Nowadays, there are more ways than ever to enjoy your favourite TV programmes. From Sky+ and TiVo recording to on-demand and catch-up viewing, it’s never been easier to stay up to date. However, lots of people are relying less and less on broadcast TV. Instead, they’re turning to increasingly-popular streaming services for their TV fix. But what is a streaming service? And which ones are worth a subscription? That’s what we’ll be discussing in today’s article. Let’s get started.
What is a Streaming Service?
Streaming is a new way to enjoy television and movies via your internet connection. Previously, internet-users would have needed to download anything they wanted to watch. This was often a painfully slow process, which would take up valuable storage space. In contrast, streaming lets you watch your favourite show instantly. The video files are stored remotely and transmitted over the internet directly to the viewer’s device. Most streaming services charge a small monthly subscription fee which gives you access to all their content. Lots will let you stream on more than one device simultaneously, a great perk for bigger families with differing tastes!
Our Top 4 Streaming Services for Irish Viewers
Next, we’ll take you through some of the most popular streaming services on the market. For each one, we’ll include the cost of a subscription as well as a few top picks of things to watch.
1 – Netflix
This is the most popular streaming service in the world, with more than 193 million users as of April 2020. It’s available worldwide, although the shows available differ from country to country. In Ireland, you can enjoy thousands of top titles in TV and film.
Like many other streaming services, Netflix Ireland offers all users a free 30 day trial. If you decide to continue past your free trial, you have a few different payment options.
- Basic – €7.99 per month – Unlimited streaming in Standard Definition on one device at a time.
- Standard – €11.99 per month – Unlimited streaming in High Definition on up to two devices simultaneously.
- Premium – €15.99 per month – Unlimited streaming in Ultra High Definition on up to four devices simultaneously.
What to Watch on Netflix
- The Irishman – a blockbuster film by Martin Scorsese, this film stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, with a staggering runtime of 3 hours 29 minutes. It follows Frank Sheeran (De Niro) across six decades as he looks back on his mob career.
- House of Cards – a Netflix original (produced by the streaming service themselves). Congressman Frank Underwood takes revenge on those who betrayed him during his rise to power.
- Community – this hilarious and charming US sitcom follows the rather unusual students and staff at Greendale Community College.
- Cargo – a father (Martin Freeman) struggles to find a safe place for his baby daughter from the dangers of a zombie pandemic.
2 – Prime Video
If this streaming service rings a bell, you’re probably familiar with its namesake, Amazon Prime. That’s right, Amazon has entered the world of streaming services. With around 75 million subscribers worldwide, it’s currently Netflix’s biggest competition.
If you are an Amazon Prime member, you already have access to Prime Video as part of your subscription. For new members, however, there is a special introductory offer. For the first six months, the service costs just €2.99 per month. After 6 months, you will pay the standard price of €5.99 per month. This also gives you the perks of Amazon Prime membership as well.
What to Watch on Prime Video
- Little Women – the award-winning adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel is funny and moving in equal measure, with a stellar performance from Saoirse Ronan as Jo March.
- Knives Out – a star-studded murder mystery, with performances from Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Christopher Plummer among others.
- Good Omens – David Tennant and Michael Sheen star in this tale of unlikely friendship between an angel and a demon. Based on the novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
- The Marvellous Mrs Maisel – a 1950s housewife discovers her talent for stand-up comedy.
3 – NowTV
- Entertainment Pass – €15 per month for binge-worthy TV shows. 7 day free trial available.
- Sky Cinema Pass – €15 per month – enjoy NowTV’s catalogue of 1000+ movies. 7 day free trial available.
- Sky Sports Pass – €39 per month – never miss a match with live sport from Sky’s 11 sports channels.
- Kids Pass – €7 per month – the perfect option for the little ones, with thousands of their favourites. 7 day free trial available.
- Hayu Pass – €6 per month – binge on top reality shows, straight from the US. 7 day free trial available.
What to Watch on NowTV
- Game of Thrones – all 8 seasons of the international smash hit are available on the Entertainment Pass.
- Chernobyl – this Sky Atlantic drama about the infamous nuclear disaster won big at the 2020 BAFTAs.
- Yesterday – Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle worked together on this story – a man wakes up from an accident and realises he is the only person who remembers the Beatles.
- The Favourite – Olivia Colman won an Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Anne in this black comedy.
4 – Disney+
The final platform on our list of streaming services is also the newest. Disney+ launched back in November 2019 and already has more than 60 million subscribers. The Walt Disney Company owns Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. Therefore, a Disney+ membership gives you access to a wealth of films, TV shows, and documentaries for one monthly subscription.
- Monthly plan – €8.99 per month
- Annual plan – €89.90 per year (a saving of 15%)
What to Watch on Disney+
- The Mandalorian – the first live-action series in the Star Wars franchise follows a lone bounty hunter on the edge of the galaxy.
- Hamilton – this Broadway musical has a cult following for a reason. The story of America’s forgotten founding father.
- The Simpsons – TV’s longest running sitcom is available in its entirety on Disney+
- Wall-E – Pixar’s 2008 masterpiece tells the tale of a lonely robot collecting rubbish on an uninhabitable Earth.
Peace of Mind While You Watch
While you’re weighing up your streaming options, why not also consider a pendant alarm from Lifeline24? We help thousands of elderly and disabled people to live safely and independently throughout Ireland and the UK. A Lifeline alarm gives you 24/7 access to our expert Emergency Response Team, so you can always get help when you need it.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 24th November 2021 to reflect current information.