These are the best streaming services to get you through coronavirus self-isolation

Owen Gough

From Harper's BAZAAR

The chances are, you are going to be spending a bit more time at home in the coming weeks, thanks to the spread of coronavirus. So, we think considering investing in some entertainment to keep cabin fever at bay is a smart move.

With the ubiquity of streaming services on almost every device, and a wealth of different packages to choose from, it can be hard to know which subscription to buy and which one is right for you and your family.

The likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime, NOW TV, and soon Disney+, will all be ready for you to sign up to. There’s just too much choice, and it seems unrealistic to expect to pay for all of them – so which is best?

With literally tens of thousands of films and TV shows to work your way through during the next few weeks of quarantine, you’re going to want to make sure you’re picking the right subscription service.

Here's each streaming service broken down, to help you decide which one to sign up to at a glance. Coronavirus might be forcing us to stay in our homes for a while, but there’s no reason why we can’t enjoy ourselves while stuck on the sofa.

Disney+ - the family option

The UK has been lagging behind while the rest of the world enjoys all the Disney films it can handle, but it will soon be time for you to get involved in the family fun.

Photo credit: Disney

The US and a few other countries have been enjoying hit TV shows like The Mandalorian and a plethora of other excellent titles since November 2019, but, as of 24 March, we will all be able to sign up and enjoy it too.

How much is Disney+?

There are a few deals on right now to help get you access to the Disney vault for a little less per month, but the regular price to sign up from launch will be £5.99 a month, or £59.99 for a whole year of subscription.

If you sign up before 24 March, however, you’ll be able to knock £10 off the yearly cost, paying £49.99 instead.

This offer is only available until midnight on 23 March, though, so make sure you get it while you still can.

Is there a free trial?

Unfortunately not. The American users got a free one, but us Brits have to make do without.

Photo credit: Disney

Which films does Disney+ have?

Disney+ will give you access to their entire library of original films like The Lion King, Mulan, and Aladdin (as well as their live-action, modern remakes). You’ll also get Pixar (which has all the Toy Story films, Up, and The Incredibles), Marvel (all 23 movies, plus the upcoming TV shows), the entire Star Wars franchise and its spin-off movies and TV shows, and a wealth of National Geographic documentaries and films for those who love nature.

It’s a huge library of entertainment with all of it family friendly – all for £5.99 a month.

What can I watch Disney+ on?

Almost all smart devices will be able to show off Disney’s archive of films and TV shows. From smartphones and tablets to Smart TVs and games consoles, most devices will be able to house an app for you to access the service.

Disney+ has also partnered with Amazon, so you’ll find the app on all Fire TV sticks and Amazon devices as well.

How often does Disney+ update with new content?

Well the benefit of getting Disney+ is that it’s got all older stuff you know and love. But there are new films releasing all the time from the entertainment giants, and they will all be updated into the library once they are out.

Upcoming films like Mulan, The Lady and the Tramp and the coming slate of Marvel films will all be on the service soon after their cinema release, and new TV shows The Mandalorian, WandaVision, and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will all be live at the same time worldwide.

NOW TV - the sports and TV lover’s option

Sky doesn’t have its own subscription service, but it does put most of its content on NOW TV, making it a great place to catch Sky Sports, Sky Cinema, and some fantastic TV shows.

If you missed out on Game of Thrones or WestWorld, or if you need your sporting fix, then NOW TV should be the option for you.

The only downside is that, while coronavirus continues to spread, most sporting events have been cancelled, so you won’t be able to take advantage of that bit – but the rest is still well worth the price.

How much is NOW TV?

There are different packages you need to sign up to, depending on what you actually want to watch, which sounds complicated, but let us explain.

The Entertainment Pass will give you monthly access to all the TV shows (as well as a live TV guide) for £8.99 a month. This will let you watch more than 300 box sets including the smash-hit Chernobyl.

Sky Cinema is £11.99 a month and has thousands of great movies from the Sky collection, like Godzilla King of the Monsters and even a few Disney films.

If you need something to keep the children entertained, you can sign up to the Kids Pass for £3.99 a month and watch hundreds of great shows on demand.

Or, if reality TV is your thing, you can go for the Hayu Pass, which has shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians, The Real Housewives and Project Runway for £3.99 a month.

Is there a free trial?

Yes, there is for NOW TV. All passes except the Sky Sports Pass have a seven-day free trial on right now, so you get a week’s watching for no fee.

Photo credit: SOPA Images

Which films does NOW TV have?

A massive selection of movies from the Sky Cinema collection are available to you. From the entire Mission Impossible franchise and Mary Poppins Returns, to a whole host of horror movies, and classics. Most of the Oscar-worth movies, like The Shape of Water, are also added on to NOW TV.

