TV UK 2021: Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Now TV or Disney+, which is the best streaming service?

Wondering  which streaming service gives you the most bang for your buck? Our TV expert has done a thorough investigation - and broken down the best and worst elements of them all

Disney+ is the newest kid on the block, but how does it stack up compared to Apple TV, NOW, Netflix and Prime Video?

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We are now living in the age where having access to the best streaming service is no longer a luxury.

No longer does Netflix reign supreme over the streaming landscape, as digital rivals compete to create the best possible service.

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Netflix dominates the streaming market, but as one of the priciest options, is it the best?

Using original shows, iconic boxsets and Oscar winning films, streaming services attempt to lure viewers to their platforms.

But, as the content grows, so does the cost of the services, so which streaming platform is the best value for money?

Here’s a breakdown of each service, and whether you will be getting the most bang for your buck.

Netflix

Emma Corrin captivated audiences as Princess Diana in Netflix’s The Crown

Best for: staying part of the cultural conversation - this is the most popular streaming site.

Costing a minimum of £9.99 a month for the HD, Netflix takes the spot as the second most expensive service on our list.

However, with 2986 movies and films available on the platform, subscribers are getting a lot of value for money.

This means viewers are getting 100 titles for every £0.30.

The service remains the most popular platforms amongst viewers, with 203.7 million global subscribers.

The streaming service built up its subscriber base after launching a selection of award winning must watch originals. The list includes House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things and The Crown.

As well as Netflix originals, the platform has built up a strong collection of movies, documentaries and cult classic TV shows, that provide one of the strongest selections available.

Netflix gains an edge over its rivals thanks to its multiple subscription models, which include a basic subscription of £5.99 for one device, and unlimited TV shows, however, this doesn’t allow HD viewing.

The premium subscription model allows for up to 4 devices to watch the service at the same time, and also gives the option of Ultra HD and 4K.

Iain’s verdict:

Netflix continues to offer the best user interface, and if you are after value for money the streaming giant is your best bet. However, its advantage also becomes a key fault, with the service creating a choice problem.

Due to the sheer variety of movies and TV series, and it’s one endless rolling screen format, it can become difficult to make a decision. The service would benefit from refining down its menu options.

It’s original content remains strong, but with the arrival of new competitors, it no longer holds the same edge it had five years ago, with filmmakers and production companies choosing lucrative deals at Disney and Amazon rather than the streaming giant.

Our rating: 3 out of 5

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Amazon Prime Video

The Marvellous Miss Maisel, one of Amazon Prime’s most popular original TV shows

Best for: the sheer breadth of choice

Amazon Prime Video continues to pose a threat to Netflix thanks to the sheer quantity of content it provides subscribers.

The service has 117 million global subscribers. It costs users £7.99 a month.

Prime Video is home to the largest library of TV and films with more than 21,500 available.

This works out at only £0.03 per 100 titles - the best value for money out of all the services.

This is great if you are looking for the largest selection, but the streaming service falters at the quality of shows available.

Amazon Prime Video has a smaller selection of Amazon Original shows and movies (although this is increasing after a drive for more original content), compared to its rival Netflix, and the superiority it once held in having exclusive movies, has now vanished after the introduction of STAR on Disney+.

Iain’s verdict:

If you want a streaming app that provides you with the Blockbuster Video Store experience then Prime Video is your best bet.

Amazon succeeds in volume of original content, but it’s disappointing user interface, and lack of ‘Must Watch’ series and films, make it fall short on the value for money competition.

The service’s biggest flaw is how difficult it can be to identify which shows are available immediately for streaming, or have to be rented. This is a problem unique to Prime Video.

Our rating: 4/5

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NOW (formerly NOW TV)

Fantasy epic Game of Thrones is streaming on Now

Best for: terrific television options

If you want the full-service version, NOW comes in at the most expensive of the streaming services available, but does give viewers a pick ‘n’ mix Sky experience, and the only UK access to HBO.

The platform provides a good rental option for streamers wishing to have a weekend over sport, or access to Sky Cinema’s film selection.

NOW gives users access to 16 live channels and 300 TV series boxsets. The entertainment and cinema package on the service costs subscribers £24.98 per month. Pick just one at it comes in at £14.99.

The streaming service also falters when it presents users with subscription models that lets users pick either 720p and 1080p HD quality, with the latter costing more money.

Iain’s verdict:

NOW is perfect for anyone wanting to splash out on a Sky TV box without actually paying the money. The Sky Cinema and Entertainment package is packed full of content, and would provide endless nights of streaming joy, and the exclusive UK access to HBO is a special perk.

If you are someone that wants to watch live TV, and watch the occasional movie and boxset, then NOW is perfect, otherwise cheaper options are available.

Our rating: 4/5

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Disney+

WandaVision proved a hit for Disney+

Best for: entertainment

The newbie on the streaming service block has come in hard and fast, gaining over 100 million subscribers since its launch in December 2019.

For a long time, the platform’s main selling point was having exclusive access to the Marvel universe, the Star Wars franchise, Disney and Pixar originals and The Simpsons - making it the perfect destination for family entertainment.

However, Disney+ took it a step further, adding STAR to its roster, doubling the selection of hit movies and mainstream TV shows available to users.

There are over 1,200 films and TV shows available on Disney+, with subscribers having to pay £7.99 per month to access it.

This works out at £0.60 per 100 titles.

The platform has one of the easiest user interfaces to control, adding to its claim of being family friendly.

Shows are available in 4K and HDR, in many cases, for no extra cost.

Iain’s verdict:

Disney Plus has continued to amaze me. The user interface is easy to navigate, creating a service that allows old and new shows to be found without hassle.

The merger with STAR has taken the service from a novelty kids app to a fully fledged streaming giant - proving itself to be a service for both the young and old.

No streaming service makes it easier to switch from watching the Marvel movies, to an episode of The Simpson, to a classic Disney princess film, then finishing the day with a late night Grey’s Anatomy binge. For me, it’s the best value for money.

Our rating: 5/5

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Apple TV Plus

Sweet, funny sitcom Ted Lasso is reason alone to subscribed to Apple TV

Best for: glossy, high-production values

Apple hoped to stake their claim in the streaming service landscape when they launched Apple TV Plus in November 2019.

The tech giant aimed to make a big impact with its high-budget originals like The Morning Show with Jennifer Aniston, and See, starring Jason Momoa.

They also took the risk of not including any older content, deciding to primarily advertise new and original shows, hoping this will lure subscribers to the platform.

The risk, however, doesn’t seem to have paid off, with the service only gaining 33.6 million subscribers since its launch - a blimp compared to Disney+’s efforts in the same time frame.

That may change soon, though, as one report says Apple is looking to acquire older shows and movies for its platform.

Apple TV Plus currently boasts 81 TV shows, and a monthly subscription cost of £4.99 per month. The lack of shows has meant it is incomparable in our value for money comparison.

Iain’s verdict:

It’s a work in progress, but Apple TV is still failing to hit its mark. The service’s user interface can at times be difficult to navigate, with the platform seemingly aiming to advertise new shows, instead of allowing users to easily search for what they want to watch.

The app has grown in popularity due to its smart, funny (occasionally incredible) original content. The service is not the best value for money - but the subscription fee is worth it alone for Ted Lasso season one.

Our rating: 2/5

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