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Top streaming services for the elderly

28th November 2016

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

The days of needing a satellite dish or aerial to satisfy your TV and movie-watching needs are long gone.

Today with fast broadband connections, the world of TV and movie streaming services has come alive and whilst more and more elderly people are becoming digital savvy, streaming services are still somewhat of an unknown quantity amongst the elderly population.

Here we guide you through the different streaming services that you can watch at home and how each one varies from one another.

Netflix

In a nutshell: Starting life as a US DVD rental firm, Netflix has since become a huge global streaming service offering a wide selection of movies and TV shows. Many TV series and films are exclusive to the service or have even been made and funded by Netflix itself.

One of the main strengths of Netflix is its cross-platform support and streaming quality, as there is an app or stream from pretty much any device available. So if you have mobility issues, instead of getting on your stairlift at home to get up or down your stairs to watch TV, you can watch it on your mobile phone or iPad.

Shows to catch: Blackadder, Suits, House of Cards, The Crown, Jonathan Creek.

Price: £5.99-£8.99 a month.

Devices available on: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, Wii, Smart TVs, PCs and Mac’s through any internet browser, Blu-ray players from Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic and Philips.

Amazon Prime Instant Video

In a nutshell: Amazon Prime’s video streaming service is different in the UK compared to the US, but like Netflix it offers a subscription-based streaming service.

As well as users being able to pay a monthly subscription for the video streaming service, you can get it as an extra with Amazon’s Prime service, which offers a host of Amazon-based incentives such as free next-day delivery.

You can watch popular movies and TV series instantly and you can even download your favourite Prime videos and watch them on the go with the need for Wi-Fi.

Shows to catch: The Grand Tour, The Americans, Mr Robot, Man in the High Castle, Alpha House, Vikings and Transparent.

Price: £6 a month or £79 for Amazon’s year Prime subscription.

Devices available on: Roku set-top-boxes, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii, Wii U, Smart TVs and Blu-ray players from Samsung, LG and Sony. PCs and Macs are also supported through a browser player and apps for iPad, iPhone and Android are available. Amazon Fire tablets come with the Amazon Prime Instant Video service.

BBC iPlayer

In a nutshell: The BBC iPlayer is an internet streaming catch-up television and radio service that was initially released in 2007.

If you have missed a programme on TV and are desperate to watch it, you can on BBC iPlayer, although the programme is usually taken off after a month. The platform also has older programmes available on it so you can reminisce in box sets you used to watch years ago.

Shows to catch: Dad’s Army, Planet Earth II, Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2, EastEnders, Master Chef, The Missing.

Price: Free, although you can buy programmes that are not on the iPlayer from the BBC Store.

Devices available on: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, Chromecast, Virgin TiVo, YouView, Sky (via compatible Sky+ box), Compatible Smart TVs and connected set-top-boxes/Blu-ray. You will need a TV licence to watch iPlayer on any internet browser you are watching it on.

Now TV

In a nutshell: Now TV is owned by Sky and is offered to viewers who do not have access to Sky or want a more simple and flexible TV package.

Now TV not only offers programmes on demand, but offers you the chance to watch programmes live that normally are only available to Sky customers.

Shows to catch: Game of Thrones, Agatha Christie's Poirot, Alan Partridge, Becoming Queen, Beat Beat Beat: Jimi Hendrix, Blackadder The Third, Behind the Blacklist, live football matches from the Premier League and Championship.

Price: Sky Cinema Month Pass (9.99 a month for all Sky Cinema channels), Sky Sports Pass (one off £6.99 charge providing seven Sky Sports channels for one day, £10.99 for a week or £33.99 for a month), Entertainment Month Pass (£6.99 a month and gives access to channels such as Sky 1 and Sky Atlantic), Kids Month Pass (£2.99 a month for children's channels).

Devices available on: Now TV streaming box, iPad, iPhone, selected Android devices, PC or Mac, Roku, Smart TVs from LG, PS3, PS4, Xbox360, Xbox One, Apple TV and Chromecast.

Wuaki

In a nutshell: Wuaki TV is a pay-as-you-watch store which is based in Spain and run by retail firm Rakuten.

It offers recently-released TV shows and movies to rent or buy and there is a selection of free content available and some free movies.

Shows to catch: Harry Potter, Mrs. Brown's Boys, Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Mr Selfridge.

Price: from £1.89-£4.99.

Devices available on: Chromecast, Xbox, iOS, Android EE TV, computers and some smart TVs.

ITV Player

In a nutshell: Welcome to the telly-tastic ITV player. It allows you to stream live telly, get exclusive video and, similarly to the BBC iPlayer, catch up on your favourite shows.

You can watch all your favourite shows for up to 30 days after they were first broadcast; whether it is a hard-hitting documentary, a crime thriller or live sport.

Shows to catch: Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Downton Abbey, Poldark, I'm A Celebrity, Britain's Got Talent, Murder She Wrote, Dark Angel, The Chase, Lewis.