On the TV side, there are many great options from HBO, from the immensely popular Game of Thrones, to WestWorld, Watchmen, Big Little Lies, and The Sopranos.

What can I watch NOW TV on?

Again, most modern devices will let you download the NOW TV app so you can watch.

All smartphones and tablets will let you stream no problem, and most TVs will have a built-in app for it, as well as games consoles.

You can buy the NOW TV stick or the NOW TV box from NOW TV directly (which just plugs into the back of your TV) to instantly get access if you don’t have a Smart TV.

How often does NOW TV update its content?

Quite frequently, though it often changes depending on how many films have been released at the time.

Every time Sky Cinema gets a new movie, NOW TV will at the same time. During the Christmas period, NOW TV released a new film every day for the month of December, including a network debut of Avengers: Endgame on Christmas Day, so you’ll always be seeing something new.

Amazon Prime - the complete package option

Amazon Prime is not just a film and TV show subscription service, it also doubles up as an elevated shopping experience, giving you next-day free delivery and bonus, exclusive deals on Amazon.

Photo credit: Homesh Nasre

Once you sign up, you’ll get Amazon Prime as part of the package, so you can stream and shop to your heart’s content, giving you ultimate value for your money.

How much is Amazon Prime?

Prime is £7.99 a month to get and will include all the benefits just mentioned.

Is there a free trial?

Yes, as always, Amazon is offering a free trial of 30 days for you to test out its service – so long as it’s using a unique email.

Which films and TV shows does Amazon Prime have?

Amazon has a collection of varying types of films and TV shows – and also produces its own original content. For example, you can watch The Grand Tour, or the smash-hit Jack Ryan as part of the service, plus a selection of great films for horror fans, the action-addicted or those with families.

There’s also more TV shows like Vikings, The Walking Dead, and American Gods, or even Jane Austin’s adaptation Sandition for you to stream.

Then there’s the sport, which you can stream live and for free alongside the Prime subscription.

What can I watch Amazon Prime on?

The answer is pretty much the same with most hand-held devices and Smart TVs letting you access the app.

Photo credit: ITV

You can also buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick, which also has apps to other streaming services, on Amazon (and get it next-day delivered for free).

How often does Amazon Prime update its content?

Every month Amazon will drop a few new shows or movies on its service for you to binge your way through, which is nice as you always want more variety.

Amazon Prime has the extra bonus that you can buy or rent films that it doesn’t stream itself. Just search for the content you want and you can pay to watch it on top of your subscription service.

You can also get access to different stations within Prime to expand your library of films. Apps like Shudder and StarzPlay can be bought for additional monthly fees to unlock new content for you to enjoy.

Netflix - The people’s choice

Netflix is the grand dame of all streaming services – the original and where all this began. It has a truly massive library of content for you to work your way through, from original movies and TV shows to popular classics that your whole family can enjoy.

Photo credit: amesy

We don’t really need to explain why Netflix is so popular, do we?

How much is Netflix?

There are three tiers of price for access to Netflix, depending on how high-quality you want your content, and how many devices you want to watch it on.

The basic package, which has just standard definition and lets you watch content on just one device is £5.99 a month.

The middle tier is £8.99 and opens up high-definition content on up to two devices at once. The premium plan is £11.99 a month and lets you watch ultra HD content (4K quality) on up to four devices at once.

Is there a free trial?

There is a free trial for Netflix on a unique account for up to 30 days.

What movies and TV shows can I watch on Netflix?

There are lots and lots of hours of content to explore on Netflix, as well as all the original content you could possibly want.

Photo credit: Wachiwit

There are massive new films like Roma, and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, or classics like Jaws, and original TV shows like Mindhunter, Bojack Horseman, and Mad Men.

Netflix provided more than 1,500 hours of content in 2019, so you’re unlikely to run out of viewing options.

What can I watch Netflix on?

Once again, all smart phones and smart devices will have the Netflix app available for you to download, and Netflix will be on all Smart TVs, games consoles and streaming sticks.

How often does Netflix update its content?

Once again, Netflix has your best interests at heart, updating its library almost every month with new content for you to enjoy.

There are often big cinema releases that get dropped onto Netflix as well, so you’ll have plenty to watch in the coming weeks.

Britbox - The British option

The forthcoming Britbox service will have all the classics from the UK TV channels, in a collaboration with BBC, ITV, Channel 5, and Comedy Central, allowing you to watch all the best British TV shows and comedies in one place.

Everything from Love Island and Downton Abbey, to BroadChurch and The Inbetweeners will be available to watch on Britbox.

You can sign up to Britbox for £5.99 a month and enjoy all the family shows and movies from the Great British channels.

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