staring at a screen to protect your health.

If you prefer audio over visual, you may also be interested in reading about the best music streaming apps or podcast apps for your devices.

If you’re on the lookout for a new phone plan, take a look at our great-value monthly bundles.


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