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The best value streaming services as BBC scraps free licence fee for over-75s

For the annual fee, you can pay for two years of Netlfix and still have change

Louise Whitbread
Thursday 09 July 2020 13:11
Binge-watch the best box sets and movies on the never-ending list of streaming services on offer
Binge-watch the best box sets and movies on the never-ending list of streaming services on offer

The BBC has announced it will be scrapping the free TV licence for most over-75s. The new rules have been delayed by the coronavirus outbreak and will come into force from 1 August, and people will be means tested.

For the annual £157.30 fee for colour TVs, you could, for example, pay for two years worth of Netflix which is £5.99 a month and still have change. Although you don't get news with most streaming platforms, but this can still be obtained via the news apps instead for free.

Most streaming services have a huge amount of choice, which could be great for older people living on their own which would keep them entertained as well as up to date with the programmes that aren't on terrestrial TV.

Of course, it's also great for entertaining kids during the summer holidays and rain days (which seem to go hand in hand).

Whether you’re into lighthearted entertainment, side-splitting comedy, hard-hitting documentaries or gripping true crime, there’s no shortage of things to watch.

Your first port of call may be Netflix, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t miss out on the other streaming services offering addictive shows to watch.

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We all know Amazon Prime Video is a go-to for good telly, rivalling Netflix with popular original series' such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Man in The High Castle, but the free-trial offering on its other streaming platform, Prime Video Channels, has just got even better, which is great news if you’re looking to try something new on lockdown.

Amazon has extended the free-trial period from seven days to 30 days, meaning you can enjoy TV shows, documentaries and films for far longer without spending a penny.

Highlights include classic films such as Legally Blonde, Heathers and Donnie Darko, and binge-worthy reality TV like Keeping up with the Kardashians and The Simple Life. Amazon is also offering a free trial on its “kids unlimited” service, giving users access to thousands of educational apps and games, as well as films and TV shows that kids will love.

For most the go-to is Netflix, which is £5.99 a month and has more than 6,000 films and TV shows to choose from, it's the biggest streaming platform. Along with hosting classics like Gilmore Girls and Friends, it’s also created its own films and series, many of which make for brilliant viewing with titles like Ozark, Sex Education, Love Is Blind and Tiger King.

For die-hard Disney fans, the launch of Disney + on 24 March was a real quarantine highlight. It's a new streaming service that has an impressive library of 500 films, 350 series and 26 Disney originals available for an annual fee of £49.99.

You can spend hours revisiting the entire Star Wars back catalogue, the Marvel franchise and The Simpsons, with enough episodes to see through to next year.

hayu will also ensure you get your reality TV fix, home to Keeping Up With The Kardashians, the Real Housewives series (Atlanta, Beverly Hills, New Jersey & New York) and Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen to name a few. For £4.99 a month, you can watch as much trashy TV as you like.

Catch up on every episode of the Real Housewives franchise on Hayu from the comfort of your sofa

If you’re a cinema buff with a bit of spare change, MUBI is your best bet for soaking up the cult, classic and independent movies. It also picks a "Film Of The Day" and includes filmmaker retrospectives and spotlights on film festivals like Sundance and Cannes to keep you up to speed on cultural moments in film.

We’d recommend checking out Oldboy a violent, unpredictable neo-noir thriller from Korean director Park Chan-wook that sees the protagonist Oh Dae-su held captive for 15 years before being released, discovering his captor all while being intertwined in a web of conspiracy. For £9.99 a month (or £95.88 a year) you can access the database of 30 films, where a new one is added every day.

You’ll also find an abundance of critically acclaimed movies to get stuck into on the British Film Institute (BFI) Player across its library of films to rent, subscribe to watch or for free. Rentals start from £2.50 and a subscription will set you back £4.99 a month. You can even rent a body of work by a particular actor, we’ll be glued to Tilda Swinton in We Need To Talk About Kevin.

Curzon Home Cinema will also see to it that you don’t miss out on trips to the movies with its film on-demand service which makes its titles available the same day they arrive on cinema screens. Grab some popcorn and settle into the sofa while keeping on top of the latest releases across the globe. The way it works is simple; sign up, rent a film for 48 hours sit back and enjoy. Rental prices start at 99p and go up to £11.99 for the newest releases, and every new customer can watch a film from the Welcome Collection for free, too.

Vadim Mutagirov as The Prince and Marianela Nunez as the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Royal Ballet’s production of 'The Nutcracker'

If you’re missing trips to the theatre, make do with Marquee, a streaming service for dance, opera, music, documentaries and theatre from places like The Royal Ballet Company, The Royal Shakespeare Company and Opera Zurich. It’s £8.99 a month or £89.99 a year, which will certainly save you money on tickets and get you a front-row seat to shows you might have missed out on. Work your way through The Nutcracker, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Giselle with a glass of wine in hand dressed up to the nines in your best pyjamas.

Now TV is where to head if that blockbuster series you’ve got on your list isn’t to be be found on Netflix, with series like Game of Thrones, Stranger Things or Modern Family. Simply pick up a Now TV pass, be it entertainment, sports, cinema or kids, from £8.99 a month.

As a result of the coronavirus cancelling most sporting events, the sports passes have been temporarily postponed so perhaps steer clear for the time being to get the most of out your money.

Don’t discount YouTube TV as a hub for entertainment, as it offers an impressive line up of films and TV shows to buy or rent. Titles include Queen Latifah’s Beauty Shop, Frozen 2 and Joaquin Phoenix in the Oscar-winning Joker. Renting starts from as little as £2.49. It’s blockbuster reimagined.

However, if you love your British comedies, soaps, films and documentaries, then you’ll love Britbox. From Broadchurch, Whitechapel and Downtown Abbey to Gavin & Stacey, it’s jam-packed with dry sarcasm, witty jokes and hard-hitting dramas for £5.99 a month.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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