Wading through the stream: The definitive guide to streaming services in Ireland
Daragh Cassidy
Head Writer

There's now a host of streaming services available for Irish viewers to choose from. Here’s all you need to know about the best ones.

Long gone are the days when Netflix was the only streaming service in town. There's now a host of streaming services entertaining Irish audiences. But with so many options available it's become pretty difficult to know where to start when trying to choose one!

Or have you chosen too many and are now trying to decide which to cut back on? 

Well, to help you decide either way, we've waded through all the top streaming platforms to bring you the definitive guide to the biggest and the best of the services now available in Ireland. 

1. Netflix 

Price: €8.99 - €20.99 per month

Netflix was founded all the way back in 1997 when Americans Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings joined forces and it now boasts over a quarter of a billion subscribers worldwide, around 600,00 of whom are in Ireland. 

Netflix began its humble journey in DVD rental and sales, joining the streaming revolution when it first introduced streamable content to its subscribers in 2007.

The streaming services we are now all familiar with have all been pioneered by, or at least have taken some inspiration from, this Streaming Colossus.

Offering

Netflix has three distinct streaming plans in Ireland. All three include unlimited, ad-free programmes and films, and you can cancel at any time. However Netflix no longer offers any type of free trial period.

The Basic plan is a relatively inexpensive €8.99 per month, which is hard to argue with when you take into account the sheer scale and bank of content that's now available to view. This plan however only allows you to stream on one device at any one time and does not include streaming in high definition (HD).

The Standard plan costs €14.99 a month and includes all of the above plus HD streaming and the ability to view on two devices simultaneously - handy for roommates sharing in college or couples at home.

The Premium plan, and coming in on the more expensive side of things at €20.99 a month, is certainly tailored towards families. Again this plan comes with all of the above but with the inclusion of 4K and HDR streaming and the option to stream content on up to four devices at any one time.

As well as being able to stream content from multiple devices, online or using the Netflix app, subscribers have the option to download episodes of their favourite shows to watch offline or while on the go - pretty neat.

Netflix has suffered from accusations of focussing on quantity over quality in recent years, and it's now the most expensive streaming service by farr bi. However Netflix has started rolling out a cheaper, ad-supported plan in some overseas markets. While this type of payment model is now common in the US, it's not something Irish audiences are accustomed to yet.   

2. Prime Video

Price: £5.99 per month (note charged in sterling) 

The next big-hitting streaming service likely to roll off the tongue of anyone asked is the increasingly popular Prime Video from Amazon. With over 100 million subscribers worldwide, Prime Video places a clear emphasis on original content, developed in-house through Amazon Studios.

Viewers also have the option of subscribing to Amazon Prime (which comes with Prime Video) for £8.99 a month or £95 annually. Amazon Prime offers free, priority delivery on a host of products ordered through Amazon, access to Amazon Music and of course Prime Video. If you go down this route, you'll get a 30-day free trial.

In the UK, Amazon subscribers are now subject to ads. For an ad-free experience, viewers must pay an additional £2.99 a month. Irish subscribers aren't subject to ads for the time being. But expect this to change within the next 12 to 18 months.

Offering

Unlike Netflix, Prime Video offers a week’s free trial. But if you sign up for Amazon Prime you'll get a 30-day free trial.

While not quite as popular as Netflix, many of Amazon's shows and movies have been widely lauded, including: 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel', the Ridley Scott produced 'The Man in the High Castle', based on a novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick., the Oscar-nominated 'Sound of Metal', and a remake of Dario Argento’s horror classic, ‘Suspiria’.

Prime Video allows subscribers to stream in HD, 4K, and even 4K Ultra HD (for more recent additions to the catalogue) at no extra cost. To check what TV shows or movies are compatible with 4K or HDR streaming just click into your selection and the presence of the little 4K or HDR icon will let you know.

Amazon has also started dipping its toes into the live sports world. In recent years it has bought rights to show Premiership football, top-tier tennis, and NFL football. However the sports licence agreements change regularly and are often country specific. So check carefully before signing up to see what sporting action is currently on offer to viewers in Ireland if this is something that's of interest to you.     

