How to navigate the rise of streaming services
Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, NOW TV, Apple TV, Hay U, Britbox, All4, ITV Hub, Hulu… we’re running out of fingers to count all the different streaming services.
Over the last few years, these platforms have provided a lot of entertainment; from Squid Game and Red Notice on Netflix, to Disney’s Encanto and The Mandalorian all the way through to Apple TV’s Ted Lasso. Streaming services have really ramped up the volume of their TV shows and movies, the likes of Amazon Prime has also started to host a number of sporting events including The US Open. We also can’t forget the similar efforts from traditional broadcasters like Sky and BT. So, when it comes to TV choice, things have never been better. Or have they?
The UK has seen a surge in paid and free-to-access streaming services, with many more in the pipeline.
Introducing Platform Wars
A blockbuster most of us would like to avoid. On one hand, the explosion of choice may be welcomed; it can tap into the interests of every family member without ever running out of fresh content. But on the other hand, it might leave you spending hours trying to decide what to watch, whilst the number of different devices needed to access them spirals out of control.
If money and the size of your TV cabinet is no object, then you can simply sign up to all available services and contracts where required. You’ll have to contend with a multitude of different devices and on-screen menus in order to access them all, but you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips.
Back in the real world, we all have different tastes and means, not to mention varying degrees of patience and appetite for new technologies. And there’s also the conundrum of feeling locked into a hefty subscription contract with a provider like Sky, when you only value a small but essential piece of the overall package. So, what’s the solution?
"This is the way"
It all boils down to a mix of good old-fashioned research and smart thinking to build the right blend of entertainment to suit your household. You’re unlikely to find just one streaming service that perfectly matches all your tastes and needs, but there could be two platforms that satisfy, say, 90% of your interests.
If you stick to services that are contract-free, you are free to jump ship or dip into other services in the future. Let’s say, that Netflix and Amazon Prime ticks most of the boxes for your family, but you’re desperate to see the new Hawkeye series, you could subscribe to Disney+ for one-month, binge-watch the Marvel series and cancel your subscription once you are finished. Or maybe you are a sports or movie fan and reluctantly paying for the base Sky TV package just so you can enjoy Sky Sports or Sky Cinema. Well, you can bypass this by accessing these packages via NOW TV as standalone subscriptions.