If you’re looking for something good to watch on the box, your best bet is often to head online. But how do you choose between NOW TV, Amazon Prime and Netflix?
I still love “normal” TV, and there are great shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. But more often than not, the programmes I watch are online. In fact, there’s too much choice!
But if you sign up to all three subscription services, it can quickly add up. Of course there are always deals, tricks and cheats to bring down the price – I’ve currently got all three of these streaming services. But if you are paying full price it’s probably best to pick and choose.
The tough choice then is which to go for? Well as a regular user of each one I’ve weighed up the pros and cons, plus the ways to get them for less.
Best for TV
I don’t think there much to chose between them all, but my number one pick is NOW TV entertainment. It’s the cheapest way to watch Sky Atlantic shows such as Game of Thrones and Westworld, and also gives me access to Fox, Comedy Central and Sky One. The main downslde is programmes tend to come and go, and then come back. Which is frustrating.
Netflix has a huge range of new exclusive dramas and comedies, as well as a huge box set back catalogue. The Good Place, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Sinner are my favourite shows from this year, and I’ve still to catch up on the latest Daredevil and shows like Maniac.
Amazon Prime has generally been the weakest for new programmes, but that’s changed in the last couple of years. The Man in the High Castle, Mr Robot and The Marvellous Mrs Maisel are all fantastic.
Whichever you pick, I don’t think you can go wrong. You’ll always find something great to watch, whether something new or old.
Scores out of 10 for TV choice
- Amazon Prime – 9/10
- Netflix – 10/10
- NOW TV – 10/10
Best for films
NOW TV’s film pass is essentially Sky Cinema (formerly Sky Movies). It has the largest number of recent releases, and plenty of classics. The problem is you need a separate subscription from the Entertainment pack so it could get expensive if you want both.
Netflix and Amazon Prime have recently come into their own through the films they fund or produce to be exclusive on their platforms. On Netflix this means big Hollywood films such as the new Mowgli and the latest Coen Brother’s movie are premiering online rather than in cinemas.
But all three have a lot of rubbish and it can be a pain to find what you want to watch.
Netflix get’s the edge for me as it’s the only place to watch some very good films.
Scores out of 10 for film choice
- Amazon Prime – 7/10
- Netflix – 8/10
- NOW TV – 8/10
Best for extras
Amazon Prime has a bunch of extra features worth considering. The best is you can download the videos to your phone or tablet, letting you watch when you don’t have any wifi.
You also get access to Amazon Prime Music (like Spotify), a Kindle lending library, 2 hour delivery with Amazon Prime Now and free next day delivery, even if the item is under £20.
You can also download certain programmes on Netflix, while this feature is coming to NOW TV in early 2019.
Scores out of 10 for extras
- Amazon Prime – 8/10
- Netflix 7/10
- NOW TV – 5/10
Best for free trials
The good news is all of them offer a free trial!
>> Get a 14 day NOW TV entertainment free trial
>> Get a 14 day NOW TV Sky Movies free trial
>> Get a 30 day Amazon Prime Instant Video free trial
>> Get a 30 day Netflix free trial
These are all once per person. The best way to get value from these is to do one at a time, giving you three months of free films and TV. If you’ve housemates or family living with you, there’s no reason they can’t sign up after to get another three months.
Scores out of 10 for free trials
- Amazon Prime – 9/10
- Netflix – 8/10
- NOW TV – 6/10
Best for price
This is looking just at the basic price. I’ll get on to deals in the next bit.
- Amazon Prime price: £79 a year, though this includes extras such as free next day delivery
- Netflix price UK: starts at £5.99 a month, rising to £7.99 for two screens and HD, then £9.99 a month for four screens and Ultra HD
- NOW TV entertainment price: £7.99 a month
- NOW TV movies price: £9.99 a month
I think you’re wasting money if you pay full price for more than one. There’s no way you’ve time to properly utilise each service if you’re flicking between them – and hey, box sets are built to binge!
Scores out of 10 for price
- Amazon Prime – 6/10 (for an annual subscription)
- Netflix – 6/10
- NOW TV – 5/10 (as a combined price)
Best for deals
I’m yet to see any money off Netflix, though you can sometimes get free passes via other purchases (eg with a new mobile phone contract). You can also choose different prices packages which let you choose how many users can log in at the same time. This allows you to share with family and friends and split the costs. See my cash hack to saving through sharing for more info.
Amazon Prime is available at a discounted price from time to time, and I’ll list these on my Amazon deals page when they happen, though this is a lot rarer than it used to be.
NOW TV, on the other hand, is usually available cut price. I regularly update my NOW TV deals page with the latest offers, and I’ve probably spent less than £20 in the last 12 months for a year of Entertainment and three or four months of movies. That’s a saving of nearly £120.
Scores out of 10 for available deals
- Amazon Prime – 4/10
- Netflix – 4/10
- NOW TV – 9/10
Easiest to watch on your TV
There are a few options here.
My top choice is via a smart TV. Our new Samsung was a game changer as it had app for all three. No more wires!
If you don’t have one of these then there are a few different options. In the summer I wrote about how to make your TV smart, listing the pros and cons of devices such as the Roku, Now TV stick, Amazon Fire and Chromecast. If you are watching all three, you’ll want to go for the Roku.
Otherwise, it depends which service you want to stream. For example, you can’t watch Amazon or a NOW TV stick or via a Chromecast, and you can’t watch NOW TV via a Fire Stick. Netflix is available on all.
Or you can of course just connect your laptop to your TV with a cable.
Scores out of 10 for watching on your TV
- Amazon Prime – 6/10
- Netflix – 9/10
- NOW TV – 6/10
Overall scores out of 10
- Amazon Prime – 49/10
- Netflix – 52/10
- NOW TV – 49/10
So the scores show a slight win for Netflix – and that’s mainly down to having what I think is the best library of new and old content.
Both Amazon and Netflix lost points as there are very few deals available to cut the price. The only real way to save is to share your subscription costs. But if you can do that it becomes more affordable to get more than one service.
NOW TV, on the other hand, does have my favourite “can’t miss” shows each week and can be picked up very cheap if you get the right deals. Even better if you only get one of the Entertainment or Cinema passes. But if you want both, then you do have to pay for it, hence the lower score. Plus there’s the chance you’ll miss something if you don’t watch shows close to broadcast.
Ultimately I think it comes down to want you fancy watching and what you’re willing to pay.
Despite the scores, If I was forced to only have one it would be NOW TV. Largely it’s because that’s how I watch my top shows like Game of Thrones and WestWorld on Sky Atlantic, but also, you can get it so very cheap.
If you’re still not sure, maybe this simple breakdown will help:
- The biggest selection of the latest movies – NOW TV Sky Cinema Pass
- The big American shows the day after the states – NOW TV Entertainment Pass
- The best classic box sets – Netflix
- The best for box set binges – Netflix
- Extra services – Amazon Prime
- Watching offline – Amazon Prime or Netflix