3. NOW 

Price: From €11.99 per month (package dependent) with ads

NOW (previously NOW TV) is the entertainment and streaming service from Sky.

Viewers can watch on their TV, phone or laptop. To view on a TV, you can purchase a portable NOW streaming stick. All you have to do is plug the small device into a compatible TV, connect to your WI-FI and away you go! Navigation with the remote that comes with the device is a breeze and all of the content is neatly organised into searchable categories.

If you want to watch on your phone or tablet just download the app and if you want to binge watch shows on your desktop just head to www.nowtv.com/ie/ and start streaming. 

Unlike most paid-for streaming services you will also be subject to ads. You can also only view on one screen at a time. 

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Subscribers can choose from a range of 'memberships'. 

The memberships available include the Entertainment membership and Cinema membership, which each cost €11.99 per month. On the other hand, if you want access to Sky Sports, daily and monthly memberships are available at €11.99 and €38.99 respectively. Half-price discounts and introductory deals are regularly run for all memberships though.

NOW not only allows customers the ability to stream movies and box sets on demand, but to watch live television too. If you purchase the Entertainment membership you'll get access to over a dozen live TV channels including the much-coveted Sky Atlantic, as well as Sky One, Fox, Gold, Sky Living, Comedy Central, and Nat Geo Wild and more. 

4. Apple TV+

Price: €9.99 per month

Apple TV+ is the streaming service from Apple, and the tech giant certainly didn't hold back when launching the service in 2019 with a host of the world’s biggest actors and celebrities present.

Apple currently offers new sign-ups a seven-day free trial, after which the price rises to €9.99 per month. However anyone who buys a new iPhone, Mac or iPad will get three months' access for free.

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Each subscription allows steaming on up to six devices simultaneously. 

Apple TV+ subscribers can watch on their iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch or Mac through the Apple TV app. Apple TV+ is also available to watch on the web at tv.apple.com/ie and you'll also find the app on most smart TVs and viewing platforms.

Like Netflix, users can download content to watch offline. So whether you’re on your morning commute or sunning yourself in the garden, watching your favourite show is possible almost anywhere.

However, compared to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, the amount of content on offer is still relatively small. This will no doubt improve over the coming years as the service becomes more established. But this may be an issue for some now that Apple has hiked prices for a second time in as many years to €9.99 a month (a subscription was initially just €4.99). 

Big hits include 'The Morning Show' starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, the award-winning comedy 'Ted Lasso', the Irish hit 'Bad Sisters', and the Oscar-winning "CODA", which in 2022 became the first streaming-backed film to win Best Picture. 

If you're a fan of binge watching an entire series of your favourite show in one weekend as soon as it's released, you should know that Apple+ has decided to go against the grain of most streaming platforms nowadays by releasing most of its new shows on a weekly basis. 

Another bugbear is that it can sometimes be difficult to tell which movies are available to download as part of your Apple TV+ subscription and which are just available as part of Apple TV and therefore cost extra. 

5. Hayu

Price: €5.99 per month / €52.99 annually

Hayu is a streaming service that specialises in showing the most popular reality TV shows. 

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Hayu offers subscribers access to the most popular reality TV shows such as Keeping Up With the Kardashians (over 350 episodes alone) and 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills', and 'The Real Housewives of Melbourne', and 'The Real Housewives of Chesire... and Atlanta, Sydney, Vancouver, Auckland... you get the jist!

New subscribers get a seven-day free trial and then it's €5.99 per month or €52.99 if you want to take the plunge and sign up for the year.

NOW is also offering customers access to Hayu as one of its memberships for €5.99 per month. 

Hayu is available to stream online at hayu.com and on mobile and tablet via the iOS App or Android App and on most smart TVs and viewing platforms.

Although not for everyone and distinctly niche, Hayu offers access to a huge catalogue of popular reality TV shows and is definitely the go-to place for all die-hard reality TV fans.

