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Best streaming services for TV and movies 2019

Best streaming services Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best streaming services for TV and movies in 2019.

There's no denying we are completely spoilt for choice when it comes to TV shows and movies right now. 

There's more content than ever and it's all available to watch on-demand, whenever and wherever we want, thanks to the rise and rise of streaming video.

The best streaming services offer TV and films in better-than-ever picture and audio quality, thanks to 4K, HDR, Dolby Atmos and more. And the competition is heating up, with Amazon and Netflix set to be joined by Disney+ and Apple TV+

So which are the best streaming services for TV and movies? Read on for our selection.

(Image credit: Netflix)

1. Netflix

Best for binge-watching and 4K video streaming

SPECIFICATIONS

Features: 4K, HDR, offline viewing | Availability: Desktop and mobile

Reasons to Buy

4K available
Big catalogue
Increasingly impressive bespoke programming
Multiple platform support

Reasons to Avoid

Not always first with latest film releases

Netflix offers everything you could want from a video streaming service: it's beautifully simple, available on almost any device and packed with exclusive TV series' such as The Crown as well plenty of 4K content including Breaking Bad (there's also a smattering of HDR content. If 5.1 audio is available, Netflix will automatically serve it up. Many shows can be downloaded to your tablet or smartphone so you can binge-watch offline. 

Subscription plans start at £5.99 ($9, AU$9.99) per month for standard-definition streams but it's worth paying £7.99 ($13, AU$13.99) for the HD streams. Access to 4K streams will set you back £9.99 ($16, AU$17.99) per month. With an excellent choice of 4K content and so many platform-exclusive hits, there's really no downside to splashing out on Netflix – it's superb value for money.

Read the full Netflix review

Best video streaming services 2019: Netflix, Amazon Prime or BBC iPlayer?

(Image credit: Amazon Prime Video)

2. Amazon Prime Video

A great value streaming service offering 4K

SPECIFICATIONS

Streaming quality: SD, HD, 4K, HDR, HDR10+ | Cost: From £5.99 ($8.99) per month

Reasons to Buy

Competitively priced
4K titles included in price
Original content 
Vast device support

Reasons to Avoid

Limited Atmos and HDR10+ integration
Format tagging could be improved

Prime Video is a great-value service and you'll find that it's built into a wide range of TVs and mobile devices. There's plenty of televisual and cinematic treats to binge on, including over 100 seasons of TV shows in 4K (many are also available in HDR). Amazon's roster of 'original' content isn't quite as compelling at Netflix's, but there's plenty of choice including The Grand Tour, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and Bosch.   

Unlike Netflix, Amazon doesn't charge extra to access 4K content. The £5.99 ($8.99) per month option grants unlimited access to the Prime Video catalogue. Or shell out £7.99 ($12.99, AU$6.99) per month for Prime Video with full Amazon Prime Membership (ad-free music streaming, free one-day delivery, etc). Or you can pay £70 ($119, AU$59) for annual Prime membership with access to music, video, free delivery and more.

Whether you want an hour's entertainment or a long-haul marathon, Prime Video will slake your thirst. That said, if you're not already part of the Amazon ecosystem, Netflix is the better all-rounder.

Read the full review: Amazon Prime Video

Best video streaming services 2019: Netflix, Amazon Prime or BBC iPlayer?

(Image credit: Google Play)

3. Google Play

A great video streaming service that gets the essentials right

SPECIFICATIONS

Video quality: SD, HD, 4K, HDR, HDR10+

Reasons to Buy

Good catalogue
Lovely interface
Up to 1080p resolution and 5.1 surround sound

Reasons to Avoid

Platform support could be better
Many purchases only have stereo sound

The Google Play store is a one-stop shop for apps, games, music and video. It's not the most exciting-looking interface, but provides a simple and effective on-demand service. There’s no need to pay monthly subscription fees: you buy or rent films and TV shows as and when the mood takes you.

Purchases are kept in your account ‘forever’, while rentals expire in 30 days (or 48 hours once you start watching). You can buy a HD film for around £9.99 ($9.99) or rent one in standard definition for around £3.49 ($3.99). Recent film releases, such as Avengers: Endgame, are joined by must-see TV shows from likes of Sky and HBO. 

If you're a casual viewer, this well-stocked library will keep you happy without tying you down to a monthly subscription.

Read the full review: Google Play