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Top streaming services for older people

6th May 2020

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 older people are becoming digital savvy, streaming services are still somewhat of an unknown quantity amongst the older population.

With the current Coronavirus lockdown, many people are increasing the number of streaming services they have access to and are sampling different ones. Here we guide you through the different streaming services that you can watch at home and how each one varies from one another.


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 themselves.

One of the main positives 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 watch: Derek, Blackadder, Suits, House of Cards, The Crown, Jonathan Creek, Grace and Frankie.

Price: Plans start from £5.99 a month.

Free trial for streaming service: Yes (1 month)

Devices available on: PlayStation, Xbox, Wii, Smart TVs, PCs and Mac’s through any internet browser, Blu-ray players from Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic and Philips. It is also available on tablets and any streaming media players.

Amazon Prime

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 without the need for Wi-Fi.

Users can also watch a set of original series on Amazon Prime video – Transparent, Hunters, and The Boys among others.

Shows to watch: The Grand Tour, Star Trek: Picard, Justified, Lost, The Americans, Mr Robot, Man in the High Castle, Alpha House, Vikings and Transparent.

Price: £5.99 a month or £79 for Amazon’s yearly Prime subscription.

Free trial for streaming service: 30-day

Devices available on: Roku set-top-boxes, PlayStation, Xbox, Wii, 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.


In a nutshell: Disney+ is the new kid on the block and is now rivalling the well-established streaming services. It offers a whole library of MCU, Disney Channel, Pixar and Fox content, but one of the main reasons it caught the attention of the wider public was its original Star Wars show The Mandalorian, which was a huge success when it debuted on the platform.

This platform has old classic shows such as The Simpsons as well as your favourite Disney films available to watch and other shows such as The Falcon and The Winter are expected to be huge successes as well.

Shows to watch: The Mandalorian, Star Wars: The Original Trilogy, Cheaper by the Dozen, Lion King, the Toy Story movies, Willow.

Price: £5.99 per month or £59.99 for a year

Free trial for streaming service: 7-days

Devices available on: Apple devices, Android phones and TV, tablets, Google Chromecast, some smart TVs from LG, Samsung and Sony, Roku devices, PS4 and Xbox One, and desktop browsers.


In a nutshell: This new TV streaming service was created by ITV and the BBC and now it is a place where you can watch all the award-winning and most talked-about British dramas, comedies, films and documentaries from the BBC, ITV, Channel 5 and Channel 4.

BritBox not only shows your favourite British television shows and programmes, but it doesn’t show any adverts either.

Shows to watch: Doc Martin, Top Gear, Michael Palin travel programmes, Les Misérables, This Time with Alan Partridge, Silent Witness, EastEnders, Emmerdale, Coronation Street.

Price: £5.99 per month

Free trial for streaming service: 30-days free

Devices available on: PlayStation, Xbox, Apple and Android, Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Smart TVs made by the likes of LG, Samsung and Panasonic

BBC iPlayer

In a nutshell: You might be thinking what is the difference between BBC iPlayer and BritBox? While you can get some programmes on both you can’t get them all. iPlayer, which is an internet streaming catch up television and radio service that was initially released in 2007, allows you to catch up on a programme you missed on TV.

These programmes are taken off around a month later and while on iPlayer there are a smattering of classic box sets, they are only available for a short period of time. With BritBox, you'll have access to those vintage shows for an extended period of time.

Shows to watch: Louis Theroux documentaries, Planet Earth II, Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2, EastEnders, Race Across The World, This Country (series 1-3).

Price: Free

Free trial for streaming service: N/A

Devices available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox, Wii, 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 watch: Game of Thrones, Chernobyl, The Sopranos, Agatha Christie's Poirot, 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 (11.99 a month for all Sky Cinema channels), Sky Sports Pass (£33.99 for a month), Entertainment Month Pass (£7.99 a month and gives access to channels such as Sky 1 and Sky Atlantic), Kids Pass (£3.99 a month for children's channels).

Free trial for streaming service: 7-day

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

Rakuten TV

In a nutshell: Rakuten TV is a pay-as-you-watch store which is based in Spain. 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 watch: Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Mr Selfridge, Jumanji, The Gentlemen.

Price: from £4.99-£13.99.

Free trial for streaming service: No

Devices available on: Smart TV, tablets, PCs, Apple devices, Chromecast, games consoles.

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, Liar, Poldark, I'm A Celebrity, Britain's Got Talent, Murder She Wrote, Dark Angel, The Chase, Lewis, Inspector Morse.

Price: Free

Free trial for streaming service: N/A

Devices available on: Smart TVs from Samsung, Sony and Panasonic, PlayStation, Xbox, 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: True Detective (seasons 1-3), Game of Thrones, Dads Army, Premier League football, The West Wing and programmes from over 600 channels.

Price: Free to Sky subscribers.

Free trial for streaming service: N/A

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 watch: 1917, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Absolutely Fabulous, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years, Poldark, Band of Brothers.

Price: Prices vary per title.

Free trial for streaming service: N/A

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

Apple TV

In a nutshell: Apple has now entered the streaming wars and has offered the service for free to any new customers.

There are lots of new Apple original programmes that are being released on the platform and there are thousands of movies to buy or rent. Apple describes its streaming service as “personalised and expertly curated, so you’ll discover the best of what’s on”.

Shows to watch: See, The Morning Show, Joker, Doctor Who, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

Price: £4.99 a month

Free trial for streaming service: One year free when you buy an Apple device

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


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 watch: Below Deck, Don’t Tell The Bride, Million Dollar Listing, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Top Chef, Blind Date.

Price: $6.99 a month (around £5.59).

Free trial for streaming service: One month

Devices available on: iOS and Android smartphones, tablets, laptops and Smart 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 offer 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 watch: JoJo Rabbit, Knives Out, Jumanji, Frozen, Peter Kay’s Car Share (seasons 1 and 2).

Price: from £3.49

Free trial for streaming service: Pay as you go

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.


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.

Films are only kept on the platform for 30 days at a time with one film being swapped out every single day.

Shows to watch: The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Pulp Fiction, Taxi Driver, Psycho, Sunset BLVD, Ran.

Price: £7.99 a month

Free trial for streaming service: 7-days

Devices available on: Through a computer browser, iOS Android, PlayStation, 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.

All 4

Like BBC’s and ITV’s streaming services, Channel 4’s All 4 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, First Dates, Jimmy’s Farm, Celebrity SAS and Gogglebox.

The on-demand service can be watched on PlayStation, Xbox, all browsers on the internet, iPhones and iPads, Android mobile phones and tablets and YouView on smart TVs.

My 5

My 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 and PlayStation.

There are some great programmes you can watch on My 5 such as Neighbours, Home and Away, The Yorkshire Vet and Britain in Colour.

If you are getting bored at home and want to watch some fascinating programmes in your own time, then this list should hopefully help you choose a streaming service that suits you. The great thing about streaming services is you can also pause what you are watching should you need to get in your stairlift and head upstairs to grab something.

Image Credit: Televisione Streaming, Dan Taylor-Watt.

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