With the deluge of streamable content, it has become even more difficult to choose the best service. Here's the guide to help you choose the best
Video streaming services have made us realise that we don’t need a dish or a cable connection to enjoy great TV content. They deliver content on multiple platforms, and even at the comfort of your palms in your smartphones.
Viewers in this generation could not be thankful enough to video streaming services for opening the doors to great content; they are an absolute lifesaver when the alternative is daily soaps and absurd reality shows. We no longer have to pay for stuff we don’t watch. We can watch what we like, anywhere and anytime. And we prefer, all in the palm of our hand – our smartphones.
In India, there are three major players- Netflix, Hotstar and Amazon Prime Video with ZEE5 working day and night to make its mark. But what to subscribe and how? Let’s compare Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, and ZEE5 and see what works the best for you.
Netflix offers three tiers of subscription – Basic, Standard and Premium. Indian subscribers have a free one-month trial and if they continue with the plan, Netflix charges them starting at Rs 500 for standard definition video quality on a single screen. The other two plans are – Rs 650 for full-HD videos and movies that can be watched simultaneously on four screens and the premium Rs 800 plans that will allow the subscribers to watch videos and movies in up to 4K resolution on four simultaneous screens. It must be noted that users can cancel Netflix subscription at any time, however, till the time you use your credit card to sign up, you will be automatically be charged each month.
Netflix has a dedicated app and if you wish to watch it on your PC or laptop, install a Microsoft Silverlight plug-in which is a free download enabling Netflix on your computer.
USP: After Netflix began to acquire exclusive content, subscribers have major blockbuster shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black at their fingertips. The recent addition of Indian content such as the Sacred Games, Lust Stories, and more are also attracting the Indian audience more than ever.
Amazon Prime Video
Just like other video streaming services, Amazon Prime Video offers a free trial for 30 days, which will be charged at the end of the 30-day trial on its own unless the subscriber cancels. Viewers can join Prime at Rs 129 which will be charged every month and if you wish, you could get a yearly membership at Rs 999.
Amazon Prime Video has some of the most acclaimed shows, including the Golden Globes and Oscar nominees. It is also the home of the latest Bollywood movies, in addition to the movies of regional cinema.
In addition, the items that are not eligible will qualify for free Standard Delivery without any minimum purchase value.
Prime members also enjoy discounted Same-Day and Morning Delivery to pin-codes in select cities across India. You also get a 2-hour Express Delivery, however, they are only available to select eligible pin-codes in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad through the Prime Now App.
USP: As a Prime member, the user gets an unlimited free One-Day and Two-Day Delivery on select items from Amazon.in in over a hundred cities.
It’s free to sign up for Hotstar using a Facebook account or an email. However, those wanting more variety and original shows, they need to spend ₹999 for Hotstar Premium annually, or Rs 199 every month. Users must note that the yearly charge is non-refundable and new subscribers to Hotstar Premium with a monthly plan (Rs 199 per month) get a seven-day money-back option.
For live sports that include football, tennis Grand Slams, formula-1 racing, hockey, badminton, table-tennis and kabaddi, users will have to pay extra for the Hotstar All Sport package – Rs 299 a year and is also non-refundable.
Hotstar features some of the most popular American and British TV shows such as Sharp Objects, Game of Thrones, Patrick Melrose and more. It is also the house for all the movies from Disney and Marvel.
USP: Being under the star network, this means that those wishing for some daily soaps, Hindi TV will be at your fingertips too. Game of Thrones is another added bonus.
It’s the cheapest monthly pack for Rs 99 for one month of the All Access Pack. This is what is different with ZEE5 where viewers will have to shell out Rs 599 For 6 Months for its All Access Pack and Rs 999 annually. Those wishing to watch regional content in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada can spend Rs 499 for one year or Rs 49 for a monthly Pack.
Paytm users can get 50 per cent cashback if they subscribe to ZEE5.
USP: Similar to the star network, ZEE5 subscribers can watch shows aired by Zee network, along with some international content.