15 Streaming Services like Netflix

David

David

When he isn't helping you watch TV abroad, David enjoys watching comedy and documentaries. He's a big fan of The Detectorists and Blue Planet. He also loves watching English football, for his sins he supports Arsenal.

Do you ever find yourself browsing through the Netflix library and finding nothing you want to watch?

Well, you aren’t alone, and frankly, things are only going to get worse.

The global economic crisis, combined with the end of lockdowns in much of the world, has created a perfect storm for Netflix. Subscriber numbers are down, and they have been forced to respond.

As experts note, “Netflix continues to be the largest streaming service based on subscription in the world”. But Netflix users are going to see subscription costs rising, catalogues getting smaller, and there is even talk of introducing adverts.

But don’t fret.

There are alternative streaming services out there that you could subscribe to instead and some are even free. Or, if money is not a concern, at the same time, of course.

In this article, we will summarise fifteen alternative online streaming services. Some you will have heard of and some you won’t have.

Some are free, while some are rather costly. But all offer a diverse range of films and TV shows that you can stream directly into your home.

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video

Alongside Netflix, Amazon Prime Video is probably the next big name in online streaming.

You can access Amazon Prime Video with an Amazon Prime subscription which also comes with various other perks, including next-day delivery for free on a multitude of Amazon items.

The service is a monthly subscription and you can give it a go first with a 30-day free trial if you are eligible, which most people are.

The Amazon Prime Video library consists of thousands of movies and TV shows from the UK, the USA and other countries around the world.

You also get full access to Amazon Prime Originals, shows and movies made especially for the service. That means things like The Grand Tour (Clarkson, Hammond, and May’s big-budget Top Gear) and series like Reacher, Night Sky, and Star Trek: Picard.

There are documentaries, comedy, kids movies, and literally something for everyone. If you are bored of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video is like opening up a whole new world.

Amazon FreeVee

Amazon FreeVee

If you like the sound of Amazon Prime Video but not the price, why not give Amazon FreeVee a try? This service, which used to be known as IMDb TV, has gone somewhat under the radar but is well worth exploring.

It’s their free version of Prime Video, but there are a couple of caveats. In exchange for no subscription cost, you will have to put up with adverts.

There is also a significantly smaller content library to choose from, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a good chance of finding some things you will like.

Quite a few of the Amazon Originals are on there (mostly the older stuff, admittedly), while there is no lack of reality TV options, with shows like Hell’s Kitchen and Bridezilla’s proving to be popular choices.

There are plenty of blockbuster movies too, and lots of classic TV shows like the full Star Trek back catalogue and shows like The West Wing.

Amazon FreeVee doesn’t rival Amazon Prime Video, but it is an exciting free service if you want to stream without subscribing.

Disney Plus

Disney Plus on TV with child pointing

When Disney pulled their movies from Netflix and other streaming platforms, there was consternation among fans. But, actually, it has worked out OK because they have created one of the very best online streaming around of their own: Disney+.

Disney+ subscriptions are relatively cheap per month at the moment and for that price, you can enjoy pretty much every single Disney movie and TV show that has ever been made.

For families with young kids, this is a godsend because Disney movies mean all the classic animations, plus every Pixar movie, everything from the Marvel universe and also from the rapidly expanding Star Wars franchise too.

And if that’s not enough, there is more. Disney+ also offers Star TV, which has a huge range of (mostly American) TV shows. But there is plenty of gold in there.

How about every episode of The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, Futurama, and all the top adult animations.

There is a huge range of drama, comedy, movies, and original content to be found on here too. The Disney+ content library is both vast and unique and it is a genuine rival to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

YouTube (or YouTube Premium)

Youtube Premium

You would have to have been living in a cave not to be aware of YouTube, but it is not always considered a streaming service in quite the same way that Netflix is.

But actually, it can be used that way. There are a lot of classic movies that are available for free (usually with adverts) on YouTube.

Just search for the title of the movie you are interested in plus ‘full movie’ and see what crops up. You may well be pleasantly surprised.

Equally, there are quite a few cutting-edge Indie filmmakers that like to distribute content on YouTube for free and once you find this, there is a whole world of cutting-edge content at your disposal.

If you want more, another option is YouTube Premium. This doesn’t open up any new content, but it does allow you to enjoy all YouTube content ad-free. It also lets you download content to enjoy offline and also access the YouTube Music and Kids offerings.

