The best streaming services in 2021

Whether you’re a seasoned on-demand watcher or just tired of broadcast TV, there are now dozens of streaming services ready and waiting to entertain you at a click of a button. With more people than ever choosing to cut the cord and new services joining the big names like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, it’s undeniable that we have entered a new era of entertainment.

Be it live TV, sports, series, or the latest blockbusters, watching your favourite shows and movies has never been easier. With all these options though, subscriptions can soon stack up, making your wallet cry, and leaving you stuck scrolling through menus instead of actually enjoying yourself. Well, we’re here to help. In this guide, we go through all the best streaming services that deserve your attention.

We’ve taken into account the names with the greatest selections, top-notch streaming quality, user experience, and the best value for money. Keeping in mind that US and UK viewers have different services available to them right now, we’ve also tried to make our guide as internationally accessible as possible, putting down options (with just a few exceptions) that everyone can enjoy, with or without a VPN.

Now without further delay, here is our list of the best streaming services you can find.

What are the best streaming services?

  • Netflix
  • Apple TV+
  • Disney+
  • Now
  • Shudder
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • BritBox
  • VRV
  • All 4
  • MUBI

Netflix

Compatible devices: Apple, Smart TVs, web browsers, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, Xbox, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, YouView, Sky Q, BT TV Box, Now TV
Price per month: $8.99/£5.99 (basic), $13.99/£9.99 (standard), $17.99/£13.99 (premium)
Free trial: none

Since it began streaming content back in 2007, Netflix has held its position as top dog and is by far the most popular service on the market today. It has an impressive variety of TV and film titles to pick from, a user-friendly app, and is consistently pumping out exciting original content to keep its users entertained.

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Over the years, quality has taken a bit of a hit, especially with a few Netflix originals. Still, the service has slowly been getting better, with some films like Marriage Story and The Irishman achieving recognition from the academy awards. The future looks bright for Netflix, and with three different plans to pick from, and even the option to stream in 4K, it’s easy to get the most out of your money after signing up.

Apple TV+

Compatible devices: Apple, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, PlayStation, web browsers, Apple TV, Chromecast with Google TV
Price per month: $4.99/£4.99
Free trial: even days or one year (when you purchase an Apple device)

One of the newer entries on our list, Apple TV+, came into the streaming game in 2019 and makes for a great alternative to some of the more established services despite sporting less variety than most.

It mainly offers high-quality originals and has become increasingly popular thanks to titles like the documentary Boys State or the American war film, Greyhound, starring Tom Hanks. However, Apple TV+is slowly adding more content to its library and has announced it is looking to acquire some older titles soon. For any Apple device users, the pricing deals are too good to pass up, and with an Apple TV 4K, you can watch all your shows in Ultra HD.

Disney+

Compatible devices: Apple, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Smart TVs, PlayStation, Xbox, web browsers, Android, Chromecast, Now TV, Sky Q
Price per month: $7.99/£7.99
Free trial: none

Disney+ is a service that keeps on building in popularity thanks to a steady stream of exciting new content. It offers Pixar, Star, Marvel, National Geographic, and Star Wars titles, all organised and grouped for its users’ convenience.

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For a long time, its main appeal was the Star Wars original series The Mandalorian; however, now, with its expanded library and a few new Marvel TV shows on their way, it’s one of the most exciting services out there. Disney+’s price may have increased as its library doubled in size, but when you can watch all your picks in 4K and HDR for little to no extra cost, it definitely feels worth it, and cheap in the grand scheme of things.

Now

Compatible devices: Apple, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, YouView, Smart TVs, web browsers, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox
Price per month: dependent on bundles. £9.99 (Entertainment), £11.99 (Cinema), £3 (Boost)
Free trial: seven days

Sorry to any readers from the US, here is one of the region exclusive picks on our list. For UK viewers finding Sky titles can be a hassle, so Now (previously known as Now TV) is a godsend. Now offers top-notch programming giving us some of the best entertainment to come out of America, with movies like Zack Snyder’s Justice League and an extensive list of HBO and Showtime series like Chernobyl being the recent examples to prove that fact.

Unfortunately, the pricing and streaming quality aren’t the best. Now’s default 720p resolution is lacklustre, and you will have to pay to upgrade (or Boost) it to 1080p. Subscribing to the various channels can be expensive as well, especially if you want them all. Now is a pricey option, but for the variety of content you get, it’s one we’re willing to pay for.