6. Disney+

Price: €10.99 per month / €109.90 annually

An iconic company and a name familiar to both adults and children alike, Disney launched its own streaming service, Disney+, in the US and Canada in late 2019, and in Ireland in March 2020.

With 10 million people signing up within the first day of launch in North America alone, the service has gone from strength to strength but perhaps suffers from a perception as being mainly for children.

Disney no longer offers a free trial period.

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Currently available on the platform are Disney+ originals like 'The Mandalorian', a Star Wars spin-off story following a bounty hunter five years after 'The Return of the Jedi', plus Disney's entire back catalogue from 'The Little Mermaid' to 'The Lion King'. There’s also every Star Wars film in 4K HDR, a vast majority of the Marvel movies and almost every Pixar film ever made. And did we mention there's every episode of 'The Simpsons' too!?

Subscribers also get access to the National Geographic channel as well as new channel Star, which is intended for a more adult audience and features a mix of original and iconic TV shows such as 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Desperate Housewives'. A lot of award-winning shows like 'Dopesick', 'The Bear' and 'Only Murders in the Building', which air on Hulu in the US, are available in Ireland and the UK on Star.

With Disney+ you can watch on up to four devices at a time, make multiple downloads, and get personalised recommendations. You can also set up to seven different profiles, and set Kids Profiles to keep your younger ones safe from any slightly racy content. 

Disney+ is available to stream online at www.disneyplus.com/en-ie and on mobile and tablet via the iOS and Android apps. It's also available on the usual TV viewing platforms such as Apple TV, Chromecast and the Sky Q box.

7. Peacock 

Price: Free (supported by ads) as part of a Sky TV or Now package  

Peacock, owned and operated by America's NBC, is one of the latest streaming services to launch in Ireland. Its name comes from the famed peacock in the NBC logo. 

In the US the price starts from $4.99 a month supported with ads (though a limited version is free).

However in Ireland it is being offered for free, with ads, to just customers of Sky TV or NOW for the time being.   

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Peacock offers both original programming as well as existing content from NBC’s vast library of titles.

However a lot of the content such as 'Downton Abbey', 'Suits', 'Superstore', and 'The Office' is available for now on other streaming services, while its original content output is still quite limited.

As mentioned, the service is only available for now if you're a Sky TV customer or a NOW subscriber, where it will be included for free as part of your package. Sky and NOW are both owned by US telecoms giant Comcast, which is also the owner of NBC.

It remains to be seen if the service will become more widely available over the coming years.   

8. Paramount+

Price: €7.99 per month

Paramount+ is the new streaming service from American giant Paramount Global and it comes with a seven-day free trial.

At the moment, Sky Cinema customers on Sky platforms can get the streaming service included with their existing subscription at no extra cost (if you sign up to Sky Cinema through Eir or Virgin Media you won't get this deal unfortunately).

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Paramount+ features both new and original content from Paramount-owned networks such as Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Showtime and will be home to some of the most recognisable TV series and films in the world such as the 'Scream' movie franchise, 'South Park', 'Geordie Shore', and 'Transformers'.

It's also home to the critically-acclaimed 'Yellowstone' with Kevin Costner.

New shows include the eagerly awaited 'HALO', 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds', and 'The First Lady' starring Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson.

Kids are also well catered for with shows from the likes of 'SpongeBob SquarePants' and 'Rugrats'.

You can view on up to three devices but can only stream on two devices at the same time.

It's now available to stream online at www.paramountplus.com/ie/ and on mobile and tablet via the iOS App or Android App. It's also available on the usual TV viewing platforms such as Apple TV, Chromecast and the Sky Q box.

Most, but not all, content is available to download temporarily and view offline. 

9. Channel 4 

Price: Free (supported by ads)

Channel 4 (previously All 4) is the streaming service from Channel 4 and unlike its bigger cousin, the BBC iPlayer, it's available to access in Ireland for free by everyone.

Viewers can download the app for free and watch on their phone or tablet, or view on the web at channel4.com.