The price is quite steep when the content you are streaming is available (with ads) for free, but it is another option as an alternative to Netflix.

Peacock TV

Peacock TV on a laptop

Peacock TV is the streaming service of the American network NBC. It was originally launched in the USA but is now also available to Sky customers in the UK as well as viewers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy.

Peacock TV is a free streaming service, which is great for those of us on a budget. However, it is supported by adverts which will be annoying to some viewers.

Viewers can enjoy original NBC programmes such as the US version of The Office and cult US sitcom Parks and Recreation. It also holds the rights to various third-party content including Warner Bros., which includes the likes of Two and a Half Men and The Matrix film franchise.

There is a premium Peacock service available too, which offers an even larger range of content as well as sports content from NBC Sports and the WWE Network, if wrestling is your thing.

Obviously, in its European locations, the content library differs for rights reasons, but there is still a huge range of content available.

Peacock TV has proved very popular in the US and is rapidly picking up users on the other side of the Atlantic too. It’s not quite at Netflix’s level yet but as far as free services go, it is one of the very best.

BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer on a TV

As British viewers will attest, the BBC iPlayer was at the vanguard of online streaming and while it has missed the opportunity to properly compete with the likes of Netflix, it still offers a terrific range of (mostly) British content to be streamed online, ad-free, and for free.

The iPlayer is the streaming service for all BBC channels in the UK. It shows all BBC channels live, including the BBC News Channel and the hugely popular kids channels CBBC and CBeebies.

It also hosts every show broadcast on the BBC on-demand for a fixed period after broadcast. This is sometimes for a week or two, sometimes for a year, and sometimes indefinitely.

The COVID-19 lockdowns saw the BBC add quite a few box sets of classic British shows to the service too, which means you can enjoy classic sitcoms like Blackadder and Young Ones, a huge selection of stunning nature shows, and a wide range of documentaries too.

The BBC is home to drama, comedy, news, documentaries, lifestyle content, movies, and much more. There really is something for everyone, as long as you don’t mind much of it being British content.

Officially, the BBC iPlayer is only available to UK viewers. But accounts are free to sign up for, and it is possible to use a VPN to unblock the BBC iPlayer outside the UK. It’s well worth the effort for this excellent, free streaming service.

ITV Hub

ITV Hub on a TV

While we are looking at free British streaming platforms, it would be rude not to mention ITV Hub as well.

This streaming platform, which covers the various channels of the BBC’s major rival in terrestrial broadcasting, is also free to use, although this one does come with quite a lot of adverts.

But there is also a huge range of content. Again, it is mostly British stuff, with classic shows like Coronation Street readily available both live and on-demand.

Content ranges from news and current affairs to great UK drama, films, comedy, sport, tons of lifestyle and reality TV and much more.

You will find loads of big-name stars, great entertainment, and hours of must-watch content. It’s also home to the ever popular Love Island. Definitely worth delving into.

Again, ITV Hub is blocked outside the UK, but with the help of a VPN, it is simple to unblock it and watch all your favourite shows no matter where in the world you are.

BritBox

Britbox logo under magnifying glass

If you love the BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub and want more of this type of content, then look no further than BritBox.

BritBox is the British streaming service that sees the BBC and ITV come together and make all their most popular series available to stream in one place. The service even makes some original content, such as a new series of cult satirical puppet show, Spitting Image.

On BritBox you will find classic sitcoms like Dads Army and The Inbetweeners, the best of British drama and detective shows, and amazing kids shows like Grange Hill and Captain Pugwash.

Britbox is quite affordable and there is a 7-day free trial when you sign up too. It is currently available in the USA, Canada, the UK, South Africa, Australia, and most Scandinavian countries. But with a VPN, it can be accessed more widely too.

All 4

All 4 TV

Britain does free streaming services well, and All 4 is another British channel that is well worthy of a place on this list.

Channel 4 has a reputation in the UK for cutting-edge TV, and this is certainly evident in their excellent free streaming service.

As well as being able to watch all live TV from all the network channels, you can also access a huge back-catalogue of content from their archive, which features a massive selection of drama, comedy, documentary, game shows, reality TV, and more.

So, whether you are looking for Father Ted, the Great British Bake Off, Taskmaster, Hollyoaks, or Derry Girls, it is all there on All 4. Sadly, adverts are quite intrusive on All 4 and it can mean sitting through four ad breaks of four minutes each per hour show.