Price: Free

Devices available on: Smart TVs from Samsung, Sony and Panasonic, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii, Apple, Android and Windows tablets and smartphones.

Sky Go

In a nutshell: If you are a Sky customer you can stream live TV, catch-up on programmes you've missed and download shows to watch offline with Sky Go.

This streaming service offers on demand shows from channels such as Sky Sports, Sky 1 and Sky Atlantic as well as ITV and Dave.

Shows to catch: Game of Thrones, Dads Army, Premier League football, James Bond films and programmes from over 600 channels.

Price: Free to Sky subscribers.

Devices available on: Computers, tablets and smartphones.

Talk Talk TV Store

In a nutshell: Formerly known as Blinkbox until TalkTalk bought the service. Now called Talk Talk TV Store, it is a movie and TV show rental and purchase service.

Instead of being subscription-based, Talk Talk TV Store lets you buy or rent the latest films as they are released on DVD or Blu-ray. You can then store the films and shows you have bought in a digital locker and watch them when you want.

Shows to catch: Absolutely Fabulous, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years, Poldark, Band of Brothers.

Price: Prices vary per title.

Devices available on: Xbox 360, Xbox One, iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Windows tablets, TalkTalk's Youview box, through a browser on a PC or Mac.

Apple iTunes

In a nutshell: The Apple media store, which is built into iTunes, is one of the most well stocked services.

TV shows and movies are available on Apple iTunes when they are released and similarly to Talk Talk’s TV Store, there is no subscription. Instead, you can buy or rent the movie or show you want to watch.

Another great aspect of Apple iTunes’ media store is that you can download the film or show you want to watch so you can view it offline.

Shows to catch: The Night Manager, The Apprentice, Home Alone, Saving Private Ryan, Harry Potter, Poldark.

Price: from £1.89-£2.49

Devices available on: iPad, iPhone, Apple TV and computers with iTunes installed.

Hayu

In a nutshell: Hayu is an on-demand service full of series and complete box sets which you can watch in your own time.

The service specialises in offering complete box sets for reality TV shows and if you want to watch a specific reality show from the US, you can watch new episodes not available in the UK, but have already been aired in the US.

Shows to catch: Below Deck, Don’t Tell The Bride, Million Dollar Listing.

Price: £3.99 a month.

Devices available on: iOS and android smart phones, tablets, laptops and connected TVs.

Google Play

In a nutshell: Google Play is the digital content store of Google. Built with Android mobile phone owners in mind, this service is available on lots of devices.

Google’s movie and TV store offers pay-as-you-watch movies and TV shows and it gives you the option to buy or rent the title you are interested in watching.

Its library is full of the most up to date movies and TV shows and Google Play’s streaming quality is excellent. If there is anything you want to watch on the go, then you can download it for offline viewing.

Shows to catch: The BFG, A Hologram for the King, Our Kind of Traitor, Planet Earth II, Sherlock, An Idiot Abroad, Doctor Who, Knight Rider.

Price: from £1.89.

Devices available on: Android mobile phones, tablets and games consoles, HD TVs with Chromecast, iPhone, iPad, iTunes App Store, PC and Mac computers, Roku streaming boxes and Nexus Player.

MUBI

In a nutshell: This movie streaming service is available to watch for a monthly subscription fee, but unlike other streaming services, MUBI boasts a curated list of cinematic movies that are hard to find anywhere else.

This specially created list features cult, classic and indie films to name just a few. Another nice feature of this service is that the MUBI team actually recommend a movie to watch every single day.

Shows to catch: 48 Hours, A Taste of Honey, Three On A Couch, The Big Mouth, Iris, Funny Girl, Mean Streets, Pulp Fiction, The Godfather, A Clockwork Orange, Apocalypse Now, Psycho, No Country For Old Men and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Price: £5.99 a month

Devices available on: Through a computer browser, iOS Android, PS3, PS4, Sony Bravia and Samsung Smart TVs.

Other streaming services

While the aforementioned streaming services are the big players in the sector, there are some others that you may be interested in.

4OD

Like BBC’s and ITV’s streaming services, Channel 4’s 4OD offers you the chance to catch-up on programmes that you may have missed.

The service is free to use and will just need you to sign up to a free account. Programmes that you can watch include Countdown, Gogglebox, Come Dine With Me and Deal or No Deal.

The On Demand service can be watched on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, all browsers on the internet, iPhones and iPads, android mobile phones and tablets and YouView on smart TVs.

Demand 5

Demand 5 is the free streaming service from Channel 5 and it allows you to watch the very best TV from the channel.

The service is available on all internet browsers, Windows phones, Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic TVs, YouView, Now TV, Freesat, Roku, BT Vision, Virgin Media, Sky Go, Amazon Fire TV, EE, Freeview Play, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

There are some great programmes you can watch on My 5 such as Neighbours, Home and Away, An Audience with Bruce Forsyth and Britain’s Greatest Bridges.

Image Credit: Televisione Streaming, Dan Taylor-Watt.