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Channel 4 offers viewers the ability to watch Channel 4's TV channels live from the platform, while also offering access to a wide range of shows on-demand as well as Channel 4's substantial archive, which to be fair has some great gems. 

While nothing on the likes of Netflix or Prime Video, what Channel 4 does offer is an ability to watch great British and international content for free, such as 'It's a Sin', 'Derry Girls', 'Catastrophe', 'Gogglebox', 'This Way Up', 'The Inbetweeners' and much more.

Unsurprisingly for a free service, viewers will be subject to advertising. However you'll usually have to sit through far fewer ads than if watching live on your TV.

HBO Max

HBO Max (now rebranded as just Max in the US) is the streaming service from American cable channel HBO, which is behind truly iconic TV shows such as 'Sex and the City', 'The Sopranos', 'Succession', 'Curb Your Enthusiasm', 'Game of Thrones', 'The Wire', 'Veep', 'Six Feet Under', 'Mare of Easttown', 'Big Little Lies', 'True Blood' and much, much more!

It launched in the US in 2020 for $14.99 a month (or $9.99 a month with adds) and started rolling out in Europe the following year.

However, HBO Max will not launch in Ireland, the UK, Germany or Italy for a few years yet as Sky currently has a deal with the company to show its programming in all these countries. In the UK and Ireland almost all HBO's content is shown exclusively on Sky TV (mainly on Sky Atlantic) and Sky's sister streaming service NOW.

The deal with Sky runs until 2025 meaning it'll be a few years yet until it launches in Ireland. If at all. 

Platform

Price per month

Ads

Free trial period

Streaming quality

No. of devices

Notable titles

Netflix

€8.99-€20.99

No

None

HD, Ultra HD (package dependent)

1, 2 or 4 depending on package

The Irishman, Black Mirror, The Crown, Squid Game, The Queen's Gambit, Money Heist, You, Sex Education, Selling Sunset

Prime Video

£5.99

No

7 days

HD, Ultra HD (select titles)

2

The Grand Tour, The Man In The High Castle, Good Omens, Suspiria, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, ATP tennis

NOW 

From €11.99 (package dependent)

Yes

None

HD, Ultra HD

1

Sky Atlantic, Sky Cinema +more

Apple TV+

€9.99

No

7 days

HD, 4K

6

The Morning Show, See, For All Mankind, Ted Lasso, CODA

Hayu

€5.99 or €52.99 annually

No

7 days

HD

1

Kardashian content, Project Runway

Disney+

€10.99 or €109.90 annually

No

None

HD, 4K HDR

4

Entire Star Wars franchise, The Simpsons, Pixar movies, WandaVision

Peacock

Free 

Yes

Free

HD

N/A 

Suits, Superstore, Saved By The Bell

Paramount+

€7.99

No

7 days

HD

3

Scream, Rugrats, Grease, Transformers, Spongebob

Channel 4

Free 

Yes

Free

HD

N/A

Derry Girls, Catastrophe, Gogglebox, This Way Up, First Dates

Cutting back

With the cost of living on the rise and streaming services becoming ever more expensive, it's a good idea to look at what you've signed up to and see if you can cut back.

A handy tip to remember is that there are no sign-up fees for any of the streaming services listed here and most are on a 31-day, rolling contract so you can cancel at any time for free.

So if you don't think you'll be watching anything for a while, just cancel your subscription and save some money. You can then resubscribe a few months later when a new show piques your interest. With most of the providers, your account data and viewing history will remain intact for at least a year.   

And if you're a fan of several streaming services, try rotate between them. There's no point being signed up to more than two at a time as you're not going to be able to watch everything at once. Make a list of several shows you want to watch on each service. Once you're finished, cancel and then move onto your next streaming service.

Let's hear from you

So there you have it, the definitive list of the most in-demand, on-demand streaming services currently available in the Irish market.

Are you a subscriber to any of these? What do you think is the best value for money? Which is your favourite? We’d love to know what you think!

Let us know in the comments below or drop us a message over on Facebook or Twitter.