There are also quite a few overseas shows too, mostly from the US but some from elsewhere.

This is another service only available in the UK, but which it is possible, with the help of a VPN, to unblock anywhere. After that, all you need is a free account to enjoy a huge range of superb content.

Pluto TV

Pluto TV on a phone

Pluto TV is the online streaming service of Paramount TV. It’s a free service that offers access to more than 250 different channels plus a huge back catalogue of content.

It is funded through adverts, but the upside of that is that none of this content costs you a penny. It has a massive selection of great movies, including the Mission Impossible franchise, Zorro, Coneheads and plenty more.

There is a massive range of TV shows available too. The platform launched in the US but is now available in a range of other countries.

UK users can find it on Virgin Media while it is also available across Scandinavia and much of Europe too. You will struggle to access it elsewhere, but that problem can be easily solved with the help of a VPN and it is well worth the effort.

Paramount Plus

Paramount Plus

Paramount+ is the rebranded CBS All Access streaming service that offers another huge selection of US TV content.

There is all the Star Trek content, and I mean all of it. There is also plenty of top Hollywood movies, US detective shows, game shows, comedies, and the list goes on and on. There is also live sports and news available too.

Paramount+ is available widely beyond the USA too. You can find it in the UK and Ireland, Europe, Australia, the Middle East and even South Korea.

There is a cost involved, however, it is reasonably priced, and there is a 7-day free trial available for new customers too.

HBO Max

Boy watching HBO Max on a laptop

HBO has become one of the biggest names in new TV production in recent years, and its HBO Max streaming service has certainly benefitted from that, becoming one of the most successful platforms linked to a regular TV channel.

It is huge in the US and also available across much of Europe (although not the UK yet) as well as Latin America and the Caribbean.

It is the online home to a ton of great shows, from Game of Thrones to Westworld and the incredible Sopranos, to name but three of the biggest. There are plenty of great movies and other content available too.

HBO Max is not the cheapest service around, with prices starting at $9.99 a month. But it’s got loads of top content that you won’t find anywhere else. If that’s what you are after, it is more than worth it.

Vimeo

Vimeo on a laptop

Vimeo is the YouTube of old before it became home to so many spoofs and trash content.

It is a simple, free platform that hosts a huge range of videos. But it isn’t for everyone.

If you want the hot shows of today that you can discuss at the office drinks party, Vimeo isn’t right for you.

But if you want cutting-edge Indie content and terrific shorts from emerging new directors and performers, Vimeo has what you want in spades.

While the main platform is free, there is a paid-for service too, and this can be where much of the top-notch content resides.

Tubi

Tubi TV on a phone with an ear phone

Tubi sounds like it is taking the mick out of YouTube, but it is actually an excellent streaming service owned and run by the Fox Corporation.

As such, it will come as no surprise that Tubi carries lots of Fox content. But it’s not just that. There is much more independent third-party produced content on there than you might think.

There are loads of top films like Donnie Darko, a massive selection of TV shows from all genres and a recent addition is a terrific section focused on kids TV shows.

Tubi also makes its own original content, mostly movies up to now but they are looking to branch into original TV shows more as well.

It’s not currently available outside North America, Japan, and Australasia, but Tubi has big ambitions for the future and so may end up going further.

Crackle

Crackle on a phone on a keyboard

Crackle has been around for more than twenty years and remains one of the very best streaming platforms available.

It is US-only, sadly, despite having been available in 21 different countries at one point. But do try a VPN if you are overseas. If you can get in, you will be able to enjoy a huge range of movies and TV shows, although the focus has been more on movies of late.

Crackle is part-owned by Sony (It was rebranded as Sony Crackle for a couple of years before reverting back), so there is lots of their content up there, but also Crackle buys in content from a lot of other producers as well, including the BBC, Columbia, Tristar, and more.

If you are a fan of old movies, there is much to enjoy, and there is quite a bit of new content on offer too… enough to warrant a Wikipedia page of its own.

Summary

As you can see from this guide, “our culture is not dependent on the streaming giant” that is Netflix.

There are a lot of alternative streaming services out there to choose from. Some go toe-to-toe with Netflix. Others are taking their own road.

But all offer excellent content to suit all tastes and prove that, if you have had enough of Netflix, there is still plenty of streaming choice out there for you.

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