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Can streaming online reduce your monthly spend?

Posted 13 July 2016 by Christine Walsh

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If you’re looking to move away from lengthy TV subscriptions and have flexibility in your monthly TV package, streaming online may be a suitable option.

Pay as you go streaming services let you access movie and TV packages without being tied into a lengthy contract. So if you’re looking to cut back on your Sky or Virgin Media subscriptions, streaming services could be a good alternative. This is because you can make sure you’re only paying for what you’ll watch.

Plus with no subscription, you have the flexibility to cancel if you find a better deal. You can sign up for as little as one month. So if your circumstances change or you simply feel that you’re not getting the most out of your money, you can just cancel – you’re not tied into a 12 or 18 month contract.  

Another great bonus to streaming online is that you can watch your favourite shows from a number of different devices without being limited to one room in the house. You just need to make sure you have internet access either through Wi-Fi or 3G/4G. You can stream on various devices including your laptop, tablet, mobile and smart TV.  

If you’re not familiar with what’s available, don’t worry – we’ll take you through some of the popular streaming services.

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Netflix

With Netflix, you can enjoy over 2500 movies and TV shows without the long term contract commitment. There are three package options available for you to choose from, all at varying prices.  You have the flexibility to switch between the packages so if you want to drop down to a cheaper option one month, this is easy to do.  

The basic package at £5.99 a month lets you stream movies and shows on one device. You can also choose from the standard package at £7.49 a month or the premium package at £8.99 a month. Both these subscriptions offer streaming in HD and let you watch on either two or four devices at the same time, depending on the package you choose. 

If you’re interested in the streaming service, don’t forget to sign up for the free trial. Netflix offer a 30-day trial period where you can enjoy your favourite shows and movies for completely free. If you don’t want to keep the service, just remember to cancel before your trial ends – otherwise you’ll pay a monthly fee.

NowTV

If you’re a film buff, it’s worth considering NowTV's Sky Movies pass. With over 1,000 movies to choose from and 16 new premieres each month, you’ll have unlimited streaming access for £9.99 a month. And like the other streaming services, you have the flexibility to cancel and re-join at any time. 

You can register NowTV on four devices and watch it on two devices at the same time. The Sky Movies pass isn’t the only option either – you can mix and match your packages to include the Entertainment and Kids packages. You also have the option to buy a day, weekly or month Sky Sports pass if you really want to watch a particular sports event. 

The Entertainment month pass costs £6.99 a month and offers over 250 box sets and access to live TV and 11 channels that you won’t find on Freeview.  For the little ones, you can add on the Kids month pass for £2.99 a month. 

And if you’re new to Now TV, you can grab yourself some great introductory offers. You can buy discounted prepaid passes online depending on how long you join for.  

For example, you can currently* buy a three month Sky Movies pass for £19.99. When you compare this to paying monthly, you get one month ‘free’. You can also grab a discount if you buy the Sky Movies package and the Entertainment pass together. After the pre-paid period, you’ll pay the standard monthly pass price for Sky Movies and Entertainment depending on the package chosen. But remember, it’s not a contract – you can cancel any time. 

NowTV offers a 14-day free trial on the Sky Movies, Entertainment and Kids passes. Remember to cancel if you don’t wish to continue as you'll have to pay after the free period ends. 

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video is another streaming service worth considering. For £5.99 a month, you’ll have unlimited access to 15,000 movies and TV shows. 

Alternatively you can upgrade to Amazon Prime for added benefits including one day delivery, access to prime music, e- books and photo storage. There is an upfront annual fee of £79 for Prime membership.  

You can take advantage of a 30-day free trial period. Just remember to cancel your membership otherwise you'll be charged the fee once the free period expires. That’s not to say you should definitely cancel your TV subscription – it’s more about whether you really need it if you’re not using the service to the full. 

If you feel that a TV subscription with Sky, Virgin or BT is more suited to you and your budget, make sure you shop around. Comparison sites such as uSwitch let you compare each package to bag yourself the best deal.

And remember, if you’re looking to cut back, you could even watch TV for free – find out if you really need a TV licence. 

*Prices correct at time of writing – 05/07/16

 

by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.