Streaming films and TV online has become part of day-to-day life across much of the world. Indeed, research from the Post Office and Freeview last year found 55 per cent of Brits are signed up to paid streaming services.
There are plenty of options available in this market. Netflix and Amazon are the most popular services, but there are also the likes of Now TV, Sky Go and Blinkbox. Which of these should you go for? Read our guide to find out.
American streaming service Netflix has become hugely popular across the world in the past few years. It is well-liked due to its low cost, with subscriptions available from just £5.99 per month, and exclusive TV shows like Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Arrested Development and Orange is the New Black. The service also provides an extensive back catalogue of films, but rarely offers the latest releases. One downside to Netflix is that content is often removed without warning, meaning you might get halfway through a series only to find it is no longer available.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
Netflix's major rival is the Prime Instant Video service offered by online giants Amazon. It too provides a wide back catalogue of films and TV series and starts from just £5.99. Instant Video is also included in Amazon's Prime service, which for £79 a year includes additional features such as free next-day delivery on any items brought from the retailer. Instant Video offers a slightly more up-to-date film library, although its exclusive shows - Vikings, Transparent and Extant - are not quite as appealing as those on Netflix.
It should be noted that the latest film releases and popular recent TV shows like Game of Thrones are not available as part of the monthly subscription fee for either Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video, and you will have to pay an additional fee to watch this type of content.
While Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video are far and away the most popular streaming sites, they are not your only options. Another service is Now TV, which is owned by Sky and allows online access to much of the broadcaster's content without having to take out a full subscription. For example, you can pay a one-off fee to access all of the Sky Movies channels for a month or purchase a day pass for all of the Sky Sports channels.
Also available through Sky is the Sky Go service. This is a catch-up offering that is primarily aimed at existing Sky customers, but can be purchased by non-customers for a monthly subscription fee. Another option to consider is Tesco's Blinkbox streaming solution, which allows films and TV shows to be streamed on-demand for a one-off fee each time, with no subscription involved.
No matter which streaming service you choose, if you're using a satellite broadband connection it's important you keep an eye on your data usage. Click here to find out how much data is typically consumed by watching video content online.