Sign up now

Shudder

Compatible devices: Apple, Roku, Android, web browsers, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, Apple TV, Chromecast, Smart TVs
Price per month: $5.99/£3.99
Free trial: seven days

Finding good horror to stream is hard, with even the big names like Netflix rarely delivering quality scares. Thankfully, there’s Shudder – a streaming service dedicated to the genre, giving fans a selection of horror classics as well as new spooky original series and films like Creepshow and A Discovery of Witches.

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It also has the famed Masters of Horror Collection in its selection, which features work from thirteen acclaimed directors such as John Carpenter (Halloween), Dario Argento (Suspiria), and Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Shudder is low cost, full of new content, and is a specialist streaming service that does its niche right.

Sign up now

Sign up now

Amazon Prime Video

Compatible devices: Apple, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Smart TV, Apple TV, YouView, web browsers, BT TV Box, Chromecast, Android.
Price per month: $12.99/£7.99
Free trial: 30 days

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you’ll no doubt love this streaming service. Amazon Prime Video stands next to Netflix with the vast amount of content available for users to watch. Boasting new originals like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and timeless classics like The X-Files, there is a lot for everyone to enjoy. Its streaming quality is known for being excellent, supporting 4K and HDR streams, and downloads for offline viewing.

However, its pricing can get a bit dicey as Prime members will often find titles promoted that require you to spend extra on rentals instead of the free options available. Despite this, Amazon Prime Video is easily one of the best streaming services around.

BritBox

Compatible devices: Apple, Smart TVs, Android, web browsers, YouView, BT TV Box, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV
Price per month: $6.99/£5.99
Free trial: seven days

British broadcasters BBC and ITV team up to deliver a streaming service that brings the best of British entertainment to various countries. If you’re a big fan of British TV and want to binge some Doctor Who, it’s a service that you’ll probably want to pick up.

Although you can find British programming via other streaming services such as All 4, BritBox has the best selection of British boxsets, and stands out with its deeper collection of TV and films compared to other services. It’s one of the more specialised picks on our list, but one you can’t ignore, due to its selection of cult-classic shows that many (especially those outside the UK) will appreciate.

VRV

Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Apple, Android, Apple TV, Chromecast, web browsers, PlayStation, Smart TVs, Roku, Xbox
Price per month: $9.99
Free trial: 30 days

When you talk about the best service for streaming anime, cartoons, and gaming, the US exclusive service VRV manages to stand out as top of the pack. Here beloved channels are bundled together for your convenience and together make for one of the most diverse niche streaming services out there. VRV has content from Boomerang, HIDIVE, Cartoon Hangover, Crunchyroll, MONDO, NickSplat, Rooster Teeth, and even a few originals.

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The broad amount of content fully caters to its target audience, and if you aren’t too annoyed by ads, you can watch most things for free in 1080p. However, despite its diverse library and competitive pricing, VRV lacks certain community features (e.g. forums, manga, and merchandising stores) that veteran anime lovers may take issue with.

All 4

Compatible devices: Apple, Roku, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Smart TVs, web browsers, Chromecast, YouView, Xbox, PlayStation, BT TV Box, Sky Q
Price per month: free with ads or £3.99 for All 4+
Free trial: fourteen days for All 4+

Another UK Exclusive on our list, All 4 is a great free alternative to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Channel 4’s streaming service will surprise many with its range and quality of content, giving us some hit UK and US series for (and we can’t stress this enough) free.

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Besides offering live shows, one of the most user-friendly built-in TV guides, and the option to download series on the go, it also has a huge number of boxsets to binge. Whether it’s US classics like Malcolm in the Middle or British comedy gold like The Inbetweeners, there’s tons to keep you busy. It’s pretty much a perfect service for any TV lover and if the pesky ads become unbearable, upgrading to the ad-free All 4+ for just £3.99 is a pretty great deal.

MUBI

Compatible devices: Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Smart TVs, PS4, Nvidia Shield, Apple, Android, web browsers
Price per month: $10.99/£9.99
Free trial: seven days

MUBI is the movie-streaming service every cinephile needs in their life. It offers an extensive and varied collection of films in both its Now showing and library sections, and is updated frequently. Featuring documentaries, films, and art-house shorts, every addition has been carefully considered and handpicked by MUBI curators, giving a quality guarantee like no other.

All content can be streamed in 1080p, downloaded for offline viewing, and there are community features in place. You can write reviews, engage in discussions with other movie connoisseurs, read editorial content, and create lists. In this way, MUBI is not only a solid streaming service, but also a friendly society for hardcore film lovers to chat with one another.

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Emma-Jane Betts

Staff Writer

Updated: May 28, 2021


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